The ABCs of DDC

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2002-07-29 Print this article Print

/CI"> The ABCs of DDC/CI

One company offering true innovation targeted at the corporate enterprise is NEC. The company is taking advantage of a Video Electronics Standards Association specification called DDC/CI (Display Data Channel/ Command Interface) that allows IT administrators to control a monitors display functions. (More information is available at www.

In most cases, monitors are automatically recognized by modern operating systems and run without requiring IT support. However, driver changes and installation of graphics interfaces can cause erratic behavior. Users, meanwhile, often cannot diagnose or fix problems because of inconsistent user interfaces. DDC/CI offers bidirectional control over DDC/ CI-equipped monitors and display adapters.

For this to work, however, there must be a monitor driver in addition to the adapter driver, and the two must work in conjunction with each other.

NEC has implemented DDC/CI, a 4-year-old proposed standard that is just now meandering into products, as fully as possible in its Naviset architecture. Naviset allows administrators to control monitors via Ethernet cable or long-range signal cables.

The DDC/CI specification is display-technology-agnostic and will work with all forms of CRTs and LCDs. However, NEC has implemented it only in a select number of product lines.

Meanwhile, DDC/CI will not be ubiquitous until support for it is inherent in the operating system. Microsoft Corp. announced support for DDC/CI, but company officials said it wont be part of the operating system until the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, ships in 2004.

Until then, enterprise monitor purchases will largely remain a battle of cost vs. coolness.

eWeek Labs Director John Taschek can be reached at

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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