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What is the Difference Between DP and DP++ Video Ports?

SD5600T hybrid docking station connected to a laptop and two monitors

Key Takeaways from this blog

1. What is DisplayPort (DP)?
DisplayPort is a digital audio and video interface that connects video sources like laptops to display devices, such as monitors or HDTVs, transferring high-definition audio and video data.
2. Difference between DP and DP++ ports
DP ports support only DP signals and require an active adapter for HDMI or DVI signals. DP++ ports support DP signals and can also convert HDMI and DVI signals, allowing for the use of passive cables for connection.
3. Can I use a passive cable with a DP++ port?
Yes, DP++ ports can use a passive cable to support DVI, HDMI, and DP signals, offering more flexibility in connectivity.


When it comes to connecting your laptop to a monitor or HDTV, understanding DisplayPort technology and the difference between DP and DP++ video ports is essential for making good setup decisions. Once you understand what you need, purchasing the right cables or adapters is simple.


DisplayPort is a digital audio and video interface used to connect your video source, such as a laptop, to a display device such as a monitor or HDTV screen. Like HDMI®, DisplayPort transfers both audio and video data in high definition. As with all technology, there are versions of DisplayPort to accommodate different needs.  Computers and docking stations with DisplayPort technology generally label the video ports with DP or DP++ to help you connect to different devices with ease.

DP vs DP++

Standard DisplayPort (DP) can only support DP signals and will require an active adapter to convert to HDMI or DVI signals. Dual-Mode DisplayPort (DP++) offers flexibility since it supports DP signals and will convert HDMI and DVI signals. The following helps explain how the connections work:

DP Port on Laptop or Docking Station

  • Only supports DP signals.
  • If the monitor has a DP port, a DP to DP passive cable will work.
  • If the monitor has an HDMI or DVI port, an active adapter is required to convert the signal.

DP Port on a Kensington Docking-Station

DP++ Port on Laptop or Docking Station

  • Supports DP signals and will convert HDMI and DVI signals.
  • Only needs a passive cable to support DVI/HDMI/DP signals.

DP++ Port on Kensington Docking Station

DP and DP++ Accessories

Whether you need an active video adapter or passive video cable to connect a monitor to your Windows laptop, MacBook Pro, or Kensington docking station, your choices in accessories may impact the reliability of your signal. Professional accessories from brands you trust are recommended since they have been tested for compatibility and longevity.

Which Video Port Should I Use on my Docking Station?

Some laptop docking stations, like the Kensington SD5600T, have both DP and HDMI ports to allow additional flexibility when connecting to different setups.  The types of video ports available on your monitor may vary, therefore these options ensure that you can get connected in different scenarios.  In the case of the SD5600T, you can buy a passive DP to DP cable to connect to a DP monitor, or buy a passive HDMI to HDMI cable to connect to an HDMI monitor. 

Passive Unidirectional Kensington Cables

The DP or DP++ icons next to the video ports on your laptop or docking station let you know what technology your device supports and what cable or adapters will be needed to connect your monitor or HDTV. 

DP++ ports are more flexible than standard DP ports since they can transmit DVI, HDMI, and DP signals using a passive cable—which is helpful if you connect to both legacy and newer monitors. Standard DP ports can also support DVI and HDMI signals but will require an active adapter to do it.

Simplify Your Connectivity

Whether you're setting up a new workspace or upgrading your existing setup, the right video port connection can make all the difference. With Kensington's range of high-quality docking stations and video adapters, you're always one step ahead in achieving seamless connectivity between your laptop and display devices.

Explore our collection and find the perfect docking solution tailored to your needs. From the versatile SD5600T docking station to our reliable video adapters, ensure your setup is equipped to handle any connection with ease.

Discover your perfect Docking Solution today.