Why you must deactivate EDID on your HDLink (aka “Band-Aid”)

Be sure to deactivate EDID on your HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort for proper operation of your DreamColor monitor.
Allan Tépper
By Allan Tépper 02.26.13

I have clarified in prior articles how essential it is for DreamColor monitor users who also use an i/o device from Blackmagic Design to purchase an HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort as an accessory (“Band-Aid”) to satisfy the DreamColor Engine’s absolute requirement for RGB/4:4:4, at least until such time as Blackmagic updates its firmware/software to allow for this signal over HDMI. However, I haven’t yet covered how vital it is for the user to deactivate EDID in the HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort to achieve proper system operation. Ahead I’ll define EDID, explain why it’s so important to deactivate it, and show you exactly how to do it.

What do I mean by “Band-Aid”?

image I

If you are new to my articles, you might want to review Blackmagic: We’re ready to remove the Band-Aid! from May 2012.

What’s EDID?

EDID is an acronym for Extended Display Identification Data, and has been defined by Wikipedia as:

…a data structure provided by a digital display to describe its capabilities to a video source (e.g. graphics card or set-top box). It is what enables a modern personal computer to know what kinds of monitors are connected to it. EDID is defined by a standard published by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).


Why EDID is usually good?

Outside of editing and grading applications, EDID is usually good because it allows a computer to deliver the monitor’s ideal spatial resolution and its ideal refresh rate (akin to framerate) as long as it is available from the GPU. Apparently, Blackmagic markets and sells the HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort device in greater numbers for other target uses (i.e. not editing or grading) since the unit ships from the factory with EDID active. In fact, the original version of the product —called “HD Link Pro DisplayPort” (without the “3D” indication)— came with the EDID constantly active.

Why EDID is bad for the DreamColor (or other monitor) in an editing or grading situation?

As covered in several prior articles, when editing or grading it is ideal to monitor at the same framerate as the project, or at a multiple of that framerate if it is low (i.e. 23.976, 24.000, 25, 29.97, or the very uncommon 30.000). If EDID is active, when inquired the DreamColor monitor will respond: “My favorite is 60 Hz!” and the device will unfortunately feel obliged to convert everything to that rate. That is not good for editing or grading, unless you happen to be editing or grading exclusively at the quite uncommon 30.000 fps or the equally rare 60.000 fps.

Blackmagic added the capability of deactivating EDID in HDLink Pro in mid 2010

I am grateful that several months after I discussed this issue with Blackmagic in 2009, they added the capability of deactivating EDID in the HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort starting with firmware update 3.4 on July 15, 2010. It should be noted that all original units (“HDLink Pro DisplayPort”, without the “3D” indication) magically became 3D upon applying this update (or a later one). As of the publication date of this article, there have been two other updates after that historic 3.4 one, and the current version is 3.5.1 from January 2011.

Behavior of the DreamColor monitor after EDID is deactivated

If you send any of those low framerates (i.e. 23.976, 24.000, 25, 29.97, or the very uncommon 30.000) to a DreamColor monitor, it will duplicate it:

  • 23.976p will display at 47.952 Hz (and unfortunately the monitor will say it’s 48)
  • 24.000p will display at 48 Hz
  • 25p will display at 50 Hz
  • 29.97p will display at 59.94 Hz (and unfortunately the monitor will say it’s 60)
  • 30.000p will display at 60 Hz
  • 50p will stay native and display at 50 Hz
  • 59.94p will stay native and display at 59.94 Hz (and unfortunately the monitor will say it’s 60)

Thanks to Begoña Colomar and Rubén Abruña for reviewing this behavior with me remotely: Begoña from Brooklyn, New York, United States and Rubén from Zürich, Switzerland. Although they don’t know one another, both continue to be happy owners of an HP DreamColor monitor, and both recently migrated from their prior Matrox interfaces to Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Monitor with “Band-Aid” (HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort) because of their desire to grade with DaVinci Resolve and have its live output be full screen on the DreamColor monitor.

How to deactivate EDID in your HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort

To deactivate EDID in your HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort:

  1. Download the HDLink 3.5.2 software (or later) from blackmagicdesign.com/support and install it on your computer.
  2. Connect your HDLink Pro 3D DisplayPort momentarily via USB to your computer and apply power to it.
  3. Run the HDLink 3.5.2 (or later) software. If it offers to update the firmware, following the instructions on screen.
  4. Choose Preferences from the HDLink Utility menu and then Override EDID.

What Blackmagic should still do

  1. As I have stated in several articles, including Blackmagic: We’re ready to remove the Band-Aid!, I would like Blackmagic to add digital RGB/4:4:4 capabilities to the UltraStudio Mini Monitor… and to all of its line of computer interfaces that offer HDMI output.
  2. Blackmagic should adopt 23.976 nomenclature instead of 23.98 nomenclature in all of its products, documentation, and in its camera menus for the reasons explained in the section called What’s wrong with rounding 23.976 to 23.98? in this article.

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