Whether you’re in the market for a new computer, or you’d like to hook a digital device up to your TV, you may be unsure of which ports on your monitor may come in handy. Two types of cables you’ll see designed for today’s high-resolution TVs and displays are HDMI and DVI cables. What are these cables, and how do the ports they connect to work? Here’s what you need to know about these two different yet very similar formats:
HDMI cables have become one of the industry standards for connecting to televisions, Blu-ray players, computers, and various other electronic devices. Overall, there are more than 1,600 of the world’s largest consumer electronics, PC, and mobile device manufacturers that regularly incorporate HDMI connectivity into their products for consumer ease and quality.
HDMI cables and ports are one of the simplest to connect and network — about as easy as plugging in USB devices. Since HDMI cords don’t feature any pins, you never have to worry about them getting bent or broken. Instead, you simply plug and play with a number of digital devices.
One of the best features of HDMI cables is their ability to stream both digital and audio through one line. In addition to their 1920×1200 HD video and 8-channel audio capabilities, HDMI cables support HDCP
encryption for the newest HD content. Additionally, HDMI can pass video resolutions from 480i up to 4K. It’s important to note, though, that each manufacturer determines the specific parameters for what is to be transferred via HDMI in their components. Basically, a good HDMI cable is all you’ll ever really need to connect a computer or video device to a monitor or TV. That’s why it’s considered one of the standard digital cables available today.
Digital Visual Interface, or DVI, cables are also popular for use with things like desktop computers and LCD monitors. With up to 24 pins and support for analog as well as digital video, these cables are similar to VGA connectors.
With DVI cables you can stream up to 1920×1200 HD video, or up the ante even more with dual-link DVI connectors. That will allow support for up to 2560×1600 pixels. The exact number of pins a cable has will affect the resolution capabilities. Be aware that some DVI cables have fewer pins, which means they’ll only work on lower resolution devices.
It turns out that the quality of cable used to transmit signals in the digital format makes virtually no difference when it comes to HDMI and DVI. Ultimately, the type of cable you buy will largely depend on the type of device you own.