What are the Differences Between HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA?

When it comes to choosing between different types of display cables, most people may not know that there are differences among which cable they decide to use. When you buy a new monitor, it typically comes with at least one cable included, but this may not be the cable you should use to get the most out of your new monitor. There are four common types of cables used today: HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, and VGA. Here, we will explore the differences between these cables.

HDMI

We will start with the most common display cable used today: HDMI. The biggest pro to using HDMI is that it also carries audio. Being able to provide audio and video makes it easier to set something up for the first time. If you are trying to do a temporary set up like connecting your laptop to your TV, then HDMI is the way to go.

There are different types of HDMI ports as well. Your TV is most likely to have HDMI 1.4, which supports 4K at 30 frames per second. There is also HDMI 2.0, which supports 4K at 60 frames per second. If you just got a new 4K monitor that supports HDMI 2.0, then using HDMI would be fine.

HDMI is an excellent all-around cable, and always handy to have laying around. When it comes to higher resolutions and higher frame rates, you may want to choose a different cable.

DisplayPort

DisplayPort is a common way to connect PCs to monitors. It’s not built into most TVs, in which you would preferably use HDMI. DisplayPort carries audio just like HDMI.

There are also different revisions of DisplayPort cables. DisplayPort 1.3 can support 4k at 120 frames per second, 5k at 60 frames per second, and 8k at 30 frames per second. DisplayPort 1.4 can support 4k at 120 frames per second, 8k at 60 frames per second. The biggest upgrade from DisplayPort 1.3 to 1.4 is HDR support.

DisplayPort is a high bandwidth cable for when you need high resolutions at high frame rates, like at a computer workstation or gaming computer.

DVI

There are two main types of DVI cables: single-link, which has lower bandwidth, and dual-link, which has higher bandwidth. Keep in mind that these different types have different physical connectors. When it comes to computer monitors, most support dual-link DVI due to the higher bandwidth.

DVI does not carry audio in most cases. If you need to use a DVI cable for a TV, you will likely need to also supply another cable to provide the sound. If you can avoid using DVI, try to use HDMI for your TV setup. Most computer monitors have low-quality speakers (or none at all), so missing audio might not be an issue. DVI is becoming old-school, so try using DisplayPort or HDMI when you have the choice.

VGA

VGA is the oldest type of video connector on this list. It uses an analog video signal rather than a digital signal like DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI. The analog signal usually creates a distorted image, unlike the other cables. The only time you should use VGA is if you are using hardware that does not support any newer display connectors.

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