There are a variety of different cables that can be used for video connections. While there have been industry efforts at streamlining, even today there are multiple options on the market. Each type of video cable is easily identified by its unique size and shape, but there are also differences when it comes to the quality of each cable signal. Knowing these differences can enable users to make educated choices when selecting cables for electronic devices.

Current Version

Analog/Digital

Max Resolution

Locking Connector

Bandwidth

HDMI

2.0

Digital

4k (3840 x 2160)

Optional

18.0 Gbit/s

DisplayPort

1.2

Digital

4k (3840 x 2160)

No

21.6 Gbit/s

DVI-D single-link

Single-link

Digital

1920 x 1080

Yes

4.95 Gbps

DVI-D dual-link

Dual-link

Digital

2040 x 1536

Yes

9.9 Gbps

DVI-I single-link

Single-link

Analog/Digital

1600 x 1200

Yes

4.95 Gbps

DVI-I dual-link

Dual-link

Analog/Digital

1920 x 1080

Yes

9.9 Gbps

DVI-A

N/A

Analog

1920 x 1080

Yes

85 Hz

VGA

N/A

Analog

1920 x 1080

Yes

85 Hz

HDMI

Mini, Micro

From left to right: Standard HDMI, Mini HDMI, and Micro HDMI

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) was developed as a joint project by various technology and multimedia companies who wanted to streamline audio/video connections. The goal was to create a single cable as a universal industry standard that could be supported across all devices regardless of brand. In late 2002 they succeeded and HDMI 1.0 was released. Newer versions of HDMI have been released since then, with the latest 2.1 version coming out in late 2017.

Today, HDMI cables are used on almost every electronic including TVs, computers, Blu-ray players, projectors, and more. Aside from near-universal compatibility, the main draw of HDMI is its 4k video resolution. The first version of HDMI capable of fully supporting 4k was version 2.0, released in September 2013. It should be noted that the previous version, 1.4b, did have some 4k capability but did not support it fully.

There are also two downsized versions, Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI. These are used on electronics that are too small to accommodate a standard HDMI port like tablets and cell phones.

If an electronic has a port for HDMI, it is the best all-around cable users can go with today.

DisplayPort

Mini

Standard DisplayPort (left) and Mini DisplayPort (right)

DisplayPort was designed specifically for use with computer monitors. It is a very powerful cable, even more so than HDMI, capable of supporting the highest video resolution (8k) currently available. Many monitors today are built with DisplayPort as well as HDMI, but high-end monitors may only have DisplayPort due to its superior video quality.

There is also a downsized version called Mini DisplayPort, used on electronics too small to house the standard version. The Mini version was originally implemented by Apple and is most commonly seen on MacBooks, although some Windows computers use Mini DisplayPort as well.

Apple also makes an upgraded version of Mini DisplayPort called Thunderbolt. While it is backward-compatible with the older Mini DisplayPort, Apple does not share the proprietary rights of the Thunderbolt so it will not be seen on non-Apple devices. A Mini DisplayPort cable will not work with a newer Thunderbolt port. To tell Mini DisplayPort and Thunderbolt apart, look for a small lightning bolt symbol. If it is present, a cable or port is Thunderbolt. If not, it is a Mini DisplayPort.

A Thunderbolt connection (left) vs. a Mini DisplayPort connection (right)

Like HDMI, DisplayPort is audio/video ready. When using a computer monitor, DisplayPort is the best option available to use.

DVI

DVI-D, DVI-I, DVI-A, single-link, dual-link

Top row: DVI-A, DVI-D single-link, and DVI-D dual-link

Bottom row: DVI-I single-link and DVI-I dual-link

DVI (Digital Visual Interface) is an older type of video connection. While it is not obsolete just yet, it is on its way there. Like DisplayPort, DVI only supports video and not audio. DVI is also bulkier, does not support 4k like HDMI or DisplayPort, and is a bit more complicated as there are different versions of it.

There are two sub-categories for DVI, the first of which contains single-link and dual-link. Simply put, dual-link uses more pins in the connector which allows for greater video resolution.

The other category relates to DVI’s ability to be digital and/or analog. DVI-I (integrated) is capable of supporting both analog and digital signals. DVI-D (digital) can be adapted to newer digital formats but will be limited to DVI’s maximum resolution. DVI-A (analog) is typically only used to adapt to VGA, an even older video format. Generally, users should only use DVI when HDMI and DisplayPort are unavailable.

VGA

HD15

VGA is an outdated analog video connection no longer used as a standard for most electronics, although they are still heavily used on projectors. For other electronics like computers and monitors, plenty of units equipped with VGA are still functional but few are still manufactured. Typically, the only reason to use VGA today is if it is the only option available.

Get Your Video Cables Today

ShowMeCables is a leading provider of video cables whether it is HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, VGA, or something else entirely. We also carry an array of adapters for changing existing video cables to other formats. Our inventory also includes converters for translating signals between analog and digital formats. Whether an old cable is being salvaged or replaced entirely, ShowMeCables is ready to help today.

Each and every product at ShowMeCables is tested to federally regulated standards to ensure quality and backed up by warranty. Have questions? You can reach our Sales team at 888-519-9505 or Sales@ShowMeCables.com