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What is the difference between DVI, HDMI, and VGA?

DVI. HDMI. VGA. These abbreviations may not sound like household names, but chances are you’re likely to spot them in most homes. Known as “cable connectors,” these fellas are responsible for the transfer of digital video content, and all operate differently.

DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface,HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and VGA stands for Video Graphics Array. In the early days of computers, monitors were originally monochrome or two-color. Over the years, technology has allowed for better and better ways of transmitting visual images to your computer monitor. That’s where cable connectors come into play.

Cable connectors The oldest VGA (analog) hardware was developed in 1987 and produced from 1987 to present day, followed by DVI (analog), which was developed in 1999 and produced from 1999 to present day. HDMI (digital) was developed in December 2002, and produced from 2003 to present day.

The number of pins per each connector varies. VGA is equipped with 15 pins, HDMI with 19 pins, and DVI with 29 pins.  If you guessed that the newest connectors have the best picture quality and fastest speeds, you’d be right! Let’s take a look why.

A Glance At Cable Connectors

VGA was first developed by IBM in 1987. The VGA standard originally allowed for a display resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, but has gone through many revisions since being introduced. The most common is Super VGA (SVGA), which allows for resolutions greater than 640x480, such as 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768. VGA allows for the display of 256 colors on computer monitors, uses RGB color (Red, Green, and Blue), and is always shaped like a trapezoid. VGA is today’s basic standard for color resolution in computer monitors, and represents the lowest common denominator for compatibility. (Note: HDMI does not transmit audio signals to VGA adapters.  You will need separate audio cables.)

DVI was designed by Digital Display Working Group in 1999, in attempts to replace the date technology of the VGA. This hardware allowed computer monitors to display a true-color pallette. (Note: HDMI does not transmit audio signals to DVI adapters. You will need separate audio cables.)

HDMI was developed by the following companies in December of 2002: Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic/National/Quasar), Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson, RCA and Toshiba. Due to its high-definition capabilities, HDMI makes previous technologies completely obsolete. HDMI’s functionality enables the transmission of high-definition audio/video, along with 8-channel audio transmission.

Though the predecessor to newer and more progressive hardware, VGA still plays an integral role for current technology. 99 percent of all desktop monitors still have a VGA port, while a full 30 percent only have a VGA connector! Furthermore, more than 70 percent of flat-panel TVs have VGA connectors, and projectors are primarily for VGA.
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