If you've ever tried to connect a Digital Video Interface (DVI) source with a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) source, you probably discovered very quickly that the two ports are not compatible with one another. The digital video signals for DVI and HDMI are similar, but you need a DVI to HDMI cable or an adapter in order to transfer the digital data between the ports.
Since the digital video signal doesn't need to be converted between DVI and HDMI, an adapter isn't really a converter; it's just a way of fitting a square peg into a round hole. If you already have a DVI cable that came with your computer tower or an HDMI cable that came with your high-definition television, for example, then an adapter will probably be your best bet. DVI to HDMI adapters are an effective and inexpensive way to make use of the cables you already have. However, you need to make sure to get the right one.
DVI to HDMI adapters can come with a male or female connector on either end. Make sure to get the configuration that you need. It may be obvious to some, but let us explain it for those who may be too timid to ask: if you already have a HDMI cable, get an adapter with a male DVI connector and a female HDMI connector; if you already have a DVI cable, get an adapter with a male HDMI connector and a female DVI connector.
There are also different types of DVI sockets and connectors. DVI-D sends digital signals, DVI-A sends analog signals and DVI-I can transmit both digital and analog signals. In addition to this, DVI-I and DVI-D connectors can be either single-link or dual-link. Dual-link connectors have more pins than single-link connectors; this means more data can be transferred through a dual-link connection. However, since single-link connectors have fewer pins, they are compatible with more DVI ports than dual-link connectors. Check the DVI port on your device before purchasing a DVI to HDMI adapter.
Also, keep in mind that the main difference between DVI and HDMI is audio. HDMI has an integrated audio signal whereas DVI only transmits digital video. There are some DVI to HDMI adapters available that include an audio plug on the DVI side that is converted into the HDMI signal, but, from what we've seen, this technology is still developing and it is also fairly expensive. It seems to be more cost effective to get an adapter and a separate audio cable.
In summary, if you don't have any connection between your DVI source and your HDMI source, then a cable is the way to go. A HDMI to DVI cable will bridge the gap between a computer and a monitor, or a laptop and an HDTV. If you already have a DVI cable or an HDMI Cable, then an adapter will better suit your needs. These adapters can easily attach to a DVI or HDMI port/cable. Either way, you've now bridged the gap between your DVI source and your HDMI source, or vice versa.