Are you confused by the barrage of video cables available today? Let’s take a look at the most important video cables today, HDMI Cable and DVI cable, and see what’s the differences between the two.
A decade ago, it was much easier to figure out how to get your TV connected to your devices, especially since most people only had a VCR. Our screens were smaller, the quality was worse, but the world was simpler. Today you can hardly walk in an electronics store without getting pressured to buy a several hundred dollar HDMI cable just to connect your devices to your TV. If there’s ever been a confusing time to choose cables and connectors, it’s now. We’ll try to help you wade through this mess and see what’s really important about the two most common digital video cables of today: HDMI and DVI.
Before continuing further with our discussion on HDMI cables, it would be appropriate at this point to bring out the main similarities and differences between these two digital standards. Both are very closely related in that HDMI uses the same digital encoding scheme used by DVI-D in the transport of digital video.
This explains why all that is required to interconnect a DVI device with HDMI-enabled equipment, is a simple DVI-to-HDMI cable adaptor with a DVI-D plug on one end and an HDMI connector on the other. In this case however, digital audio will have to be carried separately since DVI does not support audio over the same interconnect. This would not be the case in an 'all' HDMI-to-HDMI cable, where the digital audio signal is carried along with the digital video over the same cable.
However, out of the different DVI flavors, HDMI is only compatible with DVI-D format. In other words, there's no way to adapt an analog VGA signal to go in through an HDMI connection as is possible with a DVI-I interface.
Other important differences include:
HDMI cable connectors are substantially smaller than the 37.0 mm wide DVI plug.
The DVI standard was originally developed to be used by PCs, while HDMI was developed by some of the major electronics manufacturers for use in consumer electronic products such as DVD players and digital televisions.
In our opinion, HDMI is the cable and connector to stick with. It’s the default connector on most devices and screens, compatible with HD content including HDCP protected Blu-ray, and can carry video, audio, and more all on one cable. One cable and you’re done. For now, it’s the cable and connector we recommend you standardize on.
Now, if you already have equipment using DVI Cables, VGA cable, or other cables, and it works fine for you, don’t feel like you need to rush out and change it, because you don’t. You might get better quality from using digital cables if your devices support it, but unless you have a very large monitor or TV it can be hard to tell the difference. Technology companies thrive on making people feel like they constantly have to upgrade, but often if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is a good policy to follow.