To connect a computer to a television or a monitor, what cable would you use? HDMI and DVI should be two of the most common cables that people will mention. Indeed, they are quite popular in the field of audio and video output. Do you know what is the difference between HDMI and DVI? We will give you a concise and comprehensive introduction of HDMI vs DVI to make you understand everything.
HDMI stands for high definition multimedia interface, which is a transmission interface for all-digital video and audio. It can transmit uncompressed audio and video signals. HDMI is usually used for the set-top box, DVD player, PC, TV, game console, and many other devices. It is one of the most popular cables nowadays as it can send audio and video signals at the same time.
DVI means digital visual interface, which is a standard video interface. The purpose of DVI is to transmit uncompressed digital video. So far, it has been widely used for LCD, digital projector, and other monitors.
HDMI and DVI both belong to the transmission standard of digital video. Although they have different names, they both come with the same format of digital transmission - TMDS.
First of all, you will find HDMI and DVI ports looks very different. DVI port is far larger than HDMI port, so it takes up much space. Moreover, it is not handy to plug and pull out the port for you need to turn the screw. HDMI port is smaller like USB and it looks very simple to use. Besides, the pins of the HDMI port are much more durable than that of the DVI port.
Whether HDMI or DVI, they both come in two formats - Single-link and dual-link. Meanwhile, DVI can be divided into three main types: DVI-A, DVI-D, DVI-I.
DVI-A interface only transmits analog signals, which is actually the port specification of VGA analog transmission. Thus, it is usually used to switch the DVI-I output of the graphics card to the VGA monitor port. DVI-D is a pure digital interface and is not compatible with analog signals. DVI-I is compatible with two ports DVI-I and DVI-D as well as digital and analog signals. Please note that different types of DVI have different shapes of the port. You need to buy the right one for your specific device, or you can’t plug the DVI.
HDMI also has various models, but everything is more simple than DVI. Nowadays, there are 1.3, 1.4, 2.0, and the latest 2.1 version on the market. They don’t have any difference in port and cables. In particular, HDMI 2.0 has the test requirements for 4k and HDMI 2.1 supports resolutions up to 10k
HDMI can meet all ATSC HDTV standards. Particularly, HDMI 2.0 can support a maximum data rate of up to 18Gbps bandwidth for the highest resolution of 1080p. The latest HDMI 2.1 can support maximum data up to 48Gbps bandwidth for the highest 5k resolution.
However, DVI only supports a max data rate up to 9.9Gbit/s for the maximum resolution of only 2560x1600 at 60Hz
HDMI not only carries high-definition video signals but also digital audio like DVD and stereo. It can support 32 channels of audio at more. So if you use it to connect your computer to the monitor, you just need one HDMI cable without the extra audio cable.
While DVI doesn't carry audio signals, it only transmits video signals. You will need an additional cable for carrying audio signals for the connection between computer and monitor or TV.
A significant difference between the two is that HDMI supports up to 32 channels of audio, whereas DVI is video-only. Unfortunately, if you have been landed with a DVI cable, you will need to either switch to HDMI or use an additional audio cable to get any sound from a monitor.
Can you connect HDMI to DVI or DVI to HDMI?
Yes, of course, you can because HDMI and DVI are compatible. If your computer has a DVI port but your monitor or TV has an HDMI port, what can you do? The best way is to buy an adaptor that can convert DVI to HDMI or HDMI to DVI. However, you will also need to buy an additional audio cable as DVI doesn’t carry sound.
Does HDMI to DVI or DVI to HDMI lose quality?
Frankly speaking, for the video quality, it won’t have any big difference. HDMI and DVI both can support 4k resolution. The only difference is that the sound will be missing if you don’t have an audio cable.
For DVI cables, transmission distance will be a big limitation. With a repeater, HDMI can offer a much longer transmission distance than DVI. The maximum distance can be up to 15 meters while DVI only supports 8 meters.
1080p 60Hz monitor is the most common standard for the gaming console. For this case, HDMI and DVI should be fine. A dual-link DVI cable can support 1080 to 144Hz and HDMI can also go 1080p at 120Hz. For better color, many users will go for a 1440p monitor. If your monitor is 1440p at 60Hz, dual-link DVI cables still can work. This is the maximum resolution and refreshes rate that it can support. However, for a 1440p 144Hz, you must HDMI cables. HDMI 2.1 and 2.0 can work perfectly with the monitor. If you still use dual-link DVI cables, it can’t work fully.
If are looking at a computer, monitor, or TV with a DVI or HDMI port, it is better to buy the HDMI one. HDMI is more advanced and can support higher resolution and carry both audio and video signals. If you had got a device with a DVI port, use an adapter or HDMI to DVI cable.
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