VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort Connectors - System Technology

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VGA, DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort Connectors

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VGA - Video Graphics Array connector
VGA or Video Graphics Array is a DE-15 connector with 15 pins arranged in 3 rows (5 pins per row), most commonly used for computer monitors, graphic cards, computers / laptops, high resolution TVs, etc. There is also the mini-VGA version used on smaller devices such as laptops and some computers. Today only a few devices still use this type of connector, being replaced by DVI, or with the latest HDMI and DisplayPort connectors.

VGA connectors and cables carry RGBHV video signals (red, green, blue, horizontal sync, vertical sync) and VESA display channel (VESA DDC) data.
VGA Connector
The VGA connector can be used for resolutions between 320 × 400px @ 70 Hz or 320 × 480px @ 60 Hz, up to 1280 × 1024px (SXGA) @ 85 Hz or 2048 × 1536px (QXGA) @ 85 Hz. There are VGA to DVI adapters and cables. Because neither DVI or VGA carry audio channels, a separate audio path should be used if needed. Simple adapters from other modern outputs, such as HDMI to VGA, are also common, again requiring a separate audio path.

Newer video cards usually do not have a VGA output, so if the user wants to connect the monitor that has only VGA input, he will have to use an active converter that receives digital signal from a DVI-D, HDMI or DisplayPort connector and switch to analog, suitable for VGA. Only older video cards and motherboards with integrated GPUs may still have a VGA or DVI-I connector available.
DVI - Digital Visual Interface connector
DVI or Digital Visual Interface is a video display interface used to connect a video source (graphics card) to a display device, such as a computer monitor or high-resolution TV. It was developed with the intention of creating an industry standard for the transfer of digital video content.

This interface is designed to stream uncompressed digital video and can be configured to support multiple modes, such as DVI-A (analog only), DVI-D (digital only), or DVI-I (digital and analog).
DVI Connector
With support for analog connections, the DVI specification is compatible with the VGA interface. This compatibility, together with other advantages, has led to the widespread acceptance of competing Plug and Display and Digital Flat Panel standards. The DVI is predominantly associated with computers, it is sometimes used in other consumer electronics, such as televisions and DVD players. The maximum length recommended for DVI cables is not included in the specification, since it is dependent on the pixel clock frequency. In general, cable lengths up to 4.5 metres (15 ft) will work for display resolutions up to 1920 × 1200. Longer cables up to 15 metres (49 ft) in length can be used with display resolutions 1280 × 1024 or lower. For greater distances, the use of a DVI booster—a signal repeater which may use an external power supply—is recommended to help mitigate signal degradation.
HDMI Connector
HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface
HDMI or High-Definition Multimedia Interface is a proprietary audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed video data and compressed or uncompressed digital audio data from an HDMI-compliant source device, such as a display controller, to a compatible computer monitor, video projector, digital television, or digital audio device. HDMI is a digital replacement for analog video standards.

HDMI implements the EIA/CEA-861 standards, which define video formats and waveforms, transport of compressed and uncompressed LPCM audio, auxiliary data, and implementations of the VESA EDID.
CEA-861 signals carried by HDMI are electrically compatible with the CEA-861 signals used by the Digital Visual Interface (DVI). No signal conversion is necessary, nor is there a loss of video quality when a DVI-to-HDMI adapter is used. The CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) capability allows HDMI devices to control each other when necessary and allows the user to operate multiple devices with one handheld remote control device.

Several versions of HDMI have been developed and deployed since the initial release of the technology, but all use the same cable and connector. Other than improved audio and video capacity, performance, resolution and color spaces, newer versions have optional advanced features such as 3D, Ethernet data connection, and CEC extensions.

Production of consumer HDMI products started in late 2003. In Europe, either DVI-HDCP or HDMI is included in the HD ready in-store labeling specification for TV sets for HDTV, formulated by EICTA with SES Astra in 2005. HDMI began to appear on consumer HDTVs in 2004 and camcorders and digital still cameras in 2006.
DP - DisplayPort Connector
DP or DisplayPort is a digital display interface developed by a consortium of PC and chip manufacturers and standardized by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). The interface is primarily used to connect a video source to a display device such as a computer monitor, and it can also carry audio, USB, and other forms of data.

DisplayPort was designed to replace VGA, Digital Visual Interface (DVI), and FPD-Link. The interface is backward compatible with other interfaces, such as HDMI and DVI, through the use of either active or passive adapters.
DisplayPort Connector
DisplayPort is the first display interface to rely on packetized data transmission, a form of digital communication found in technologies such as Ethernet, USB, and PCI Express. It permits the use of internal and external display connections, and unlike legacy standards that transmit a clock signal with each output, the DisplayPort protocol is based on small data packets known as micro packets, which can embed the clock signal within the data stream. This allows for higher resolution using fewer pins. The use of data packets also makes DisplayPort extensible, meaning additional features can be added over time without significant changes to the physical interface.

DisplayPort can be used to transmit audio and video simultaneously, although each is optional and can be transmitted without the other. The video signal path can range from six to sixteen bits per color channel, and the audio path can have up to eight channels of 24-bit, 192 kHz PCM audio that is uncompressed. A bi-directional, half-duplex auxiliary channel carries device management and device control data for the Main Link, such as VESA EDID, MCCS, and DPMS standards. In addition, the interface is capable of carrying bi-directional USB signals.
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