DVI v. HDMI digital video extenders

DVI (Digital Video Interface) is the standard digital interface for PCs (in contrast to HDMI, which is more commonly found on HDTV devices).

The DVI standard is based on transition-minimized differential signaling (TMDS). There are two DVI formats: single-link and dual-link. Single-link cables use one TMDS-165 MHz transmitter, and dual-link cables use two. The dual-link cables double the power of the transmission. A single-link cable can transmit a resolution of 1920 x 1200 vs. 2560 x 1600 for a dual-link cable.

Several types of DVI connectors are available, most commonly:
DVI-D, a digital-only connector for use between a digital video source and monitors. DVI-D eliminates the analog pins.

DVI-I (integrated), which supports both digital and analog RGB connections. It can transmit either a digital-to-digital signal or an analog-to-analog signal. It is used on products instead of separate analog and digital connectors. If both connectors are DVI-I, you can use any DVI cable, but a DVI-I is recommended. (NOTE: For a DVI-I to DVI-D display converter, click here).

DVI-A (analog), which is used to carry a DVI analog signal from a computer to an analog VGA device, such as a monitor. If one or both of your connections are DVI-A, use this cable. If one connection is DVI and the other is VGA HD15, you need a cable or adapter with both connectors as long as you don’t require an active analog/digital connector.

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) was the first digital interface to combine uncompressed HD video, up to eight channels of uncompressed digital audio, and intelligent format and command data in a single cable. It is now the defacto standard for consumer electronics and HD video, although it is beginning to face competition from the newer DisplayPort interface.

HDMI offers an easy, standardized way to set up AV equipment over one cable. Use it to connect equipment such as digital signage players, set-top boxes, and AV receivers with HDTVs and video projectors. If the HDMI equipment supports higher-resolution HDMI standards, you can also connected 3D displays.

HDMI also supports multiple audio formats from standard stereo to multichannel surround sound. In addition, the interface provides two-way communications between the video source and HDTV, enabling simple, remote, point-and-click configurations.

It also supports HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), which prevents the copying of digital audio and video content sent over HDMI cable. If you have a device between the source and the display that supports HDMI but not HDCP, your transmission won’t work, even over an HDMI cable.

HDMI is backward compatible with DVI equipment; a DVI-to-HDMI adapter can be used without a loss of video quality to enable the connection. Because DVI only supports video signals, not audio, the DVI device simply ignores the extra audio data.

Looking for a specific HDMI, DVI, VGA, or other types of video extenders? Use our handy Video Extender Selector tool and find what you need in minutes.

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