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Video Technology & Connector Compatibility Chart

Video Technology & Connector Compatibility Chart

Selecting the proper video cables and/or adapters to interconnect devices can be frustrating and confusing, especially now that two industries (Computer and Home Entertainment) that were once traditionally separated merging with their own respective set of standardized video connectors. Many of these different types of connectors are easily compatible with each other, while others are not. The chart below shows the most popular types of connectors found on modern Home Entertainment and Computer equipment and helps you to look up what other types of connectors are compatible, or what converters can be used to make that connection. The Chart also shows if the resulting connection is capable of HD and what the relative image quality will be.

"Direct" connections mean that the two connectors are natively compatible with each other without a signal converter, so the signal quality will be the same as if you were connecting two of the same type of connectors. For example, HDMI and DVI-D share the same type of digital video signal format so they are essentially the same signal in terms of video, but they have different physical connectors. Converting from HDMI to DVI generally results in the same video quality as going from HDMI to HDMI. Directly compatible connector types only need a cable with the correct physical connector on each end or a connector adapter. Other factors, such as HDCP, may affect the operational compatibility of the connection, but it won't affect the video quality.

Other types of connections will require an active video converter. The most common type of conversion is a Digital to Analog or Analog to Digital conversion. If you wanted to connect a VGA source device (analog) to a display with an HDMI input (digital), you would use a VGA & Stereo Audio to HDMI Converter. This device takes the analog sine wave signals carried by VGA and analog stereo and converts them to the binary bits used by HDMI.

HDMI
(Digital)
DVI-I
(Digital & Analog)
DVI-D
(Digital)
M1-DA
(Digital & Analog)
VGA
(Analog)
Component
(Analog)
S-Video
(Analog)
Composite
(Analog)
HDMI (Digital)
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
HDMI Cable
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Adapter or Cable
*Device must be HDCP compliant
Direct
(HD-Excellent) Adapter or Cable
*Device must be HDCP compliant
Direct
(HD-Excellent) Adapter or Cable
*Device must be HDCP compliant
N/A N/A N/A N/A
DVI-I
(Digital & Analog)
Direct
(HD-Excellent) Adapter or Cable
*Device must be HDCP compliant
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
DVI Cable
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
DVI-D Cable
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Adapter or Cable
Direct
(HD-Very Good)
Adapter or Cable
N/A (HD-Good) (HD-Good)
DVI-D
(Digital)
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Adapter or Cable
*Device must be HDCP compliant
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
DVI-D Cable
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
DVI-D Cable
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Adapter or Cable
N/A N/A (HD-Good) (HD-Good)
VGA
(Analog)
(HD-Good) Direct
(HD-Very Good)
Adapter or Cable
(HD-Good) Direct
(HD-Very Good)
Adapter or Cable
Direct
(HD-Very Good)
VGA Cable
N/A (SD-Poor) (SD-Poor)
Component(Analog)
(HD-Good) Some Projectors
(HD-Very Good)
3RCA/DVI Cable
HDMI/DVI Cable (HD-Good) Some Projectors (HD-Very Good) )
3RCA/M1 Cable
Some Projectors (HD-Very Good)
3RCA/VGA Cable
Direct
(HD-Very Good)
Component Cable
N/A TBD
S-Video
TBD (SD-Poor) N/A (SD-Poor) (SD-Poor) N/A Direct
(SD-Fair)
S-Video Cable
Direct
(SD-Fair)
S-Video /Composite Adapter or Cable
Composite (Analog)
TBD (SD-Poor) N/A (SD-Poor) (SD-Poor) N/A Direct
(SD-Fair)
S-Video /Composite Adapter or Cable
Direct
(SD-Fair)
Composite Cable
USB (Digital)
(HD-Very Good) (HD-Very Good) (HD-Very Good) (HD-Very Good) (HD-Very Good) N/A N/A N/A
DisplayPort (Digital)
(HD-Excellent) (HD-Excellent) (HD-Excellent) (HD-Excellent) (HD-Very Good) N/A (SD-Poor) (SD-Poor)
Mini-DisplayPort (Digital)
Mini-DisplayPort
to HDMI
(HD-Excellent)
(HD-Excellent) (HD-Excellent) (HD-Excellent) (HD-Excellent) N/A (SD-Poor) (SD-Poor)
Mini-DVI (Digital)
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Direct
(HD-Excellent)
Direct
(HD-Very Good)
N/A (SD-Poor) (SD-Poor)

Video Connector Types

 HDMI
stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is currently the de-facto standard for connecting high definition consumer electronics devices. HDMI is a purely digital signal and while it is compatible with the digital format of DVI, it is not compatible with DVI-A or any other legacy analog format without an active converter. HDMI currently supports digital HD video up to 1080p and high resolutions multi-channel digital audio on one single cable.

 DVI
stands for Digital Video Interface and it is a video-only format developed by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG) as video interface for computer displays though it was adopted for a short time by some consumer electronics manufactures and can still be seen on older model HDTV's, cable boxes and other devices. It is replacing VGA as the default standard for computer video connections.
DVI connectors come in several varieties and despite its name can in certain configurations also support analog video as well as digital. However, the digital and analog portions of the signal are not interchangeable and you can not use a DVI connection to bridge between a digital and an analog signal.

 VGA
stands for Video Graphics Array. VGA has become a generic term referring to any analog computer video signals of any resolution that use the HD15 connector, but it was originally a video format introduced by IBM. It gave a resolution specification of 640x480 at first and was later followed by SVGA (the "S" stands for super) which is 800x600 and then other formats like XGA, UGA et al. became the standard with higher resolutions. The actual signal itself is in an RGBHV format which separate out the various components of a video signal to reduce crosstalk and provide sharper images of higher resolutions. VGA connections are capable of High Definition, but not all VGA equipment will conform specifically to the resolutions defined by the consumer electronics industry for "HD."

 Component Video Connections
use 3 connectors for 1 video signal. The connection is usually made with 3 bundled coax cables with RCA connectors that are color coded Red, Blue and Green. This type of connection is sometimes mistakenly called RGB, but in fact, it is actually a Y, Pr, Pb and sometimes Y, Cr, Cb, where they Y= Green and carries the horizontal and vertical sync information, Pr = Red and Pb = Blue.
Component cables are capable of supporting high definition signals up to 1080p, but are often intentionally limited to 480p by equipment manufactures in order to show favor to HDMI which allows for digital encryption and copy protection.

 S-Video
stands for Separate video. S-Video is a video-only signal that carries the Chromo (color) and Luma (brightness) signals on separate conduits to minimize crosstalk between the signals. Though S-video is slightly sharper than composite, it is still only a standard definition signal (480i).

 Composite Video
is a standard definition (480i) connection that carries a video signal and usually uses an RCA connector on a 75ohm coaxial cable. The connectors are usually color-coded yellow and the cable is often bundled with stereo audio cables with red and white color coded connectors. Composite Video is a little better than RF signals, but is considered the lowest grade of video signal for connecting devices together.

 USB
stands for Universal Serial Bus. USB is a serial data connection used to connect computers to peripheral devices such as printers, keyboards, cameras and many other items. Because of its high transfer speeds, it is able to transmit graphics signals using the appropriate USB graphic converter device.

 DisplayPort
is a new digital video and audio connection standard designed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). It is a royalty-free technology designed primarily for the computer industry but also compatible for home theater application.

 Mini-DisplayPort
is a version of DisplayPort with a more compact connector developed by Apple Computers. It is commonly found on Apple Mac Products such as the MacBook, Mac Mini and Apple Cinema Display.

 Mini-DVI
is a compact version of DVI developed by Apple Computers. It precedes Mini-DisplayPort which is found on the newest products by Apple.

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