Guide to the Commonly Used Monitor Display Ports

In order to maximize the quality of the image you see on your monitor; you’ll want to make the right choice when it comes to your connections. Below, we will dive into the difference between the common kinds of display connections: VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI and USB Type-C.

So what’s the difference between VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort and USB Type-C?

The basic differences between them stem from their age in the technology world. First, we’ll dive into VGA, to explore how this technology made its mark and the reasons why it’s being replaced by other modern day display ports.

VGA (Video Graphics Array) – is an old-school technology. In fact, it’s one of the oldest connection standards found on the market today. It was first created by IBM and introduced to the world in 1987. It was commonly used for older video cards, computer monitors, TV sets, and laptops. These days, it’s considerably more difficult to find VGA ports, cables, and connectors since they are being replaced by new display connection technology.

DVI (Digital Visual Interface) – offers a distinctly sharper, better picture than VGA. DVI is a considerably a newer connection type that transfers digital signals while VGA is older and transfers analog signals to the device, that means you get better video quality on DVI. However, just like VGA, DVI is starting to show its age, as the modern standard HDMI, DisplayPort and USB Type-C are becoming the norm. Why? Because DVI and VGA can only transmit video while the newer generation ports can transfer both video and sound. DVI however, is still one of the most common video ports you’ll see on desktops and LCD monitors sold today.

HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface. – Is a newer generation port that came after DVI. These ports can transfer video and audio to a device, that means you don’t need separate cables to do that. There are different sized HDMI ports, including mini-HDMI and micro-HDMI. However, the majority used in the market today is the standard size and despite their different sizes, they serve the same function. HDMI has become the default home theater connection standard because it transfers both sound and video unlike DVI and VGA which can only transmit video to a device. You can find HDMI ports on modern TVs, laptops and various devices today.

DisplayPort – It looks similar to HDMI but its a connector more commonly found on PCs than TVs. There is the standard DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort. So what’s the difference between the two? The Mini DisplayPort is commonly used when you have a graphics card on your computer. Now you may ask which one should I pick? The answer to that is what device you own. Both these cables do have their place, in general, HDMI connectors are found more commonly on living room devices, while DisplayPort is more commonly found on desktop PCs and laptops, so it really depends on what device you have.

USB Type-C/ Thunderbolt – is a sort of a jack of all trades because of its accessibility. Unlike other connectors, USB Type-C can be plugged in regardless of position. It can also connect devices across platforms, meaning smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.

They can transmit both video and audio but also data and power, which is why you will often see it used not just on TVs and PCs, but on phones and different devices as well. Is it better than HDMI and DisplayPort? For the convenience, yes, as it’s more compatible on a wider range of devices, especially newer devices, but HDMI and DisplayPort are still the best choice for display and sound quality on modern day devices since they can process higher video and sound quality than USB Type-C.