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Video Compatibility Matrix

Introduction

Selecting the proper video cables and/or adapters to interconnect devices can be confusing, especially now that we find two traditionally separate industries (Computer and Home Entertainment) merging with their respective set of standardized video connectors. Many of these different types of connectors are easily compatible with each other, while others are not. The Compatibility Matrix Chart (below) outlines the most popular types of connectors found on modern Home Entertainment and Computer equipment and allows you to look up what other types of connectors are compatible with one another, or which Monoprice converter can be used to bridge that connection. The Chart also discloses whether the resulting connection is capable of HD and what the relative image quality may be expected.

"Direct" connections mean that the two connectors are natively compatible with each other without the need for signal conversion. This means that the signal quality is the same as if you were connecting two of the same type of connectors. For instance, HDMI and DVI-D share the same type of digital video signal format. They are essentially the same signal (video-wise) but with different physical connectors. Converting from HDMI to DVI generally yields the same video quality as going from HDMI to HDMI. With directly compatible connector types, all you'll need is 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. For instance, if you wanted to connect a VGA source device (analog) to a display with an HDMI input (digital), you would use PID# 4629, the Monoprice 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 PID# 4724(HD-Good) PID# 4724(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 PID# 4724(HD-Good) PID# 4724(HD-Good)
VGA
(Analog)
PID# 4629(HD-Good) Direct(HD-Very Good)Adapter or Cable PID# 3595(HD-Good) Direct(HD-Very Good)Adapter or Cable Direct(HD-Very Good)VGA Cable N/A PID# 4724(SD-Poor) PID# 4724(SD-Poor)
Component(Analog)
PID# 4631 (HD-Good) Some Projectors (HD-Very Good) 3RCA/DVI Cable PID# 4631 & HDMI/DVI Cable (HD-Good) Some Projectors (HD-Very Good) 3RCA/M1 Cable PID# 7113 or Some Projectors (HD-Very Good) 3RCA/VGA Cable Direct (HD-Very Good) Component Cable N/A PID# 7114
S-Video
PID# 7111 PID# 4722 (SD-Poor) N/A PID# 4722 (SD-Poor) PID# 4722 (SD-Poor) N/A Direct (SD-Fair) S-Video Cable Direct (SD-Fair) S-Video /Composite Adapter or Cable
Composite (Analog)
PID# 7111 PID# 4722 (SD-Poor) N/A PID# 4722 (SD-Poor) PID# 4722 (SD-Poor) N/A Direct (SD-Fair) S-Video /Composite Adapter or Cable Direct (SD-Fair) Composite Cable
USB (Digital)
PID# 6039 (HD-Very Good) PID# 6039 (HD-Very Good) PID# 6039 (HD-Very Good) PID# 6039 (HD-Very Good) PID# 5324 (HD-Very Good) N/A N/A N/A
DisplayPort (Digital)
PID# 4826 (HD-Excellent) PID# 4827 (HD-Excellent) PID# 4827 (HD-Excellent) PID# 4827 (HD-Excellent) PID# 5135 (HD-Very Good) N/A PID# 5135 & 4724 (SD-Poor) PID# 5135 & 4724 (SD-Poor)
Mini-DisplayPort (Digital)
Mini-DisplayPort to HDMI(HD-Excellent) PID# 5106 (HD-Excellent) PID# 5106 (HD-Excellent) PID# 5106 (HD-Excellent) PID# 5107 (HD-Excellent) N/A PID# 5107 & 4724 (SD-Poor) PID# 5107 & 4724 (SD-Poor)
Mini-DVI (Digital)
Direct PID# 4852(HD-Excellent) Direct PID# 4851(HD-Excellent) Direct PID# 4851(HD-Excellent) Direct PID# 4851(HD-Excellent) Direct PID# 4850(HD-Very Good) N/A PID# 4850 & 4724 (SD-Poor) PID# 4850 & 4724 (SD-Poor)
Connector Types
HDMI

stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is currently the de facto interconnect standard for 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. 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 slowly 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. It is a video format introduced by IBM. It originally gave a resolution specification of 640x480. It was later followed by SVGA (the "S" stands for super) which is 800x600. Then other formats like XGA, UGA et al. became standard with higher resolutions. Today VGA has become a generic term referring to any analog computer video signals of any resolution that use the HD15 connector. 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, is a video only signal that carries the Chromo (color) and Luma (brightness) signals on separate conduits in order to minimize signal crosstalk and provide a sharper picture. Though S-video is slightly sharper than composite, it is still only a standard definition signal (480i).

Composite Video

connections carry a video signal and usually use 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 signals are only capable of standard definition (480i). Though they are a little better than RF signals, Composite is considered the lowest grade of video signal for connecting devices together.

USB

stands for Universal Serial Bus. It 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.

Video Compatibility FAQ's
Why do I need a converter for some types of connections while I can just get by with adapters for others?
Connections that can be made with adapters are signals that tend to be basically the same but just use different types of connectors. For instance, HDMI and DVI share the same type of digital video signal so one can be adapted to the other easily. However, HDMI and VGA use completely different formats. One is a digital binary signal whereas the other is an analog sin wave signal. A device that can real one signal and actively convert it into the other format is needed in this situation.

Can I go from HDMI to VGA (or visa versa) by combining an HDMI/DVI adapter with a DVI/VGA adapter?

No. While DVI-I connectors have pins that support digital and pins that support analog, these pins are not connected to each other because of the reason explained in the preceding FAQ.

Are all DVI connectors the same?

Answer: No, there are several different types of connectors for DVI. While they are similar, different connectors will have different number of pins.

What are the different types of DVI Connectors?

There are several variations of DVI as well as derivative connectors based on DVI that have been used by different manufactures. However, the most commonly found versions found today are as follows. DVI-I carries both analog and digital signals. DVI-I can be single link or dual link. DVI-D carries digital signals only. DVI-D can also be single link or dual link. DVI-A that carries only analog signals. It does not have a dual link option. M1 P&D that carries analog and digital signals as well as USB serial information.

Why don't you carry a DVI-D dual link to HDMI adapter or cable?

While both DVI and HDMI are each able to handle extended bandwidths, they do it in different ways. DVI uses a dual pipe connection where as HDMI simply increases bandwidth on the existing lines. So while they are compatible with each other in single link, HDMI does not connect with DVI on the dual link pins. You can still connect a dual link DVI device to HDMI. The devices will configure themselves appropriately, but be limited to single link speeds which still support 1080p.

If I connect HDMI to DVI, will I still get audio?

No. You'll need a separate audio connection.

What is HDCP?

HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. It is a digital rights management technology used by content providers such as movie studios to protect their media property from being illegally distributed.

What is the difference between Mini-DVI, Mini-VGA, Mini-HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort?

Each connector is a miniaturized version of their standard sized counterpart. Each has a unique connector and one will not fit in the place of another. You must use the correct connector for the type that exists on your device.

What's the difference between DisplayPort and HDMI?

DisplayPort was primarily designed as a replacement for VGA, DVI and LVDS which are common interfaces used in the computer/IT industries, while HDMI was developed by the Consumer Electronics Industry specifically for Home Theater applications. Toward this end, DisplayPort has certain enhanced features such as direct drive monitor design and single cable multi-function monitor connectivity. Some advantages of HDMI are the ability to support xvYCC color, Dolby TrueHD and CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) signals. Though both share powerful A/V features, DisplayPort was designed to complement HDMI, not to replace it.