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HDMI and DVI: What is the Difference?

Whether you just got a new TV or just want to connect some new components up to your TV, if your TV has HDMI connections to attach a HTPC, DVD player or Blu-Ray player, you’ll want to use the correct type of cable to connect.

If you don’t have the right cable then you can’t utilise the high def abilities of your TV or your dvd player (or other high definition connected component). You should also look at the inputs and outputs of your TV and DVD player to make sure you can everything can accommodate HDMI cables.

Whenever you setup a TV or home theatre system, you will need the correct cables in order to have everything work correctly and to its full potential (and you want to use it to its full potential to get the best quality picture). But as there are so many different types of cables, most people get confused with all the different options and end up wasting their money by buying the wrong type. Also as most sales people make a lot of commision from selling cables, it is very difficult to get the right information for the type of cable you need out of them, rather most of them want to sell you the one that makes them the most money.

There are two main types of cables which are: HDMI and DVI. There are quite a few technical differences between these, and you hould know which one you need before you go to the store. These cables can be quite expensive, and you want to know what to get bfore you go into the store so you don’t spend on cables you don’t need.

1. DVI Cables – DVI means Digital Visual Interface, and this type of cable started to be used in the 1990s. DVI cables can transmit uncompressed picture to a display (i,e. your TV). There are a few types of DVI cable system such as DVI-D, DVI-A and DVI-I. The A in DVI-A means it can only transmit analog picture, while the D in the DVI-D means it can only transmit digital picture.

These days not many things use analogue picture, so I would suggest getting a digital cable (especially if you have a HTPC as anything built in the last few years will transmit digital picture). If you need one that does analogue as well (for example you have an old VHS player or something) you can get a DVI-I cable transmits digital and analog picture. DVI is an older technology than HDMI, and if you have a TV, HTPC, and DVD player that can accomodate HDMI than you will be better off with a HDMI cable.

2. HDMI Cables – HDMI means High Definition Multimedia Interface. HDMI cables are a more recent technology than DVI, and started to be used in 2002 (the same time high definition started to come to TV’s). HDMI cables ionly transmit digital uncompressed data. This means that all HDMI cables transmit picture as well as audio to/from the TV.This means less cables and generally better quality than having DVI cables and seperate audio cables. Note that only very recent HTPCs have HDMI outputs, so you might be limited to DVI cables if you use an older HTPC.

I suggest when buying cables you buy something in the middle price range, as cheap tends to be poor quality (especially with DVI cables, HDMI you can get away with cheap), but expensive cables don’t really give a lot of extra benefit (but can cost a LOT of extra money).

When buying cables you are really limited to the type your television and HTPC/DVD player can input or output. If they can accomodate HDMI cables then I really suggest that you go out and buy these instead of DVI, as they are newer and provide better quality.


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