Monitor Plug Types: The Best Guide to 5 Different Types In 2022!

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Over the years, computer monitor plug types and functions have become more diverse. Therefore, it’s important to choose the right monitor plug types for your needs.

So, how many monitor plug types are there? What are they and what are their features?

What is a monitor plug?

Monitor port is the port that connects the monitor to the computer. Its main purpose is to display the output of a device such as a computer.

The computer monitor plug is for plugging into these monitor ports.

What are the different types of monitor? The following are the five most prominent monitor port types.

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Monitor plug type
  • VGA: The old-fashioned legacy video connector. Only used when nothing else is available
  • DVI: Video signal only. Great for older systems or 144Hz 1080p
  • HDMI: Audio and video signals. Best for TV to PC connections
  • DisplayPort (DP): the Best connector for audio and video signals. Can transmit 144Hz to 4K
  • USB Type-C: The latest connector for audio, video, data and power. The best monitor plug for laptops and mobile devices.

VGA: the long-obsolete monitor adapter

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vga port

The VGA stands for Video Graphics Array and is an older style connector port.

IBM introduced the VGA port in 1987, but it is now obsolete. Only some very old monitors use it, such as CRT monitors.

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CRT monitor

The VGA standard includes the graphics card, the monitor, and the connection between them. So, VGA was well suited to the display needs of personal computers at that time. And it is constantly being updated and improved.

However, the VGA connector consisted of 15 pins in three rows, with five pins per row. This meant that it could only send analog signals and only supported 1080p 60HZ.

As a result, the signal is lost when converting from analog to digital, resulting in degraded image quality. the VGA connector is also awkward to use and must be turned by hand.

As a result, the VGA interface has become obsolete as digital devices have become highly developed.

Disadvantages

1. low quality of picture transmission.

2. Cannot transmit sound signal.

DVI Port: phasing out the history of the monitor plug

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DVI port

At the Intel Developer Forum in September 1998, the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG) introduced the DVI port.

It is a monitor port that can transmit digital signals , supporting up to 2K 60Hz and 1080p 120Hz.

The DVI port is used for HDTVs and other video displays, and also supports computer monitor with dvi port and projectors.

DVI port classification.

DVI port was created to replace VGA, so it is close to VGA in some of the technical standards and still requires hand-screwing as well. But it supports both analog and digital signals.

So DVI will come in many different port forms, with DVI-A, DVI-D and DVI-I on the port.

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DVI Port
  • DVI-A (DVI-Analog) port transmits only analog signals and is the same as the VGA port. Usually used to transfer the DVI-I output from a graphics card to a VGA monitor port. the maximum resolution of DVI-A is 1920 x 1080. it is almost obsolete and is no longer used on newer devices.
  • DVI-D (DVI-Digital) ports are purely digital ports and are not compatible with analog signals.
  • DVI-I (DVI-Integrated) ports, which work with both DVI-I and DVI-D connectors, and are also able to work with both digital and analog signals. They have different port shapes and cannot plug in and be used if the ports do not match.

Not only that, but DVI-D and DVI-I are also available in single-link and dual-link versions.

The difference between single-link and dual-link refers to how much bandwidth the cable can carry.

A single-link DVI-D or DVI-I cable can carry 3.96 Gbit/s and a maximum resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. Dual-link, on the other hand, physically has additional pins on the connector, allowing a maximum bandwidth of 7.92 Gbit/s and 2,560 x 1,600 resolution.

In short, the dual channel has higher resolution and refresh rate, and higher bandwidth than the single channel.

DVI port specific uses

DVI does not transmit audio, but it has specific uses.

The DVI port gives you a higher frame rate than the HDMI cable on a 1080p monitor. Because the DVI port transmits the digital signal directly, which increases the transmission speed.

Compared to HDMI, this also provides a sharper picture and increases image clarity and detail. Higher frame rates are a boon to gamers, especially those with graphics cards that run at 60+ frames per second (fps).

Keep in mind that DVI cables are not suitable for transferring 4K video. If you want your monitor to reach 4K, it’s best to use an HDMI high-speed cable or DisplayPort.

Disadvantages of DVI ports.

1. Too many sub-standards and poor inter-compatibility.

2. The DVI standard only takes into account the needs of personal computers and can only send video signals and does not support audio. In short, DVI ports do not meet the needs of the movie/TV industry and home audio/video.

3. The port is too big.

HDMI port: the most common monitor plug

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HDMI port

The HDMI is one of the most common video connections and you can find it almost anywhere.You’ ve probably seen it on TVs, set-top boxes, tablets, laptops, and game consoles.

In 2002, as the DVI standard could no longer meet the needs of home audio and video.

So Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Philips and other home appliance giants found the technology company Silicon Image.

The goal is to develop a DVI-based standard that is more suitable for home audio and video. This standard is HDMI.

HDMI port functions

HDMI is not only compatible with DVI standard, but also able to achieve simultaneous audio and video transmission. On this basis, HDMI solves various disadvantages of DVI port.

  • The ports are physically much smaller than DVI, making them more suitable for the aesthetic needs of the home environment. And there are various sizes to suit different needs. Cable lengths of up to 25-30 meters are available.
  • The design fully allows for the development of future bandwidth enhancements.
  • Completely removes support for analog signals.
  • Added support for YUV type color spaces (YCbCr 4:4:4 and YCbCr 4:2:2) commonly used for movie and TV content.
  • 3D images
  • Added support for high-fidelity HD audio signals, including Dolby and DTS
  • Added CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) function. With just one remote control, you can control all appliances which connect through hdmi and support CEC.
  • Added ARC (Audio Return Channel). the function of ARC is to transmit sound signal. With this feature, the TV can send audio signals back to the amplifier via ARC. This saves a separate digital output cable.
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ARC

HDMI port version

Since its introduction in 2002, HDMI has undergone numerous revisions. On modern displays, you will find any combination of the following ports.

  • HDMI 1.4: Supports up to 4K (4,096 x 2,160) at 24Hz, 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at 30Hz or 1080p at 120Hz.
  • HDMI 2.0: Up to 4K support at 60Hz, higher versions (HDMI 2.0a and 2.0b) include support for HDR.

HDR can be described as the ratio between the brightest and darkest parts of an image. Typically, with standard dynamic range, you lose detail at both ends of the spectrum. Expose scenes for shadow detail and you end up with highlight spillover or loss of shadow detail for highlight exposure. HDR allows for a greater range of detail across the entire spectrum.

  • HDMI 2.1: supports resolutions up to 10K at 120Hz, as well as improved HDR via dynamic metadata and enhanced audio return channel (eARC), allowing Dolby Atmos and DTS:X audio to be sent from the display to the receiver. It also includes variable refresh rates (VNR) such as FreeSync in the standard, although there are many HDMI 2.0 displays that also support this feature.

Note: The HDMI 1.4 version of the device is slightly behind, the current mainstream version is HDM2.0, the latest version is HDM2.1.

In addition to some high-end TVs have hdmi2.1 port, the monitor supports HDMI2.1 port is still very little.

HDMI cable standards

If you want to take full advantage of these specifications, you will also need an HDMI cable that provides the correct bandwidth. Because there are 4 variants of HDMI cables available at the same time, please check the description and reviews of any cable you plan to purchase at:

(1) High Speed → HDMI 1.4, suitable for 4K/30Hz monitors.

(2) Premium High Speed → HDMI 2.0, but if the cable is too long, it cannot reach version 2.0, or cannot support HDR function better.

(3) Ultra High Speed → HDMI 2.1. Compared to HDMI 2.0’s transmission bandwidth of 18Gbps, HDMI 2.1’s has been upgraded to 48Gbps, and the increase in bandwidth directly brings about an increase in the amount of data transmitted. VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), Dynamic HD

(4) With Ethernet → support network transmission. This can be seen on the HDMI cable is not much, suitable for special areas, support network transmission, and generally also support audio return.

Classification of HDMI physical ports

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Classification of HDMI physical ports

There are several types of HDMI in terms of physical ports. There are mainly standard HDMI ports, mini HDMI ports and Micro HDMI ports. For long distance transmission HDMI cables, the wires are usually stiffer so that try to use devices with standard HDMI ports to get a solid connection. mini HDMI ports and Micro HDMI ports are more suitable for smaller devices. The smaller the port size the less robust it is.

DisplayPort: monitor plug with the strongest specifications

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DisplayPort Port

Since HDMI was developed by TV manufacturers without consideration for computers, it does not support monitor color depth and high-brush sync technology very well.

Most importantly, HDMI technology is under copyright protection. So AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Apple, Lenovo, HP, Dell and other computer companies jointly developed a DP interface in 2006, which is more suitable for computers, to counter the HDMI interface introduced by TV manufacturers. And the DP interface is completely free and is the first choice for connecting a monitor to a computer.

Advantages of the DP port.

It is worth noting that among the contemporaneous specifications, DP port is stronger than HDMI in all parameters. And DisplayPort port can connect to DVI, VGA and HDMI ports using adapters as well.

The DP supports audio and USB signals. The port is reversible in direction and very efficient, allowing it to carry large amounts of power (up to 100 watts) over a single cable.

But its most prominent advantage is the ability to daisy chain, i.e., one signal output with N monitors displaying simultaneously. This increases productivity. But gamers should also beware, because this connection shares the bandwidth between screens.

Daisy chain is the most basic topology. In general, when you need to expand many screens, you often have to output from multiple ports of the graphics card to other monitors. This is not only inconvenient to connect, but also may not meet the consistency of different ports and resolutions. And daisy chaining allows you to connect directly from one monitor to another, which reduces a lot of trouble.

Besides, DisplayPort has some other useful features.

DP ports support AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync. So no matter what graphics card you’re using, you’ll have a great gaming experience – as long as your monitor supports the technology. 

Many DisplayPort cables also come with a locking mechanism that allows you to lock the cable into your display device.

DisplayPort port version introduction

On modern monitors, you may find any of the following:

(1)DisplayPort 1.2: up to 4K support at 60Hz, some 1.2a ports may also support AMD’s FreeSync

(2)DisplayPort 1.3: Supports up to 4K 120Hz or 8K 30Hz

(3)DisplayPort 1.4: Supports up to 8K at 60Hz and HDR

(4)DisplayPort 2.0: supports 16K at 60Hz and 10K at 80Hz without HDR, but none of the displays use this port yet.

Classification of DP physical ports

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Classification of DP physical ports

DisplayPort ports come in 2 shapes, one regular and the other MiniDP, which was introduced by Apple in 2008. mini DisplayPort is widely used in modern tablets, graphics cards and Apple computers.

Both are identical in performance and transmission parameters, except for cosmetic differences.

Although DP ports are royalty-free and can also transmit high-quality audio and video signals. But, DisplayPort is still unable to surpass HDMI in the home video and audio field.

This is because HDMI’s creators and supporters are mainly in the home movie industry. And home audio and video is mainly audio-visual, without a lot of data needs.

And from the current point of view, HDMI is not inferior to DP in this regard. not to mention that HDMI has the advantage of more suitable for the details of home appliances such as ARC. Since this is the case, the power to accept the new standard is not much.

USB Type-C: The future of mainstream monitor plug

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USB Type-C

In 2014, the Type-C port standard was officially born.

Then Apple strongly supported it. At the launch of the Macbook laptop in 2015, Apple eliminated the power port, USB port, DP port, HDMI port and VGA port. Only one Type-c port to achieve all the above functions.

Thus, the Type-C port completely emerged.

USB

When it comes to USB Type-C, we have to mention USB.

In the past, USB ports were used to transfer data. So we can often see this port on storage devices such as mobile hard drives.

Now that USB 3.1 Gen2 has reached 10Gbps, it has also been possible to transfer video and data at the same time. So on some displays, you will also be able to find USB 3.1 ports.

Now the USB 3.1 port, has been able to meet the 4K 30P resolution display, roughly equal to the level of HDMI 1.4. But, later upgrades can become the most versatile display transmission method.

It should be noted that USB 3.1 Gen1 is USB 3.0, while USB 3.1 Gen2 is true USB 3.1.

USB 3.1 is the transmission protocol and there are several USB port shapes. In the case of USB 3.1 ports, there are Type-A, Type-B, and Type-C.

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USB Port

Type-C is the smallest shape and the most public shape. What we call Type-C port is only the standard of appearance of the interface, it is not equal to USB 3.1.

Because the Type-C interface, may be a USB transfer interface, may be a charging interface, may be a signal transmission interface, may be a thunderbolt interface.

That is to say, not all USB Type-c interface can transfer video. Many monitors do not have a USB Type-c interface, so you need to use a conversion cable like USB Type-c to DP.

So many port protocols are present with Type-C ports, the core claim is to solve the confusion of wire ports.

Functions of the USB Type-C port.

The USB Type-C port is very compact but extremely powerful, with a range of highly advanced features.

1. It is about 1/3 the size of the USB-A port and more suitable for a variety of slim device products.

2. The Type-C connector end is the same on the front and back, so users can plug in freely with confidence.

3. Support fast charging and bi-directional charging. Type-C port supports USB PD protocol (Power Delivery Protocol) with a maximum output power of 100W, which greatly improves the charging speed. And it can also reverse charge external devices.

4. Notebook users can finish charging and connect to the monitor through the Type-C port. You can also use the extended USB port from the monitor to greatly reduce the burden on the notebook.

The so-called USB extension means that, for example, the laptop only has a Type-C port is used to connect to the monitor. And we need to plug in a mouse, keyboard, and other devices with USB ports. We can plug the mouse into the USB port of the monitor and use the mouse to control the laptop.

5. Type-C port is extremely rich in functional scalability. A type-c port can achieve charging, data transmission, video transmission and other types of functions. In other words, with only one Type-C port cable, it solves the different port cables such as HDMI, DVI, VGA, etc.

In short, Type-C not only has advanced features, but also has smaller size, higher compatibility and performance. That’s why it is used in various electronic products. Such as computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. And it has become the mainstream unified port recognized by the public.

In the future, Type-c may also achieve a great unification of interface standards.

Which monitor adaptor types are best for your monitor?

The best connection for your monitor depends on the specifications of your device and the resolution of your monitor.

If you want a 1080p cable connection, DVI and VGA will be fine.

The HDMI port is designed by TV manufacturers for a wide range of applications and is best suited for video and audio signals. Use it for PC and TV connections.

DP ports are designed by computer companies to be better suited for computers in every sense of the word. So if you are looking for a high refresh rate for your computer, games, DisplayPort is the way to go.

If you plan to upgrade to a 2k high-brush or 4k display, you need at least HDMI 2.0 and DP 1.2 specifications. And the computer, cable, and monitor must all be up to that spec to make it work.

If the computer port and monitor port are not unified, you can use some conversion cables. Such as USB-C to DP, display port to hdmi, DVI to VGA, HDMI to DVI. But, the important thing to note is the direction of output and input.

FAQ

What are the different types of monitor connections available?

The most common monitor ports and cable types are HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB-C, which can be found on most modern monitors. However, if you need to connect older devices, you can also use legacy ports such as VGA and DVI.

What monitor ports are most common?

The most common display ports now are HDMI, DisplayPort and USB Type-C ports

DVI good or VGA good?

DVI can provide a significantly clearer and higher quality image than VGA, and is able to transmit both digital and analog signals. In addition, DVI can be easily converted to other standards, such as HDMI and VGA, and is far superior to VGA in every way.

What monitor able do I need to connect my computer to my monitor?

It depends on what ports you have on your computer and monitor. If both your monitor and computer have HDMI ports, use an HDMI cable to connect the two. If your monitor and computer do not have the same port, you can use a converter to make the connection.

Is DisplayPort or HDMI better?

From a computer monitor perspective, yes. DisplayPort cables have a higher data rate than HDMI cables. With the higher bandwidth, the cable can transmit more signals at the same time. If you plan to connect multiple monitors to your computer, DP also has a daisy chain feature that can greatly reduce your workload.

How do I use HDMI on my TV?

Find the HDMI port on your TV.

Purchase a cable that fits the ports of both devices.

Connect the cable from one device’s HDMI port to the other device.

Use the “Source” or “Input” button on the TV to switch to that port.

Configure video and audio on the device, if required.

Which monitor port is best?

All we can say is that they each have their own merits. You can’t simply say who is the best, you can only say which monitor adapter for laptop and which monitor adapter for computer is the best.

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