DVI vs HDMI Full Comparison

When shopping for video cables to connect to your television or computer monitor, you will run across two popular options: DVI and HDMI. The primary difference between these connections is that DVI can only transmit video, while HDMI can transmit audio and video. This article will help you to decide which cable is best for your gaming, computer, or home entertainment system.

dvi vs hdmi

DVI vs HMDI Side by Side Comparison

DVIHDMI
Primary useTransmit video to a television or monitor.Transmit video and audio to televisions, monitors, and audio equipment
CompatibilityOlder monitors, most graphic cardMost graphic cards, all newer monitors and televisions produced after 2002
Max data rate9.9 Gbit/sec42.6 Gbit/sec
Max supported resolutions3840X2400 at 30 Hz8k at 120Hz
Initially launched19992002
Max refresh rate144hz4k at 144Hz or 8k at 120Hz
Designed byDigital Display Working GroupHitachi, Panasonic, Philips, Silicon Image, Thomson, and Toshiba
Designed to replaceVGA ConnectorDVI

DVI vs HDMI: 11 Must Know Facts

  • HDMI and DVI cables are capable of handling most computing and gaming needs.
  • A typical DVI or HDMI cable that measures 6 feet or less usually has a price tag of under $10.
  • HDMI is ideal for high-end audio and video requirements.
  • DVI can only transmit video.
  • You can purchase HDMI to DVI adapters to connect an HDMI device to a DVI device. You will lose the audio signal when you convert to DVI.
  • You can purchase a DVI to HDMI adapter to transmit video signals from a DVI device to an HDMI device. Some newer DVI graphic cards will support audio as well with these adapters.
  • DVI was produced in 1999 and now has seven different variations that are not interchangeable.
  • HDMI was conceived in 2002 and has one standard footprint that has universal compatibility for any device with an HDMI port.
  • HDMI has a higher resolution and refresh rate than DVI for superior video quality.
  • HDMI is supported by more devices.
  • HDMI supports up to 32 audio channels to include DTS HD and Dolby HD.

Summary of DVI and HDMI

DVI

DVI was created in 1999 by Digital Display Working Group. DVI can only transmit video and was designed to replace VGA connectors. DVI connections are typically found on older monitors. Adapters can be purchased to convert DVI to HDMI. The price of a quality DVI cable that measures 6 feet or less is usually under $10.

DVI cable
Male dvi connector with golden pins extreme closeup

DVI connectors have a much larger footprint than HDMI connectors. They have square connectors with two screws for security. The front side of the connector usually consists of 24 primary pins in a three-row matrix. To the right of these pins is four additional pins. There are seven different types of DVI ports. These ports include DVI-A, DVI-D, and a variety of DVI-I. The ports are not interchangeable. Some older computers did have mini and micro DVI connectors. These are no longer produced. Below are some of the key DVI specifications:

  • Max data rate of 9.9 Gbit/sec.
  • Resolutions of up to 3840×2400 at 30Hz or 2560×1600 at 60Hz.
  • Supported resolutions exceed most users needs.
  • Can support refresh rates of up to 144Hz at much lower resolutions than HDMI.

HDMI

HDMI cables were created in 2002 by Hitachi, Panasonic, Philips, Silicon Image, Thomson, and Toshiba. They were designed to transmit high-quality audio and video. HDMI was intended to replace DVI and older video and audio cables. HDMI is ideal for gaming and other high-end computing needs. The price of a quality HDMI cable that measures 6 feet or less is usually under $10.

HDMI cable
HDMI cable isolated on white background.

HDMI has a much smaller footprint and looks very different than DVI connectors. HDMI connectors have a slim rectangular design with 19 pins in the front. They do not use screws for security. HDMI is the common standard for computing, gaming, and television needs. While HDMI is still very common, DisplayPort connections are gaining popularity. Mico and mini HDMI ports are also available on a wide range of compact devices such as tablets and smartphones. HDMI is supported by significantly more devices than DVI. Adapters are available to convert HDMI to DVI. These adapters typically only transmit video signals. Below are some key HDMI specifications:

  • Max data rate of 42.6 Gbit/sec.
  • Supports resolutions of up to 4k at 144 Hz or 8k at 120 Hz.
  • Supports HDR video output.
  • Supports 32 audio channels to include DTS HD and Dolby True HD.

DVI vs HDMI Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is DVI Better Than HDMI?

Overall, HDMI comes out on top in every category when compared to DVI. HDMI is a modern connection that is widely available. It also has higher refresh rates, transfer rates, and supports higher resolutions. HDMI also supports a wide variety of audio signals to include DTS HD and Dolby HD. You get all of this for basically the same price or less than DVI. If you have an older system that can support your needs with DVI, then there is no need to upgrade to HDMI. There is also no need to upgrade to DisplayPort if HDMI fits your needs.

Is DVI or HDMI Better for Gaming?

HDMI is better for gaming because it supports higher resolutions, transfer rates, and refresh rates. It also can support HDR video output.

Does HDMI or DVI have a Better Picture?

DVI and HDMI have basically an identical picture quality at the same supported resolutions. The difference is that HDMI can support higher resolutions at a better quality.

Is There a Difference in Quality Between DVI and HDMI?

HDMI is a higher quality connection because it can support audio and higher resolutions. It also has higher transfer and refresh rates. HDMI can also support HDR video output which is ideal for gaming. Modern DisplayPort type connections rival HDMI.

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