HDMI vs DisplayPort — Which One Should You Use? |
HDMI and DisplayPort are both standards used to connect laptops, PCs, and gaming consoles to monitors and televisions. Both have their pros and cons, and although there’s no clear winner amongst the two, DisplayPort is better when it comes to high-resolution displays, but HDMI leads in terms of compatibility.
Now, you might think — does it really matter what you choose? Why not just hook up the cable that came with the monitor — but that could mean a loss of color quality, refresh rate and more, especially when it comes applications such as gaming.
In this post, we’ll dive into the key features and differences between HDMI vs DisplayPort, so you can make a more informed decision when deciding to choose what’s right for you.
Before we begin, let’s briefly touch on what both standards are:
What is DisplayPort?
DisplayPort is a digital display interface standard developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), and first came out in 2006. The standard was created to replace older analog standards, such as VGA and DVI, and can carry both video and audio signals.
It is commonly used in computers and other devices that require high-definition video and audio output, such as monitors and projectors.
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What is HDMI?
HDMI is a digital interface standard developed by HDMI Licensing, LLC, and first appeared in 2002. The HDMI standard can carry both video and audio signals.
HDMI is commonly used in consumer electronics devices such as TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, home theater systems and more.
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HDMI vs DisplayPort Similarities
Technically speaking, both HDMI and DisplayPort accomplish the same goal — transferring audio/video signals from a source to a display.
- Both standards transmit audio and video signals over a single male cable to the female port located on the display/source
- Both cables are well-built, sturdy and easy to install and connect
- Both support forward/backward compatibility (Example: An Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable is backwards compatible, meaning it can still be used with existing HDMI devices)
HDMI vs DisplayPort Differences
In terms of physical connectors, DisplayPort uses a 20-pin connector, also available in the Mini DisplayPort version, while HDMI uses a 19-pin connector.
DisplayPort cables are designed with a mechanical latch that prevents them from being accidentally pulled or disconnected. Very few HDMI cables come with a latch and most just sport a friction latch.
- HDMI — standard and mini-connectors
- DisplayPort — DisplayPort, Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort, USB 3
Although Mini DisplayPort was a predominant feature on Apple MacBooks for a while, today it is less common with manufacturers who prefer to go with USB-C instead.
Bandwidth and Refresh Rates
Higher refresh rates enable more information to reach your eyes in an equivalent amount of time. This leads to images with smoother motion, especially when it comes to gaming.
DisplayPort can support higher refresh rates than HDMI (at least until HDMI 2.1 becomes more predominant).
Let’s say you’re using a 4K/120 Hz display on HDMI 2.0, this will only allow you to use half the refresh rate, while with DisplayPort 1.3, you’d get to experience the maximum rate.
Once you’re past 4K, that’s where DisplayPort 2.0 has the biggest advantage over HDMI 2.0. The latter can only support a 4K display at 60Hz (maximum bandwidth of 18 Gbps), while DisplayPort 2.0 offers bandwidth speeds (maximum bandwidth of 80 Gbps), to support 8K at 120Hz or even 16K at 60Hz — much greater frame rates and much higher resolution.
This scenario is looking to flip though, with the HDMI 2.1 standard offering 48 Gbps of data bandwidth and supporting 4K at 144 Hz and 8K at 30Hz.
However, since most standard monitors support either HDMI 1.4 or 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 or 1.4, this might not be a feature consumers need soon, but it definitely makes the HDMI vs DisplayPort battle more intriguing — at least for now.
Variable Refresh Rates (VRR)
This comes in handy when you have a display that supports either FreeSync or G-Sync (technologies that control refresh rates to eliminate tearing and stuttering of images).
FreeSync is supported by both HDMI and DisplayPort — good to know when trying to connect your Xbox or AMD graphics card to your PC.
However, if you use an NVIDIA GPU, which uses the G-Sync VRR technology, you’ll have to go with DisplayPort, as that’s the only tech currently supported.
HDMI is the clear winner when it comes to the number of devices in the market that support it. Developed for HD TV initially, HDMI is now supported by any AV device including PCs, laptops, game consoles, Blu-ray players, cables boxes, home theater systems and TV displays of all sizes, including 8K.
DisplayPort was designed for PC use, and mainly as a replacement for VGA and DVI connections. Standard budget TVs and monitors usually only come with HDMI, but higher-end monitors support both.
Multi-Stream Transport (MST)
Multi-Display support is a key feature supported by DisplayPort that allows you to connect to multiple screens at once (also known as daisy-chaining) from a single connection on your computer. An HDMI port can only connect to one screen at one time.
One thing to keep in mind when connecting multiple displays is that the total bandwidth used across connections can’t exceed the maximum bandwidth of the port you’re using.
HDMI cables offer a much longer maximum cable length than DisplayPort, and can go up to 100 feet for 1080p signals or 30 feet for 4K signals, making them the preferred choice for longer cable runs.
DisplayPort cables can go up to 10 feet in length, and longer cable runs may impact the resolution quality and refresh rates.
HDMI vs DisplayPort — What Should I Go With?
When it comes to deciding between the two, there’s no clear choice between HDMI vs DisplayPort, and it pretty much depends on your particular setup.
Here are a few scenarios to consider to help you pick the best cable for optimal performance:
- If you need to choose between HDMI 2. 0 and DisplayPort 1.4, go for DisplayPort
- If your monitor/connecting devices support HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 is the better choice as it offers HDR support
- To use HDMI 2.1, you’ll need BOTH your monitor and your video card to have HDMI 2.1 ports — if any device runs on HDMI 2.0, you won’t be able to take advantage and enjoy the latest features
- Home theater setups prefer to use HDMI as many TVs don’t really have a DisplayPort input
- If you have a gaming console, HDMI 2.0+ is really the only thing you can use as it’s the only output on most gaming devices. However, for PC gaming, DisplayPort is the better option if your computer supports it
- If you need to connect your laptop to a TV/projector it’s safe to say HDMI will be supported by all connected devices
- To connect your laptop with multiple monitors, DisplayPort is the preferred choice as HDMI will only support a single screen
- If you need to connect a device that only has an HDMI output to a DisplayPort input or vice versa, you can use an adapter
So, there you have it!
While both HDMI and DisplayPort can be used to connect a computer to a display, there are some key differences between the two standards.
HDMI is more popular and ubiquitous. DisplayPort is better for high-resolution displays, and can transmit more data.
When choosing which type of cable to use, it is important to consider the devices that will be connected and the quality of the signal that is needed.
Have more questions about the difference between DisplayPort vs HDMI or need help with your setup? Get in touch!
DisplayPort vs. HDMI: Which is Better?
The two most popular cables for connecting gaming consoles and PCs to TVs and monitors are DisplayPort and HDMI. Since both have distinct advantages (and some drawbacks) there’s been a friendly DisplayPort vs. HDMI rivalry for well over a decade. Gamers who spotted an imbalance in these connectors on their system might wonder, ‘is DisplayPort better than HDMI?’
In many ways it is, but HDMI has some tricks up its sleeve that make the DisplayPort vs. HDMI gaming debate far from settled. If you want to watch movies in 4K or even 8K, there’s also an argument to be made for the latest HDMI standard too.
One of the most apparent differences between HDMI and DisplayPort connectors is the connector shape and size itself. The standard Type A HDMI connector has 19-pins and is vertically symmetrical. There are less-common Mini and Micro HDMI connectors, which are physically much smaller, but utilize the same 19-pins (albeit, with a different layout).
The standard DisplayPort connector features 20 pins and is largely rectangular, with one notched corner guaranteeing correct orientation. It also includes small hooks that help hold any connected cables in place, requiring a button press to remove them.
It also comes in miniature form, featuring the same pin count, but in a small form factor. Although it originally featured prominently on Apple MacBooks and on some monitors, in 2020, Mini Displayport is much less common, with manufacturers of new devices preferring USB-C.
Standard DisplayPort vs HDMI Port (image credit: Wikipedia)
In general, HDMI connectors are found more commonly on living room devices, while DisplayPort is more commonplace on desktop PCs and laptops. That makes the DisplayPort vs. HDMI gaming debate largely centered around where you want to play. With a gaming console in your lounge? HDMI is likely the better choice. On a desktop PC with a monitor? DisplayPort will be more readily available and likely capable.
DisplayPort vs. HDMI – a head to head
At a fundamental level, DisplayPort and HDMI achieve the same goal. They’re a singular cable that can transfer both audio and video connections from a source to a display.
There have been many versions of both connectors over the years, with standards regularly leapfrogging each other as bandwidth improved to support higher resolutions and frame rates, new features, and advanced compression technologies.
In late 2020, the difference between DisplayPort and HDMI very much depends on which versions you’re discussing. The two most commonly available standards are DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI 2.0. Although you’ll find more devices that support HDMI than DisplayPort, in this context the answer to the question ‘is DisplayPort better than HDMI’ is, emphatically, yes.
HDMI 2.0 supports a maximum bandwidth of 18 Gbps, which is enough to handle 4K resolution at up to 60Hz, or 1080p at up to 240Hz. In comparison, DisplayPort 1.4 has a maximum bandwidth of 32.4Gbps, which opens up a much greater resolution and frame rate potential. It supports 4K resolution at up to 120Hz without compression, and 8K resolution at 30Hz – something HDMI 2.0 can’t manage, even with reduced chroma subsampling.
That paradigm is set to flip in 2023, however, as more devices and displays begin to support the new, HDMI 2.1 standard, which makes DisplayPort vs. HDMI gaming comparisons far more intriguing.
HDMI 2.1 more than doubles the maximum bandwidth to 48Gbps. That opens up support for 4K resolution at 144Hz or 8K at 30Hz – and far more if you employ Display Stream Compression (DSC).
Both new-generation consoles from Microsoft and Sony support HDMI 2.1, as do the new-generation graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD. Although upgrading to any of these sources and an HDMI 2.1-capable TV wouldn’t be cheap, HDMI 2.1 has the potential to settle the DisplayPort vs. HDMI battle.
DisplayPort 2.1 is likely to change things again, but adoption of that standard seems much further off and HDMI 2.1 fills any additional bandwidth demands that exist with current-generation hardware. For now.
Features – another difference between DisplayPort and HDMI
In the DisplayPort vs. HDMI head-to-head, there aren’t just differences in bandwidth and connector, but differences in features too. One of the key ones is ARC and EARC technologies. Enjoyed by HDMI standards since HDMI 1.4, it enables the two-way processing of audio data, thereby allowing for a daisy chain of A/V equipment, source, and display, cutting back on cable waste and enhancing the bandwidth of the audio connection over competing standards like S/PDIF.
DisplayPort has found great success as an adopted standard, outside of its main connector. It’s included in Thunderbolt and USB-C connections, enabling video transmission over those alternative cables and ports – all of which are available in the Cable Matters store.
Both HDMI and DisplayPort standards support variable refresh rates, but where DisplayPort supports both AMD’s Freesync and Nvidia’s G-Sync, HDMI only supports the former.
You can run a DisplayPort cable for longer than its HDMI counterparts too, with passive DisplayPort options maxing out around 5 meters before attenuation becomes a problem. In comparison, the latest HDMI 2.1 cables will run into problems around three meters. Active alternatives can extend that to 15 meters for both standards using fiber optic transmission techniques.
DisplayPort vs. HDMI: What’s New in 2022?
As we approach the end of 2022, it’s imperative to look back at all that has been accomplished this year in the world of video connections, especially DisplayPort and HDMI.
So far this year, we’ve seen DisplayPort leap bounds ahead of all competition with the announcement of DisplayPort 2.1. As an improvement to DisplayPort 2.0, this newest standard of DisplayPort delivers increased bandwidth management and data flow efficiency. With a maximum bandwidth of 80Gbps, it nearly doubles that of HDMI 2.1 which is the latest standard of HDMI supporting up to 48Gbps.
DISPLAYPORT OR HDMI – WHAT TO CHOOSE
HDMI and DisplayPort do essentially the same thing – deliver video and audio from a source to a media device. They even have almost the same number of contacts: 19 and 20, respectively. The difference between the interfaces will become clear after reviewing the main advantages and disadvantages of these technical solutions. If you need to transfer high-quality video to the screen, the choice of cable can significantly affect the result.
Types of HDMI cable
Unlike DisplayPort, HDMI is ubiquitous in laptops, TVs, disc players, cameras, and camcorders. By marking, HDMI cables are divided into:
- Standard. Video transmission in 1080i quality.
- High speed. They transmit a picture in 4K format at a frequency of 30 fps.
- Premium (4K and 60 fps).
- Ultra (4K and 8K).
The signal transmission speed varies from 2 to 48 Gbps depending on the marking. Each of the varieties can be adapted for Internet transfer. In this case, the word “Ethernet” appears in the title.
Cable markings are related to HDMI connector standards. Specifications 2 and 2.1 are relevant, corresponding to premium and ultra-class conductors. According to the width of the contact pad, there is a gradation for full-size, mini- and micro-connector.
About choosing an HDMI cable: How to choose an HDMI cable: 3 main criteria
HDMI cable applications
Let’s take a closer look at the demand for HDMI technology in the world of digital technology. The difference between HDMI and DisplayPort is easy to see if you look at the frequency of use of interfaces in devices. Premium and ultra-class cables are relevant wherever you need high-quality picture and sound transmission:
- connection of PC video card and monitor, laptop port and TV;
- set-top box, disc player, game console, home theater connection;
- connection of sound equipment (music center, radio).
For example, to connect a TV to a laptop, just connect them with a cord and select the appropriate signal source. A couple of gestures – and the desktop is visible on the big screen.
An interesting article: Types of Usb connectors – briefly in 3 sections
Advantages and disadvantages of HDMI cable
Of course, there are more pluses:
- The ability to transmit video / audio / Internet over a single HDMI cable.
- Compatibility of new specifications with previous ones.
- Spec 2.1 up to 48 Gb/s bandwidth
- Versatility. The presence of connectors on the cases of motley equipment. It is convenient when there are 2-3 cords of the same type in the house.
- Support for Deep Color, HDTV, HDR. You can fully enjoy the quality of the TV picture.
- Cabled devices can “talk” and configure settings for optimal interaction.
- 4K signal transmission over 10 m with an inexpensive cord. On this point, in the duel Display Port vs copper HDMI, the latter clearly wins.
There is perhaps only one drawback – the cable is capable of transmitting only one stream for one device.
Types of Display Port cable
By analogy with HDMI, it is worth distinguishing between types of DP connectors and cables. The first category includes specifications from 1.0 to 2.0. The maximum speed of the 2.0 interface is 77 Gb / s. However, unlike HDMI, the latest DisplayPort is still a curiosity.
DP cable certification is easier to understand: the names have not changed several times, as in the case of HDMI. Cord standards:
- The RBR cable operates at reduced speed. Suitable for 1080p image transmission.
- Standards HBR, HBR2, HBR3. The second and third versions pull 4K.
- UHBR 10-20 standards. The latter is suitable for 8K.
Connectors are divided into 2 groups by size: full-size and mini-displayports. The first have a width of 16.1 mm, the second – 7.5 mm. Mini DP cables cannot be equipped with a mechanical latch. In this they are inferior to cords with full-size connectors.
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Display Port cable applications
The technology that the developers have chosen to use in DP cables is optimally suited for PC-monitor bundles. The VGA interface has long been outdated, and HDMI, from the point of view of cable manufacturers, has a serious drawback – you have to pay royalties. Hence the relevance of DisplayPort technology. The interface is useful if needed:
- Provide signal transmission to two monitors.
- Connect a VGA device to a laptop (adapter required). A DP cable will be a good solution when connecting a projector or an old display as a kitchen TV.
The answer to the question of which is better HDMI or full-size display port, sometimes depends on how the cord is used. The choice in favor of the latter may be due to the presence of a latch.
Connecting 2 monitors to a PC: How to connect 2 monitors to a PC + setup and software for working with two monitors Highly specialized solutions rarely manage to successfully compete with universal options. Nevertheless, it is worth noting the advantages of DisplayPort:
- High throughput.
- Connect up to 6 monitors at the same time. Transmission of different signals to different displays.
- Packet data has made the technology extensible. Cable manufacturers can implement additional features without changing the physical interface.
- Full length DP cable with latch.
- DisplayPort is not a very common solution. It can be found mainly on PCs and monitors.
- No internet transmission.
At the end of the article – a small comparative table:
Manufacturers of displays and video adapters are not categorical in choosing between these interfaces: they offer to use specific DP or universal HDMI at your discretion. Both standards are good.
A little more about Usb: Usb pinout by color: 3 types of connectors, wiring diagrams, features0001
If you just got a brand new gaming monitor or TV and can’t figure out the various ports and connectors that are located on the back of the device, then don’t worry, because in this guide we will cover each of them, we will name all the differences, Advantages and disadvantages.
After reading this article, you will surely know which cables and ports you can use and which you should not. In addition, we will help you connect the display correctly in the shortest possible time so that you can enjoy the best image quality as soon as possible.
The high-definition multimedia interface, colloquially referred to as HDMI, is the most versatile and common connector found in most modern devices. It is available on all TVs, monitors and graphics cards, but not all of them are equally effective, as there are several specifications, the most popular of which we describe below:
HDMI 1.4 is the most common specification for non-4K displays. It can provide screen resolutions up to 2560×1600 at 75Hz as well as 144Hz at 1920×1080, which is very popular among competitive gamers.
HDMI 1.3 The also supports 144Hz at 1080p, but older HDMI versions (1.0 to 1.2) are capable of a maximum resolution of 1920×1200 at 60Hz.
Therefore, all modern displays have at least HDMI 1.4, which boasts support for multi-channel audio, can carry Ethernet data, and deliver superior color depth. In addition, there is also compatibility with 4K, but only up to a frequency of 30 Hz. HDMI 1.4 does not support 21:9 ultra-wide videoand stereoscopic 3D format.
This is where the HDMI 2.0 comes into play – the specification further increases color depth and adds smoothness with a frequency of 60 Hz. Support for 21:9 aspect ratio and stereoscopic 3D has also been added. HDMI 2.0 outputs 1440p at 144Hz and 1080p at 240Hz. Both versions 1.4 and 2.0 support AMD’s adaptive sync technology, i.e. FreeSync from AMD.
HDMI 2.0a supports HDR (high dynamic range), while HDMI 2.0b supports HDR10 enhanced format and HLG standard.
The latest HDMI 2.1 specification was released in 2017. It adds support for dynamic HDR, 4K resolution at 120Hz, and even 8K at 120Hz, which will come in handy if you decide to get PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles. Dynamic HDR and updated adaptive sync technology (FreeSync 2) work with standard cables, while for 4K and 8K at 120Hz you will need new 48G cables.
Unlike HDMI, DisplayPort can be found in modern monitors and very rarely in TVs. DisplayPort 1.2 is currently required and required for gaming monitors with Nvidia G-Sync variable refresh rate technology. While AMD’s FreeSync is capable of both HDMI and DP (v1.2a), Nvidia only requires a DisplayPort connector. Learn more about the differences between the two technologies Nvidia and AMD here.
DisplayPort 1.2 has an effective bandwidth of 17.28 Gbps in HBR2 (High Bit Rate 2) mode, supporting a wide color gamut and high resolution (up to 4K) at 75 Hz. In addition, DisplayPort offers the possibility of transmitting multiple video streams via a daisy chain, i.e. DisplayPort-Out.
A less common version of DisplayPort 1.3 increases bandwidth to 25.82 Gbps, enough for 4K at 120Hz, 5K at 60Hz, and 8K at 30Hz. Through MST (Multi-Stream Transport), you can daisy-chain up to two 4K UHD displays or four monitors with WQHD+ (2560×1600) resolution at 60Hz.
The latest version of DisplayPort 1.4 adds support for HDR10 format and Rec2020 color gamut, as well as 8K HDR at 60 Hz and 4K HDR at 120 Hz using the DSC (Display Stream Compression) traffic compression standard with a compression ratio of 3:1.
Mini-DisplayPort can be found on some Apple computers and laptops. The ports support resolutions up to 2560×1600 or 4096×2160 depending on the version of DisplayPort implemented. You can also get mDP to VGA, DVI or HDMI adapters. The Apple ThunderBolt connector is backwards compatible with mDP and can be identified by the small lightning bolt icon on the cable connector.
DVI (Digital Video Interface)
DVI ports can be found on almost all monitors and graphics cards, including desktop motherboards. There are three different DVI ports: DVI-A for analog video, DVI-D for digital, and DVI-I (built-in) for both. Like VGA, Single-Link DVI is limited to 1920 × 1200 at 60 Hz.
The main advantage of the DVI port is that it is quite widespread and versatile, which means that you can convert it to both VGA and HDMI using the appropriate adapters. This is especially useful when you need to connect an additional monitor to your computer, as the cable provides many options if your video card or monitor has a limited number of ports.
Dual-Link DVI ports contain additional pins and can support resolutions up to 2560 × 1600 at 60 Hz and 1920×1080 at 144Hz for gaming. While most DVI connectors cannot carry audio, some new GPUs allow audio to be output via DVI. Compared to HDMI 1.4, the DVI port has worse color gamut and overall performance. So, if possible, use HDMI instead of DVI.
VGA (Video Graphics Array)
VGA, often referred to as a “D-Sub” connector, carries an analog video signal and is an old technology that should be avoided. Yes, VGA supports resolution 19 without problems20 × 1200 at 60 Hz, but if you have other options, it is better to use a DVI-D or HDMI port. In addition, you will need an adapter to work with modern graphics cards, since graphics adapters can no longer output an analog signal.
In fact, the difference in image quality is almost imperceptible, but other factors may cause some inconvenience, such as cable length, digital conversion, wire gauge, etc.
In conclusion, it is worth saying that, for example, a picture with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 at 60Hz will look the same whether you’ve connected your display via DVI-D, DisplayPort, or HDMI.