The Progression of the DVI Connector
Of the various digital video connector schemes available in the consumer market, DVI (Digital Visual Interface) might have the most frustrating set of technical variations and nuances. However, DVI connectors present a fine option for connecting between your computer or laptop and a digital display .
Of the various digital video connector schemes available in the consumer market, DVI (Digital Visual Interface) might have the most frustrating set of technical variations and nuances. However, DVI connectors present a fine option for connecting between your computer or laptop and a digital display (i.e. a monitor or projector).
In order to know when it is most appropriate to use DVI connectors, it helps to first know a bit about the connector's history and its technical specs.
A brief history of DVI
The DVI connector was developed by the Digital Display Working Group, a brain trust of technology experts from such companies as Intel, Compaq, Fujitsu, and IBM. These engineers developed DVI with the intent of creating a connector that could supersedethe panoply of different digital connector schemes that were then clogging the market. The DVI connector was designed to carry digital video signals between computers and digital monitors, as well as offer reverse compatibility with analog video display schemes, such as VGA (Video Graphics Array). While sometimes used for home theater purposes, the DVI connector was originally intended to transmit video between computers and monitors, a job to which it is still most appropriately suited.
For several years after its release, the DVI connector served this purpose well. There are many digital monitors and displays that rely on DVI as their principle connector scheme. Most LCD and plasma screen monitors manufactured today will include DVI ports as one of their connective options. However, DVI has been in many cases superseded by newer connector schemes. Especially as digital video and home theater technology has become more prevalent, the DVI connector has been increasingly phased out of the consumer market. Many consumer electronics products now rely on DisplayPort or HDMI connectors to transmit digital video. These connectors tend to be more consumer-friendly than the DVI connector, whose technical variations can sometimes make it difficult to deploy.
Some technical info about DVI
DVI connectors transmit uncompressed digital video data and display that data via an RGB (Red Green Blue) color system.
The DVI connector was designed to be able to transmit both analog and digital video, and while it does serve that purpose, the technical reality of manufacturing such a connector necessitated some odd variations on what was supposed to be a consumer-friendly piece of equipment.
There are three types of DVI connector: DVI-I, DVI-D, and DVI-A. All three of these serve a slightly different purpose. DVI-I connectors can transmit both analog and digital video signals, whereas DVI-A connectors can transmit only analog video signals and DVI-D connectors can transmit only digital video signals.
DVI-I and DVI-A connectors are reverse compatible with VGA (the predominant analog video connector scheme), but they require a special adapter in order to interface properly. Digital DVI connectors can interface with HDMI connectors, but in order to do so the HDMI connector must be engineered to support DVI signaling. Though capable of transmitting digital video signals, DVI connectors cannot transmit digital audio signals, a major reason why HDMI has superseded DVI in the consumer market.
It is also important to note the distinction between single-link and dual-link DVI connectors. A single-link DVI cable consists of four TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signaling) pairs along which it can transmit data. A dual-link DVI cable will have twice these TMDS pairs, allowing it to transmit video at higher resolutions and different aspect ratios.
While the technical differences between single and dual-link DVI require a fairly nuanced conception of digital video in order to be understood, the most important thing to remember is that dual-link DVI cables have essentially double the bandwidth of single-link DVI cables. This allows dual-link DVI cables to transmit larger amounts of video with greater clarity.
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