Connect HDMI & DVI with adapter: Please pay attention to this!

The digital interfaces HDMI and DVI (High Definition Multimedia Interface and Digital Visual Interface, respectively) are among the most important cable connections in the field of fully digital transmission of video and audio signals.

In principle, HDMI is a further development of DVI presented in 2003. In consumer electronics (game consoles, home theater, HDTV receivers and more), the HDMI cable plays a greater role due to its ability to transmit audio and video signals.

HDMI - DVI: similarities and differences
DVI can only transmit video signals and is therefore often used on PCs. There, DVI is used to establish a connection between the integrated or dedicated graphics card and the monitor. A simultaneous transmission of audio signals is not necessary, because this is done via a sound card, which can send audio signals, even multi-channel sound, to a speaker system or headphones or headset.

In terms of construction, we can see that the HDMI cable is more compact and also doesn't need to be screwed to the device (practical: this also keeps the hardware intact if you should ever trip over it).

If you only look at the video signal, there is no quality difference between HDMI and DVI. Clearly visible differences in quality can be seen in comparison to analog data transmission, though. Even though the VGA cable can technically achieve a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full High Definition), the image appears sharper, richer in contrast, more noise-free with digital transmission - in short: simply better.

Maximum data rate / bandwidth
HDMI - DVI: a dream team?
HDMI and DVI are both digital signals, which results in advantages for the user, especially in terms of compatibility, because the HDMI standard is downward compatible.

An example: You use a game console (e.g. Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft XBOX 360) and want to connect it to a monitor that does not have an HDMI connection, but only a DVI connection. In this case, you need an HDMI-to-DVI adapter.

The right HDMI-DVI adapter
This won't have any influence on the quality of the picture at Full High Definition (1920 x 1080 pixels @ 60 Hz), because the digital signals are transmitted lossless. But now the user faces a problem: The audio signal is not supported by DVI.

A remedy can be found by using the optical output (S/PDIF, optical-out) to send the audio signal to compatible speakers (such as Logitech Z-5500 digital). This way, you can enjoy your favorite titles in Full HD and with digital multi-channel sound with the game console, even if you don't have a monitor with an HDMI connection.

When using an adapter, you should pay attention to a certain basic quality, and you should also use a cable that is not too long.

What to look for when connecting HDMI and DVI devices?
In general, the use of HDMI-to-DVI and DVI-to-HDMI adapters is unproblematic. However, you should avoid cable lengths over ten meters, as signal errors can occur here.

The same applies in those cases where multiple adapters are used, such as when HDMI-to-DVI and DVI-to-HDMI adapters are used in one connection. Additionally, it can be problematic when using adapters from different manufacturers at the same time.

HDMI couplers allow you to extend the cable by using multiple cables, but again, you should pay attention to the total cable length. If you have to use longer cable lengths, a repeater is recommended, this usually has a signal amplifier integrated.

It is very important not to forget that DVI does not allow audio transmission. If you use an HDMI-to-DVI adapter to transmit signals, you should make sure that the output device offers options for transmitting the audio signal in other ways (S/PDIF, coaxial, direct, etc.) and that the speaker system has an appropriate input.

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