HDMI is today's standard connection in home entertainment and is also indispensable in the PC sector. However, some still use monitors from a time before HDMI existed. Connecting these to a modern computer is not a problem: you just need the appropriate adapter.

DVI was once the standard interface for transmitting video signals in the PC segment. It replaced the older VGA and introduced digital video transmission. Two of the three DVI variants, namely DVI-I and DVI-D, work with digital signals, with DVI-I additionally capable of transmitting analog signals. You can read more on the topic here.

However, DVI has now been replaced by two modern interfaces: HDMI and DisplayPort. Modern monitors, graphics cards, and motherboards no longer feature DVI ports. If you only intend to use a computer for work and not for watching 4K movies or games, an old monitor with a DVI input can still be very useful. There's no need to replace or discard it for a new model.

HDMI and DVI: Interfaces from different generations

In today's time, there are adapters or adapter cables available for almost every interface, including HDMI and DVI. We offer a corresponding adapter cable in our shop that even works bidirectionally. This means you can use it to connect an old monitor with a DVI port to a newer computer with an HDMI output, or an old computer with DVI to a modern screen with HDMI.

However, if you use an adapter cable from DVI to HDMI, you won't be able to take advantage of all the features that HDMI offers. While HDMI can easily transmit 4K video signals, DVI is far from being able to work with such high resolutions. In the case of our adapter cable, the maximum resolution is 1920x1080 (1080p, Full HD). DVI comes from a time when 4K was not yet a topic in the home entertainment realm.

Our adapter cable supports both dual-link and single-link connections, and it's important to differentiate between these in the context of DVI. Single-link connections only support signal transmission over a TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signaling) channel, which is a serial interface standard for transmitting digital video signals. Dual-link cables use two channels, resulting in higher performance. However, the connectors must have a dual-link profile; otherwise, a better cable won't make a difference.

DVI can't handle audio signals, but that's not a problem

HDMI and DVI differ not only in terms of their maximum supported resolution. In addition to video signals, HDMI cables can also transmit audio. This makes the interface particularly practical in the home entertainment segment because it eliminates the need for an additional audio cable when connecting devices like gaming consoles or DVD/Blu-ray players to a TV.

DVI, on the other hand, has nothing to do with sound. It's purely a video interface. Therefore, an HDMI-to-DVI adapter cable won't transmit audio. However, there's likely no scenario where transmitting both audio and video signals over a single cable would be necessary, especially since DVI is primarily used in the PC domain, where connecting speakers or headphones to the computer via audio jack is common practice. While modern graphics cards can output sound (both Nvidia and AMD provide respective drivers for that), in practice, only those who have their PC set up in the living room and connected to a TV might use it. TVs don't have DVI inputs, and nobody would likely connect a PC with an older graphics card that still has a DVI port to a large 4K or 8K TV. Such a card wouldn't handle UHD content smoothly. On the other hand, those who have their PC set up traditionally on or next to a desk would likely use external speakers or headphones for audio playback. While some monitors do have built-in speakers, they generally don't offer great sound quality, and this is more relevant for newer screens without DVI ports.

Using an adapter cable makes it easy to establish compatibility between a modern PC and an older monitor (or vice versa, an old PC and a new screen). Therefore, it's not necessary to retire one piece of hardware just because the other has been upgraded to newer technology. This is great because someone who has recently purchased a new computer might not immediately have the funds to replace their monitor with a newer model as well. As a temporary solution, an HDMI to DVI adapter cable is ideal in such cases, as it doesn't put additional strain on the wallet.

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