Display Cables Battle Royale: D-Sub vs DVI vs HDMI
November 17, 2011 10:12 PM   Subscribe

I've a monitor with DVI-D and D-Sub input. My graphics card has DVI-D, D-Sub and HDMI output. I'm connected via D-Sub right now, but I hear DVI gives better image quality. Is this true? And does HDMI have better quality than DVI? If so, would an HDMI-to-DVI cable give me better quality than vanilla DVI?

This is how I imagine it:


Is this right, or am I missing something? Should I get myself a DVI cable and an HDMI-to-DVI adapter?
posted by Senza Volto to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
AFAIK, The video signal of HDMI is the same as DVI. Basically, HDMI = DVI video + digital audio + subtitles + copy-protection + some other benefits in a compact connector.
posted by Gyan at 10:18 PM on November 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

electrically the DVI and HDMI connections are identical. they use the same video encoding scheme as well. Thus you can have a dvi-hdmi cable without a converter between them.
posted by GuyZero at 10:32 PM on November 17, 2011

Response by poster: I see, thanks for the clarification. Does DVI/HDMI have objectively better video quality than a D-SUB? Should I switch to it or just just give it a pass?
posted by Senza Volto at 11:49 PM on November 17, 2011

Is DVI objectively better than VGA? Yeah...but it's at high resolutions where the improvement is most noticeable. If you're running a 1600x1200 monitor at native resolution you'll probably see a difference. If you've got a 720P panel, likely not. Something in between you might see an improvement, depending on the setup, your eyes, and what's being displayed. Me, I'd borrow a cable from a friend to test it or order a cheap one online, but I'd never pay $50 or whatever crazy prices local retailers charge for those cables just for a maybe.
posted by 6550 at 1:18 AM on November 18, 2011

I have always found DVI to be quite obviously better than VGA. The extent to which you notice it will be down to resolution and colour depth etc of the hardware involved. You should be ably to get a cable for a pittance online so it is well worth trying.
posted by zemblamatic at 1:32 AM on November 18, 2011

I am assuming that D-Sub means VGA. Yes, the digital signals will be better. VGA is an analog transmission method, and subject to the losses inherent with that. Unless there are compelling reasons not to, it is best to avoid digital-analog-digital conversions. With VGA, the video card has to change the digital data to analog, push it over the cable, and then the TV has to convert it back.

The only time adding an analog conversion seems better is when there is some circumstance that the fuzziness of analog will cover up some other problem. Like if the TV has an awful video processor, and if you send it a signal that's not at its native resolution, it doesn't convert it well.

But if the VGA is acceptable now, I would take 6550's advice and not spend much to test the HDMI difference.
posted by gjc at 6:18 AM on November 18, 2011

DVI cables don't cost anywhere near $50. Proof. HDMI cables aren't all that expensive either.
posted by chairface at 8:08 AM on November 18, 2011

Cables don't cost anywhere near $50 online. ;) At Best Buy, though? Try $90.
posted by xedrik at 7:42 PM on November 18, 2011

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