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DVI Cable Types

DVI Cable Types

DVI cables can carry digital or analog video signals to provide a high quality picture display on computer monitors and television sets. This article presents an overview of the various DVI cable types that you may choose from, according to the type of signal and connectors you are using.
Omkar Phatak
The credit for the exquisitely clear picture quality and resolution that you find in computer monitors and television screens, is partly owed to the high quality video cables that are used to transmit electronic signals from source to these displays. One of the first high quality video interfaces to be introduced was DVI (Digital Visual Interface). Though superseded by HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) today, DVI cables and connectors are still used in transmission of video signals for computer monitors and digital displays. Depending on the type of video signal (analog/digital) and the type of interface technology at signal source and destination, different DVI cable types are used.

About DVI Technology
DVI was created by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG), as a replacement for the older VGA (Video Graphics Array) technology which had been in vogue for a decade before. First introduced in 1999, DVI was developed to transmit uncompressed digital video signals to computer monitors and other types of display devices. DVI cables and connectors can transmit digital, as well as analog signals. These cables come in single link and dual link varieties. They are designed to be backward compatible with VGA connectors.

All single link and dual link DVI cables use TMDS (transition minimized differential signaling) format, with the former using only one and the latter using two transmitters. Owing to the extra transmitter, dual link DVI cables can provide better and higher resolution picture quality, while also delivering the signal faster. DVI cable lengths can extend up to 15 meters or more using boosters.

Different Types of DVI Cables
DVI cables are capable of transmitting digital and analog signals. There are cable types which can transmit only digital, only analog or analog as well as digital signals. Depending on the type of video signal being transmitted and the types of input and output interfaces, different DVI cables need to be used. Here is an overview of the three prime types.

Types of DVI Cables
Cable Type Description
DVI-D Primarily designed to transmit digital signals, DVI-D cables are used to connect computer display monitors with installed video cards. They come in single link and dual link variety and are the most widely used of all DVI cables. DVI-D single link cable connectors can be identified by a single flat blade pin on one side and two sets of nine pins on the right. Dual link DVI-D cables can be identified by a single flat pin on one side and a set of 24 pins on the right. These cables can deliver the best image quality among all types.
DVI-A Developed for the exclusive purpose of transmitting analog signals. DVI-A connectors can be identified by a single flat blade connector, with a bunch of eight and four pins grouped on the right. They are used to connect old CRT displays with a computer video card. These cables come in single link and dual link modes.
DVI-I The third type is a DVI-I cable, which can transmit both analog and digital signals. They are like a combination of DIV-A and DVI-D cables bunched together, capable of transmitting either analog of digital signals between devices.

Check out the type of interface at the video signal source and destination to choose the right DVI cable type. In case you are making a connection between a digital source and an analog video interface like VGA, you will need a DVI to VGA (digital to analog) converter.