Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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VGA vs HDMI

Which is better; VGA or HDMI?  My friend posed this question last night, and before I had a chance to answer, another friend answered that VGA was better.  I considered correcting him, but I was curious to listen to his explanation as to why he thought this.  His main point was that your computer can output high resolutions ie 2048 x 1536 and sometimes even higher, which is larger than the HD 1080 (or, more specifically 1920 x 1080) which is the most common HD resolution these days.  According to him, VGA cables can carry those larger computer resolutions, because they’re made for a computer, but HDMI cables are for HDTV so are limited to 1080 resolutions.  However, HD is digital, while VGA is analog, and digital wins every time.  Converting VGA to HDMI doesn’t technically improve the signal though, but an VGA to HDMI converter is handy to have for watching computer output on an HD television, none-the-less.

As far as signals go, one incorrect assumption made here was that HDMI is made only for HDTV signals and that a HDMI cable can only carry an HDTV resolution image with a maximum output of 1080.  While it’s true that a cable can only carry as much information as is being put into it, an HDMI cable is capable of carrying much larger signals than a VGA cable.  If you send this 2048 x 1536 image through an HDMI cable, it’s going to come out on the other end as a 2048 x 1536 image; it isn’t limited by HDTV standards.  Clear as mud, right?  Basically HDTV and HDMI are two separate things.  Yes, they are both “high definition” but one is a signal type and the other is a mode of signal transportation.  HDMI cables are limited by HDTV’s output, not by its design or construction.  They are capable of carrying huge amounts of data, well beyond anything you’re going to have in your home theater.

What’s the Difference Between VGA and HDMI?

Now let’s delve into the capabilities of these two formats/cable types.  VGA (video graphics array) has a maximum resolution of 800 x 600 pixels.  Now, what most people simply refer to as VGA is actually Super VGA or SVGA.  SVGA covers a whole range of resolutions on up to 2048 x 1536 and beyond.  Fair enough, but what about HDMI.  HDMI, at least the current iteration of it (HDMI Version 1.4), can carry resolutions of up to 4196 x 2160, according to Wikipedia, and is used in digital theaters.  This is beyond anything you’ll be using in your home theater.  For now, at least.

Where the difference really comes in is the fact that VGA is an analog signal, while HDMI is an uncompressed digital image.  The uncompressed digital image is going to be a higher quality every time.  You will get the best quality by using a digital source, through HDMI, DVI or any digital method of transport, and finally to a digital input.  If you have a VGA output source, and want to connect it to a digital input device via HDMI, you’re going to need a VGA to HDMI converter.  The VGA/HDMI converter is required to upgrade the analog signal to digital because the two formats are incompatible.

Which is Better; VGA or HDMI?

If you’re still reading this, then you already know the answer.  If you’ve simply skipped down to this subtitle without reading all the technical jargon, then here’s your answer; HDMI is better than VGA.  Now that you have your answer run out and get your HDMI cables, or VGA to HDMI converter, or whatever else you need.  Leave VGA in the dust where it belongs.

{ 115 comments… read them below or add one }

wingnutart

Er, you swapped the conclusion of the article in the synopsis. ” … VGA is better than HDMI.”
I’d change that, sparky.

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J

You’re right. Good catch. It’s been fixed.

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jlanzilotti

Thank you for the explanation! Very enlightening.

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J

No problem. Glad you found it useful.

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Ralph Tery

I understand that digital has better definition than analog but if I want to run about 30′-35′ from my desktop to my TV, which would be better, an HDMI or SVGA cable? (Or should I just wait for Google TV?)

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J

HDMI used to have more issues over distance than SVGA, but these days, as long as you have a quality cable, and quality components on each end, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Analog (SVGA) does degrade over distance, but 35′ certainly isn’t enough distance to make a visible difference.

The distance shouldn’t be too much of an issue either way, so HDMI is the way to go.

Google TV does look pretty awesome though; it looks like it’s going to be everything that I wanted Apple TV to be.

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Preolt

Hey Nice article it helped me grasp VGA and HDMI differences. I am building a new computer right now and picking a monitor. I do photography and so I want an ips panel but sadly dont have the budget yet to go get a dell one. So im stuck with an e-ips panel from viewsonic. It does not have an HDMI input on it though. All it has is DVI, VGA, and USB. Will a converter still help me here, I dont believe it will. Do you have any opinions?

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J

What kind of outputs does your computer have?

If it only has VGA, then stick with a simple VGA cable. Using a VGA to DVI converter would work, but it won’t improve the picture quality.

Many computers have a DVI output, so if that’s the case, you’ll simply need a DVI Cable. If you have both outputs, use the DVI. DVI, like HDMI, is a digital signal so it’ll be a bit better than VGA.

Either way, there’s no need for a converter in your case.

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Ahmed

Thanks for your detailed explanation.
just before i run to buy a new HDMI cable to connect my laptop (build in with hdmi connection) to my 42″ screen, i want to ask about the audio output. does the HDMI cable carries both the video and audio output to the TV or just video??

thanks for your help
Ahmed

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J

HDMI does indeed carry both audio and video signals.

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Mike

Hi, I’ve assumed hdmi to be better from the get go but found the fonts severely stuffed up and just dealt with it since no driver updates for my gtx 460 would change that. Today, out of frustration that my PS3 could turn on and off my tv but my computer could not through its mini-hdmi, I opened my boxes and got a dvi to vga converter. Despite how this sounds like an instant quality destroyer I plugged it in and my screen came alive. EVERYTHING was clear. Except that is, the second I started a game. Then all hell broke loose and my fast computer began to stall every now and then. The video in the game was all blurred, unlike the desktop. I would’ve gotten a dvi cable, bt my HDTV has vga or hdmi only. So any suggestions? The hdmi has excellent gaming graphics, better audio, never stalls, but severely messes up my fonts =/

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J

That is odd. What specific configuration are you using where the fonts are screwed up? I suspect the video card is the problem, and you might want to try swapping it out with another just to check it out. Other than that, I’m not sure what might cause something like this. You could also try testing on a different monitor, but I doubt that’d be the issue.

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Jordan

Hey J,
So i tried both of them, they look the same until i try to play my games. Then the hdmi makes them look like butt-hole. I’m trying to do this all through a receiver so i can get the highest quality surround sound since VGA doesn’t do sound. Looks like I’m gonna have to go with the VGA and an audio jack because the hdmi isn’t cutting it…. I tried going through the setting and what not but nothing worked… I’m highly upset because i just got this receiver and now im gonna have to settle with less than stellar sound…

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J

This seems to be a common problem. Mike here ended up finding that it had to do with the actual naming of the connection. Meaning, he manually changed the name of the setting himself, and voila it worked. It’s quite odd.

What brand is your TV? How about the receiver?

Also, does your monitor/TV have HDMI inputs? And if so, how’s it look when you plug it in directly?

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Alan

Turn the sharpness down on the TV settings when using HDMI. Mine was at +15 (Default) so I backed it down to 0 and the text looks clear as day.

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Syukri Lajin

I think i know why this happens.
The TV treats HDMI input as another Media source. So it does another layer of processing such as sharpening. Everything that passed the HDMI input is processed like a video. The graphic card has already done a layer of processing to the data before sending it to the HDTV. Two layers of different types of processing the is that are causing the messed fonts problems. But for VGA, the tv sees the input as computer input(some TV even name it as Computer port), so there are no modification done to the input by the TV. The processing only come from the graphic card of the computer. One way to solve it is by disabling every filters and settings(sharpen etc) in the tv. I don’t know how to do this on your hdtv. Go and see the manual. Another way is to make the graphic driver send the output without being processed with any filter, but this could not work sometimes because the hdtv still see it as a media input and apply a lot of filters on it.
Maybe you already solved it, but i hope someone reading this will find it useful one day. ^.^

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Mike

Actually all the configurations have the same issue. Auto-adjusting my HDTV makes the fonts worse, and it would seem that it was primarily the desktop clone and extended desktop settings which produced heavy lag. When only using one screen or the other the lag is negligible.

Right now I am resorting to switching between outputs for gaming and working. The thing is its been over seven days (the return/swap policy timeout) so trying another card is not an option, besides the fact I cannot afford it, just now it doesn’t help.

My one friend explained to me that HDMI is intended for distant viewing, and it alters the screen to be better seen from the other side of the lounge (proportional to the TV’s size) which is why games look better, and fonts are strange. As he says, it is because my HDTV is 42″ that I cannot read the font, because you need to be too far to read 1920×1080 font dpi anyway.

I’ve handled it though, it requires only a little effort to switch the connections for gaming. What troubles me now is that TV licensing claims that regardless of whether I use my screen as a monitor, the fact it can receive transmissions requires me to pay. Of course the TV salesman never mentions that…

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Simon

I was just skimming these comments (don’t know how old they are there seems to be no date) and couldn’t help noticing the TV licence issue. You have been misinformed regarding needing a tv license. If you use your screen as a monitor then you do not need a license. As long as you don’t plug a signal feed into the tv to receive the broadcasts then you are not receiving the tv broadcasts, are not viewing them and therefore do not need a license.

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J

The switching is a bit of a pain. Your friends logic about HDTV doesn’t make much sense. It implies that the image is being stretched, but in reality, an HD image is perfectly sized for high resolutions – that’s the point of high definition.

Now, if you’re starting with an analog picture, and going to HD, then it could affect how fonts and the like appear once they are stretched to the new high resolution because the image wasn’t designed for those high resolutions.

Are you talking about playing PS3 either on your HDTV, or through your computer to your monitor?

If you’re using a PS3, and the PS3 HDMI cable, and going to a HD output source (monitor or TV) there should be no issues. The only issue I’ve heard of is that the font can be a bit small, but you can fix this by adjusting your resolution that you PS3 is putting out.

Or, are you talking about games on your computer and hooking that up to your monitor or HDTV? I’ve never had a problem with fonts going from my computer to a monitor, HDTV, or HD projector (25″ monitor, 37″ HDTV). That really makes me think it’s either that video card, or some sort of configuration issue.

Switching things around between work and gaming is a solution, but that would drive me nuts. I would spend days troubleshooting until I figured out what the issue was. Sorry I can’t be more helpful here.

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Mike

Stretched wasn’t what I’d gathered from it, no resolution is lost, its simply altered to be viewed better from further away than from upfront (unlike a monitor might be). Like I said its really just the font which isn’t appealing, the rest is as good (and arguably better) than the (super)VGA.

The two ports on my GTX are both digital (mini-hdmi and dvi) and my VGA uses the DVI port. I have used a PS3-hdmi-HDTV connection in the past which (very nicely) would turn the TV on and off as I turned the PS3 on and off.

The games I play on my desktop now, which may also be PS3 titles as well, are as good as they were on PS3 (unless I use 1080 in some games where the PS3 version only offers 720 (which makes me wonder, surely the PS3 could handle it?) ). So there really isn’t any issue there when using the HDMI cable. It could just be NVidia’s drivers which they’re reluctant to update.

On the other hand, faulty card or incompatibility. And I’d rather hope that isn’t the issue and wait for an update with fingers crossed. And trust me, I’ve troubleshooted, trial and error’d, process of elimination’d and searched like crazy this one. So I’ll live with it, just miss Vista’s context-menu-display-themes which 7 doesn’t appear to have.

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J

You definitely need the font to be squared away though. If your solution works, I guess you might as well roll with it for now.

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Giuliano

HI, Very interesting ad useful article. I’d need an advice as well, because we are setting up our small studio and we want to buy an LCD projector to be connected with various computers, including a Macbook Pro 2009 and a Macbook Pro 2008. We are considering a 5 meter-long cable. Do you think HDMI is still the right choice over VGA, even with a projector (which has both ports and a maximum resolution of 1024*768?). Thanks a lot for any advice!

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J

Yes, HDMI is the way to go, especially since you specify that it’s for a studio. In a professional environment, you’re going to want the best picture and resolution possible.

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Giuliano

Thanks a lot for your advice!

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J

No problem.

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ThomasM195

So why is it that a Windows Desktop always looks grainy with HDMI and looks crystal clear when using VGA?

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J

I’ve never noticed this issue.

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Jason

Because of the sharpener option… Turn it off in the display settings of the tv…

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ThomasM195

Get a VGA to HDMI converter? That’s crazy. Even if you believe HDMI is better, converting VGA to HDMI isn’t going to improve anything. You can’t magically improve the source by changing a cable or converting to HDMI.

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J

Converting VGA to HDMI is something only necessary in situations where a computer has a VGA output, and you want to hook it up to something with an HDMI input. Obviously the signal won’t be improved. It’s a connection/signal compatibility issue.

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Mike

Thomas , you are absolutely correct. My computer look WAY better on my 55″ lcd with the vga input than it does with the HDMI.

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Nav

My laptop has a S-Video, VGA and HDMI output and I recently changed the way I connect to my external 22″ monitor (1920×1080) from VGA to HDMI. I noticed a significant improvement in the picture! The question I have, is the video card (GPU) load reduced in my laptop by using the HDMI connection as it no longer needs to perform the digital to analog conversion?

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J

It wasn’t your computer performing the conversion, it was the converter.

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NK

Not exactly sure but I think the original question didn’t relate to any converter. For example, on a Lenovo Q150 Nettop the CPU load is nearly 100% when playing (with major hiccups) a 1080 YouTube video on a VGA monitor (@1280×1024) – would it be expected to play correctly and reduce the CPU load when using the HDMI output to a HDTV?

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Janice Dau

Thank you for posting this. While it is clear that HDMI is better, is it $10K better? Our church is looking into multimedia (two screens and projectors) and the proposal with HDMI is $10K more ($17K vs $27K). It seems like we don’t need it today, so we would be doing it for the future. Will the price come down? What other things should we consider?
Thanks, janice

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J

Hi Janice,

That is a surprising price difference. Is the difference for a whole HD setup? That would make more sense since it will require higher quality projectors, output sources, as well as cables and maybe even better quality screens. I can’t see HDMI cables alone causing a $10k difference.

As far as whether or not HD/HDMI is going to be worth it is going to depend on what you’re using it for, what kind of audio/visual experience you’re going for, how often it will be used, how long you plan on sticking with the same system, whether or not the lower cost system is upgradable, etc etc. There are many factors to consider for such a high-priced project. It’s quite possible that the lower cost solution will work just fine for what you need it for, or some compromised solution that allows for HD upgrading later on.

As far as whether or not it’s worth $10k, I can’t really say because I don’t know the details of the two proposed set-ups, nor the factors mentioned above. I’d say go with the setup that is the most comfortable compromise between budget and desired quality.

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James

Is it possible for a graphics card to have an issue with the HDMI output only? Mine was giving me trouble…switched to VGA, and its all better. So odd…

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J

I suppose it is. I haven’t come across such an issue, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t be possible.

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Mike

That’s what I suspected happened to me. I’m using the HDMI port though right now and although all text is difficult to read the picture quality and depth makes plain old VGA look blurry. Either its the monitor (since it looks fine to me on smaller monitors) or I just need new (or older?) drivers. As I mentioned before the HDTV-NVidia combo I’m using might be trying to make text easier to read from further away rather than closer. And an extra meter back does kind of make the text more legible…kind of.

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Mike

Not too long ago Nvidia released a driver update for my GTX460, and the text has definitely improved. It no longer misaligns. Rather, I’d assume its enhancing the depth of everything – including the text – only now more accurately. The update also improves gaming speeds. Most noticably Dragon Age 2. While I still prefer the VGA fonts due to the way cleartype enhances them, HDMI fonts are no longer difficult to read :)

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J

Nice!

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Malamen

I use to have the same problem with my samy 32″ , I found the solution by mistake, I just had to rename the hdmi source to PC and voila!! vga advantages over hdmi by renaming hdmi source as “PC”. I hope this helps.

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matthew

I can see VGA font is much normal and clearer from PC to LED TV than when I use HDMI, why ?!

PC is the ZOTAC ZBOX AD02

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J

Have you ensured that the settings on both your TV and PC are set for HDMI output? Oftentimes I’ve seen the problem solved with something as simple as that.

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ForzaItalia

Great article and I agree. I have a unique situation. I am building a Sega Triforce arcade board at home. The Triforce was in the arcades in 2003. A CRT monitor would probably be my best choice but space is of a premium and seeing that they’re bulky, I’ll pass. So that leaves me with an HDTV or LED monitor in order to output the games. I can do both VGA and HDMI as I have a converter.

What do you think is the best route? I’m looking for the best possible resolution.

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J

Judging by the age, and looking at the specs, the board isn’t going to output an HD signal. This means that using HDMI will require conversion which will always cause a bit of degradation of the signal & images. Your best bet is to stick with VGA, as it won’t require the conversion and will produce high resolution images.

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ForzaItalia

Thanks J. I’m going to try both but I agree that VGA might be the best route.

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JP

We have a couple of systems, and find the VGA is better than the HDMI on both. We use a Mac Pro w/ 2 x 42″ LCD screens, and an iMac (24″) with and external plasma, and have tried various configurations and find VGA is much better than HDMI for the computer’s output. Something to do with progressive scan v interlaced or whatever. Not sure why, but the VGA (SVGA as you point out) looks great, the HDMI looks crap; falls down on many fronts, and anyway it leaves the HDMI free for the output from AVID Mojo cards and Games console outputs (XBox / PS3), so we can just switch between.

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Jason

VGA supports propper power saving modes where as with HDMI you can only use the TVs own power saving options, which on my Samsung has a minimum no signal grace time of 15 minutes… I’ve usually come back to the PC by then so it ends up being always on…

When I use VGA I can set the time to whatever I want using the PC. e.g. 2 minutes, and the TV also goes on standby when the PC shuts down.

There’s always pros and cons so I don’t think there is ever a definitive answer to this kind of question no matter how many opinions you take into account.

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John

I still say VGA, given that it doesn’t have the glorified handcuffs known as HDCP. One less pain in the neck when working with videos.

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Spectacled Skeptic Al

hmm truly truly interesting topic. didn’t quite believe it when my fren mentioned it…

why would a 1:1 non-converted digital signal be worse than a vga cable?
could some of these laptops of the ppl who commented here (very few actually stated their laptop resolution), and also their TVs possibly be of different resolutions (Full HD 16:9, HD-Ready, older 16:10 models)?

i.e. if i had a laptop with native res at Full HD (16:9, 1920×1080) , and my tv is also Full hd, why would a VGA connection be better than a HDMI cable?

anyhow i can’t wait to test it out on my own! :-)

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Mike

I’ve stuck to my VGA for weeks now, there’s just no reason to switch back to HDMI unless I want my TV to alter the picture, add black-levels, contrast, edge-enhancement and so on. I can’t get the two to look identical, same resolution, fullHD 42″ TV. I actually think the fact its 42″ rather than a typical monitor makes the difference?

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J

Perhaps. There’s probably some hidden little setting somewhere that makes it compatible. It’s a bit irritating how nothing is really standard, and you have to accidentally trip over the right setting sometimes to get things to work properly. Or maybe VGA is just better. Crap.

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Mike

FIXED IT!

You were right, J. There was a ‘hidden little setting’ somewhere.
My HDTV is la40b532p7vxxa (A South African Model). I’d been going over the manual a bit more and changed my output from NVidia’s CtrlPanel to the DMT settings suggested on page ‘English-15′ when it occured to me I’d reset the TV as well. That didn’t help, but it may have inadvertently led to my solving the problem. My screen was now cut off, which never happened in VGA mode.

And I was going over the VGA mode settings, that is the ‘input’ settings, and selected ‘Edit Name’ to see VGA (PC) was named ‘PC’ and yet HDMI1/DVI was still named ‘Blu-ray’ since that was what I used it for. I changed it to PC as well just by chance and I just about fell on the floor. I checked if I’d mistakenly somehow switched to VGA mode, but no. The two look identical now. Who’d have guessed the name does it all???

So to anyone with a Samsung which looks disgusting in HDMI: Plug it in HDMI1/DVI and NAME it ‘PC’ or ‘PC/DVI’ – not anything else! :)

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J

Wow, that’s awesome! I’m glad you finally got that sorted. Ridiculous how it was something so simple, but so well hidden.

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Mike

Yeah, so now the pros are down to:
(For PC Use)

HDMI – single connection possible,
further resolution for future,
easier to plug/unplug cable,
secure content,
digital,
the standard with HDTVs

(Note: a PC cannot use AnyNet+ (Samsung) or similar, as far as I’ve seen)

SVGA – turns TV on/off with PC,
cheaper,
no HDCP ‘secure content’ enforcement,
immediate connection,
analogue,
the standard with monitors

So far as I can tell so far :) SVGA does actually seem better for PC-use weirdly enough. It depends what inputs and outputs you’re offered by your mobo, gpu, and TV and whether you want to use PC speakers, or an HT/Receiver.

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J

Yeah, I suppose it really does come down to a person’s actual equipment. HDMI is technically better, but it seems like sometimes the difference isn’t worth the hassle.

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praneeth

Thanks lot… fixed every issue VGA vs HDMI.
but only problem i have is, When i connect my 27″ LED monitor to my Laptop via HDMI. it get more time to stablish more connection than VGA. why it take more time LED screen to lighten up with signal… ?

Thanks again!

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J

I’m glad I could help you get these issues sorted.

As for the delay – Maybe the computer’s default is VGA, so when it talks to your monitor, the “handshake” takes an extra second while your computer figures out that you’re not using VGA, but rather HDMI. That’s just a guess though.

I’m assuming you don’t set anything on your computer to tell it you’re using HDMI beforehand, correct? You just plug it in and it figures it out on its own, yeah? That’s where you’d run into a bit of a delay as the computer toggles through the communications options itself.

It isn’t an issue of signal quality, just the standard process telecom equipment needs to go through to establish a proper connection.

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Chris

Hi J,

I recently got an Alienware M15x Laptop as i would like to enjoy some high quality games on it, the thing is.. it only has a VGA output. I would like to play on my new 42′ Panasonic tv but i know VGA does not carry sound.. a VGA to HDMI converter would be the best option? or simply VGA to VGA and then a separate cable for the audio?
I would love to hear any advice you have as you seem quite knowledgeable on the subject!

Chris

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J

Yeah, if your TV has a VGA input, then VGA to VGA + Audio cable is going to be the best option. I wouldn’t bother with the converter – it will only slow you down.

I’m looking at the tech specs for that computer, and it looks like it should have Display Port out. This is a high-def digital output, like HDMI, and would actually be the best option if your computer does indeed have it. It carries both audio and video.

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Jack

Hello J,

I just recently purchased a monitor – Samsung 27″. I used a HDMI cable to hook up my laptop (1600 x 900 ) to my new monitor (1920 x 1080 ). There were a few issues, mainly that there were unused space around the Windows and that the font/text were extremely blurry. Under my brother’s recommendation, I used the SVGA cable that came with it, and voila, everything was great. Text were crystal clear and there weren’t unused space. I thought HDMI cables were suppose to be better than SVGA cables in every aspect?

Regards,

Jack

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J

I suspect that might just be a settings issue.

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Daniel

Hi J,

I have a question about VGA, I play COD Black Ops on PC. I have a new PC with GTX570, I7-2600k etc… but it still lag sometime like 1 second. I think it’s because I am using the VGA to my screen: Sony SDM-HS94P? I am watching for a new one with HDMI: PHILIPS 247E3LPHSU. How do you think about it?

Thanks :)

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J

The lag wouldn’t be causes by the type of connection you use (VGA). It would be something on your computer’s end.

The Phillips monitor looks pretty good by he specs.

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Joe

I have a monitor with only a VGA port, and a 19′ LCD tv with vga and hdmi. Should I continue using my monitor, or should I just use the TV and buy an hdmi cable?

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J

HDMI cables are cheap (less than $10 on Amazon), so if you want to use your TV, you don’t have to spend a ton of cash. The cheapo cables will work just as well as the super expensive ones over short distances. But, you could always use your TV with VGA, and it’ll still look pretty good.

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CheeZy

Hmm i have to disagree with you.
I have 2 HDTV at home, one is a Samsung LCD 40″ 720p and the other one is a Samsung LCD 52″ 1080p (series 5).
With both of them the picture quality is considerably better with VGA rather then HDMI.
When they are connected via VGA the quality is the same as a PC monitor, nothing to adjust whatsoever, the colors, brightness, sharpness and contrast are all perfect but if i connect them with a HDMI cable or DVI to HDMI (tried 4 different cables) it definitely doesn’t look as good, for movies it does the job but for browsing the web and playing games its clearly doesn’t do the job like with a VGA cable.
Maybe its only a Samsung thing i don’t know about other brands, but i’m clearly not the only one saying that if your HDTV has a VGA plug use that instead of HDMI.

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J

Samsungs, in particular, seem to have to have to have their hand held when it comes to hooking up an HDMI source from a computer. You have to be very specific with some of these TVs (Samsung or otherwise) that the signal is coming from a computer. I think this has more to do with refresh rates than resolutions.

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Greg

Hi, J
This a bit off topic but i am in the process of buying a PC for gaming (intel i5,Nvidia geforce). I have an LG “36″ inch LCD tv that has 2 Hdmi Dvi port, scart and rgb in.
My question is can i hook up the desktop directly to the tv(for playing games). Or do I need to buy a specific monitor.
Sorry if its a stupid question

Thanks

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J

THAT WAS A VERY STUPID QUESTION!

Just kidding.

Yeah, that should hook up fine with HDMI which will give you both audio and video. If you have a problem, let me know the model # and I’ll see if I can dig into the specifics.

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Greg

Thanks J,

All I have to do now is rob a bank..to be able to afford the desktop

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J

You could always try selling a kidney on the black market. There are less bullets involved, and you really only need 1.

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Todd

I have a question. The HDMI input on my tv is shot. I tried another tv it is definitely not my xbox or the cables. I have two choices, component cables (or whatever they are called, the ones with three vid cables and two audio) with optical audio to my surround, or a hdmi to vga conversion cable with optical to the surround as my tv has a svga port that still works. My question is will hdmi converted to svga be any better than just using the component cables?

Thanks

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J

Stick with the component cables. It’s easier, and the quality will be equivalent (if not better) to what you’d get with the conversion.

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Todd

Thanks.

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J

No problemo.

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Oswald

Hi there,

Thanks for the article. If it’s not too much of a trouble for you, could you please help me understand DisplayPort vs HDMI?

I have a Mac Mini (2010) at home and I recently bought a 27″ ASUS VK278Q monitor to replace BenQ G2420 monitor. This monitor has got a PIP (picture-in-picture) function as well. My idea of buying this monitor was to enjoy watching high definition channels through the set-top-box (HDMI) while working on the computer. This monitor has support for DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA interfaces.

The PIP function is enabled only for VGA and DisPlayPort interfaces . I tried connecting the MacMini using a MiniDisplayPort (Mac) to DisplayPort (Monitor), but this doesn’t work – I am getting a ‘no signal’ message

1) I have not understood why this wouldn’t work.
2) Will I get 1920×1080 resolution on the monitor, if I use a MiniDisplayPort (Mac) to VGA (monitor) cable?

I would greatly appreciate if you could help me understand the above. Sorry for the trouble!

Thanks in advance | Oswald

Reply

J

If it’s not too much of a trouble for you, could you please help me understand DisplayPort vs HDMI?

Without getting to deep into it they are both digital audio/video signals, and should be fully compatible with eachother.

I tried connecting the MacMini using a MiniDisplayPort (Mac) to DisplayPort (Monitor), but this doesn’t work – I am getting a ‘no signal’ message

1) I have not understood why this wouldn’t work.

Unfortunately, I don’t understand why that wouldn’t work either. It should work, but there are too many variables for me to be able to tell you specifically why it’s not working in your case. Could be a faulty adapter, or some other random quirk.

2) Will I get 1920×1080 resolution on the monitor, if I use a MiniDisplayPort (Mac) to VGA (monitor) cable?

For the same reason an VGA to HDMI cable won’t work, a Displayport to VGA cable won’t work – the whole digital-to-analog thing. A converter would do the trick, and you should get be able to get that level of resolution, but that will depend on the capabilities of the converter you buy.

Reply

Daniel

Hi again, I want to know if the Asus VE258Q is a good monitor for gaming? I will put a HDMI 1.4 because my PC has a GTX570 from palit. Thanks

Reply

J

I assume it will be all right, but I haven’t used that particular monitor personally, so I dunno.

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Eric

I have a new question if someone could help. I just bought a Falcon F-37 trading computer which has USB ports. It came with ACer 23″ monitors which had all three types, USB, HDMI and VAG. But I returned them for the ACer 27″, though these monitors don’t have USB ports, only HDMI and VAG. What’s the best connection solution? Thanks.

Reply

J

I don’t think I understand the question – The trading computer came with USB video outputs?

I’m looking at the Falcon site and it seems they use DVI video outputs, which can be converter to HDMI using an DVI to HDMI converter if your monitors don’t have DVI inputs.

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FlyingFish

I agree… with any tv I have tried with my custom htpc or any other pc or laptop we have tried…. On a Samsung (LCD or dip), sharp, lg and Sony…VGA wins hands down. VGA with to toslink for my audio obliterates the hdmi connection. Settings or not, it has been 3 years of reading debates like this and me messing about with settings… All for not. I would love for someone to show me an hdmi set up from an htpc to a monitor/projector that looks fabulous browsing windows folders, word processing and then viewing a 1080p blu-ray or mkv file, without f’ing around with settings and changing anything other than firing up WMC, sticking in the blu-ray or double clicking the mkv file (whatever your choice of viewing from your htpc is). It has driven me nuts many times trying to get an hdmi connection to do what I want between pc and viewing device. Dvi to dvi would be a dream. Anyway, the infatuation with hdmi makes me sick. Send the signal, the whole signal and nothing but the signal… Don’t even get me started on hdcp!

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Rob

Thanks FlyingFish, you just helped me make up my mind about upgrading to an HDMI video card to use with my Sony LCD. Does not sound like it’s worth the hassle or expense. I’ll stick with my old dual-output SVGA card and get a long VGA cable for the TV, and call it a day.

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FlyingFish

Cool, glad to have helped save you some money and a potential headache. You are deifintely better off keeping your existing card and purchasing a long vga. I have a 50 footer that worked fantastically when i used it to hook up a distant HD TV in an adjacent room. The fancy video card I renewed my HTPC with (so i could play the latest games – all 3 hours that i have found time to play BF3) still has two virgin hdmi ports. They will lose their virginity next week though and i suspect I’ll be in for a mental breakdown… I’ve ordered a new 3D projector that only has hdmi inputs, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ll be thinking about what a good friend once said: “Ask yourself this question, when tempted to buy an overpriced (aka monster) HDMI cable: How Dumb M I ?”

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J

True about the HDMI cables – That actually reminds me – I was going to do a rant on the subject at some point. Maybe today’s the day… Probably not.

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Mrs J Watson

Thanks for your explanation on HDMI vs VGA connecting a laptop pc to a tv. I am an oap with no clever children or grandchildren to ask – so rely on info like yours for any queries I may have. Now I know a bit more about it – I may even have a go at connecting!

Reply

J

:) If you’re an oap with an oatv, your best bet is going to be to stick with analog connections – VGA-to-RCA or VGA-to-Svideo. These are the easiest, and it provides a good enough picture. No need to fuss around with HDMI. Good luck!

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Martinov

Im planning to buy a HDMI cable but i dont know if it would deliver higher resolution. I have a laptop and its highest res is 1366×768 (a 16:9 ratio) and whenever i connect it to my plasma tv through a VGA cable, it shrinks down to 1024×768 and i think its a 4:3 ratio and it looks like it was just being stretched out of my tv. But if i buy a HDMI cable would it deliver a higher and a 16:9 ratio resolution? ill be waiting for ur suggestion, thank you!

Reply

J

If that’s your computer’s max resolution, your VGA cable should be able to handle that as well as the 16:9 ratio.

How do you connect to your TV? Does it have a VGA input, or are you using something like VGA to Composite?

Reply

Koyanti

Hi, so I am building a new computer the video card has mini hdmi and dvi my monitor has 2 hdmi and a vga. What connection should I use to hook up monitor?

Reply

J

Doesn’t really matter – whichever is cheaper and/or easier. They’re both digital signals, and will both require a DVI/mini-hdmi-to-HDMI cable. You won’t need a converter.

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Ben P.

Hello, thanks for the article, but i have a question. I am trying to get the best graphics out of my Xbox as posssible. I use HDMI right now on a high speed hdmi cable and i use a HDTV 1080p LCD 1920 x 1080 46in.

My friend says to i should get a better tv (an LED) but i think LED has better color? Please correct me if im wrong.

but VGA and DVI have better resoutions, is there a way i could use VGA on my xbox which would get me better picture?

Or like whats the best way to get the best picture?

Thanks GUys.

Reply

J

Technically, the best graphics you’re going to get would be from an HD CRT, but I assume you want to stick with flat panel TVs.

LCDs are good for gaming as long as you stay below the 40 inch range. Above that, the flaws in LCD become more apparent, though much less so with gaming than with watching TV or movies. An LED is a better form of LCD technology that improves contrast ratio (not really color), but still, size is an issue with these as well.

At the size you’re running or larger, a Plasma is probably going to give you the best looking games. The “general knowledge” that an LCD is better for gaming is rather stale at this point, and its accuracy was dubious to begin with.

A lot of this is all moot and based a lot on personal preference too because advancing technology is blurring the lines between which is actually “better.” You’d be best served testing out a couple of set ups, because some people just hate the way one looks over the other (Plasma vs LCD).

DVI, VGA & HDMI will all output 1080p, so that isn’t an issue. This is the maximum output the Xbox is capable of.

So the best picture will be HDMI to HD-CRT > PLASMA > LED-LCD > LCD

Hope that helps.

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Ben P.

Thanks for the fast reply, Im starting to looking for a new tv now,,, Shame i just got mine.

THanks agian.

Ben

Reply

J

No problem.

If you’re looking to get rid of that TV, you could always send it to your old pals at Homecinematics.com. Just Kidding. No I’m not. :)

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jayahre

Interesting comparison, my laptop has a VGA and a HDMI port. When I hook up my laptop to my TV I use the HDMI cable. I was looking at getting the new IPAD, it states that the resolution and the HD is very clear etc but it only has a VGA port! So am I going to be able to get the same quality video display on my HD TV with the new IPAD using VGA as opposed to my old laptop using the HDMI to HDMI on my TV?

Reply

J

The new iPad supports the use of the Apple Digital AV adapter for 1080p output: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD098ZM/A

It’s basically an iPad to HDMI adapter.

Reference: http://www.apple.com/ipad/specs/

“Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p with Apple Digital AV Adapter or Apple VGA Adapter (adapters sold separately)”

Reply

DOC

Everything you said is technically correct, HOWEVER

In practice you will likely find that the difference in what the human eye can see between VGA and HDMI when watching video from a pc is pretty close to impossible to see. Add to that the fact that audio/video sync problems are more common with HDMI then VGA, again when talking about output from a pc, is more common.

I have a 55″ LG HDTV with VGA and HDMI input. I have a Dell tower running dual core E7500 processors at 2.94GHZ with 8 gig of RAM and Windows 7 Home Premium. My PC has HDMI and VGA output. When watching video from this setup I could not see any notable difference between the 2 interfaces plus the HDMI interface only supported a couple resolutions 1280X720 and 1920 X 1080, where my VGA interface supported many resolutions. I found that helpful as when I am just surfing the web I use 1024X768 but when viewing a video I use 1920X1080. I could not do that with the HDMI interface.

Also keep in mind that I am usually either streaming video or doenloading it, none of which are HD video. If displaying an actual HD video I’m thinking that I might see the HDMI advantage, but since that rarely happens it is a non issue. The quality of an average AVI file is still much cleaner then sdtv video!!
I also find that in my case since my pc is right beside my HDTV that a 3 foot vga cable is fine, which keeps the cost of the cable down and the signal quality up!!

Even more clear as mud huh??

I would advise anyone to try both methods and see what you think.

Just my 2 cents!!

Peace
DOC

Reply

J

Yeah, what he said.

Seriously though, you’re right. You would be hard pressed to actually pick out one from the other as far as quality goes, VGA is indeed easier to use for most people, and streaming content is rarely delivered in HD.

The cost is a non-issue because HDMI cables are about the same price as VGA cables.

But HDMI is more forward-leaning though, so my preference still lies with it. As for advising people to “run out and get a vga to hdmi converter” though, well, I might have to go back and edit that last paragraph at some point. It’s really only worth it in a few situations.

Reply

jayahre

I have another question that someone may be able to help me with. I bought a 25ft HDMI cable so I can display on my laptop on a VIZIO 49″ TV, the problem is I can’t get it to display.
When I use the short HDMI cable I have no problems. I tried the 25ft HDMI on my bedroom TV which is a 32″ I have no problem.
Why won’t the 25FT work on my larger VIZIO TV but works on the smaller screen Sanyo?

Reply

J

It sounds like the 25ft cable is working, and HDMI is working for the laptop to VIZIO connection, so I can’t really think of a reason why the two won’t work together. This is a strange one.

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Jordan

I purchased a VGA cable to play my xbox 360 on my 24″ Asus computer monitor, the resolution for my computer is 1920×1080. When I set the resolution for my xbox console to 1920×1080 there is a 1/2″ or so black bar on the right side of the screen only and when I set the resolution to 1620×1080 the 1/2″ bars are on the top and bottom. I can’t get the picture to fit the whole screen. Can you help?

Reply

J

The monitor works fine when you hook your computer up to it?

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Kate

Here’s a little backstory before I ask my question; it has to do with a HDMI 1.2 from standard monitor to tower/laptop.

Back in 2008/9 I purchased a HP tower (can’t tell you what, it went to poop a bit ago), and a HP 2159m monitor to go with. Upon setup, I used the HDMI cable for ease; as soon as I got everything going, I noticed that the desktop image didn’t fit the viewable screen when set to 1920×1080. Bit weird and annoying given the cable came WITH the monitor, and the tower was compatible. However, I thought hm, easy fix, set resolution to 1776×1000. Sadly, that turned the image to crap; everything became blurred, grainy, and font was unreadable. I tried to recalibrate the monitor, change colors, change settings, even going so far as to poke the graphics card, but nada. No change. So I just went to DVI instead, as the monitor and tower had all three connections. DVI, HDMI, and SVGA. DVI fixed it, all was right in the world.

Now, fast forward to today, and the same problem is happening. This time, though, I no longer have a tower, and instead am hooking up a HP dv6 laptop to the same HP 2159m monitor as before. As the laptop doesn’t offer DVI, I had to hook it up with SVGA until I could locate the monitor’s HDMI cable; it was crystal clear and gorgeous, yet bulky connection and I knew it wasn’t digital signal anymore. When I found the HDMI cable and hooked it up, same thing happened with the laptop as with the old tower; the desktop no longer fit the viewable area of the monitor, and when ticked down to 1776×1000, everything blurred and frankly sucked. I’ve tried messing with font settings, image settings, and the graphic card settings, to no avail. I’d really like to stick to digital signal as I do a lot of work with graphics (graphic design), and am OCD as hell. But SVGA is looking far better at the moment.

So I suppose my question is; the hell is it doing, and how do I fix it? Do I need an upgraded HDMI cable, or is there something extremely simple that I’m loverlooking? Thanks!

Reply

J

Sounds quite strange. I would troubleshoot it by trying a different HDMI cable first, and then trying a different monitor.

What part of the picture isn’t fitting on the monitor? Is the image too wide for the screen, or too tall? Or both?

If all else fails, I hear throwing electronics against the wall is a great troubleshooting method.

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marmot_animal

I certainly hope HDMI is noticeably better than VGA. I just bought an HP 2311xi LED monitor and the only cable I have until the new one arrives is VGA. I’m waiting for the Thunderbolt to HDMI cable. Meanwhile, what I see on this screen is not what I read in the reviews, that text, images, and video are stellar via HDMI. I’ll know in a few days.

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Derrick

I have a question about VGA and HDMI
Right now i have a 23inch monitor(no speaker included) connects to my laptop . the monitor has VGA and HDMI plugs! Because it has no internal speaker, I cannot HDMI. So, I am using VGA cable, the volume comes out from my laptop directly.

My question is: If i use “VGA to HDMI cable” (VGA from my laptop, HDMI to the monitor), do i get sound from my laptop as well, and get HDMI quality on my monitor?

Thank you!

Reply

J

That VGA to HDMI cable won’t work for anything. The quality you’re getting on your monitor with VGA is probably about as good as you’d get with HDMI. If you want to use HDMI, then your best bet is going to be an HDMI cable from your laptop to your monitor, and then use the monitor’s audio output and hook it up to some speakers. Or use it to hook it into your laptop’s audio input, which will output the sound through your laptop’s speakers. That’s all kind of a pain though. If it were me, I’d just stick with VGA especially if you don’t have an external sound system to hook into.

Reply

Mike

I too thought hdmi would be the superior cable, but in reality, VGA looks significantly sharper with deeper contrast and color. I had both plugged into my monitor, and switched between the two and VGA was very noticeably better. I tried adjusting the brightness and contrast on my monitor to perhaps compensate for the hdmi, but no matter what setting I put it on VGA always looked better.

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Mike

Although certain bluray movies will not play when hooked up analog ( this was the reason I had to hook up my monitor with hdmi) In addition, I tried plugging hdmi into my mother board, and gpu and neither made the picture any better,

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James

nice article, explained a few points I always wondered about
however, I Think you should correct the last part – “get vga to hdmi adapter” that wont work, it will still be an analog signal, you need a graphic card with DP or HDMI output to use the digital signal. (Most new gfx card has atleast both and often DVI too which is Digital)
If its outputting analog, then it will always be analog, no adapter can change the output.

Reply

J

Actually I said to get a converter. A converter will work because it converts the signal. You’re right though; a simple adapter won’t work at all.

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Ricky

Thanks for the read. I just switched to HDMI from SVGA and noticed a much brighter, sharper image. I thought it was my TV, as to why it seemed dim compared to the TVs at the store. HDMI is brighter!

Reply

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