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Overview of HDMI and DVI Connections for PCs

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This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs configured with HDMI or DVI outputs.
Your computer can be used to play audio and video files on external sound systems and digital televisions using High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) or Digital Visual Interface (DVI) outputs and cables. Not all computers or external system components support HDMI or DVI so it is important to determine which kinds of cables are required for each system before initial setup. Check the manufacturer's specifications for each system component to determine the types of connections and formats that are supported. This document provides an overview of HDMI and DVI connections, and how to connect your computer's HDMI port to your digital television (DTV).
NOTE:If you are experiencing audio issues over HDMI, make sure you are using the correct HDMI cable, as described below. Also ensure that your notebook has the latest audio drivers and BIOS installed. If you are using WinDVD or MediaSmart for playback, update to the latest version. For more information, see Resolving HDMI Display and Sound Issues .

What is DVI?

Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is an older connection type, intended to connect output devices, such as a computer, to an LCD display or digital television. DVI connectors and cables are capable of transmitting video information only. Therefore, DVI devices require separate cables for audio.
The Digital Visual Interface standard is a video interface standard covering the transmission of video between a source device (such as a personal computer) and a display device (such as a monitor or digital TV). The DVI standard has achieved widespread acceptance in the computer industry for both desktop computers and monitors. Most contemporary retail desktop computers and LCD monitors feature a DVI interface, and many other devices, such as projectors and consumer televisions, support DVI indirectly through HDMI, another video interface standard. Many Notebook computers have legacy VGA ports and, in some models, HDMI ports. Fewer Notebook computers have DVI ports.

What is HDMI?

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is an uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. It delivers crystal-clear, all-digital audio and video via a single cable, HDMI dramatically simplifies cabling and helps provide the highest-quality home theater experience. HDMI allows very large streams of uncompressed audio and video digital information to be transmitted across it at high speed. This reduces the number of cables required to set up your home theater system, since both audio and video signals are handled by a single cable.
HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, or A/V receiver, and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television, over a single cable. HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel, 192kHz, uncompressed digital audio and all currently-available compressed formats, such as Dolby Digital and DTS. HDMI 1.3 adds additional support for new lossless digital audio formats, such as Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.
HDMI also plays a part in the enforcement of digital rights management. If your HDMI components are older (pre-2005), and your output device doesn't have High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) capabilities, then you may be able to view HDCP-protected content on your notebook's internal display, but not on your LCD TV or projection TV.

What is the difference between HDMI and DVI?

HDMI and DVI are both capable of transmitting similar image quality. DVI video signals can be passed through to an HDMI connector using an adapter, and vice versa. DVI is an older type of connection that was originally designed for computer use, and as such does not support audio. DVI devices require separate cables for audio.
HDMI is fully compatible with DVI, which means that you can connect via your HDMI port to a computer monitor without any problems.

Is HDMI backwards-compatible?

Yes. HDMI has gone through several different versions. Each new version added different capabilities to the technology. For instance, HDMI 1.0 has a maximum screen resolution of 1920x1080p60, while HDMI 1.3b has a maximum resolution of 2560x1600p60.
HDMI 1.3b has all the capabilities of HDMI 1.0. However, if your home system is set up with an older version of HDMI, some of the newest options, such as Deep Color, may not be available on the system.

What kinds of HDMI and DVI connectors are there?

Both connector types have three different subtypes.
HDMIDVI
Type A. HDMI connector with 19 pinsDVI-D. Conducts digital signals.
Type B. HDMI connector with 29 pins. DVI-A. Conducts high-res analog signals.
Type C. HDMI connector with 19 pins, but with a much smaller connector head for portable devices.DVI-I. Integrated DVI conducts both analog and digital signals.
Adapters exist to allow you to connect different HDMI connector types to each other, and different DVI connector types to each other. Your computer and home entertainment system may have different types of connections. Check the manufacturer's specifications for each system component to determine the types of connections and formats that are supported before purchasing any cables.
Figure 1: HDMI port and connector
Image of HDMI port and connector

What does HDCP mean in terms of HDMI and DVI?

High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) was designed to prevent the reproduction of copyrighted material. Most post-2005 high definition televisions and high definition DVD players are rated either DVI/HDCP or HDMI/HDCP. This means that they have DVI or HDMI ports for connecting to other pieces of equipment, and use HDCP to protect copyrighted content.
If your high definition monitor or television set receives any information from satellite or a high definition DVD that has been encoded for HDCP, but the HDMI or DVI cables bringing the signal through are not compatible with HDCP, signal might be downgraded when it is outputted to the screen. For instance, a high definition signal of 1080i will be automatically converted to 480i, so you won’t get the advantages of HD. In some extreme cases, you might not even see a picture at all.

How do I connect my PC to the TV using HDMI cable?

To connect your computer to your high-definition TV using an HDMI cable, do the following:
  1. Locate the HDMI port on the rear of your TV. There should be more than one, so choose one that is otherwise unused. Note which port you choose.
  2. Connect one end of the HDMI cable to port on the TV.
  3. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on your computer.
  4. Using your TV remote, select the HDMI input corresponding to the port where you connected the cable.
  5. Press the power button to start the computer and allow it to boot into Windows.
    Your Windows Desktop should appear on your TV. If not, press and hold the fn key, and then press the f4 key to switch the display from your computer display to the TV.
  6. Using your computer keyboard or other control device, play a movie or online video.
  7. Check your picture and sound quality. If the audio does not start playing automatically, the playback Sound settings need to be configured to switch from the PC speakers to the TV speakers when the HDMI cable is connected.
    1. Click Start , type sound , and select Sound from the resulting list.
    2. Click the Playback tab and select the desired speakers from the resulting list.
      Figure 2: Sound
      Image of the Sound settings window
This should allow you to enjoy high-definition video such a Blu-Ray, if your computer has a Blu-Ray disk, on your HDTV. Verify the media playback program such as WinDVD, MediaSmart, or PowerDVD is available to assist in playing your DVDs.

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