With the rise of high definition digital content, it can be sometimes confusing how to differentiate the multiple interface standards for your television set or monitor. HDMI and DisplayPort are the latest serial interfaces to transmit digital audio and video, replacing older interfaces such as VGA, DVI, and component. Whether you’re doing high performance gaming or watching a HD movie on your television set, there are some notable differences between which cables you decide to use, HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.4.
HDMI, or ‘High Definition Multimedia Interface’, is the most ubiquitous interface connection and is found on almost all newer TVs, monitors, laptops, and other consumer electronic products. Although HDMI 2.1 was recently announced, 2.0 has become the modern standard video interface mostly widely used for 3820 x 2160 or 4K content.
HDMI 2.0 can provide 18Gbps of bandwidth, support 4K resolutions and 60Hz. While most film and television content is filmed at 24 fps, the FPS increase will potentially be more important for home videos, video games, and future content that has yet to be released. The increase in bandwidth also allows HDMI 2.0 to broadcast 10-bit and 12-bit color depths which allows for High Dynamic Range accessibility. High Dynamic Range or HDR essentially creates a deeper color gradient and range.
Another one of HDMI’s more notable features, the consumer electronic control or CEC, allows a remote signal to be sent through HDMI. Using the CEC, you would be able to use your television remote to control your receiver or cable box via your HDMI connection.
Although HDMI is widely used in most applications and consumer products, DisplayPort has some specific applications and uses that differ from HDMI which we will cover below.
In 2006, the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) designed a new display interface to compete with HDMI: the DisplayPort. Though not as widely available or adopted as HDMI, DisplayPort is a new interface usually found on higher resolution monitors.
DisplayPort has similar capabilities as HDMI; DisplayPort 1.4 can transmit up to 32.4Gbs bandwidth, much more than HDMI’s 18Gbps limitation. This allows a higher resolution of 8K at 60Hz with 10-bit color HDR or 4K at 120Hz to be viewed.
DisplayPort also supports multi-stream transport technology, which allows multiple independent displays per port. By connecting compatible monitors through a daisy chain or using a Multi-Stream Transport hub, you can use a multiple monitor setup through a single display output. This format makes it an excellent choice for any type of user who works with multiple displays.
The interface is also becoming more popular with PC gaming with DisplayPort support using NVIDIA’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync technology. The sync technologies prevent against screen tearing by aligning the computer’s hardware to the system’s GPU to match with the monitor’s refresh rate.
Which should you choose?
In most cases you can stick with the cable that came with your display for compatibility. HDMI is widely adopted and can be used in most consumer products, like a television set. However, for better resolution and support for multiple displays, DisplayPort has much more flexibility with its multi stream transport hub feature.