Currently, there are more than six types of video ports available to the average consumer.

By far, the most popular ones out of these are the DisplayPort and HDMI. While most of us won't notice the difference between video feeds from these ports, there are some visible contrasts between the two.

Whether you game, watch movies or work, one of these two ports is better suited to your needs. Read on to find out which one.

What are HDMI and DisplayPort?

Both HDMI and DisplayPort are newer video transmission standards. While HDMI was first invented in 2002, DisplayPort came later in 2006.? Both of them are digital standards.

While both of these standards have the same objective, that is, transmitting high-definition video to your display appliances, there are some major differences.

What are the Differences Between HDMI and DisplayPort?

Before coming to the technical aspects, the most notable difference between these standards is the objective for what they were created.


HDMI first came into use in 2003 by popular home entertainment system manufacturers such as Sony, Phillips, etc. Their targets were image and video-driven applications. That's why HDMI is most commonly seen in home televisions, projectors, and monitors.

DisplayPort, on the other hand, was created in 2006 to oust the much older VGA and DVI standards. Safe to say, DisplayPort was created for computer displays and IT equipment.

Related: Video Cable Types Explained: Differences Between VGA, DVI, and HDMI Ports

DisplayPort vs. HDMI—Cable and Connectors

Currently, HDMI connectors use a 19-pin configuration and are commonly available in three variants:

  1. Type A:?The standard HDMI connector, most commonly used in televisions, projectors, and monitors.
  2. Type C:?Also referred to as Mini HDMI, this 19-pin connector is used in tablets and compact laptops.
  3. Type D:?Not as prevalent as the other two, but Micro HDMI is used in smartphones to save space.

There are two other types of HDMI connectors, namely, Type B and Type E, but they're rarely used and are not relevant for the average consumer. The Type B connector has 29 pins and supports dual-link applications. Type E HDMI connectors have a locking mechanism that prevents that from slipping away under heavy vibration.

In terms of cable, HDMI cables are usually quite short. There are multiple reasons for this, but most of it has to do with its usage scenarios. HDMI cables are used in home televisions and monitors, and the devices transferring the video feed are in close proximity.

Alternatively, you might want to consider?whether gold HDMI cables produce better quality?before buying one.

DisplayPort uses a 20-pin connector. These can be of two types:

  1. Full-size DisplayPort Connector:?Currently, this is the most prevalent DisplayPort connector. It contains twenty pins and can be commonly found on computer monitors.
  2. Mini DisplayPort Connector:?This connector is the brainchild of Apple, who first used it in their 2008 Macbook Pro, Macbook Air, and Cinema Display. It has twenty pins. Today, most high-end laptops come fitted with a 'Thunderbolt' port, which is just a specialized type of Mini DisplayPort that supports higher speeds and bandwidth.

For distances up to 2 meters, a passive copper DisplayPort cable can easily transmit 4k signals. But as the distance increases, this capacity falls proportionally.

When the distance goes up to 15 meters, the passive copper cable can only transmit 1080p video. But, if the DP cable in question uses active copper, 2560x1600 resolution video can be transferred over a distance of up to 20 meters.

DisplayPort vs. HDMI—Resolution and Bandwidth

Video ports are constantly being updated, and each new version supports higher resolutions. Users should choose their display depending upon whether it supports the latest version of the standard.

DisplayPort Versions

Different versions of DisplayPort and their supported resolution and bandwidth are as follows:

  1. 1.0 - 1.1a:?The earliest version of the DisplayPort supports a maximum bandwidth of?10.8 Gbps and can transmit?1080p?video at?144 Hz?and?4k?at?30 Hz.
  2. 1.2 - 1.2a:?The most widely used version of the DisplayPort, version 1.2, was released in 2010. With a bandwidth of?17.28 Gbps, it is a huge improvement over the previous version. The higher bandwidth allows users to transmit?1080p?video at?240 Hz and?4k?at?75 Hz.
  3. 1.3:?Released in 2014, DisplayPort 1.3 supports a bandwidth of?25.92 Gbps?which is enough to output?1080p?at?360 Hz,?4k?at?120 Hz, and?8k?at?30 Hz. Version 1.3 introduced the ability to transmit an 8k video feed via a DisplayPort.
  4. 1.4 - 1.4a:?DisplayPort 1.4 has the same bandwidth as version 1.3, but using?Display Stream Compression (DSC) and?HBR3?transmission rates, it can support?8k?at?60 Hz?and?4k?at?120 Hz.
  5. 2:?DisplayPort 2 effectively triples the maximum bandwidth from?25.92 Gbps?to?77.37 Gbps. This means that DP 2.0 can transmit?4k?at?240 Hz?and?8k?at?85 Hz.

HDMI Versions

There are multiple versions of the HDMI standard, which include:

  1. 1.0 - 1.2a:?The very first iteration of HDMI was made available in 2001, and it had a bandwidth of?3.96 Gbps. This allowed?1080p?video feeds to be transmitted at?60 Hz. Version 1.1 maintained the same specifications but with the added support of DVD Audio. HDMI 1.2 and 1.2a added support for One Bit Audio and fully specified Consumer Electronic Control(CEC).
  2. 1.3 - 1.4b:?Version 1.3 increased the maximum bandwidth to 8.16?Gbps. The same?bandwidth was maintained until version?1.4b. Thanks to the added bandwidth, versions 1.3 - 1.4b could transmit?1080p?at?144 Hz,?1440p?at?75 Hz, and?4k?at?30 Hz.
  3. 2.0 - 2.0b:?HDMI 2.0 was marketed as HDMI UHD. The video bandwidth was increased to?14.4 Gbps, allowing the cable to transmit 1080p at 144 Hz effectively. HDMI 2.0a extended HDR support, and 2.0b improved upon it even further.
  4. 2.1:?HDMI 2.1 was released in 2017 and allowed it to transmit?4k?and?8k?video at?120 Hz. All this was possible due to a maximum video bandwidth of?48 Gbps.

Related: What Is Audio Return Channel (ARC)?

Which Standard Should You Use?

Currently, there's almost no difference between HDMI and DisplayPort when it comes to image quality. But features such as an Audio Return Channel (ARC) on HDMI could push some users to use it.

HDMI is also perfectly capable of delivering a good gaming experience. Users can also split an HDMI signal to multiple displays, but it does require some work.

However, for truly immersive gaming at the highest resolutions, you would do well to go with a DisplayPort 1.4. But if you plan on connecting your PC to a TV, HDMI 2.1 is your best friend.

All in all, if you're using a?TV, then HDMI is your best friend. Otherwise, DisplayPort is the gold standard when it comes to pure gaming.

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