Picking video ports


Video Ports

There are several different kinds of video ports, and you want to make sure your new computer has the right ones.  More have existed across the years, but these days you will find VGA, HDMI, DVI, and Mini-DVI ports.  This addresses the benefits and drawbacks of each so you can pick what you need.


A VGA port is something you will find on almost any computer, and any monitor from the past 20 years.  The only computers that won’t come with a VGA port are extremely compact ones such as netbooks (in which they are still fairly common) or a Raspberry Pi.  It does have some drawbacks though.  Very few TV’s include a VGA port, so it is far from ideal on a portable computer that you intend to plug into TV’s.  It only transmits video, meaning you will still need a 3.5mm audio cable to transfer sound.  In addition, the video quality isn’t as good as the alternatives because it is an analog connection.


HDMI ports are excellent for portable computers.  They are becoming more and more common in monitors, and even though that means you can’t connect it to older monitors, all modern TV’s support it.  You also get the highest quality as it outputs a digital signal (as opposed to the lower quality analog signal of VGA), and transmits audio.

DVI and Mini-DVI

DVI ports are not as common as HDMI or VGA, although the quality is equal to HDMI.  DVI ports rarely output audio, although it is possible.  Finding a TV with a DVI connection is almost impossible, so you will need an adapter.

A Mini-DVI port is something you will (currently) only find on an Apple computer.  It is identical to a DVI port with the exception of being smaller.  You generally use a cable that converts to another connection in order to connect it to a monitor or TV.

Which Video Ports to Choose

The nice thing is, on modern computers, you rarely have to settle with just one.  Picking which one to use is simple.  If you can, always use HDMI.  VGA is a great backup to have if you have an old monitor, or think you might need to use one sometime in the future.  DVI isn’t something to look for.  If your computer comes with it, you can have it as a backup, but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor.