How HDMI is Different from Displayport? (5 Key Differences)

HDMI and DisplayPort are the two most popular connectors for transmitting audio and video signals to the display. Both these connectors are present in most electronic devices and have similar applications. But which among them is better? Making the best choice out of HDMI and DisplayPort primarily depends on what application we are looking for. Let’s compare the various features of these ports in detail.

What are HDMI and DisplayPorts?

High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) was introduced in 2002 while Display ports came out in 2006. Both are digital standards meant to transmit audio and video over a single cable. Both connectors are forward and backward-compatible and are easy to connect.

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Apart from these similarities, HDMI and DisplayPorts vary in their capabilities and compatibilities. A major point in this is that HDMI can only make a one-to-one connection, i.e, it can connect one device to only one display. On the other hand, DisplayPort can connect a single device to multiple displays.

Note: While comparing HDMI and Display ports, it is very important to look at their version number rather than making a generalized comparison. It becomes effective in comparing the versions that have similar features. For example, DisplayPort 1.2 is usually compared with HDMI 2.0.

HDMI vs Display Port: Differences

HDMI vs Display port
HDMI vs Display port

The HDMI and Display port looks similar but they both have different features. The table below shows the general differences between an HDMI and a Display port.

FeaturesHDMIDisplay Port
No. of pins1920
Locking mechanismNoYes
Used inShort/Long distanceShort distance
Ideal forLarger bandwidth applicationsRegular applications
Differences between Display port and HDMI

Read also: 5 HDMI Types & 7 Standards Explained(Speed Compared)

Connector

HDMI and Display port
HDMI and Display port

As visible in the figure above, HDMI has a 19-pin symmetrical connector while DisplayPort connector has 20 pins asymmetrical connector.

An advantage of DisplayPort connectors over HDMI is that they have a latch or locking mechanism. This prevents the cable from being accidentally disconnected. Hence HDMI connection tends to lose over time, but DisplayPort stays perfectly locked. Also, both standards have connectors of different sizes.

Cable length

HDMI signals are flexible to run over different types of cable to longer distances. 15-meter HDMI cable can deliver the signals in 4K resolutions at 60Hz. The signals can also be carried over CAT 5 and CAT 6 cables to 50 meters. Moreover, they are also carried by coaxial cables up to 90 meters and by fiber optic cables to more than 100 meters!

The signals through DisplayPorts are not usually carried above 3 meters. Passive copper DisplayPort cables can carry 4K resolution signals up to 2 meters. To increase the distance up to 15 meters, we will have to compromise on the resolution to 1080p. We can further improve the transmission distance by using fiber cables.

Compatibility

Most of the devices support HDMI ports than DisplayPorts. This is because HDMI ports are used in regular applications while DisplayPorts are mostly used in high-end applications since they support larger bandwidth. Higher bandwidth means, more signal is transmitted at a given time.

HDMI port
HDMI port

The devices that support HDMI standards are almost all home audio/video devices, PCs, DVD recorders and players, set-top boxes, projectors, modern LCD and LED TVs, projectors, game consoles, streaming devices, etc.

Display port
Display port

The DisplayPorts are best suited for Apple’s iMac desktops, MacBooks, Microsoft’s Surface Pro, monitors, PCs, etc. The Multi-Stream Transport (MST) technology in DisplayPorts 1.2 enables connecting multiple displays to a single device.

Read also: What is HDMI ARC? How it Works and Do You Need it?

Available versions of HDMI and DisplayPorts (as of 2021)

Let us see the different versions developed for HDMI and DisplayPorts. Each new version introduced some enhancements to the existing features, especially on resolution and bandwidth. The table lists the different revision groups of HDMI and their essential features.

VersionBandwidthResolutionMost Suitable Application
1.0-1.24.95 Gbps1080p at 60 HzBlu-ray players
1.3-1.410.2 Gbps1080p up to 144 Hz, 4K at 30 HzConnect DVD or Blu-ray player to the TV
2.018.0 Gbps1080p at 240 Hz, 4K at 60 Hz, HDRAOC C27G27 Monitor
2.1-2.1a48 Gbps4K at 144 Hz, 8K at 30HzASUS TUF Gaming Monitor
Different versions of HDMI

The table lists the different revision groups of DisplayPort and their essential features.

VersionBandwidthResolutionMost Suitable Application
1.0-1.110.8 Gbps1080p at 144 Hz, 4K at 30 HzHDTV and bigger displays
1.221.6 Gbps1080p at 240 Hz, 4K at 75 Hz, and 5K at 30 HzAOC C27G27 Monitor
1.332.4 Gbps1080p at 360 Hz, 4K at 120 Hz, 5K at 60 Hz, and 8K at 30 Hz4K UKD Display
1.432.4 Gbps8K at 60 Hz, HDR8K UKD Display
280.0 Gbps16K at 60 Hz with HDR on, up to 10K with HDR off at 80 HzAugmented/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Displays, Gaming Applications
Different versions of the Display port

Conclusion- Which is the best option?

The HDMI and DisplayPorts are 90% similar but have several distinct features which we have already seen in detail. But which one is better? The answer to that depends on the purpose. Here are some major cases:

  • Since DisplayPorts carry high bandwidth signals, they are more suitable for high-resolution videos. While the HDMI standard is more utilized in purely image-driven markets like digital cameras.
  • We can use HDMI standards for internet connection.
  • For the application of connecting one device to multiple displays, DisplayPort is necessary.
  • Also, the game consoles use DisplayPorts over HDMI to transmit higher bandwidth.

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