High definition (HD) televisions provide viewers with higher quality picture than standard definition televisions. Currently, HDTVs are equipped for connections to devices such as computers, gaming consoles, DVD players and cable or satellite television service. These devices may use Digital Visual Interface (DVI) or High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) ports and cables. Although these technologies both provide excellent picture quality, DVI does not provide audio input, thus a DVI to HDMI Adapter may be necessary.
According to TopBits, Digital Visual Interface "was designed for computer associated transfers," such as the transfers between a computer's video card (in the tower) and a monitor, as opposed to the audio and visual transfers required between a television set and other electronic devices.
In comparison, HDMI technology has always included both audio and visual capabilities. DVI and HDMI connections have both become standard; however, some consumers may only be able to connect a DVI cable to their computer and an HDMI cable to their television, or vice versa.
Consumers can recognize DVI connectors on cables by their bulky appearance with multiple, small pins within a small metal shield that is shaped like the capital letter "D." On either side of this shield are pins or nuts (sometimes known as thumb screws) that users screw into the device to secure the cable. By comparison, HDMI connectors are smaller and the user must simply push the plug into the port.
The male DVI plug on the DVI cable fits into the female port on the DVI to HDMI cable adapter. A short able extends from this connection and the adapter ends with a typical, male, HDMI plug that the consumer can plug into her HDTV.
According to TopBits, both DVI and HDMI technology provide an equal quality picture. The addition of the DVI to HDMI cable adapter allows users to connect devices that would not otherwise be compatible with a single cable without sacrificing picture quality.
Ram Electronics warns that users should exercise caution when adapting DVI connectors to HDMI connectors. The website advises using cables no more than 50 feet in length when adapting transfer data from a DVI device to an HDMI device.
Additionally, consumers may consider purchasing a DVI to HDMI cable, without installing an adapter at all. These cables have a DVI plug on one end, to connect to the DVI device, and an HDMI connector on the other end to attach to the HDMI device. Thomas Steves advises consumers that a "single cable of proper length connected directly to the equipment is the optimum configuration" for high definition systems.
There are multiple types of DVI connectors that are not interchangeable with one another. TopBits explains that analog devices only use DVI-A connectors while digital devices only use DVI-D connectors. DVI-I connectors are compatible with both digital and analog devices, however. Consumers will want to ensure that the HDMI to DVI cable adapter they purchase will work with their digital or analog DVI device.