With technology advancing and prices falling, chances are you've recently been in the market, or at least curious, about the new advances in entertainment technology, particularly in regard to high-definition formats. There are a lot of terms to deal with in a potential purchase of home media, two of which will be explained here: HDMI and DVI and their respective resolutions.
HDMI and DVI are both types of connectors. They're used to transfer information from a media outlet like a video game console, DVD or Blu-ray player, or even a digital cable box, to an external monitor like a television set. They have become standards with modern technology, quickly replacing the common yellow-red-white composite cables and even the red-green-blue component cables. They're both capable of high definition, which is one of the primary reasons they're used.
DVI, or Digital Visual Interface, was introduced in 1999 for use with computer monitors. It has the ability to carry an uncompressed digital video signal to its respective display, which nowadays encompasses many TVs as well as computer monitors. It is capable of various display modes and is perfectly adequate for displaying high-definition content, which, at this time, maxes out at 1920 by 1080 (1080p) resolution. DVI is primarily used for video, and therefore does not support audio without the use of a separate audio cable.
High-Definition Multimedia Interface, or HDMI, is quickly becoming the new standard in connecting high-def technology to a high-def display. Unlike the DVI, it carries both a video and audio stream. It is simpler, with all the information going through one cable. It is slightly newer than the DVI connector, and therefore is also capable of transferring content with a max resolution of 1920 by 1080.
As mentioned before, the resolutions of the two interfaces are practically identical. Much of this has to do with the display technology. Most television sets are limited to a maximum resolution of 1920 by 1080, therefore when running media through the connectors; they can be viewed at no higher resolution than that. Therefore, the differences are negligible, and the resolutions are identical. HDMI was derived from the specifications of DVI, so this is only natural.
HDMI is a far more convenient connector than DVI. DVI comes in several different varieties which can be confusing to anyone unfamiliar with the technology. It is also incapable of carrying an audio signal, and therefore requires a separate set of cables if you actually want to hear anything. HDMI, on the other hand, has both video and audio signals condensed into a single cable, eliminating the need for a separate audio cable.
DVI is still used for most computer monitor hookups, but HDMI is becoming the increasing standard for television hook-ups. This is due, primarily, to HDMI's convenience. The reality, however, is that if you're simply looking for the best resolution, you won't find a clear winner, here. So, if you have DVI and are happy with it and aren't concerned with audio, then stick with it, because you won't see a difference with the video. However, if you're looking for the simplest, cleanest interface between your new Blu-ray player and your HDTV, then HDMI is the way to go.