Common Display Connections

An overview of common display cables and their respective ports.

CABLE (Male) PORT (female) INFORMATION
 DisplayPort Cable  DisplayPort Port DisplayPort - a common modern digital display interface, especially prevalent on Dell devices.

Note: DisplayPort and HDMI are often confused - the easiest way to tell the difference is looking for symmetry. The HDMI cable/port is a symmetrical trapezoid, the DisplayPort cable/port is not.
 HDMI Cable  HDMI Port HDMI - another common modern digital display interface, and probably the most prolific. TVs, game consoles, and most consumer-grade computer equipment uses HDMI.

Note: DisplayPort and HDMI are often confused - the easiest way to tell the difference is looking for symmetry. The HDMI cable/port is a symmetrical trapezoid, the DisplayPort cable/port is not.
 Thunderbolt Cable  Thunderbolt Port Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort - Thunderbolt and Mini DisplayPort use the same connector, but don't have the same function - Mini DisplayPort is meant exclusively for audio/video signals, while Thunderbolt can pass more data and do it faster. If your device is Thunderbolt-capable it will work on a Mini DisplayPort display/dock, but a Mini DisplayPort device will not work on a Thunderbolt display/dock - it's important to know what your device is capable of, and what cable/adapter you're using.

Thunderbolt capability is designated by the Thunderbolt symbol above/next to the port, as shown here, while Mini Displayport has a box-shaped symbol.

Contact your local IT professional if you are unsure of compatibility.


 USB-C Cable  USB-C Port USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 - Similar to the above, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 use the same connector, but are not the same technology. Thunderbolt 3 can pass substantially more data more quickly than USB-C. Therefore, like the above, Thunderbolt 3-capable source devices will generally work with USB-C displays/docks, but Thunderbolt 3 displays/docks will not work on devices that are only USB-C capable.

Thunderbolt 3 capability is designated by the Thunderbolt symbol above/next to the port, as shown here.

Contact your local IT professional if you are unsure of compatibility.
 DVI Cable DVI Port  DVI - an older, but still quite common, digital and analog display interface. Many older desktop computers and most monitors will have DVI ports, but they are very rare on laptops. DVI-to-DisplayPort adapters are quite common for connecting older monitors to newer computers, or vice-versa.
 VGA VGA Port  VGA - an analog display interface, and the oldest connector on this list. Once completely ubiquitous, all but the newest devices will generally still have VGA support. Many classrooms will have VGA connections, so it's never a bad idea to have a VGA-to-(whatever your laptop has) adapter.


Adapters

Many display interfaces can be adapted to work with other connections. However, there are some limitations - for instance, some adapters will only work in one direction (ie. one end has to be at the display, and one end has to be at the source computer, and flipping them will have no signal).

When talking about display adapters, it's important to keep a few things clear to avoid confusion:

The source device (your computer, laptop, phone, etc.) passes a signal to the display device (your monitor, projector, etc.)

The source device and the display device will both generally have ports, aka female connectors. They will be connected by cables that have plugs, aka male connectors.

A cable will generally have male connectors at both ends, while an adapter will have a male connector and one or more female connectors of a different display type.


When looking for an adapter, please feel free to contact your local IT Professional for assistance. By supplying us with the ports available on your source device and the ports on the display device you're looking to connect to, we can ensure you're able to get connected.




Keywords:display, video, cables, cords, plugs, ports   Doc ID:105322
Owner:Alex G.Group:University of Illinois - ACES
Created:2020-08-26 12:01 CDTUpdated:2020-08-26 12:44 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois - ACES
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