AV Equipment and Connections – Part 8 – DisplayPort to HDMI

06/23/16 by Bev

Today we are going to talk about the DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort and what is involved in connecting to a DisplayPort to HDMI input on a monitor. This is actually a very simple connection. First, let’s go over what exactly is a DisplayPort connection.

Basically, the DisplayPort is the newest digital connection to fill a void where only DVI and HDMI used to be. DVI will probably fade away soon, as the group that created it no longer exists to upgrade the technology. HDMI is not an open platform, as it is a royalty based product from a company called Silicon Image. So with the shortcomings of both DVI and HDMI, another standard was born and that standard is the DisplayPort.

Newer laptops and tablets are providing the DisplayPort or mini DisplayPort Connection. Now, I have to make a confession, since in an earlier blog in this series I mentioned that the mini DisplayPort connection was exclusive to Mac users. Well, one of our Account Managers showed me a Microsoft Surface Pro notebook that had the mini DisplayPort connection. So I stand corrected! So now whether you own a Mac or a PC you can run into the problem of needing to convert a DisplayPort or a mini DisplayPort output to an HDMI monitor input.

Get used to it ─ the old world of analog video, VGA being the big one, is going away. HDMI and DisplayPort will coexist side by side and require a good understanding of how to connect to each other as newer laptops and tablets may only support one or the other. The scenario we are discussing here is if you have a device with a DisplayPort or mini DisplayPort output and need to connect to a HDMI monitor input.

So the question is: can I just get a passive adapter or cable or do I need to convert the signal since the DisplayPort uses a packet transfer system called LVDS and HDMI uses the TMDS system? The answer is yes and no. For the record, the DisplayPort signal is not compatible with HDMI.

If the DisplayPort output is a Dual Mode DisplayPort then it has the ability to recognize and adjust the signal to HDMI when a passive adapter cable is connected. I mentioned this in an earlier blog and said that I got lucky. I bought a passive adapter cable and it worked. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won’t. If the DisplayPort graphics card is only a single mode DisplayPort then you must use an active adapter or converter.

So how can I be sure if my DisplayPort is a single mode or a dual mode port? Basically a dual mode DisplayPort will have a mark near the port that says DP++ or DisplayPort ++.

If you want to be totally safe then just get an active adapter for around $40. Whether it is a single mode or a dual mode the active adapter/converter will work.

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