Difference Between VGA and HDMI


You can expect a number of differences between VGA and HDMI as VGA is an analog technology, which is a quite old one when compared to HDMI, which is digital. For those who don’t know, VGA and HDMI are interfaces used for transmitting video. They are present in devices such as computer graphics cards, laptops, monitors, and projectors.  Unlike VGA, HDMI supports audio too apart from video. The greatest advantage of HDMI over VGA is that HDMI supports better picture quality and ideal for high definition video. Also, the size of HDMI connectors is very small compared to VGA connectors, and hence, it is heavily used in small devices such as phones and tablets.

What is VGA?

VGA, which refers to Video Graphics Array, is a video interface found in devices such as Graphics cards, monitors, projectors, and televisions. The interface is based on the D-subminiature connector (also known as D-sub) and the type of D-sub connector used is DE-15, which has 15 pins. It was designed by IBM many decades back in 1987. From then, it was the default video interface for computers until very recently. Even today, VGA is widely used even though high definition devices now mostly use DVI or HDMI.

Difference Between VGA and HDMI

VGA is an analog interface, which carries data such as Red, Green, Blue, horizontal sync, vertical sync etc., using analog waveforms. The interface only supports video, but not any other multimedia such as audio. VGA supports a variety of resolutions starting from small ones like 640×350px to larger ones like 2048×1536px. Today, even for 16:9 resolutions like 1366×768, same VGA interface can be used. The quality depends basically on factors like the quality of the cables and connectors and length of the cables. However, when come to high definition video VGA cannot provide a better picture quality that is expected from high definition. Therefore , recently the VGA interface is missing in high-end graphics cards. Also , in devices like mobile phones, ultra-books, and other small devices, VGA ports are missing as it occupies a large space. In the future, with the improvement of video quality by the advancement of hardware, the VGA interface will probably disappear.

What is HDMI?

HDMI, which refers to High Definition Multimedia Interface, is a very recent interface when compared to VGA. It was introduced in 2002. HDMI supports not on video, but also audio. HDMI is a digital interface where ones and zeros are used to transmit data. As computers and modern LCD monitors use digital data, no conversion is necessary when transmitting data. Video data sent over HDMI is uncompressed while audio data can be compressed or uncompressed.

HDMI supports better picture quality, and hence, it is ideal for high definition video. Because of this, now, high-end graphics cards have HDMI interface to output the video. There are several receptacle types for HDMI as type A, type B, type C and type D. Type A,C and D have 19pins while type B has 29 pins. Type A connector is 13.9mm x 4.45mm, type C is 10.42mm x 2.42mm and type D is 6.4 mm x2.8 mm. The type B connector is a bit lengthy with dimensions of is 21.2 mm × 4.45 mm. As type C and D are very small HDMI interfaces are heavily used in smaller devices such as ultra-books, tablets and mobile phones. The fact that audio data can be transmitted apart from video signals has become an added advantage. Very high resolutions can be achieved with HDMI without any degradation in quality. For example, type B supports resolutions as high as 3,840×2,400. In 2013, HDMI 2.0 was introduced which supports incredibly high resolutions, bandwidths, and colors depths.

What is the difference between VGA and HDMI?

• VGA was designed several decades ago in 1987 while HDMI is more recent.HDMI was designed in 2002.

• VGA sends and receives data in ananalog fashion while HDMI uses digital data.

• VGA can only support video while HDMI supports both video and audio.

• VGA connector is a DE-15 connector which consists of 15pins while HDMI has several types of receptacles as type A, C, and D, which have 19 pins. There is a type B in HDMI as well that has 29 pins.

• The VGA connector is much larger when compared to HDMI connectors of type A,C and D in both height and width. Even type B HDMI is very thin when compared to VGA connector even though the length is similar.

• VGA is not hot pluggable while HDMI is hot pluggable. Even VGA is not hot pluggable according to the standard, it is possible to connect or disconnect while host is running usually without any damage.

• VGA cannot provide the best quality for high definition video , but HDMI is ideal for high-quality high definition videos.

• Modern high ends graphics cards do not have VGA slots, but they have HDMI slots.

• Small devices such as mobile phones, ultra-books and tablet computers do not have VGA slots because of the space problems, but usually have HDMI slots.

• Currently, the market price of a HDMI cable is usually higher than the price of a VGA cable.

• Since computers as well as modern LCD monitors deal with digital data when VGA is used, signals must be converted from digital to analog and then analog to digital depriving the quality and introducing overhead, but this type of conversion is not necessary in HDMI.



VGA is a standard that is there for several decades while HDMI is a recent one. The greatest difference between the two is that VGA uses analog data while HDMI uses digital data. Because of this, HDMI has several advantages over VGA. The main thing is that HDMI can transmit very high quality video for high definition video. Also, the fact that the HDMI connectors are small is an advantage for being used in smaller devices like phones and tablets. The ability to transmit audio over HDMI is an added advantage. VGA was the default video interface until recently,but now, HDMI is taking over. Still, VGA ports are present in most devices even today. However, in the future,VGA ports may disappear, giving HDMI its place.


Images Courtesy: A D-SUB connector (commonly known as VGA connector) via Wikicommons