VLog #77 – What is the difference betwen VGA and HDMI?

Video – VLog #77

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Script – VLog #77

Willie Nicol: Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of The Techno Dinosaur Meets The I.T. Geek. I am the Techno Dinosaur, Willie Nicol, so named because I’m technologically challenged. However, I’m also a personal development life coach who helps people with their “stuff” they’re struggling with, in their life. I am based in Troon, South Ayrshire, Scotland, U.K. With me today is my usual partner in crime, David Logan. So, David, how are you today and where are you?

David Logan: Hi Willie, I’m good, I’m great. My name is David Logan. I’m based here in Annan, south-west of Scotland, a stone’s throw away from Dumfries and it’s sunshine here today Willie.

Willie Nicol: Well, that’s good.

David Logan: I’m the I.T. Geek. I take the complexity, the jargon, out of technology for you the Techno Dinosaurs.

Willie Nicol: Brilliant David. So, I have a question for you today. We’ve talked a bit about devices, and I understand that devices are connected to things called peripherals. For example, your monitor to your computer or your computer to your printer or whatever. So, what’s the difference between a VGA connector and an HDMI connector?

David Logan: Great question Willie. So, VGA cables and HDMI cables are primarily used for connecting computers to monitors, projectors, laptops to projectors or monitors. VGA was first introduced in 1987 by IBM and VGA stands for, excuse me a second …. VGA stands for Video Graphics Array. As I said, it’s originally manufactured by IBM and for personal computers from 1987. Just about as old as me Willie!

David Logan: And the newer version is HDMI. So HDMI is short for High Definition Multimedia Interface which is quite a, quite a long winded word. So we’ll just keep it to HDMI for short. But the big difference between the two is VGA is only analogue. So think about our old phones, the round circle, you’d turn around to make a phone call. Or even nowadays you pick up the digital phone and make a phone call. But that’s all going, primarily all going over with the analogue copper wires and with that the signal. You can’t send as much information over the analogue. That’s why sometimes you get a grey picture with VGA connections. Hence the reason they’ve brought out HDMI which is crisper and gives a fuller resolution.

David Logan: Now I’ve always been confused about the two but the big bonus about HDMI is it brings it digital now so it combines. So if you’ve just got a VGA connector you need speakers, you need to connect them in to hear sound. But now if you get a monitor with integrated speakers, and all you need is one cable, HDMI cable. So for the people that don’t like cables it’s great.

David Logan: Now another format of …. so that’s HDMI and VGA. I can quickly show you what they look like. We’ll go and share the screen here. So, first of all I’ll share this screen here so you can see here. We now have an example of, let’s stop that for a second, that’s a good technical blip there. We’ll go back and share the screen and you should be able to see VGA. So, you can see there, this is an example of your VGA sockets. I’m sure you’ve seen that many a time, Willie, in the back of your monitor down to the back of your computer.

Willie Nicol: I have indeed.

David Logan: So, you can see it’s got the famous blue plug with the number of pins there, male or female there. But that is only for analogue so all I’ve done here is I’ve done a quick Google search on VGA. Now, the other type we talked about is HDMI, so can you see the HDMI there?

Willie Nicol: I can indeed.

David Logan: So, you can see here, if you pull it up you can see it’s a lot quicker and easier. There’s no screws to turn. You just plug it into the back of the computer or back of the monitor and it plug and plays and that’s great. But isn’t it great? It’s digital. It can take visual as well as sound now whereas VGA didn’t do that.

Willie Nicol: Splendid

David Logan: I’ll stop sharing that there now. So, that’s two types there, of how to connect to your visual displays, your monitors, your projectors. A third type is DVI. So, DVI, there we go. DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. These were created in 1999. So you can see we’re going way back in time, 87 and 99 and forward and that’s, it’s more for digital, for artists to get bigger graphics, get better definition in that screen for you. So, that’s where your 4G comes in nowadays, your 4G. Sorry, for your televisions and that sort of thing, for graphics. Any questions at this point?

Willie Nicol: Okay, we’ve progressed from VGA, which is analogue, to HDMI which is digital. And you’ve got your DVI. Well this seems to me it’s like a progression. Will it change again in the future?

David Logan: Yeah! So, potentially, potentially, you talked about connecting peripherals there. So we’ve always connected peripherals with USB cables and used USB cables to charge our smart phones, smart tablets nowadays. But they’re also looking at saying we’re going to replace that with USB-C. So, that’s a small connector which is very small and its simple plug and play again. And it’s far more superior than HDMI and DVI and it’s a USB cable which is going to be commonised across a lot of products.

Willie Nicol: Ok. So, that means hopefully we won’t have to buy separate cables for certain things. For example, my charger for my iPhone is one thing and my charger for my previous Android thing looked different. And you couldn’t interchange the two of them. So, depending on what product you bought, you had to buy a separate or a different charger. So, is it going to be like that?

David Logan: That’s very interesting you say that about the phones. We are digressing here, but I read an article earlier in the week where for smartphones they are trying to commonise the charging cable, the charging type for all phones. Doesn’t matter if it’s an Apple phone or Android or whatever. They’re going to try and do it. But Apple are resisting that …. good old Apple!

Willie Nicol: That’s no surprise because their chargers or the cables are a fortune. But then that’s because they have a captive market. Thank you very much for this David. I think we’ll be leaving it at that because we’re running out of time. So, cables …. we tend not to think about it too much because they’re just there, they’re just like the spaghetti at the back of your computer right. Fine when you hook them up, not so fine when you’ve got to see what, where everything goes. I’m so technologically challenged that I’ve got so many cables I actually write down which one goes where, right. And sometimes they’re colour coded but that’s another story.

Willie Nicol: So, that’s the difference between VGA, HDMI and DVI, whatever it is. Viewers, I hope you found that useful. Remember, if you’ve any techy questions, please address them to David, he’s the man to sort you out. And if you’ve any personal stuff questions or concerns, give me a shout. Happy to have a wee chat. So, all that remains for me to say …. thank you to David and to you the viewers – stay safe, stay well. And always remember …. have some fun! Thank you.

David Logan: To you the viewer and Willie. Firstly, to you Willie, thank you for the question.

David Logan: To you the viewer, if you’ve got any further questions or any topics you want us to discuss, either for Willie, personal stuff, or my technical stuff give us a shout, comment below, send us a message up above. If you connect to our personal profiles then send us a message – we’re always happy to engage and look for new ideas. What is it you’re struggling with? What’s limiting you to use technology? What’s stopping you progressing in your career? What’s stopping you moving forward? Give us a shout, we’ll be able to help you. We don’t bite. So, for now, have a great week and enjoy yourself, just let it go.

David Logan: Thank you! David Logan, the I.T. Geek.

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