Difference Between DVI and D-Sub

With increasing hype of higher resolution video output, the technological advances have brought us to the two jargon, DVI and D-Sub, which is quite often confused because of their similar appearance and to some extent their names.


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However, DVI and D-Sub are significantly different from each other.

DVI vs D-Sub

The difference between DVI and D-Sub is that DVI is designed to transmit both analog and digital signals whereas D-Sub only transmits digital signals. This difference also makes a great difference in their video output quality.

DVI vs D Sub 1

Another sizable difference between the two is that DVI was specifically designed for visual displays whereas D-Sub was designed not only for display purposes but also for several other purposes such as serial and parallel ports, gaming pads, and even for connecting mouses.

DVI is also notably different from D-Subs since D-Subs are fairly outdated and DVIs are more new with improved specifications to support higher resolution videos than D-Subs equivalent for monitor interface.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonDVID-Sub
Used forOnly for Visual DisplayingFor a number of purposes such as VGA, serial port, parallel port, mouses etc.
Types3types: DVI-A, DVI-D, DVI-I5 shell sizes and many other configurations
Signal transmissionBoth analog and digital signals are transmitted by DVIsD-Sub equivalent to DVI, VGA, only transmits analog signals
Video QualityCan transmit clearer and higher resolution videos than D-SubCannot transmit higher resolution as well as DVI
AgeWas introduced in 1999, still very much in useWas introduced in 1957, mostly outdated


What is DVI?

DVI was introduced in 1999 for commercial use and was specifically made for supporting visual displays of higher resolution. DVI was curetted to transmit digital as well as analog signals and was known for its clearer and crisper video quality.

There are three main types of DVI, which are: 

  1. DVI-A: transmits only analog signals
  2. DVI-D: transmits only digital signals
  3. DVI-I: transmits both analog and digital signals

DVI-A which used analog signals, is mostly out of use while DVI-D which is digital-only and DVI-I which supports both digital and analog signals are still heavily used in the LCD monitors. 

The DVI-I standard was in widespread use due to its compatibility with both analog and digital signals and thus its rapport with VGA cables which allowed it to be used for connecting input and output devices with both plug-in types. 

DVI or Digital Visual Interface is a hot-pluggable cable that is mostly used for computers and laptops. DVI is a D shaped shell that also uses pins to connect to the channel which forms the basis for the confusion of DVI and VGA cables.

DVI with the dual signal link can support video images of 2560 × 1600 at 60Hz whereas a single signal link DVI can stream 1920 × 1200 at 60 Hz resolution.


What is D-Sub?

D-Sub, a short form of D-Sub miniature, is an electronic cable introduced for multipurpose use in 1957 that is mostly obsolete in the present times. When used for transmitting video signals it is also known as VGA.

VGA standard only uses analog signals; however, other D-Sub cables such as serial ports are designed for transmitting digital signals as well. VGA also is known as D-Sub 15-pin or mini D-Sub 15-pin has a D shaped shell with 15 pins arranged in 3 rows. 

Other D-Sub applications such as parallel port and serial port, mice, and gaming pads have subsequently been replaced by USB cables.

The only D-Sub still in use is DB9 and DB15 connectors for monitors however VGAs are even now widely applicable in the LCD monitors and other visual display interfaces. 

D-Subs have a robust build and supposedly can screen against electromagnetic radiation. Their D structure gives enhanced support and correct orientation to the cable while its metal shield provides protection from radiation.

d sub

Main Differences Between DVI and D-Sub

  1. The main difference between DVI and D-Sub is that DVI can transmit both analog and digital signals while D-Sub equivalent can support only analog signals for video streaming.
  2. Thus DVI subsequently replaced D-Sub because it could transmit higher resolution images and produce clearer pictures.
  3. In DVD-R, you can only write it once, while The next notable difference in the two cables is that DVI was specifically made for visual display while D-Sub cable is multipurpose with its varied range of uses such as VGA, serial and parallel port cables, mice, gaming pads, etc.
  4. DVI is of 3 types, DVI-A, DVI-D, and DVI-I whereas D-Sub has 5 shell sizes with a varied range of configurations.
  5. DVI which is more recently developed is mostly applicable to visual displays such as LCD monitors, while D-Sub which is now almost obsolete was used as a standard connector for computers.
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