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Video

Mirroring monitors means that you see the same thing on multiple monitors. 

Spanning monitors means that your computer interprets all of the monitors that are spanning as one giant monitor. You can see different things on each monitor, and your desktop, taskbar, Start menu, and background are stretched across the monitors.

Extending monitors means that your computer interprets the monitors that you are extending as separate devices. You can see different things on each monitor, and your desktop background is displayed on each monitor.

In general, video splitters can only be used to mirror monitors. If you want to extend your desktop across monitors, you need to make a separate video connection for each monitor that you are attaching. If you want to attach more monitors than your computer has video ports for, you can read about USB Video Adapters here: www.startech.com/AV/USB-Video-Adapters/.

If you are using a video card with a DisplayPort connection that supports DisplayPort 1.2 you can use MST hubs from StarTech.com to extend your desktop to each monitor.

HDMI is a modern digital audio/video standard used on many computers and television displays. HDMI replaces analog consumer video standards, such as composite, S-Video, and component, as the first digital consumer video standard. For computers, it can replace VGA and the video from HDMI works with DVI.

HDMI connector types include the following:

HDMI can be passively adapted to DVI and DVI can be passively adapted to HDMI, but there is no official support for audio in the DVI standard.

HDMI versions

Numerous revisions have been made to the HDMI standard, which have increased the capabilities while maintaining the same connectivity. HDMI has been designed to be fully backward compatible with older standards. The performance of the system is defined by the earliest version of HDMI used in the setup. For example, if you have a 1.2 source and a 1.1 display, the 1.1 capabilities will be used.

Using cabling that is certified with a specific version number becomes more important when you use the latest standards in your setup, due to increased bandwidth requirements. Cables that are certified for version 1.4 and later can contain Ethernet and will usually state "with Ethernet" in the description. Cables with Ethernet can still be used with any earlier versions of HDMI.

The following table gives a brief overview of the progression of HDMI.

Version Date Bandwidth Max. resolution Features
1.0 December 2002 4.95 Gb/s 1080p60
  • 8 channel LPCM/192 kHz/24-bit audio
  • DVD audio added
  • Greater support for PC sources, One Bit Audio
1.1 May 2004 4.95 Gb/s 1080p60
  • 8 channel LPCM/192 kHz/24-bit audio
  • DVD audio added
  • Greater support for PC sources, One Bit Audio
1.2 August 2005

4.95 Gb/s
 

1080p60
  • 8 channel LPCM/192 kHz/24-bit audio
  • DVD audio added
  • Greater support for PC sources, One Bit Audio
1.3 June 2006 10.2 Gb/s 2560x1600p60
  • 48-bit colour
  • Dolby TrueHD
  • DTS-HD
1.4 May 2009 10.2 Gb/s 4096x2160p24
3D: 1920x1080p24
  • 3D 
  • Ethernet
  • 4K@24Hz
2.0 September 2013 18 Gb/s 4096x2160p60
3D: 1920x1080p60
  • 4K@60Hz

HDMI cables

HDMI cable types can be separated into two different categories: active and passive.

An active cable is designed to exceed the maximum length of a standard passive cable. Active cables require power from either the HDMI port or an external power source. The cable converts the signal at the source to one that is better suited for the longer distance, and then converts the signal back to standard HDMI on the display end of the cable. StarTech.com carries active cables up to 100 feet (30 meters).

HDMI extenders also perform an active conversion to standard category cable (for example, CAT5, CAT6) or to wireless.

A passive cable does not convert any signals and is limited to a maximum length of 50 feet (15.2 meters). Cables that are not certified for resolutions higher than 1080p may experience problems when the cable is longer than 25 feet, resulting in errors in the video and audio. If you use passive cables, you should use the shortest length possible.

Numerous revisions have been made to the HDMI standard, which increased the capabilities while maintaining the same connectivity.

HDMI version 1.4 and later support 3D capabilities. Only cables that have one or more of the following specifications are compatible with 3D sources and displays:

  • 3D
  • HDMI 1.4 (or later)
  • Ultra HD, 4k x 2k

If you use an HDMI cable that does not have the above specifications, it may function for non-3D content but then fail when 3D content is displayed. As such, you should always use the correct cable for 3D content.

DisplayPort is a modern digital video standard that is typically used for computer monitors. The standard replaces other standards such as VGA, DVI, and HDMI, but allows for adaption to older video standards.

There are two connector types for DisplayPort: DisplayPort and Mini-DisplayPort.

DisplayPort versions

Multiple versions of DisplayPort have been introduced. Later versions of the standard increased the bandwidth and amount of video modes, and implemented features beyond a simple video standard. The version is typically identified by the DisplayPort source and destination device specifications.

The following table shows the key features of each revision.

Version Release date Maximum speed Connector type(s) Introduced features
1.1 May 2006 8.64 Gb/s DisplayPort
  • Copper and fiber cabling
  • HDCP and DPCP
  • Active adapters
  • 7.1 audio
1.2 December 2009 17.28 Gb/s DisplayPort, Mini-DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, USB-C
  • Multi Stream Transport (MST)
  • Improved video and audio sync
  • Passive adapters
1.3 September 2014 25.92 Gb/s DisplayPort, Mini-DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, USB-C
  • 4K and 8K support
  • HDMI 2.0
  • DockPort

 

Although Mini-DisplayPort and Thunderbolt versions 1 and 2 share the same 20-pin connector, care must be taken on how the standards are adapted or utilized.

Thunderbolt can configure itself to have Mini-DisplayPort signals, but Mini-DisplayPort does not contain Thunderbolt signals. Therefore, a Thunderbolt source can connect to Thunderbolt and Mini-DisplayPort devices or displays. A Mini-DisplayPort source cannot connect to Thunderbolt monitors or devices (for example, Apple Cinema Display).

Note: When you connect a Thunderbolt source to a Mini-DisplayPort display, you must use a Mini-DisplayPort cable.

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