Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is a video display interface developed by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). The digital interface is used to connect a video source to a display device, such as a computer monitor.
DVI was developed to create an industry standard for the transfer of digital video content. The interface is designed to transmit uncompressed digital video and can be configured to support multiple modes such as DVI-D (digital only), DVI-A (analog only), or DVI-I (digital and analog). Featuring support for analog connections as well, the DVI specification provides optional compatibility with the VGA interface. This compatibility along with other advantages led to widespread acceptance in the PC industry over other competing digital standards such as Plug and Display (P&D) and Digital Flat Panel (DFP). Though predominantly found in computer devices, DVI is also present in some consumer electronics such as television sets.
DVI and HDMI compatibility
HDMI is a newer digital audio/video interface developed and promoted by the consumer electronics industry. DVI and HDMI have the same electrical specifications for their TMDS and VESA/DDC links. However, HDMI and DVI differ in several key ways.
HDMI lacks VGA compatibility. The necessary analog signals are absent from the HDMI connector.
DVI is limited to the RGB color space. HDMI supports RGB, but also supports YCbCr 4:4:4 and YCbCr 4:2:2. These spaces are widely used outside of computer graphics.
HDMI supports the transport of packets, needed for digital audio, in addition to digital video. An HDMI source differentiates between a legacy DVI display and an HDMI-capable display by reading the display's EDID block.
To promote interoperability between DVI and HDMI devices, HDMI source components and displays support DVI signalling. An HDMI display can be driven by a single-link DVI-D source, since HDMI and DVI-D define an overlapping minimum set of supported resolutions and frame buffer formats. In the reverse scenario, a DVI monitor that lacks optional support for HDCP might be unable to display protected content, even though it is otherwise compatible with the HDMI source.
Features specific to HDMI, such as remote-control, audio transport, xvYCC, and deep-color, are not usable in devices that only support DVI signalling. However, many devices can output HDMI over a DVI output (examples: ATI 3000-series and NVIDIA GTX 200-series video cards), and some multimedia displays accept HDMI (including audio) over a DVI input. Exact capabilities vary from product to product.