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What Is a DisplayPort Adapter?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 June 2014
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    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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DisplayPort is the name of one of the standards for digital display interfaces. It was established by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) in 2006, and updated in 2007 and 2009. Because DisplayPort connectors on computers must be linked to monitors that have other connectors, such as DVI or VGA or HDMI, DisplayPort adapter cables are required. In addition, in 2008, Apple® created a different implementation of DisplayPort technology called the Mini DisplayPort, which also requires a DisplayPort adapter for use when connected to any monitor. A different type of DisplayPort adapter is made to fit each of these purposes.

DVI (Digital Visual Interface) is a digital display standard that was introduced in 1999 and often used for flat-panel monitors. The DisplayPort adapter for this situation attaches a female DVI connection to the DisplayPort port by means of a short cable. The monitor’s regular DVI cable can then be used to connect the monitor to the port.

VGA (Video Graphics Array) is an analog display standard that was introduced in 1987 and is now considered obsolete, although a number of people still have functioning monitors that use it. Like the DisplayPort to DVI adapter, the DisplayPort adapter for VGA uses a short cable to attach a female connection—in this case VGA—to the DisplayPort port. The monitor’s VGA cable can then attach to the adapter.

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HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), like DVI, is a digital data standard. It is a later invention, however, introduced in 2002 and is used primarily in connected digital audio-visual sources to digital televisions, computer monitors, and digital audio devices. A DisplayPort adapter for this situation converts the DisplayPort video signal to HDMI with a connector that converts the female DisplayPort port to a female HDMI port. A regular HDMI cable is then used to connect the port to the display.

Mini DisplayPorts on Apple® and Toshiba® computers require a Mini DisplayPort adapter to connect to any external monitor. There are Mini DisplayPort adapters to connect to monitors with VGA, DVI, and HDMI connections, as well as to those with DisplayPort ports.

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