Types of Monitor Ports: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, DVI, and VGA

As an Amazon Associate, we earn commisions from qualifying purchases.

There are mainly 5 monitor connection types

One thing that marks the versatility of any monitor is the number of ports it has. Of course, each port on a monitor allows different functionality and use. However, input ports play a huge role in defining the overall functionality and quality of monitors. Therefore, if you are buying a brand new monitor, you should definitely look at the number of ports it has.

But which port should you look for, and what purpose do these ports serve in a monitor? To know the answers read this detailed guide. By the end of it, you will be familiar with the most common type of ports currently in use, their functionalities, and one that you need the most if you are in the process of buying a new monitor. So read on!

Table of Contents

What are Monitor Ports?

Monitor ports are input interfaces that generally serve the purpose of data transmission. However, we live in a world of ever-evolving technology, and monitor ports have undergone radical changes too. 

Today, besides the essential function of data transmission, monitor ports are versatile enough to charge and power the connected devices. Moreover, the speed of information flow these ports can sustain has also increased exponentially thanks to the continuous technological evolution they have undergone.

What are the common types of Monitor Ports?

Types Of Monitor Ports
Types Of Monitor Ports

You will find several input ports available in the market. However, newer, more functional, faster, and compact ports are quickly replacing the older ports that were once considered the standard.

USB-C, HDMI, and DisplayPort are the typical ports you will find in most of the monitors. However, the older generation of ports like the VGA and DVI haven’t become entirely obsolete. You can still find them on several monitors available in the market.

Not all monitors come with every input port mentioned above. Moreover, each monitor port works differently. Therefore, you must have a working knowledge of each monitor port to understand its functionalities better and determine which will best suit your needs.


You probably heard of HDMI. It’s one of the most widely used input ports in monitors, laptops, and TVs. HDMI is short for High Definition Multimedia Interface and has been an industry standard for quite a few years now. 

HDMI is widely used to transfer high-definition audio and video signals across devices. However, its true popularity is due to the fact that it provides a high-speed HD audio and video transmission through a single cable without any compromise to the quality.

It’s been a popular choice for input ports in recent years, but it’s getting a tough challenge from newer, more versatile ports like USB-C. Unfortunately, not everything about HDMI is good.

In fact, there are quite a few drawbacks too. One major limitation is the distance of transmission. An HDMI cable has an effective range of 15-20 meters only. Another drawback is the switching delay, which can cause a blank screen.

Moreover, you won’t be able to transfer different video and audio signals through a single cable. For a full HD resolution, standard HDMI cable should suffice, but for 4k and 8k resolution, you will need HDMI High Speed, HDMI Premium High Speed, and HDMI Ultra High-Speed cables.


Another very sophisticated next-generation port that is quickly becoming a go-to port is the versatile DisplayPort. It’s generally employed for gaming or visually intensive tasks like designing.

DisplayPort or DP for short was developed to replace the aging VGA and DVI ports. It provides a faster, more elegant alternative and allows data transfer at a much faster speed.

Like USB type C, it boasts an orientation-free design and offers a relatively high power transmission, which can go up to 100 watts. There are currently three versions of DP in use. The first version is DisplayPort 1.2, which supports 3840 x 2160 resolution with 4K video at a 60 Hz refresh rate. The second is the DisplayPort 1.3, which takes things to another level and allows 8k resolution. Lastly, the DisplayPort 1.4, which is the latest edition and supports 8k videos at 60 Hz as well as HDR content.

Another great thing about DisplayPort is its support of daisy-chaining. You don’t need multiple chords for transmitting to different monitors. A single cable connected to a DisplayPort will do the trick.


USB-C is the result of the ever-increasing demand for a universal input interface. Developed by USB Implementers Forum back in 2014, USB-C quickly rose in popularity mainly due to its advanced features, including data and power transmission, and as an alternative for a universal port.

It’s a 24 pin compact port that boasts incredible and highly advanced features. Not only does it allow audio and video transfer, but a single port can also serve as a charging and power station.

One significant advantage of a USB type C port is its orientation-free design. It enhances usability and eliminates the need for multiple ports for connecting different devices. You can easily connect smartphones and laptops etc., to the monitor. 

Furthermore, a USB-C offers a faster transmission rate than its predecessors as well as other ports too. For example, the speed is twice that of the older USB 2.0 ports.


Before the rise of HDMI and other modern input interfaces, VGA was the reigning king of the ports. It was the most popular input interface and had a widespread presence in computers, monitors, and laptops.

Introduced by IBM way back in 1987, VGA was the industry standard for the connector type. It has a 15 pin design and could transmit RGBHV video signals.

VGA is only limited to carry analog signals, and in this digital age, it has become obsolete. Therefore, you will only find it in older devices and gaming consoles like PlayStation 2 and SEGA Dreamcast.


Similar to VGA, DVI is also an older generation port that was in wide use before the coming of HDMI. DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface, which was created for video transmission over the display device. As such, it cannot transfer audio signals.

DVI may be from the older generation of ports, but it does provide a better frame rate than HDMI. Therefore you will still find DVI ports alongside HDMI in many modern monitors. Higher frame rates are particularly appealing to gamers. Consequently, DVI has a larger fan following among the gaming community. Moreover, a DVI port can also support resolution up to 2560 x 1600. Therefore they offer much enhanced visuals with sharper and crisper images.

One thing you have to keep in mind, though, is that the DVI port does not support 4k. Therefore if your intended use of the monitor requires 4k support, you will be better off with the latest generation ports like DisplayPort.


Monitor Ports have a significant impact on the overall quality and functionality of the monitor. Therefore, while going through the monitor features you intend to buy, do not overlook the type of ports the monitor is equipped with

For the baseline, an HDMI port is a must. However, for a more specific use, you can go according to the features of different ports and what you are trying to achieve. While USB type C brings in versatility and ease, a DisplayPort is no less powerful. In the end, it all depends upon the specific use.

Rohit is a software engineer. A pro lover of Technology and tech gadgets. I am a gamer too. Our team is here to help you find the best monitor products to decide which one is best for you.

Leave a Comment