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DVI Tutorial
DVI, or Digital Visual Interface, is a video interface standard designed to maximize the visual quality of digital display devices such as flat panel LCD computer displays and digital projectors. It was developed by an industry consortium, the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG), and designed to carry uncompressed digital video data to a display. Because DVI carries video signals only, it is only partially compatible with the HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) standard in digital mode ( DVI-D).


DVI cable connectors are polarized so the user cannot orient them incorrectly.  They are available in 5 configurations, depending upon the type of signal, analog, digital, or both.


DVI-I indicates DVI-Integrated and supports both digital and analog signal transfers, so it works with both digital and analog monitors.  DVI-D indicates DVI-Digital and supports digital signal transfers only.  DVI-A indicates DVI-Analog and supports analog signals only. DVI Dual Link also includes a second data link for high resolution displays where applicable.


The maximum length of DVI cables is not included in the specification since it is dependent on bandwidth requirements, i.e. the resolution of the image. In general, cable lengths from 1 to 15 feet (4.5M) will work for displays at resolutions of 1920x1200.  Cable lengths up to 50 feet (15m) can be used with displays at resolutions up to 1280x1024.


DVI and VGA are compatible and allow a VGA monitor to be connected with an adapter. This feature was included in order to make DVI universal, as it allows either analog or digital monitors to be operated from the same connector.


The long flat pin on a DVI-I connector is wider than the same pin on a DVI-D connector, so it is not possible to connect a male DVI-I to a female DVI-D. It is possible, however, to connect a male DVI-D cable to a female DVI-I connector. Many flat panel LCD monitors have only the DVI-D connection so that a DVI-D male to male cable will work when connecting DVI-I female.


Digital Specifications

  • Minimum clock frequency: 21.76 MHz
  • Maximum clock frequency in single link mode: 165 MHz (up to 3.96 Gbit/s)
  • Maximum clock frequency in dual link mode: up to 7.92 Gbit/s
  • Pixels per clock cycle: 1 (single link) or 2 (dual link)
  • Bits per pixel: 24 (single and dual link) or 48 (dual link only)   

Example display modes (single link):

  • HDTV (1920 × 1080)
  • UXGA (1600 × 1200)
  • WUXGA (1920 × 1200)
  • SXGA (1280 × 1024)
  • WXGA+ (1440 x 900)
  • WQUXGA (3840 × 2400)

Example display modes (dual link):

  • QXGA (2048 × 1536)
  • HDTV (1920 × 1080)
  • WQXGA (2560 × 1600)
  • WQUXGA (3840 × 2400)

Analog Specifications

  • RGB bandwidth: 400 MHz at -3 dB
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