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Flat panel monitor input connections

Matt Van Arsdel

Question: My flat panel monitor has two input connections, what are they, what are the differences between the two, and which one should I use?

Answer: With flat panel monitors so cheap lately, it seems that everyone is getting one when they buy a new computer instead of the older CRT monitors. Most flat panels are about the same price as a CRT but can have better image quality than a CRT if it supports a DVI input connection. The two different connections available on a monitor are VGA (Video Graphics Array) and DVI (Digital Visual Interface). The VGA is a standard connection found on almost any monitor built since the late 1980s. DVI is a new connection that is found on some flat panels but not on any CRT monitors. The VGA connection usually has a blue connector and has 15 pins while the DVI connection is white and has 24 pins plus a larger flat connection on the left side of the cable connector. When using a VGA connection, the video card takes a digital signal, converts it to an analog signal, and then transmits it through the cable to the monitor where it is then converted back to an analog signal. When signals get converted from digital to analog, and back again, some of the image quality can get lost in the translation. DVI will be able to send the signal digitally without any conversion; therefore will provide a clearer image. If your computer and monitor both have a DVI connection, it would be in your best interest to use that connection instead of the VGA connection, the image quality would definitely improve.

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