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Technology seems to be moving faster every day, amazing new things become available and amaze Americans of every age, only to be surpassed and forgotten or incorporated into habits and never considered again beyond wondering if you remembered it when leaving this morning. Now you can shop for a Smart TV on a laptop that weighs less than your car keys, ten use both at lightning fast speeds. Fast until you try to use them together, that is, because once you get into cables, it is all acronyms and adaptors that can cost a few dollars or a few hundred of them. For those that like to make the right choice for their needs and not get overcharged in the process, here is an overview of HDMI, DVI, VGA and DisplayPort, and the most you should ever pay for them.

  • VGA: This is your basic old-school, analog cable. It is rare now due to the shift to digital. How much should you pay for it? Nothing. Never buy VGA cables.
  • DVI: Short for digital video interface, DVI cables are more common on computers than televisions. Single link DVI are not capable of resolution over 1920×1200, a dual link can do more. They do not carry audio, usually, which is why they usually show up on computer monitors. There are ways to connect HDMI to DVI cable ports, which should not cost more than seven dollars at the worst.
  • HDMI: Otherwise known as high definition multimedia interfaces, these are the most likely cable necessary for any devices to plug into the TV. Between a TV and a computer, the HDMI DVI cable battle has a clear winner: HDMI, the one that has audio. As for the difference between highspeed HDMI cables and regular speed, go with the HDMI highspeed cable so you can handle current bandwidth as well as future proofing yourself, at least slightly. When deciding which cable to purchase, though, you should be spending no more than fifteen. If you need the HDMI to DVI cable adapter mentioned above, max out at $20. Not too expensive, even if it is not the most streamlined process.
  • DisplayPort: This is almost universally used for computers alone, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. However, they connect easily to TVs and the cables are in the same price range as HDMI.

Choosing which cable is best is often a mix of necessity and preference. For those with no tech background, do not be afraid of the adapters, thinking they are too complicated. The HDMI to DVI cable adapter is just a few more steps and low cost as well.