HDMI Video Card

High definition monitors are becoming increasingly popular with computer owners as their price falls. To get the best performance out of one of these monitors, it should be used with a HDMI video card. HDMI carries both high definition digital and audio signals in the one cable, eliminating the jungle of wires behind a computer. The cards are especially popular with people who use computers as media servers for their home theaters. This allows them to store hundreds of movies that can be played with the click of a button.

High definition has become a confusing buzzword for many people because it is used to describe many different devices. Generally, high definition is taken to mean any resolution above that of standard definition. However, there are many resolutions that are higher than this but also lower than true 1080p high definition. It is also confused with DVD quality video which has a lower resolution. Since the demise of HDDVD, the only useful high resolution optical disc currently available is Blu-ray.

The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the unofficial standard for connecting high definition devices. It can transfer both uncompressed digital video and audio signals through the same cable, and it supports multi-channel audio for surround sound systems. HDMI uses a unique port design that looks similar to a USB or Firewire port. There are four types of HDMI connector, including a miniature version for use with portable devices. There is no maximum cable length but high quality cables should be used for long lengths to reduce the chance of problems.

A HDMI video card is just a regular computer video card that has at least one HDMI output port. It allows a computer to be connected to any high definition monitor or projector that has a HDMI input port. Devices that only have a DVI input port require an adapter to be attached to the video card. There are also adapters available for older VGA monitor and projector, but it should be remembered that adapters cannot improve the quality of a video signal. HDMI cables can be expensive but the cheaper ones perform just as well over short distances.

The most common reason for buying a HDMI video card is to build a Home Theater Personal Computer (HTPC), otherwise known as a media server. The main purpose of a HTPC is to store media and stream it to monitors and speakers around the home. It may also be used as a digital video recorder (DVR) if it is fitted with a tuner card. Several tuner cards can be fitted to allow the HTPC to record several channels at the same time. Special software can be installed to make selecting and playing media easier than using the operating system.

HDMI is just one of many standards used to transfer video and audio signals between devices. There have been much debate about which standard provides the best video quality but it inevitably comes down to personal choice. There is essentially no difference between HDMI and DVI because they both carry the same digital video signal, but HDMI also carries multi-channel audio while DVI only carries video. It is also difficult to compare HDMI with other standards because the differences between them only become noticeable at high resolutions.

HDMI will remain the unofficial standard for high definition devices well into the future since current resolutions only use up less than half of its capacity. As monitors become larger and use greater resolutions, they require more signal capacity, which also requires more processing power. The HDMI video card may become less common as more motherboards are made with HDMI support built into them. This will almost certainly happen at the lower end of the market but high performance computers will still be using video cards for many more years.

This HDMI Video Card Review is Written/Updated on Nov 10th, 2009 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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