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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thunderbolt To HDMI Vs Direct Connection Using HDMI Cables, Which Is Faster?



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People today want to experience a high quality video connection from their MacBook to their TV. However, there are two types of connections being used today. This includes Thunderbolt to HDMI and direct connection using HDMI cables only.
 
EspaƱol: Cable HDMI 1.4, rizado
EspaƱol: Cable HDMI 1.4, rizado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consumers often ask if there is any difference in connecting their latest generation Mac to a TV set with a direct connection using HDMI or a Thunderbolt to HDMI adaptor. Although they have the same use, there are several noticeable differences between a direct connection and a Thunderbolt with an HDMI adapter.


HDMI

The HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface is a compact video and audio interface for transferring uncompressed video and audio data from a compliant device such as a MacBook Pro to a compatible video projector, computer monitor, digital audio device or digital television. Although it has a similar function to the Thunderbolt interface, HDMI comes with numerous features that cannot be found with Thunderbolt.

One of the main differences is that an HDMI cable is much cheaper than the Thunderbolt to HDMI connection. An HDMI cable will only cost consumers $5 while the price for a Thunderbolt to HDMI connection can reach up to $24.98.


At the same time, HDMI technology helps support enhanced, standard and high definition video at 24 bits per pixel with a maximum 165 MHz clock efficiency. It can also support up to eight digital audio channels on only one cable thus eliminating expensive A/D signal conversions.

A direct connection using HDMI offers five GBPS of bandwidth along with reserving 55 percent of its capacity for future expansion. It also provides users with a bi-directional control transfer signal. Unlike Thunderbolt, it is backward compatible with a DVI hotplug. This enables it to use assemblies up to five meters in length. To put it simply, HDMI can also be utilized for monitor signal transfer like VGA.

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is a hardware interface that enables various external peripherals to connect to a computer. It combines both the DisplayPort and PCI express into a single signal along with a DC connection for the device’s electric power that is transmitted with one cable.

Unlike HDMI that has a maximum speed of five GBPS, Thunderbolt provides speeds that can reach up to 20 GBPS. This is much faster than HDMI. Thunderbolt enables users to daisy chain a maximum of six peripherals unlike a direct connection that only has a single wire.

Although it is a very state-of-the-art technology, Thunderbolt does not have a lot of the connectivity options that come with HDMI cables. However, versatility is on Thunderbolt’s side. This is because it can perform many of the same functions as HDMI and thus bridge the gap between video and data.

Similar to the HDMI cable, Thunderbolt can support high definition pictures that can reach up to 24 bits per pixel. It can also support Linear PCM, Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital audio. This technology is also compliant with HDMI 1.3b and Mini DisplayPort 1.1a. Thunderbolt also has a progressive resolution that can reach up to 1920x1200, 480p, 576p, 720p and 1080p.

Citations:
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  •  License: Image author owned 
Michael Alvarez has been working in the electronics and technology field for over 20 years.  He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise of HDMI cables with others; while continuing to grow his knowledge.



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