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Digital Visual Interface

Digital Visual Interface (DVI)

A male DVI-D (single link) connector.
Type Digital and analog computer
video connector
Production history
Designer Digital Display Working
Designed April 1999
Produced 1999 to present
Superseded by DisplayPort
External Yes
Video signal Digital video stream.
(Single) WUXGA 1920
1200 @ 60 Hz
(Dual) WQXGA (2560
1600) @ 60 Hz
Analog RGB video (-3 db at
400 MHz)
Data signal R,G,B data + clock and
display data channel
Bandwidth (Single Link)
3.96 Gbit/s
(Dual Link)
7.92 Gbit/s
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Digital Visual Interface (DVI) 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). It
is designed for carrying uncompressed digital video data to a
display. It is partially compatible with the High-Definition
Multimedia Interface (HDMI) standard in digital mode
1 Overview
2 Technical discussion
3 Connector
4 Specifications
4.1 Digital
4.1.1 Clock Timing Pecularities
4.2 Analog
5 Proposed successors
6 References
The DVI interface uses a digital protocol in which the
desired illumination of pixels is transmitted as binary data.
When the display is driven at its native resolution, it will
read each number and apply that brightness to the
appropriate pixel. In this way, each pixel in the output buffer
of the source device corresponds directly to one pixel in the
display device, whereas with an analog signal the
appearance of each pixel may be affected by its adjacent
pixels as well as by electrical noise and other forms of
analog distortion.
Previous standards such as the analog VGA were designed
for CRT-based devices and thus did not use discrete time
display addressing. As the analog source transmits each
horizontal line of the image, it varies its output voltage to
represent the desired brightness. In a CRT device, this is
Digital Visual Interface - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Protocol 3 Transition
Signaling data
+ clock
Pins 29
Pin out
A female DVI-I socket from the front
Pin 1 TMDS Data 2- Digital red -
(Link 1)
Pin 2 TMDS Data
Digital red +
(Link 1)
Pin 3 TMDS Data
2/4 shield
Pin 4 TMDS Data 4- Digital green -
(Link 2)
Pin 5 TMDS Data
Digital green
+ (Link 2)
Pin 6 DDC clock
Pin 7 DDC data
Pin 8 Analog
vertical sync
Pin 9 TMDS Data 1- Digital green -
(Link 1)
Pin 10 TMDS Data
Digital green
+ (Link 1)
Pin 11 TMDS Data
1/3 shield
Pin 12 TMDS Data 3- Digital blue -
(Link 2)
Pin 13 TMDS Data
Digital blue +
(Link 2)
Pin 14 +5 V Power for
monitor when
in standby
Pin 15 Ground Return for pin
14 and analog
Pin 16 Hot plug
used to vary the intensity of the scanning beam as it moves
across the screen.
DVI cable connectors are designed in such a way as not to
allow the user to connect the cable in an incorrect position
or orientation. DVI connectors are available in five models,
differing in the way they handle analog or digital transfers.
In the digital transfer one or two channels are present. Video
and monitor cards which are exclusively digital cannot be
connected to analog, but can be connected to equipment
that handles both analog and digital signals. The DVI
standard also supports the Display Data Channel (DDC) and
the Extended Display Identification Data (EDID), which
allows computers to communicate with different monitor
"DVI-I" stands for "DVI-Integrated" and supports both
digital and analog transfers, so it works with both digital and
analog Visual Display Unit. "DVI-D" stands for
"DVI-Digital" and supports digital transfers only.
Technical discussion
The data format used by DVI is based on the PanelLink
serial format devised by the semiconductor manufacturer
Silicon Image Inc. This uses Transition Minimized
Differential Signaling (TMDS). A single DVI link consists of
four twisted pairs of wire (red, green, blue, and clock) to
transmit 24 bits per pixel. The timing of the signal almost
exactly matches that of an analog video signal. The picture
is transmitted line by line with blanking intervals between
each line and each frame, and without packetization. No
compression is used and there is no support for only
transmitting changed parts of the image. This means that the
whole frame is constantly re-transmitted. The specification
(see below for link) does, however, include a paragraph on
"Conversion to Selective Refresh" (under 1.2.2), suggesting
this feature for future devices.
With a single DVI link, the largest resolution possible at
60 Hz is 2.75 megapixels (including blanking interval). For
practical purposes, this allows a maximum screen resolution
at 60 Hz of 1915 x 1436 pixels (standard 4:3 ratio), 1854 x
1483 pixels (5:4 ratio) or 2098 x 1311 (widescreen 8:5
ratio). The DVI connector therefore has provision for a
second link, containing another set of red, green, and blue
twisted pairs. When more bandwidth is required than is
possible with a single link, the second link is enabled, and
alternate pixels may be transmitted on each, allowing
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Pin 17 TMDS data 0- Digital blue -
(Link 1) and
digital sync
Pin 18 TMDS data 0+ Digital blue +
(Link 1) and
digital sync
Pin 19 TMDS data
0/5 shield
Pin 20 TMDS data 5- Digital red -
(Link 2)
Pin 21 TMDS data 5+ Digital red +
(Link 2)
Pin 22 TMDS clock
Pin 23 TMDS clock+ Digital clock
+ (Links 1
and 2)
Pin 24 TMDS clock- Digital clock -
(Links 1 and
C1 Analog red
C2 Analog green
C3 Analog blue
C4 Analog

C5 Analog
Return for R,
G and B
resolutions up to 4 megapixels at 60 Hz. The DVI
specification mandates a fixed single link maximum pixel
clock frequency of 165 MHz, where all display modes that
require less than this must use single link mode, and all those
that require more must switch to dual link mode. When both
links are in use, the pixel rate on each may exceed
165 MHz. The second link can also be used when more than
24 bits per pixel is required, in which case it carries the least
significant bits. The data pairs carry binary data at ten times
the pixel clock reference frequency, for a maximum data
rate of 1.65 Gbit/s x 3 data pairs for a single DVI link.
Like modern analog VGA connectors, the DVI connector
includes pins for the display data channel (DDC). DDC2 (a
newer version of DDC) allows the graphics adapter to read
the monitor's extended display identification data (EDID). If
a display supports both analog and digital signals in one
input, each input can host a distinct EDID. If both receivers
are active, analog EDID is used.
The maximum length of DVI cables is not included in the
specification since it is dependent on bandwidth
requirements (the resolution of the image being transmitted).
In general, cable lengths up to 4.5 m (15 ft) will work for
displays at resolutions of 1920 x 1200. Cable lengths up to
15 m (50 ft) can be used with displays at resolutions up to
1280 x 1024. For longer distances, to eliminate the video
degradation, the use of a DVI booster is recommended. DVI
boosters may or may not use an external power supply.
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Male DVI connector pins (view
of plug)
Color coded female DVI
connector with pin descriptions
See also Mini-DVI and Micro-DVI
The DVI connector usually contains pins to
pass the DVI-native digital video signals. In
the case of dual-link systems, additional pins
are provided for the second set of data
As well as digital signals, the DVI connector includes pins providing the same
analog signals found on a VGA connector, allowing a VGA monitor to be
connected with a simple plug adapter. This feature was included in order to
make DVI universal, as it allows either type of monitor (analog or digital) to be
operated from the same connector.
The DVI connector on a device is therefore given one of three names,
depending on which signals it implements:
DVI-D (digital only)
DVI-A (analog only)
DVI-I (integrated, digital & analog)
The connector also includes provision for a second data link for high resolution
displays, though many devices do not implement this. In those that do, the
connector is sometimes referred to as DVI-DL (dual link).
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 by removing the 4 analog pins. 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 DVI-D male cable will suffice when connecting the monitor to a computer's
DVI-I female connector.
DVI is the only widespread video standard that includes analog and digital transmission options in the same
Competing standards are exclusively digital: these include a system using low-voltage differential
signaling (LVDS), known by its proprietary names FPD (for Flat-Panel Display) Link and FLATLINK; and its
successors, the LVDS Display Interface (LDI) and OpenLDI.
Some new DVD players, TV sets (including HDTV sets) and video projectors have DVI/HDCP connectors;
these are physically the same as DVI connectors but transmit an encrypted signal using the HDCP protocol for
copy protection. Computers with DVI video connectors can use many DVI-equipped HDTV sets as a display;
however, due to Digital Rights Management, it is not clear whether such systems will eventually be able to play
protected content, as the link is not encrypted.
USB signals are not incorporated into the connector, but were earlier incorporated into the VESA Plug and
Display connector used by InFocus on their projector systems, and in the Apple Display Connector, which was
used by Apple Computer until 2005.
The DMS-59 connector is a way to combine two analog and two digital signals in one plug. It is commonly used
when a single graphics card has two outputs.
M1-DA connectors are sometimes labeled as DVI-M1; they are used for the VESA Enhanced Video Connector
and VESA Plug and Display schemes.
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Minimum clock frequency: 25.175 MHz
Maximum clock frequency in single link mode: Capped at 165 MHz (up to 3.96 Gbit/s)
Maximum clock frequency in dual link mode: Limited only by cable quality (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) @ 60 Hz with CVT-RB blanking (139 MHz)
UXGA (1600 1200) @ 60 Hz with GTF blanking (161 MHz)
WUXGA (1920 1200) @ 60 Hz with CVT-RB blanking (154 MHz)
SXGA (1280 1024) @ 85 Hz with GTF blanking (159 MHz)
WXGA+ (1440 x 900) @ 60 Hz (107 MHz)
WQUXGA (3840 2400) @ 17 Hz (164 MHz)
Example display modes (dual link):
QXGA (2048 1536) @ 75 Hz with GTF blanking (2170 MHz)
HDTV (1920 1080) @ 85 Hz with GTF blanking (2126 MHz)
WQXGA (2560 1600) @ 60 Hz with GTF blanking (2x174 MHz) (30" Apple, Dell, Gateway, HP,
NEC, Quinux, and Samsung LCDs)
WQXGA (2560 1600) @ 60 Hz with CVT-RB blanking (2x135 MHz) (30" Apple, Dell, Gateway,
HP, NEC, Quinux, and Samsung LCDs)
WQUXGA (3840 2400) @ 33 Hz with GTF blanking (2x159 MHz)
GTF (Generalized Timing Formula) is a VESA standard which can easily be calculated with the Linux gtf utility.
CVT-RB (Coordinated Video Timing-Reduced Blanking) is a VESA standard which offers reduced horizontal
and vertical blanking for non-CRT based displays.
Clock Timing Pecularities
DVI uses an unusual relationship between data and clock. As indicated in version 1.0 of the spec, the clock rate
is the same as the pixel rate, while there are 24 bits per pixel. For example, a 640x480x60Hz display has a pixel
rate of 18.4MHz (plus blanking overhead) so this is the minimum needed clock. But the data is actually
640x480x60Hzx24bpp which is 442Mbps, or 147mbps per channel. Include 8B10B overhead and you need
184Mbps. In other words, there are 10 data cells on the wire for each clock cycle. That is why you need
transceivers and cables rated at 500MHz to support the 133MHz clock in the 2560x1600 display.
RGB bandwidth: 400 MHz at -3 dB
Proposed successors
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This page was last modified on 24 November 2008, at 19:31.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for
Wikipedia is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3)
tax-deductible nonprofit charity.
IEEE 1394 is proposed by High Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA Alliance
( ) for all cabling needs, including video, over CoAx and/or
1394 cable as a combined data stream.
High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI), a forward-compatible standard, that also includes digital audio
Unified Display Interface (UDI) was proposed by Intel to replace both DVI and HDMI, but was deprecated in
favor of DisplayPort.
DisplayPort is a license-free standard proposed by VESA to succeed DVI, which also has DRM capabilities.
DDWG promoters (1999-04-02). "Digital Visual Interface ( " (pdf).
Revision 1.0: Initial Specification Release. Digital Display Working Group.
^ Kruegle, Herman [2006]. "8", CCTV Surveillance: Analog and Digital Video Practices And Technology.
Butterworth-Heinemann, 268. ISBN 0750677686.
^ "Advanced Timing and CEA/EIA-861B Timings ( ",
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Digital display connectors | Film and video technology | Television technology | Audiovisual
connectors | Computer and telecommunication standards | High-definition television
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