21 Types of Video Connectors: From VGA to Mini-DVI

Connecting devices for video streaming seems trivial, but things can escalate quickly. Even techies scratch their heads determining the right cables sometimes.

In this guide, we discuss 21 analog and digital video connector types to enable you to make informed choices about cables and connectivity.

Video Connectors Overview

Video connectors transmit analog or digital signals from video sources to display devices.

They enable us to:

  • Connect computers to monitors and projectors
  • Link TV boxes to screens
  • Play console games on TVs

According to transmission mode, there are analog and digital video connectors:

Analogue Video Connection Types

Analog signals are prone to interference but simpler in design. Common analog video connector types include:

  • Coaxial – Basic RF cables supporting up to 350i video resolution
  • Composite – Transmit 480i resolution signals
  • S-Video – Separately carry color and brightness data, delivering 480i quality
  • Component – Analog cables supporting up to 1080p resolution

Digital Video Connection Types

Digital signals have higher video quality and less interference than analog alternatives.

Some examples of digital video connectors are:

  • DVI – Stands for Digital Video Interface
  • HDMI – High Definition Multimedia Interface
  • DisplayPort – Video interface standard for connecting PCs to monitors
  • USB-C – Universal interface supporting video, data and charging

Next, we‘ll explore 21 video connector types in detail.

21 Different Types of Video Connectors

Here are the most common analog and digital video connectors you‘ll encounter and how they are used:

1. VGA Connector

VGA to VGA Cable

The VGA or DE-15 connector is a classic analog video interface. Introduced in 1987, it was widely adopted in the 90s and 2000s across:

  • Desktop PCs
  • Laptop video cards
  • Projectors
  • Old CRT monitors and early flat panels

VGA cables have a blue end adapter with thumbscrews to lock the connection securely.

You‘ll easily recognize the iconic three-row 15-pin VGA port on legacy devices. They transmit analog signals, so picture quality varies.

While VGA supports 640×480 to 2560×1600 resolutions, we don‘t recommend it for full HD 1920x1080p. It‘s fine for lower resolutions.

2. Apple Display Connector

Apple Display Connector

This proprietary video connector combines:

  • Power transmission
  • USB 2.0
  • Analog and digital video signals

It equips select Apple iMac and monitor models. Most new Mac devices have switched to industry-standard ports.

3. AV Multi

PlayStation AV Cable

AV Multi Out connectors interface first-generation PlayStation consoles with TVs.

The single AV port branches into three RCA plugs — yellow (composite video), white and red (stereo audio).

Modern PlayStation editions interface via HDMI for better quality.

4. DisplayPort

DisplayPort Cable

DisplayPort (DP) is a digital video standard to interface PCs and monitors. It supports:

  • 4K 60Hz or 1080p 144Hz video
  • Audio signals
  • Multiple displays via daisy chaining

Gaming rigs and workstations deploy DisplayPort for buttery visuals when multitasking and enjoying graphics-rich content.

HBR3 DisplayPort cables also enable 8K 60Hz video. The connector has a latch to avoid accidental disconnections.

5. DB13W3

DB13W3 video connectors interface older Apple, IBM, and Dell machines with monitors.

You‘ll recognize by the twin rows of pins protected by screws. They transmitted analog signals for CRT displays.

Most vintage computing devices adopt industry-standard ports now.

6. DMS-59

DMS 59 Connector

DMS-59 connectors are Y-shaped with a single 59-pin port splitting into two DVI outputs.

They adapt dual-monitor cards supporting analog and digital video signals to interface modern LCD panels.

While less common now, select Dell Precision workstations still feature DMS-59 ports.

7. DVI

DVI Cable

DVI or Digital Video Interface replaced VGA during the mid-2000s as flat-screen monitors gained traction.

Most old desktops, graphics cards, and early-gen full HD monitors still have these. DVI cables interface equipment supporting digital signals only, like:

  • DVI-D Single Link – 1920×1200 at 60Hz
  • DVI-D Dual Link – 2560×1600 at 60Hz

While video quality exceeds VGA, avoid DVI for 4K or high refresh rate 1440p gaming.

8. HDBaseT

HDBaseT Transmitter

HDBaseT is an 8P8C/RJ45 connector standard transmitting uncompressed 4K video, audio, Ethernet, USB 2.0, and power over extended distances.

Pro installers leverage HDBaseT for:

  • Home theater distribution
  • High-definition KVM extension
  • Commercial display connectivity

It interfaces well with Crestron, Extron, AMX based automation gear.


Mini HDMI Cable

HDMI has gained immense traction in the past decade and a half. It‘s the go-to digital A/V interface standard now for:

  • HDTVs
  • Gaming consoles
  • Set-top boxes
  • Blu-ray/media players
  • Desktops, laptops and tablets

HDMI cables transmit uncompressed video up to 4K 120Hz with support for premium HDR formats.

While Type A is full-sized, miniature Micro HDMI, Mini HDMI connectors also exist.

10. Mini-DVI

Mini-DVI video ports arrived alongside DVI but never gained much traction.

Apple favored them on older MacBook Air, early Intel-based iMac, Mac mini desktops, and some 2000s Cinema Displays.

Adapters convert Mini-DVI signals to interface modern screens. Else, these connectors are nearing extinction.

11. Micro-DVI

A compact DVI iteration, Micro-DVI ports, equipped PowerBook G4 laptops for a brief period.

By the mid-2000s, Apple phased them out adopting industry norms Instead. Few displays ever supported Micro-DVI.

12. Mini-DIN

Mini Din Connector

Mini-DIN connectors transmit S-Video and composite video on eight to ten pin ports.

While mini-DIN to HDMI converters exist, S-Video quality leaves much to be desired versus modern digital signals.

Outside antiquated camcorders, mini-DIN sees niche use now.

13. F Connector

F Type Coaxial Connector

F connectors are for coaxial cables interfacing radiofrequency devices.

Initially commercialized in the 1950s, F-Type connectors were commonplace on cable television infrastructure before HDMI.

Professional VCRs, antennas and test equipment still leverage BNC and F-Type coax ports.

14. N Connector

N connectors are heavy-duty coaxial connectors similar in interface to F-Type versions.

However, N connectors have threaded coupling interfaces that secure cables firmly.

Common commercial applications include:

  • Satellite television
  • Cable television
  • Amateur radio
  • Air traffic control

N-Type coax handles entire frequency spectrums from HF, VHF to UHF bands.

15. RCA connector

3.5mm Audio Cable

RCA connectors transmit composite analog video or stereo audio.

You can still find them on older home theater gear like DVD players. Most televisions still feature legacy RCA inputs supporting:

  • Yellow RCA video
  • Red/White stereo audio

While analog signals limit quality, RCA cables work over short runs.

16. Twin-lead

300 Ohm Twin Lead Antenna Cable

Twin-lead cables were the norm for antenna and 300-ohm TV connectivity before coaxial cables.

Parallel wires inside the twin-lead prevented signal interference despite the lack of shielding.

Very outdated now, you may encounter them in radio communications and audiophile vinyl rigs.

17. USB Type-C

USB Type C Cable

USB-C has emerged as the do-it-all connector standard supporting:

  • Video output up to 8K 30Hz or 4K 60Hz
  • Data transfer speeds up to 40Gbps
  • Charging up to 240W

Smartphones, tablets, and modern laptops feature USB Type-C ports for consolidated connectivity.

Thunderbolt 4 ports provide similar unified I/O connectivity too.

18. BNC

BNC Coaxial Connectors

BNC connectors terminate coaxial cables in commercial video applications.

Offering RF shielding, BNC connectors carry SDI digital video streams in professional:

  • Broadcasting gear
  • CCTV setups
  • Analog recording equipment

They are also popular for test instrumentation.

19. Mini-VGA

Mini-VGA is an obscure analog video connector Sony used on old Vaio laptops.

A compact alternative to 15-pin VGA ports, certain Vaio docks and port replicators featured them.

Adapters help interface leftover Mini-VGA laptops with current screens.

20. FireWire

IEEE 1394 Firewire Cable Connector

FireWire (IEEE 1394) video ports interconnected camcorders, external drives and audio gear with Apple and Windows machines during the 2000s.

Supporting 400-800Mbps transfers, FireWire bridged USB 1.1/2.0 and Thundebolt/USB 3 interfaces.

While less relevant with Thunderbolt 3 and USB4 speeds, Firewire helps migrate data from legacy multimedia hardware if needed.

21. Mini-DisplayPort

Mini DisplayPort Connectors

Mini DisplayPorts (mDP) are smaller versions of the DisplayPort standard used primarily on ultrabooks.

Mac laptops feature Thunderbolt ports compatible with mDP cables supporting 4K 60Hz signals.

Unlike standard DisplayPort, Mini DP cables from older Macs (pre-2010) did not transmit audio simultaneously. So check before connecting speakers.

Factors to Consider for Video Connector Selection

With so many plug variations, here are key aspects to factor when shopping for video connectivity:

Intended Use

For home theaters, gaming rigs and digital signage, focus on cables supporting 4K 60Hz or higher. Standard HDMI works for most HDTVs.

Consider DisplayPort and USB-C for high refresh rate 1440p gaming without HDMI 2.1 GPUs and monitors.

VGA, DVI-I, and standard HDMI suit basic monitor extension. Look for Mini-DIN S-Video cables to interface legacy camcorders and VCR combos.


Always examine source and display connector specs before purchase.

While HDMI and DisplayPort dominate modern A/V gear, commercial projectors still rock VGA ports. Mac laptops need USB-C or Mini-DP converters for external displays.

Mismatched cables cause no video signal or resolution issues. Adapters bridge compatibility gaps when required port types diverge.

Video Quality Needs

HDMI and DisplayPort support the highest resolutions – up to 8K for movies or gaming.

For 1080p 60Hz video, DVI and standard HDMI work well without signal quality deterioration over short distances.

VGA manages 1280×1024 resolution at most. Avoid it for 1080p footage due to analog signal losses and electromagnetic interference.

Final Thoughts

We have explored legacy analog interfaces along with modern digital video connectivity standards.

Carefully examine source and display requirements before deciding on appropriate cables for lasting compatibility.

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