Understanding the confusion around monitor ports on computers

Port technologies like most technologies are subject to pattern design and licensing. All of the ports on your computer and monitor are actually subject to licencing conditions for manufactures to use and they have to pay a fee to do so. So a computer manufacturer will decide on port types that will ship with their design. As such you may be baffled by the ports on your brand new monitor that doesn’t match your computer! This is especially an issue with laptops and care should be given when buying both. The issue is compounded by the multitudes of manufactures out there producing computers,  laptops and monitors. Many monitor manufacturers LG and Philips don’t produce computers at all, just monitors and televisions. The main competitors are DisplayPort and HDMI, with further information found here if you are interested. My IT Support recommend DisplayPort technologies for new systems as they currently carry a highest quality video and audio signal.

Most monitors have more than one port type available
So first of all lets go throughout the current range of video ports so you can recognise them. Points to consider:

  • The featured image above summarises the common variants.
  • The ports on a monitor must match up with the ports on your computer or laptop. Note that ports on both the computer and the monitor twill be a female socket as depicted above.  The cables will be male at both ends, see the descriptions in tiles further below.
  • Nearly all monitors offer two or more port types

Connectors and Adaptors

Of course their is the obvious solution of adaptors. You can buy adaptors and connectors for the sockets and cables that adapt form one technology to another. But be aware that results vary between cables an monitors and the computers they plug into.  Connecting a HDMI monitor to a VGA port on a computer for example, often doesn’t work.

Laptops and USB Type-C

Many laptops now come with the new USB USB Type-C standard, which is a new technology that allow the transfer of all kinds of data through one port. This includes video, ethernet (network), USB and even power. Instead of having multiple and cumbersome cables connected to a laptop, you have one which connects to a small docking device. The docking device then provides ports for of the above. There are many different docks appearing on the market each with different types and numbers of ports

Cable Types

Click on any of the image tiles below for a larger view