The digital connection

Because CRT displays work via analog wave signals, even the best of them generally connect to the host computer's familiar, 15-pin VGA port.

Until recently, LCD monitors plugged into the same analog VGA port and used an analog-to-digital converter to convert the signal into something they could use.

While this was temporarily convenient, it resulted in a poorer signal exchange than digital-only connections and the cost of the converter was passed on to consumers.

For more than a decade, various working groups have proposed more-efficient digital interface solutions for LCDs, but it wasn't until 1999 that the Digital Display Working Group, made up of computer industry leaders, came up with the first version of the Digital Visual Interface, or DVI.

DVI is a comprehensive set of specifications that addresses digital display protocols, as well as electrical and mechanical functions. Most important, it has helped bring support to high-resolution digital display technology and has also led to the development of a connector that supports both analog and digital displays.

Most PCs and workstations now come with a DVI port, so it makes sense to buy an LCD with a DVI connection. The best displays come with dual DVI and analog support.

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