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Depending on what you're doing, you may or may not need digital video output for your LCD monitor.

I'm thinking of buying a TFT (LCD) screen. The model which I can afford only has analogue inputs, what do I lose out on if I don't have digital inputs?

I love my LCD monitor. I highly recommend them. Not only are they clearer than their older CRT counterparts, but in general they use less power and take up less space.

But what's the difference between an analog or digital input?

In a nutshell, the difference is sharpness.

An analog signal will be somewhat less sharp and has the possibility of some small amount of ghosting depending on the quality of the cable and connection to your computer.

Because there's no digital to analog and back to digital conversion - a digital signal avoids all that. The images will generally be much crisper and clearer.

If you're stuck with only an analog connection, either because your computer has no digital output or because your monitor has no digital connection, you may or may not notice. It depends on what you're doing, the quality of your video card, cable, and specific monitor.

Either way, it'll still be much better than a regular glass monitor.

Article C2251 - December 31, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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26 Comments
Dave Taylor
December 31, 2004 10:39 PM

I can't agree more, though I find it interesting that I've hooked up a high-quality Sony 19" LCD to my G5 Mac using both a VGA and DVI cable and cannot see ANY difference whatsoever. Even when the VGA line goes through a switch box.

rudhresh
May 6, 2005 6:31 AM

now i have nvidia geforce 6800 ultra 512mb graphic card. and i have analog o/p monitor
so i am trying to upgrade it. when i was searching for the answer i read a message in a magazine saying that for digital o/p the monitor comes with a dvi card. so how can i make my monitor to connect to my graphic card .

or my graphic card already supports dvi support for my digital o/p monitor.

please give me tips.

Leo
May 8, 2005 3:30 PM

If your graphics card and your monitor both already support DVI, then they both have the additional digital vidio connector. You would simply connect them using the DV cable to that connector instead of the old style cable and connector.

Billy
December 11, 2005 6:17 AM

I recently purchased an Olevia 37" LCD to play computer games, with the intent to hook up a new computer with a DVI-D connection to it. The TV has a VGA connection and an HDMI connection. Can I get a DVI to HDMI connection and run the DVI fromt the graphics card on the computer to the HDMI on the monitor? I was hoping that it would do this without converting the digital signal to analog.

Leo
December 29, 2005 11:51 AM

I was told I can connect my 17" flat panel monitor to my digital cable box to use as a T.V. monitor is this true?

Thanks.

jjspierx
February 28, 2006 10:44 AM

Yes, you can get a DVI to HDMI cable. I bought one through PCHCables.com for $13. HDMI is backwards compatible with DVI. The only difference is HDMI has more bandwidth, and transfers audio as well as video. There will be no loss going from a DVI source to HDMI output, although thats not true going the other way around.

Robert Civettini
March 2, 2006 5:29 PM

I am trying to get a HD DVR Cable box (Motorola) to work with a 20 in. widescreen LCD monitor with only a VGA and DVI input.
Nothing seems to work. THe cable Techs and help desk say that there needs ot be a Tuner in the monitor. Is this true?
I have another HD Cable box with HDMI output would a HDMI to DVI cable work? Any advice would be appreciated.

ED
April 24, 2006 7:03 PM

My monitor has the dvi plug but the computer has only an analog plug can I get a card that I can install to do this .My computer not only says the monitor is operating in analog put that it is a crt set. Isthis normal??

Leo
April 24, 2006 8:04 PM

You need a new video card that has a DVI output.

Paul
May 2, 2006 2:04 PM

my video card is a Nvidia nx7800gtx from MSI and my LCD is a Samsung LN-R237W. i recently bought a HDMI/DVI Monster Cable when i plug it from my video card to my lcd theyrs no images/sound.
what do i have to do???

jay wyman
June 27, 2006 8:12 AM

So if my computer has no dvi connection and my new monitor does, would I derive any bebefit by buyinging an adapter--DVI to analog--and connecting the monitor using the dvi cable anyway?

jon
July 2, 2006 9:41 AM

Dont know where else to post.... Can I connect a vga monitor to the s-video port on my computer via an adapter/converter? And if so what type?

Randy
August 28, 2006 8:19 PM

Hi - I'm wondering if I can just buy a regular 32" LCD HDTV (with its own NTSC/ATSC tuners) and hook my computer up to it directly to use the TV as a primary monitor when I'm not using it as a TV and get rid of the smaller computer monitor altogether?? Video card is a GeForce7900GT currently hooked up to a 19" monitor. Thanks.

Leo Notenboom
September 7, 2006 3:33 PM

Maybe. See if your new HDTV has a VGA input, or if it, and your computer, have digital inputs and outputs respectively. Many new LCD TVs do.

J-Spartan
September 9, 2006 3:20 PM

I was wondering how I could find out if my computer and monitor where DVI compatable as I wanted to upgrade my computer by buying a GeForce 6800 GS to replace my old rubbish GeForce 4MX 440-SE.

Thanks...if this article even makes sense!

J-Spartan
September 9, 2006 3:24 PM

SOrry I forgot to say that my old graphics card didn't need and dvi connection, but the geforce 6800 GS does and thats why i ask....thanks again!

Frantz
November 19, 2006 8:37 PM

I have a computer, an LCD monitor and Direct TV satellite. I want to either use my current monitor to somehow watch TV via the satellite, ot I want to buy a new LCD that willserver both purposes. What is the best way to go about this without having a whole nother LCD sucking down power?

Ivan
December 13, 2006 12:51 AM

Most newer PC video cards have:
- a standard 15-pin sub-D VGA connector which outputs an analog signal
- a DVI-D connector which outputs a digital signal

If your LCD TV has a VGA connector, then you're all set to go. If it has an HDMI connector, you can buy a DVI-D Male to HDMI Male cable and use it connect your video card to your LCD TV. You'll have to tinker with the video card display properties in Windows in order to set the output resolution to one that is as close as possible to the native resolution supported by your LCD TV.

Conversely, you can also hookup an HDMI source (such as digital set top boxes & DVD players) to a PC LCD monitor using the same cable mentioned above, provided the monitor has a DVI-D connector which accepts digital signals. Since DVI does not carry the audio signals from the HDMI source, you'll have to connect your speakers directly to the audio output of your HDMI source to get sound.

There are other solutions for converting composite/S-video/component signals to standard VGA - many video game retailers have converters that will do the trick.

Bala
March 16, 2007 5:45 AM

I would like to connect from my LCD Monitor to my Panasonic Tv so that i can view the videos which are in my pc at the tv? But the only problem is that my tv does not have a dvi output, so is there any way i can connect from my lcd to my tv?

nicisard
June 5, 2007 9:25 AM

i have connected my samsung lcd tv to my computer via VGA connection. but there is nothing coming up on my tv any ideas whynot

Sarah
June 17, 2007 3:09 PM

I have a GeForce2 video card with an S-Video out. I'm trying to get an image on both my lcd monitor AND my tv, but everytime i plug the S-vid in, my monitor cuts out and i have to restart. Any help?

Peter Vo
August 8, 2007 4:39 AM

Hi Leo.
I have a Dell desktop computer (Dememssion E510) and I like to use a monitor to hook up with my DVD player only. What is a accesory can i buy to use with? or I want to buy a LVD TV then I can use them both for regular TV and computer. I do not want to have 2 of them in my studio room (TV and Monitor)Thank you very much

Dave Green
October 16, 2007 6:57 AM

Hi.
I have a graphics card with both one analog and one digital outputs.
I also have two analog TFT monitors ahd have attached both to the same graphics card, with a simple DDI to D-Sub converter on the Graphics card digital output.
I have also configured the OS (WIN XP) to allow the two monitors to act as one large extended workspace.

Now the problem.
Every now and again I get a problem where one of the screens will become distorted. Then it fixes itself after some minutes / hours.
I swapped the connections around and the other monitor then showed signs of the problem.

Any ideas please? Do I need a more clever DVI to D-Sub converter?

Regards, Dave

jeff
May 4, 2009 12:07 AM

I have a HP a1129n which I bought a approx. 3 years ago. I just bought a samsung 2333. The HP only has an anslog output not a digital. How can I convert it to digital. Looks like I have 3 more horizontal slots on the back of the CPU that are not used. Do I have to add a digital output, or is there another way?

Randy
July 21, 2009 10:29 AM

I just upgraded my computer so that I have a better graphics card that has a DVI connection port along with the regular VGA connection port. So my flatscreen monitor has a DVI connector also. What's confusing me is that the card did not come with DVI to DVI cable and I don't see one for sale on the local microcenter web page? (but all kinds of DVI to everything but DVI cables.

zvoijf
March 22, 2010 1:09 AM

For mac,if you need convert video to the formats what you need,you can use mac video converter to help you.

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