A great range to choose from but which is the best for you.
At the moment the HDMI socket appears to be the most popular. However the barely heard of 'Display Port' or 'DP' is very much the new kid on the block and expected to give HDMI sockets some serious competition in the years to come.
Early video graphics sockets / plugs.
VGA or D-Sub as it is also known has been around almost from the inception of PC's and still very much in use today.
The most common video socket types:
USB - Universal Serial Bus - as in the name it has Universal applications, and can be used to provide graphics by means of a variety of adaptors.
VGA and SVGA- Video Graphics Array or D-Sub (Sub-miniature) - Video
RCA-Composite Video - Yellow, with White and Red for Audio
DVI -Digital Video Interface, 6 Variety's - both Analog and Digital Video
HDMI -19 pin High Definition Media Interface - Video, Audio, and, Ethernet. Attracts a royalty between 4 and 15 cents for each socket that the manufactures use in their equipment.
DP - Display Port - 20 pin High Quality Video, no Audio or Ethernet as yet. This is expected to be upgraded in the coming years. Currently royalty free. Can power 120HZ equipment
Versions and sizes:
To confuse you even more all come in a range of shapes and sizes along with a number of different versions.
What do VGA, DVI, and HDMI and DP have in common?
They all share some compatibility with each other by the use of a variety of adaptors as is the old yellow video and super video sockets.
There are adaptors that allow a USB plug to be used as a composite yellow video along with red white audio sockets. Just how efficient they are is another question.
The 'Display Port' or 'DP' is very much the new kid on the block.
In general the DP produces a slightly better video signal than the HDMI. If the hardware you are interested in purchasing does not have a HDMI, or DP of some description then think very seriously before you finalize you purchase or you could be wasting your money. You can get adaptors to go from Display Port to HDMI without any significant video loss, but if you try to go from 19Pin HDMI to 20Pin DP you may be out of luck depending on the equipment, I tried this with two different types of hardware and had no success at all.
Socket Guide - What you need to know before making a purchase.
All new electronic equipment should have at least two of the following sockets, if not all - USB, HDMI, DVI and a DP of some description.
The HDMI is currently the winner with its latest 1.4 version as it has Video, Audio and Ethernet all rolled up in one simple cable.
Avoid using adaptors where possible, they are commonly the source of signal loss.
Don't throw out your old equipment because it has a VGA or old style yellow video socket. If you are about to purchase new expensive hardware such as a TV, PC monitor or Graphics Card keep a look out for the product that boasts a HDMI and a humble DP socket, both will come in handy down the track.
If retail sales staff have not heard of a Display Port or DP, then you can be confident that you know much more than them, which is very often the case.