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DVI was developed by the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG). This interface uses a digital protocol in which the desired brightness of pixels is transmitted as binary data.
The data format used by DVI is based on the PanelLink serial format devised by the semiconductor manufacturer Silicon Image Inc. This uses Transition Minimized Differential Signalling or TMDS. A single DVI link consists of four twisted pairs of wire (red, green, blue, and clock) to transmit 24 bits per pixel. The timing of the signal almost exactly matches that of an analogue video signal. The picture is transmitted line by line with blanking intervals between each line and each frame, and without packetization. No compression is used and DVI has no provision for only transmitting changed parts of the image. This means the whole frame is constantly retransmitted.
With a single DVI link, the largest resolution possible at 60 Hz is 2.6 mega pixels. The DVI connector therefore has provision for a second link, containing another set of red, green, and blue twisted pairs. When more bandwidth is required than is possible with a single link, the second link is enabled, and alternate pixels may be transmitted on each. The DVI specification mandates a fixed single link cut-off point of 165 MHz, where all display modes that require less than this must use single link mode, and all those that require more must switch to dual link mode. When both links are in use, the pixel rate on each may exceed 165 MHz. The second link can also be used when more than 24 bits per pixel is required, in which case it carries the least significant bits.
DVI carries the same type of signal as the DFP connector; however, the connector is not the same physically or in terms of pin out. The DVI connector comes in two forms, a 25-pin version and a 29-pin version. The 29-pin version allows an analogue signal to be carried in addition to the digital signal.
Like modern analogue VGA connectors, the DVI connector includes pins for the display data channel, version 2 (DDC 2) that allows the graphics adapter to read the monitor’s extended display identification data (EDID).
Viewed from solder side
|TMDS Data 2 Negative
|TMDS Data2/4 Shield
|TMDS Data1/3 Shield
|TMDS Data0/5 Shield
|TMDS Data 4 Negative
|DDC Clock [SCL]
|+5 V Power
|TMDS Clock Shield
|DDC Data [SDA]
|Ground (for +5 V)
|TMDS Clock +
|Analogue vertical sync
|Hot Plug Detect
|TMDS Clock –
|Analogue GND Return: (Analogue RGB)
|Analogue Horizontal Sync
Pins C1 to C5 carry the analogue signal.
The pin out table above provides the connections for a DVI-I connector, supporting both digital and analogue signals.
The DVI-I connector may be used with a VGA connector by way of an adapter, while the DVI-D is Digital only and therefore not compatible with any analogue format.
An Apple Macintosh computer may have either a DVI connector as described above or an Apple display connector [ADC] which is an Apple proprietary interface connector.
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