Display Interface for Video Surveillance: How to Pick One

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A video interface links the monitor and the image decoding device. Slow but significant shifts in display interface technology have occurred due to worries regarding image quality and video security. The VGA interface is still used on PCs, but digital interfaces head the industry. Several digital and hybrid digital/analog interfaces have been created alongside the traditional analog connector. There is, nevertheless, considerable similarity in the capabilities of various display interfaces. Several standard video interfaces, both analog and digital, are analyzed in detail.

Interfaces for analog displays


S-video, which stands for “separate video,” is a method of transmitting video signals through a cable in which the signal is split into a “color” signal and a “brightness” signal. This separation allows for improved image clarity and quality over composite video. Since S-video is silent, the red and white RCA audio wires are typically used to transmit sound.

Audiovisual Parts

Both composite and S-video have nothing on this video interface. The picture quality is improved since its three wires are better equipped to maintain the video signal’s brightness, color, and other components. The three RCA cables—Red, Blue, and Green—are used for component video. It solely transmits video information. Thus, audio cords will still be needed. Therefore, stereo RCA audio connections (red and white) are typically used with it.


Video Graphics Array, or VGA, is the standard interface for connecting a computer to a display. It is a common component of monitor output devices like TV tuners and projectors. Display resolutions of 640×480 are supported by the 15-pin connector used for regular VGA connections, while the 21-pin connector used for SVGA allows for 1024×768 resolutions. It’s important to note that the connectors’ bandwidth and the cables’ quality and length impose an upper bound on the highest resolution.

VGA connectors make it challenging to construct compact coaxial cables because of the microscopic size of their pins.

Interfaces for digital displays


The Video Graphics Array (VGA) analog interface has been superseded by the digitally-based Digital Video Interface (DVI). However, DVI can sometimes be used with an analog monitor. DVI is unique because it supports digital and analog signals on the same cable. A digital signal is converted to an analog signal via the DVI link if the display is an analog type; otherwise, no conversion is required. It’s worth noting that DVI’s ability to handle higher resolutions than VGA is because of its higher analog video bandwidth. This means it can be used with UXGA, HDTV, and other similarly detailed screens.

Lower-resolution devices require DVI cables or connectors with fewer pins. The DVI port must have all the pins to support the highest possible resolution. Using only devices with DVI connectors does not provide video security because DVI does not natively support High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) encryption. This is DVI’s most significant shortcoming. HDCP is essential for video surveillance systems because it prevents videos from being copied without permission.

DVI comes in a few different flavors, including DVI-D (just digital), DVI-A (only analog), and integrated DVI-I (both digital and analog video). DVI connectors are widely used in computer displays, projectors, and video cards.


In contrast to other connections, the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) only requires a single cable to transmit audio and video in uncompressed digital high definition. Component cable connections, for instance, involve five wires (three for television and two for audio). HDMI allows for transmitting uncompressed audio and video information over a single connection, considerably reducing the need for extra cables.

Because it is digital, HDMI is less susceptible to interference and noise than analog connections. Most modern electronics, like DVD players, Blu-ray players, and game consoles, are digital; thus, switching to HDMI will spare those users the trouble of analog-to-digital conversion. Therefore, the resulting image and sound quality are superior to that of alternative connections. Because HDMI also supports HDCP, it can be used in video surveillance setups. There is no need to purchase individual audio and video connections when utilizing HDMI, making it the most common display interface for TVs, AV receivers, Blu-ray disc players, DVRs, laptops, and digital cameras. That’s why we can use fewer connectors and cables.


It has been said that the DisplayPort standard port for connecting personal computers, laptops, and other systems to video monitors is the ultimate digital link. It is a high-definition audio/video (AV) connection using a single cable with a locking connector to transfer audio and video signals. DisplayPort is a straightforward, high-bandwidth interface that delivers original digital video and audio. Even power can be provided via this.

DisplayPort’s backward compatibility with VGA, DVI, and even HDMI through inexpensive adapters is a significant selling point for the standard. DisplayPort allows for superior display performance, reliability, flexibility, system integration, and interoperability. DisplayPort, initially designed as the PC industry’s “next generation” display interface, is currently featured on many portable and stationary displays. It is preinstalled on modern Macs and sold separately for PCs by Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Although it is uncommon, DisplayPort can be used in consumer gadgets.

Hot-pluggable connectors in DisplayPort allow easy hardware reconfiguration without powering down and restarting the system. DisplayPort Content Protection (DPCP) and High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) are supported by DisplayPort. These two are crucial in video security because they prohibit unauthorized duplication.

Taking a Look at HDMI and DisplayPort

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and DisplayPort are modern serial interfaces for transferring digital video via wires. These digital ones obsolete the analog VGA and S-video connections. Apple’s iMac computers include the cutting-edge DisplayPort connection. Because it can process HDMI signals, it can be used with other devices.

HDMI and DisplayPort use a single wire to transmit video and audio. Newer high-definition (HD) content can be protected using the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) standard. This means that information cannot be viewed or copied while being transferred via the interface.

Interfaces with a high data transmission rate are required for transmitting HD video and audio. While both HDMI and DisplayPort are examples of high-speed digital connections, they are not identical. While DisplayPort was designed for use with computer hardware, HDMI is more common in consumer electronics. Some of the critical distinctions between these two are explored here.

Connector Type:

All three standard HDMI connectors have 19 pins, although they function differently. Type A is the typical form factor for displays such as televisions, projectors, set-top boxes, and laptops. Mini-HDMI (of Type B) is a smaller HDMI version used mainly on laptops and some tablets. Micro-HDMI (Type C) is the smallest and is used in portable devices like tablets and phones.

There are two 20-pin DisplayPort varieties. The larger DisplayPort is one option, whereas Apple laptops employ the more compact Mini DisplayPort.

Allowing for multiple displays (video and audio):

Having more than one screen is helpful while doing video surveillance. Many players also employ multi-monitor setups. Since a single video and audio stream is all that HDMI can handle, just a single screen can be connected to it.

DisplayPort, on the other hand, supports up to four 1920×1200 displays simultaneously. Up to six shows can be connected to a single output using DisplayPort’s multiple connectors.

Cord Size:

One crucial aspect to consider is the maximum wire length allowed by each interface. Due to the degradation of high data rate signals with increasing cable length, shorter cables are preferable. Although no official maximum size for HDMI cables has been established, most manufacturers won’t sell lines over 15 meters (approximately 49 ft). Examples include the degradation of video data caused by HDMI connections up to 50 feet in length. A signal booster or active cable to magnify the signal may be required to travel a great distance.

DisplayPort allows for 4K video at a resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels to be sent over a distance of up to 2 meters when a passive cable is used. Another standard limitation is that a passive wire may only run up to 15 meters before the resolution drops below 1080p (full HD).

Channel Ethernet:

The current version of HDMI allows for implementing a 100 Mbps HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC). Still, DisplayPort does not accept Ethernet data and does not have an audio return channel. Audio processing is the primary use of HEC.

When using HDMI devices to stream video or other content from the Internet, the Ethernet channel can connect those devices to the Internet.

The Value of HDMI in Surveillance Cameras

Compared to other interfaces like DVI and component video, HDMI cables excel because of their many benefits.

HDMI eliminates the requirement for a separate audio/video cable by incorporating both signal types into a single connection because a single bundle of wires can carry the entire system; the cable clutter issue can be successfully addressed by using a single HDMI transmission line instead of up to thirteen separate transmission lines.

However, an HDMI cable comprises twisted pairs like most modern data transmission cables. This cable production process is more effective in reducing noise and interference than other cables, including massive coaxial cables. The fact that HDMI also ensures HDCP means that video data is safeguarded from duplicating while being transmitted, proving its usefulness in video surveillance.

What are the advantages of DisplayPort over HDMI for use in a video surveillance system?

The problem of which video connection type to use while streaming content to a display is crucial. HDMI, DVI, and VGA cables have historically been the go-to for transmitting this data type.

DisplayPort is a relatively new technology that has emerged in the past few years. Motherboards and screens are gradually adapting to it. DisplayPort 1.2 allows up to 4K60p resolution (3840×2160@60Hz), but HDMI only supports up to half that frame rate.

DisplayPort 1.2’s main benefit over competing standards is its support for 21.6 Gbps bandwidth and its Multi-Stream Transport (MST) technology, which allows for transporting several video streams from a single visual output. Consequently, the usefulness of DisplayPort for video surveillance is confirmed by the fact that up to four screens with 1080p quality can be achieved from a single DisplayPort output.


DVI and HDMI are the two most used digital connectors for computers and monitors. DisplayPort is a modern connector that replaces older technologies like VGA and DVI. Most network video recorders (NVRs) employ the high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) for connecting devices to displays. The cables are inexpensive and may transmit sound as well. However, there are several situations in which HDMI is not the best option. While HDMI is generally sufficient, examining alternatives for extremely high resolutions and frame rates may be necessary.

A video recording device that supports DisplayPort in addition to HDMI is an excellent choice in the video surveillance sector because DisplayPort can support multiple displays and can connect to practically any other type of monitor with an inexpensive adapter.

The HDMI connector is available on Red Leaf NVRs. Look into several NVRs.

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