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ASI vs. HDMI vs. DVI: The Differences in Media Interfaces

Over time, the number of media interface options have grown to meet the demand of the various ways data is transmitted and the numerous devices that process and employ interface translations.

When Leroy E. “Ed” Parsons built the first cable television system in the United States, he employed the use of the reliable and versatile coaxial cable to transmit video and audio to homes across the country. By using amplifiers for audio and a community antenna to deliver television signals, Parsons was able to reach areas that would not have been able to receive broadcast television signals otherwise.

Today, we find ourselves lush with media interface options to choose from. The Internet and our insatiable thirst for instantaneous information have driven innovation in the data streaming industry. Depending on the device, industry standards vary in regards to interface compatibilities with different cabling and audio/video transmission methods. This article should give you some insight into these three main media interfaces and the comparisons and contrasts between the two.

HDMI

Let’s start with the one most people are already familiar with. Designed and developed in 2002, HDMI or High Definition Media Interface is the most commonly used HD proprietary audio/video interface in the world. HDMI transmits uncompressed video data and compressed or uncompressed digital audio data from an HDMI-compliant source device — Comcast Xfinity or Verizon Fios cable boxes are both examples of HDMI-compliant source devices.

Now that HDTVs are standard, and the next wave of Ultra-HD, 4K, 8K television sets (the tech keeps improving, and quickly) continue to utilize HDMI, this particular proprietary media interface doesn’t appear to be going anywhere fast.

DVI

Digital Visual Interface or DVI is a video-only standard designed to provide very high visual quality on digital display devices such as LCD TVs and, more specifically, computers. Created in 1999, it was developed to replace the analog VGA (Video Graphics Array) technology (remember those red, white, and yellow plugs for the back of your SDTV?) and, depending on the DVI type (single or dual link), the data range is 3.96 and 7.92 Gbits/s. Despite HDMI being DVI’s technological usurper only 3 years later, DVI remained the more common interface option for computer monitors for years to come, considering most PC users drove the market toward visual fidelity at the cost of audio compatibility — most PC users were already using different external speakers or headphones, which utilize their own ports.

Nowadays, in most CATV applications, a DVI-to-HDMI cable can be used to display the DVI signal on an HDMI-compatible TV, but audio will have to be transmitted by other means.

ASI

ASI (Asynchronous Serial Interface) is a little different than our previously mentioned hardwired options. ASI is a streaming data format that is sourced from a coaxial-fed media-data device, such as Radiant Communications Corporation’s VB155, which can manage up to 8 individual ASI streams concurrently. ASI often carries an MPEG Transport Stream, which can take advantage of MPEG 2 video encoder efficiencies to improve compatibility with other data in the pipeline. What is truly revolutionary about an ASI signal is the ability to transmit compressed video, which makes an ASI signal the final product of video compression beyond other necessary conversions. This fact alone makes ASI a feat of modern data transport infrastructure engineering.

Visit Radiant Communications Corporation Today!

Now that you know all there is to know about modern media interfaces, you will feel right at home browsing Radiant Communications Corporation’s extensive product line. From HD video encoders to ASI aggregators, Radiant Communications Corporation is your go-to provider for all your digital communication and data transport products. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find the right solution for your organization.

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