Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

Do I need digital video output for my 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?

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

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

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.

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

26 comments on “Do I need digital video output for my LCD monitor?”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Yes, you can get a DVI to HDMI cable. I bought one through 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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??

  8. 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???

  9. 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?

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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?

  18. 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

  19. 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?

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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?

  23. 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.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.