HDMI is a commonly known interface in consumer electronics. DisplayPort is less common, but there are still plenty of devices with it onboard and the new 2.0 standard makes it more appealing. These two video/audio standards are similar but different so we've outlined what types you can get and how they compare.
Types of connector
When it comes to DisplayPort and HDMI cables and connectors, there are different types and sizes. It's not a one-size-fits-all situation.
On the HDMI side of the fence, you'll find three main variations, each with 19 pins: The standard size (Type A) commonly found on TVs, projectors, set-top boxes and laptops; a smaller edition is called mini-HDMI (Type B) and will be mainly found on some laptops and tablets; the smallest is micro-HDMI (Type C) found on devices like tablets and smartphones.
Follow the links below to find each type of HDMI cable on Amazon:
Meanwhile, DisplayPort is available in just two main sizes and has 20 pins. Like HDMI, there is the full-size version but only one smaller alternative which is called Mini DisplayPort (made by Apple) and is the same physical port as Thunderbolt.
It's worth noting that some devices come with both DisplayPort and HMDI ports rather than just offering one.
Resolution, picture quality and bandwidth
DisplayPort 1.4a (pretty much the same as 1.4 from 2016) is the most common version and has a bandwidth of 25.92Gbps and can support 8K UHD (7680 × 4320) at 60 Hz or 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) at 120Hz with HDR support.
Originally supposed to arrive in 2017, DisplayPort 2.0 is finally here and provides quite a leap compare to 1.4a. The maximum bandwidth gets pushed to 77.4Gbps (up from 25.92Gbps), 4K HDR resolutions now get boosted to a peak of 144Hz and the top resolution for a single display is 16K (15360 x 8460 pixels) running at 60Hz.
That's three 4K displays simultaneously at at 90Hz, or two 8K displays at 120Hz. It's also backward compatible as you might expect.
The downside of DisplayPort is still that it doesn't support ethernet data, and the standard doesn't have an audio return channel. However, it is capable of multiple video outputs which means more than one display. See also: How to connect two displays to a laptop with one DisplayPort connector.
Meanwhile, HDMI version 1.4 is the most common at the moment. This supports the same 4K resolution as DisplayPort 1.2, but at just 30Hz (or 4096 x 2160 at 24Hz). HDMI 2.1 is the latest version and boosts the refresh rate to 120Hz as well as increases bandwidth from 18- to 48Gbps. The resolution is also up to 10K.
Unlike DisplayPort, all HDMI supports return audio and you can buy versions which include up to 100Mbps ethernet. The former means you can upstream audio to a device like an AV receiver if, for example, your TV gets broadcast TV but you don't want to hear the audio from the built-in speakers.
It also supported Consumer Electronics Control (CEC), a feature which lets users control enabled device with one remote control.
In terms of audio, there's really no difference as both the latest versions of HDMI and DisplayPort support digital audio at up to 24-bit and 192kHz.
Most HDMI cables are short (a metre or two) and if you want to cover a long distance you might need to use a signal booster or an 'active' cable which amplifies the signal itself. The HDMI standard doesn't specify a maximum length but it's much longer than DisplayPort at around 30m.
For DisplayPort, you can deliver 4K video over a length up to 2m using a passive cable. You can run a passive cable up to 15m but you'll be limited to 1080p (Full HD) resolution, as defined by the standard. In practice it should manage up to 2560 x 1600-pixel resolution over 5 metres without issue.