Updated July 19, 2017

HDMI and SVGA are video transfer technologies for computer monitors and home entertainment devices. IBM originally developed the VGA, or video graphics array, standard in the 1980s. SVGA, or Super VGA, is an extension of this technology. HDMI, or high-definition multimedia interface, technology became an established standard in 2002. At the time of publication, the majority of monitors, televisions and playback devices include support for HDMI or SVGA, and may include support for both transfer technologies.


The resolution of an image describes the number of pixels that create the image. Resolutions express as dimensions. The standard, or "native," SVGA resolution for computer equipment is 800 by 600 pixels. However, this upgraded shortly after release to support resolutions up to 1024 by 768 pixels. The specific design of HDMI equipment is for high-definition applications. The range of supported HDMI resolutions starts at 640 by 480 pixels, and increases to HD1080P and a resolution known as Full HD. According to a 2007 article in Gizmodo, HD1080P is equivalent to 1280 by 1080 and Full HD is equivalent to 1920 by 1080 pixels.


As SVGA cables only carry video information, a separate cable must carry audio to speakers. HDMI cables incorporate support for a number of high-resolution audio formats, with CD-quality uncompressed pulse code modulation, or PCM, as the baseline format. According to the HDMI standards home page, the HDMI cable can support eight discrete channels of audio, allowing for one-plug connectivity of multichannel sound systems, such as 5.1 or surround sound.


Many PC graphics cards and monitors have labels indicating that they are "SVGA Compatible." However, in order to support resolutions higher than 800 by 600 pixels, SVGA requires specific compatibility with hardware using the correct extension of the standard VGA technology. The intention of the design of HDMI cables is to simplify connectivity for home users. According to, a single HDMI cable can replace up to 10 individual audio and visual cables supporting a variety of functions. HDMI cables use a minimal number of different connectors to ensure maximum compatibility between different devices.

Cable Length

HDMI cable runs can cover over 10 meters, approximately 33 feet, before they start to experience signal loss and interference. As both SVGA and HDMI cables use a twisted copper pair, this distance is similar for both cable types. However, many HDMI devices include a feature called "Cable Equalization" in the input and output sockets. This feature helps prevent attenuation and negates the need for an inline signal booster.

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About the Author

Matt Gerrard began writing in 2002, initially contributing articles about college student culture to "The Gateway" magazine, many of which were republished on the now-defunct Plinth blog. Since then, Gerrard has worked as a technician for musicians, educators, chemists and engineers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in music technology from DeMontfort University.