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Why is VGA connector irrelevant today?

A female VGA socket and a male VGA cable

VGA (Video Graphics Array) connector is one of the oldest analog connector used mainly on computer systems since the late 1980s. Introduced in 1987, it was one of the primary connector used to transfer (or output) video signal from one device to another, such as from a PC desktop to an external display monitor. Unlike other wired connectors like DisplayPort and HDMI that are also used to transmit media from one device to another, the VGA connector is limited to video signal and cannot output audio signal, which is one of its major disadvantage.

The VGA connector apart from being used in laptops and desktop PCs is also extensively used in home and office appliances such as TVs and projectors. However, analog connectors such as VGA are becoming extinct as digital connectors take their place in modern day electronics. It is becoming less and less to come across computer systems and home entertainment systems that still use VGA connector. Why? The world has gone digital - a lot of things have changed over the past few years.

VGA used old standards that are subjected to irregularities and limitations, which have been solved in newer standards used by digital connectors such as the now-popular HDMI. One of this is its inability to adequately output video signal with refresh rate beyond 60Hz. Also, since it is analog, it can only output video signal in RGB. Combining these with its incapability to stream audio signal alongside with video signal in a data transmission is a disability that today's technology cannot adapt with.

Long gone are the days when CCFL monitors and Plasma TVs were the main dominant in the market; today, we have ultra-thin LED monitors and curved smart TVs with resolution as high as 8K (7680x4320 pixel) using different technologies and proprietary softwares to render digital media. The advancement in the media space and the digital space is what obsoleted the VGA as it lacked the properties, specs requirements, and the compatibility requirements that today's media transmission demands. This is the main reason why VGA has become irrelevant.

It is a necessity that cannot be avoided. This is not the first time a newer technology completely replaced an older technology. For instance, the FireWire data connector (also known as IEEE 1394) developed by Apple in early 90's was obsoleted by high-speed USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt around the year 2012. Some TVs, projectors, and laptops still have the VGA ports, even today, but just as optional. Thunderbolt-enabled USB Type-C and HDMI have become the standard connectors used for laptops and desktops, while HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) has become the standard connector used for home electronics to transmit media.

HDMI supports a wide range of video and audio data unlike VGA. It can be found in almost all home entertainment systems that are released nowadays such as TVs, projectors, home theaters, video recorders, satellite decoders, BluRay players, and more, with VGA getting lesser recognition on these devices and serving as optional if available. While VGA only supports RGB, HDMI supports sRGB and YCbCr color space. It also supports latest display technologies such as HDR10 for best picture quality. HDMI can process different audio signals alongside with video signals and it supports wide varieties of digital audio streams such as DTS:X and Dolby Atmos.

Moreover, unlike VGA that cannot properly process video signal with more than 60Hz refresh rate, HDMI supports up to 240Hz refresh rate and up to 10K (10240x9600) video format (resolution). Other advanced features such as eARC, HEC, and HDCP also made HDMI standout as a digital connector. In one word, VGA is the past and HDMI is the future. HDMI has come to stay whether we like it or not. VGA has no future.



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