Which Provides Higher Quality – DisplayPort or HDMI [v]

[ This is an excerpt from a recent on-line webinar: “Ask Larry Anything!” which is available as a download in our store, or as part of our Video Training Library. ]


In this short video, Larry Jordan compares the differences between using DisplayPort and HDMI when connecting external computer monitors to your Mac. One is a much better choice.


Which Provides Higher Quality – DisplayPort or HDMI?

TRT: 3:18 — MPEG-4 HD movie



This session, hosted by Larry Jordan, focused on three key areas:

Key discussions include:

And more, the complete list is below. This is a fascinating session because there’s always something new to learn at an “Ask Larry” session.


Subjects range from beginning to advanced. If a particular subject doesn’t interest you, just wait a minute and it will change.

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5 Responses to Which Provides Higher Quality – DisplayPort or HDMI [v]

  1. Aandrew Findlay says:

    Thanks Larry,
    That’s good to know, but what about:

    1) using the HDMI out of a MacBook Pro or Studio (M2/3)? and…

    2) going USB/Thunderbolt 4 out of a MacBook Pro into a monitor with USB-C input?

    Andrew Findlay, Bristol, UK.
    PS: would be interrested on your thoughts re Mac’s poor text resolution/rendering on external monitors, one day.

    • Larry says:


      This is a really good question. So, let me back up a step.

      DisplayPort is the native monitor “language” of Thunderbolt. HDMI is not. This means that an HDMI signal needs processing in order to work properly. If you have a HDMI port on your computer – desktop or portable – Apple has already done that processing for you. In which case, HDMI will work great.

      This truth was obvious to me – but unnoticed. I have two monitors on my desktop. One connected via HDMI to the HDMI port on my computer. It works perfectly. The one connected via HDMI to Thunderbolt kept flashing to black.

      So, what I SHOULD Have written is this: If you have an HDMI port on your computer and an HDMI monitor, use them. They work great. If you add a second monitor, or if your computer has Thunderbolt but no HDMI port, use DisplayPort if your monitor supports it OR a cable with electronics to convert the Thunderbolt signal to HDMI. A straight Thunderbolt to HDMI passthrough cable will, generally, not work properly.

      Thanks for asking.


  2. BTW: I use a “Lenovo ThinkPad Universal Thunderbolt 4 Smart Dock” connected to my Mac Laptop, Mac Studio and Windows machine without any issues when I use the Display Ports connected to both of my monitors via thunderbolt cable to my computer.

  3. Ethan Derner says:

    Hi Larry. We have two Macs running with one LG monitor between them. The LG monitor has one HDMI input and one DisplayPort input, whereas both Macs have HDMI output in addition to Thunderbolt.

    In this particular case, how would you set them up? And is there still some kind of switcher available on the market, to choose which Mac output is displayed?

    All the best,
    Ethan Derner

    • Larry Jordan says:


      (All comments are moderated, which is why your’s didn’t show up immediately.)

      You don’t need a “switcher” it’s built into your monitor. Connect one Mac via HDMI and the other via DisplayPort. Then, using the monitor controls, switch inputs to determine which computer is displayed. You can get fancy by adding a KVM switch, but it’s money you don’t need to spend unless you want to prevent ham-fisted operators breaking something. But the monitor switch should be fine.


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