Identifying the correct video connectors to use on your PC to prevent a No Video issue

Identifying the correct video connectors to use on your PC to prevent a No Video issue



The following article provides information on Video connectors and how to resolve a No Video issue where the user has plugged up to the wrong ports on the monitor or system.


Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Digital versus Analog
  3. Common types of Display equipment
  4. How to connect up your monitor and avoid a No Video error
  5. Connecting up multiple cables for a number of displays

Introduction

This guide will discuss the benefits of a digital signal as opposed to an analog signal and media.

It will show the various common display types, currently in use by the majority of our users.

It will take you through the correct set up for a single display and how to avoid a No Video issue during setup.

It will also take you through the correct set up for multiple displays as well.

This is a general guide, but the steps advised should enable you to work confidently on any system by knowing why you need to complete each step.


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Digital versus Analog

Analog Signals

are any continuous signal for which the time varying feature (variable) of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity, i.e., analogous to another time varying signal. It differs from a digital signal in terms of small fluctuations in the signal which are meaningful.

Digital Signals

uses discrete (discontinuous) values. By contrast, non-digital (or analog) systems use a continuous range of values to represent information. Although digital representations are discrete, the information represented can be either discrete, such as numbers or letters, or continuous, such as sounds, images, and other measurements of continuous systems.

What does that actually mean for you?

The most common analog cable still in use is VGA. Support for this standard was supposed to be dropped with Windows 7, however it is still widely in use and support has continued through to Windows 10. However just because it is still in wide use, does not mean it is still a good interface to use.

The benefits of using a digital cable will depend on the type of cable and interface/standard in use. These currently vary through DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt cables, connectors and standards. Generally however there are certain benefits across all digital cables and graphics cards. Such as:

  • A more consistent signal.
  • Better/larger screen resolution and faster refresh rates.
  • Longer cable lengths.
  • Better cable shielding, meaning less signal interference.
  • The addition of audio and internet signals to the video signal.
  • Multiple displays.
  • Future proofing your computer setup.

This is why we always recommend using the best standard possible, that works on both your system and your display.

If you would like further information on the different cable types and their properties, please check out the links below:

If you would like to see a visual guide to identifying the various cable connectors and plugs, please check out this article below:


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Common types of Display equipment

There are many different types of display available, but the general rule of thumb is that the more recently it was made - the more advanced its quality and function will be. The Table below shows some examples - starting with the oldest and working down to more recent models:

CRT Monitor CRT
Projector Projector
Flat Panel Monitor Flat Panel
Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor Widescreen
Widescreen Curved Panel Monitor Curved Screen
High Definition Television HD TV


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How to connect up your monitor and avoid a No Video error

If you do not ask and answer the correct questions when setting up a display on a computer system, there are a number of ways you may end up with a No Video issue. I'll take you through the correct questions to ask below and show you some of the most common ways to setup a new system and display.

  1. Check the back of the display and identify which port types and video cable type are available for you to use? (There is usually more than one port on the display (fig1) and appropriate cables (fig2) supplied with the display.)

    • You can use the guides linked in section 2 to identify which is the best port and cable type available to you.

    • You will look to match this port to one on the system you want to connect the display to.

    • (It is possible to purchase conversion cables (fig3) that will allow you to plug a cable with different connectors that have a compatible video standards. We won't go into this further, other than to say it's possible - however these cables are not normally supplied with the equipment as standard.)

XX

  1. Does your system have an add-on graphics card fitted or does it only have onboard video available? (Be aware graphics cards can come in multiples and fill more than one option slot (fig4) on your PC.) Check the back of your Desktop system or the back of your Dock (If using a closed Notebook) and identify which video ports are available. (Check if there are any video ports which are blocked off with a plastic cap?)

    • A general rule for Desktop systems is that when the system is standing up like a tower, the onboard video ports run in a strip that is vertical (fig5), which the graphics card video ports run horizontally (fig6).

    • Whilst it is possible to add extra graphics to Notebooks (fig7) and Docks (fig8), generally you would simply pick the best video port available on either to work with on the dock.

Note: An open Notebook with a display attached and the Notebook screen on is classed as multiple screens. A closed Notebook with a display attached is considered as a single screen.

XXX

  1. If there is a video card fitted, select the best port available from the card that matches the port and cable from the display and plug up the correct video cable between the two ports. (Ensure there is power to both the system and the display) If there is no card fitted, select the best port available form the onboard ports and match that to the port and cable from the display.

  2. If there is a video card fitted (fig9), be aware that most computers will disable the onboard video ports in the systems BIOS. You can enter the BIOS on a Dell PC by rapidly tapping on the F2 key before the system POSTS. You can disable this option manually, however the only reason to do this is if the onboard port is the only one you can match to a port on the display or you are setting up multiple displays and need a number of video ports to connect to.

NVidia Card

Some displays, such as those with Integral Speakers, USB Hubs or Touchscreen properties will have extra cabling that plugs between the display and the system. However please remember that there always can be only one (1) video cable plugged up between any one display and system.
  1. Once you have connected everything together and powered on your system, you will need to configure your video output. For onboard video this is usually handled by the video section of the Windows operating system. With add-on graphics cards, there will usually be a proprietary configuration program for you to use instead. With only one screen installed, this would mostly be a case of setting the correct resolution and refresh rate for your screen type.


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Connecting up multiple cables for a number of displays

Connecting and setting up multiple displays on your system starts off the same as in section 4 with some additional steps depending on how many displays you look to attach.

Note: There are a maximum number of displays you can attach to any one system, however it depends on several factors you need to find out. How many video ports are available, how many video channels are available from the onboard or add-on video chip and what equipment you have available to you? You can find this out from your documentation that you received with your system/card/displays.
  1. Check the back of the displays and identify which port types and video cable types are available for you to use? (There is usually more than one port on each display (fig1) and appropriate cables (fig2) supplied with the displays.)

    • You can use the guides linked in section 2 to identify which are the best ports and cable types available to you.

    • We will look to match these ports to those on the system you want to connect the displays to.

    • (It is possible to purchase conversion cables (fig3) that will allow you to plug a cable with different connectors that have a compatible video standards. We won't go into this further, other than to say it's possible - however these cables are not normally supplied with the equipment as standard.)

XX

  1. Does your system have an add-on graphics card fitted or does it only have onboard video available? (Be aware graphics cards can come in multiples and fill more than one option slot (fig4) on your PC.) Check the back of your Desktop system, the back of your Dock or the back and sides of your Notebook and identify which video ports are available. (Check if there are any video ports which are blocked off with a plastic cap?)

    • A standard rule for Desktop systems is that when the system is standing up like a tower, the onboard video ports run in a strip that is vertical (fig5), which the graphics card video ports run horizontally (fig6).

    • Whilst it is possible to add extra graphics to Notebooks (fig7) and Docks (fig8), generally you would simply pick the best video port available on either to work with. However Notebooks will usually need a compatible dock to have more than one external screen directly plugged to it, but remember with the Notebook open and it's integral screen on - it plus one external screen count as multiple displays.

XXX

  1. If there is a video card (fig9) fitted, select the best ports available from the card that matches the ports and cables from the displays and plug up the correct video cable between the various ports. This is where you would disable the BIOS option turn off the onboard video ports to allow you to use them in addition to those on the video card. (Ensure there is power to both the system and the displays.) If there is no card fitted, you may not be able to fit more than one external display unless the system has multiple onboard video ports and the channels to use them separately.

NVidia Card

Note: Some displays, such as those with Integral Speakers, USB Hubs or Touchscreen properties will have extra cabling that plugs between the display and the system. However please remember that there always can be only one (1) video cable plugged up between any one display and system. (For multiple displays with these added features, you may need to purchase additional hubs/splitters to plug up all the additional cables to the one system.)
  1. Once you have connected everything together and powered on your system, you will need to configure your video outputs. For onboard video this is usually handled by the video section of the Windows operating system. With add-on graphics cards, there will usually be a proprietary configuration program for you to use instead. With multiple screens installed, this would be a case of:

    • Setting the correct resolution and refresh rate for each screen type.

    • Setting whether screens are in Extend or Clone mode.

      Extend

      This is a mode where the desktop is extended across multiple screens.

      Clone

      This is a mode where the desktop is identical across multiple screens all showing the same thing.

    • Setting the displays in the correct order and location. (So your cursor can navigate across each screen when in Extend Mode.)

    • Choosing between Portrait and Landscape view depending on each screen position.

      Portrait

      This is the mode where the long sides of the rectangle are vertical.

      Landscape

      This is the mode where the long sides of the rectangle are horizontal.


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Article ID: SLN43452

Last Date Modified: 02/01/2019 03:42 PM


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