You’vCommon video connectorse polished your Powerpoint slides, rehearsed your presentation, and fine-tuned your transitions — the time has come for your big show. You step up to the podium with your laptop, and that’s when you realize that the video-out port on your computer looks nothing like the cable to the monitor or projector that has been provided. Do you know what video connectors you have on your laptop?

Most presenters know to check that the equipment they need is in working order before the big moment, but especially at tradeshows, sometimes you will not have access to the equipment to check some of these details ahead of time.

If you are going to be supplying the laptop that drives your presentation, be sure to contact the people putting on the event to check what kind of video-out their projector or monitor expects. On the flip side, you need to know what video-out your laptop has. If the video-out you have on your laptop does not match what the monitor or projector needs, head to your consumer electronics store (or the Internet) and buy an adapter.

The 3 most common video connectors found on laptops today are VGA, HDMI, and DVI.

VGA video connectorVGA: While this is not the optimum choice for quality video, it is still the most common option out there because it was ubiquitous on laptops until recently. This has a 15-pin D-connector.


HDMI Video connector

HDMI: This is becoming common on computers and modern televisions. Unless you look close, it looks like a long, skinny USB connector.


DVI Video connectorDVI: This provides high quality video but is still not as commonly found as VGA and HDMI. The connector has 3 rows of pins as well as an extra bit on the side. I believe this is more common on Mac laptops.


The moral of the story

Know what video connectors you have on your laptop and make sure they match the video-in of the monitor or projector that you need to use. When all else fails, come prepared with an adapter.

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