What is a HDMI Motherboard?

Jeremy Laukkonen

An HDMI&reg motherboard is a motherboard that is equipped with a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI&reg) port. HDMI&reg is a standard that can allow high-definition video and high-quality audio to be transmitted via the same cable. This can allow a computer with such a motherboard to be connected to a variety of monitors and televisions without requiring a secondary audio cable. HDMI&reg motherboards can be found in both desktop and laptop computers, and many monitors and televisions come equipped with one or more HDMI&reg ports.

The HDMI® logo.
The HDMI® logo.

Many motherboards contain basic audio and video functions, doing away with the need for a dedicated video or sound card. This is especially true with budget-priced laptops in which both space and price concerns can lead to the use of integrated graphics. A motherboard with integrated graphics is simply a motherboard that has a video card embedded on it and, thus, has an HDMI&reg port, VGA port or both.

A computer motherboard.
A computer motherboard.

While integrated graphics often don't have the power to run resource-intensive games, they can be sufficient for lighter uses. Many televisions come equipped with HDMI&reg ports, and a computer with an HDMI&reg motherboard may use a television as a monitor. This can allow high-definition Internet video and other media to be viewed on a large screen without an expensive video card. It can also allow the computer to be connected to a television or monitor via a single cable for both audio and video.

While early computer monitors traditionally had only one VGA input, many displays now can be found with multiple HDMI&reg inputs. This can allow a single display to be used with many different video sources, including a computer equipped with an HDMI&reg motherboard. HDMI&reg is fully backward compatible with two of the three Digital Video Interface (DVI) types. This means that a computer with an HDMI&reg motherboard and an adapter can connect to the DVI port of a display that lacks HDMI&reg ports. While DVI doesn't support audio input, using an HDMI&reg-to-DVI adapter won't result in any loss of video quality.

If a computer has a dedicated video card, an HDMI&reg motherboard is unnecessary. When a system built with an HDMI&reg motherboard is upgraded with a dedicated video card, the HDMI&reg port on the motherboard simply stops working. An HDMI&reg video card may provide all the same useful functionality of an HDMI&reg motherboard while also being able to run more graphically intensive programs and games.

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