Everything You Need To Know About HDMI Connectors

What is an HDMI connector?

An HDMI connector is a vital I/O (input-output) hardware component in many modern pieces of entertainment or communications equipment. They enable HDMI cables to transfer uncompressed digital signals from any suitable audio-video (A/V) source to the receiver or display device it’s plugged in to.

In a vast number of modern homes and workplaces, HDMI connectors are very likely to be found linking desktop computers to monitors, TVs to set-top boxes, games consoles to projectors, and much more besides. In fact, across all fields of home entertainment and workplace communications technologies, HDMI is now one of the most popular and widespread formats for carrying high-quality A/V signals between source and display.

male HDMI cableHDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. This high-end modern format was initially developed in the very early 2000s, with the original aim of improving on the overall convenience and functionality of existing standards for carrying HDTV signals.

Prior to HDMI, these were basically limited to either DVI or component video. The former, a video-only connector, was better suited to its original use in computer monitors, The latter, although effective at transferring HD signals once hooked up, required users to route up to five separate cables if they wanted both video and audio to transfer simultaneously.

HDMI was essentially developed as a means of gathering these five separate cables into one. And, after a period of intense research and testing worldwide, HDMI first launched as a range of commercially available cable and connectors in 2002.

Sales of HDMI components began to increase exponentially over the following 3-5 years, and today it has become more or less the default option for home and workplace A/V signal transfer alike. True to the developers’ original vision, HDMI now allows extremely high-quality audio-visual signals to be carried reliably and neatly between capable wired devices via a single sturdy cable.

HDMI connectors themselves function much like any other familiar cable-based plug and socket system. Indeed, there’s a notable similarity in appearance between USB and HDMI, although HDMI is typically larger (we’ll look more closely at shapes and sizes in the following sections).

As with most other audio-video cable components, HDMI connectors are gendered and can be either male or female depending on which side of the interface they’re required to support in order to complete the connection. And, as is the norm with cable plugs and sockets, a male HDMI connector will generally be slightly smaller and feature a protruding pin area, while the female connector will be recessed and slightly larger.

In addition to these basic male/female characteristics, there are also a number of different HDMI connector types, sizes and layouts available to buy in the UK and worldwide.

In this guide, we’ll explore some of the more common sorts of HDMI connectors on sale in the current market, and look at which types tend to be best suited to what sorts of applications

HDMI connector specifications

Broadly speaking, HDMI connectors are notable among other types of wired connectors and terminals for the quality, bandwidth and speed of the A/V signals they’re able to carry. Since the first HDMI products were launched in 2002, there have been a number of revisions and official iterations of the HDMI standard, each of which delivered its own updated set of HDMI connector specifications.

To date, the key HDMI revisions have been:

HDMI Version (Year released)

  • HDMI 1.0 (2002)
  • HDMI 1.1 (2004)
  • HDMI 1.2 and 1.2a (2005)
  • HDMI 1.3 (2006)
  • HDMI 1.4, 1.4a and 1.4b (2009, 2010, 2011)
  • HDMI 2.0, 2.0a and 2.0b (also known as HDMI UHD) (2013, 2015, 2016)
  • HDMI 2.1 (2017)

Broadly speaking, each of these revisions delivered successive expansions in overall functionality and performance, and so the universal HDMI connector specs have constantly been evolving over the lifetime of the format to date.

Version 1.2 (2005), for example, broadened the range of resolutions and refresh rates supported by HDMI, in a successful attempt to popularise the format among computer owners. Version 1.4 (2009-2011) added support for 4k signals and shared Ethernet connectivity between devices, while version 2.0 (2013-2016) dramatically improved both video bandwidth and audio sample frequency, allowing for simultaneous streaming of HDR visuals and dynamic audio-video synchronisation.

What does an HDMI connector look like?

As mentioned in the opening section, an HDMI connector looks not entirely dissimilar to a USB connector. In each case, the male sides of the connector usually protrude from the cable ends and are typically intended for insertion into female connectors, sockets or hubs that are recessed into the devices being linked.

There are, however, a couple of notable physical differences between USB and HDMI. Full-size HDMI connectors are slightly larger than standard USB, and they’re also characteristically trapezium-shaped, with opposing faces/slot sides of unequal length.

The HDMI connector diagram below shows the classic outline that many people will recognise immediately from I/O panels of their own TVs, games consoles and computer monitors:

While there are various sizes and configurations of HDMI cables and connectors available, the ones in a widespread day-to-day home or office use all tend to share this same basic shape and layout.

HDMI connector types

There are multiple different types of HDMI cable connectors sold on today’s market. Although they all essentially do the same thing, they’re not usually interchangeable in any specific application or device. In other words, you’ll need to know which connector type you’re going to be using before making a purchase.

HDMI connector sizesThere are currently five standard connector types available for HDMI cables, namely:

      • Type A (standard)
      • Type B (dual link - not currently used in any mainstream consumer products)
      • Type C (mini)
      • Type D (micro)
      • Type E (the Automotive Connection System, chiefly developed for in-vehicle use)

These various HDMI cable connector types are easy enough to identify physically, due to their noticeably different sizes. However, if you’re not familiar with the naming schemes for HDMI subtypes, then the range of available options can look a little confusing at first glance. Rest assured that, for the vast majority of home and workplace applications, HDMI connector types A, C and D (standard, mini and micro) will be the only versions you’ll generally need.


HDMI type A connector

The type A HDMI connector is the archetypal ‘standard’ version of HDMI that most users would immediately recognise, and still the most widely used and readily available of the five current connector sizes. They’re by far the most familiar of HDMI connector types to most people and are found on almost every brand of modern TV, monitor, games console and desktop computer

An HDMI type A male connector measures 13.9mm × 4.45mm, while the equivalent female sockets are fractionally larger at 14mm × 4.55mm. Like both the mini and micro versions of HDMI (types C and D respectively), type A is a 19-pin connector designed to carry audio-video signals ranging in bandwidth from standard definition (SDTV) through to 4k UHD

Miniature Type C HDMI connector

HDMI type C mini connector

Type C mini HDMI connectors are a smaller, slimmed-down version of type A, and are very commonly found on various sorts of portable equipment - typical examples might include DSLR cameras, camcorders, larger tablets and sat nav systems. Type C mini HDMI plugs measure 10.42mm × 2.42mm.

Just like its even smaller cousin the micro HDMI connector, mini HDMI connectors share the full functionality of standard type A versions in a more compact package. And, also like the micro version, cables for the HDMI mini format are most often sold with a mini type C plug at one end, and a standard type A plug at the other (although products with mini and/or micro connectors at each end are also available if needed).

Type D Female HDMI Connector

HDMI type D micro connector

Type D HDMI connectors are the micro versions. These are smaller than both standard and mini HDMI connectors, but again retain the same 19-pin configuration (albeit in a slightly different layout due to the size constraints of the microformat).

Type D micro HDMI connectors measure just 5.83mm × 2.20mm, which makes them similar in overall size to a micro-USB connector, and less than half the size of a standard HDMI type A plug or socket. Type D was developed specifically for audio-video connectivity in very small, highly portable devices such as mobile phones.

Female and male HDMI connectors

HDMI female connectors are usually found built into both the signal source device and the receiving device, as sockets intended for a male-end cable to connect to. In the most common arrangement, a cable with two male ends is plugged into two female sockets simultaneously, providing direct wired connectivity between the source and display devices.

Because female HDMI connectors are usually recessed into the body of TVs, games consoles, projectors, computers and monitors - and because they tend to be more susceptible to deforming under excessive strain than male connectors - they’re more widely sold as standalone replacement parts.

Male HDMI connectors, on the other hand, are generally supplied as fixed components at either end of almost every commercially available HDMI cable, and so in many situations, it’s easier and cheaper to replace a damaged male connector by simply swapping in a new cable. However, this isn’t always practical: some high-end HDMI cables can be relatively expensive (especially the longer and sturdier types), and so in many cases, it can be considerably cheaper to wire on a new male connector than to replace an entire cable run.

In addition, many people choose to route HDMI cables behind walls or between floors of a building, and it can be a complicated process to remove and re-lay these if someone happens to step on one of the male connectors and damage it. For this reason, most reliable suppliers that stock female HDMI sockets will also offer a range of equivalent male components too.

Straight and right-angle HDMI connectors

When plugged in, a standard straight connector for HDMI extends horizontally out of the female socket, much like a standard USB cable or 3.5mm jack plug does. This is the most common type of HDMI connector, and will generally be suitable for the majority of household and workplace setups.

However, in scenarios where the amount of space immediately in front of an HDMI socket is limited, it’s also possible to purchase right angled HDMI connectors. These are designed to point immediately downward on exiting the socket, which helps the connector and the cable sit flush against the device it’s plugged into.

HDMI right-angle connectors can be especially useful if a TV or computer is placed with its I/O ports very close to a wall, for example, or if the relative positions of source and receiver devices would put excessive strain on a straight HDMI connection. It can also be handy for improving general cable management around the back of many device types, helping to keep things neat and easy to access.

What is an HDMI connector used for?

In almost all standard use scenarios, HDMI cables and connectors of all types will be used to transfer simultaneous audio and video signals from a source to a receiver or display. After all, that’s what they were originally developed to do, without users having to link up multiple different sets of cables (or the much more unwieldy DVI connectors) to get both types of signal carried at once.

However, in some cases, HDMI can also be used purely for either audio or video signals due to its broad backwards compatibility with older connection standards. This is particularly useful because, with the addition of the right adaptor, it allows HDMI cables and connectors to link hardware devices with a number of different port types.

Audio and video use

As covered earlier in this guide, HDMI was originally developed to update and replace the existing DVI connector standard still found on many computer monitors and other items of video display hardware. DVI is a video-only output, and although HDMI can carry both audio and video signals at the same time, it’s also electrically compatible with the DVI interface.

By purchasing an HDMI-DVI connector, users can run HDMI cables out from DVI sockets on older hardware and display the resulting image perfectly on more modern screens or receivers that lack their own DVI port. Similarly, HDMI audio connectors can also be used to convey just the sound signals from devices with older-style component audio ports if the right adaptor is used.


Today’s HDMI connectors provide a wealth of options for transferring very high quality, high bandwidth audio-video signals between a wide range of modern entertainment and communications equipment. And, thanks to their engineered backwards compatibility with earlier audio-video transfer formats, they can also provide a useful link-up between devices that lack identical HDMI ports if the right adaptor is chosen.

Please feel free to contact a member of our expert support team if you’d like any further information or advice about HDMI cables and connectors, or about setting up your equipment using this popular connection standard for the best possible results and device performance.

Click on the links below to view some of our top brands for HDMI connectors