Mini HDMI vs. Micro HDMI Cables: What’s the Deal with That?

What’s the difference between a mini HDMI cable and a micro HDMI cable? It’s actually a difference in sizes. The largest HDMI cable is the standard Type A one, followed by the slightly smaller Type C mini HDMI cable, and then followed by the smallest Type D micro HDMI cable. Their sized in accordance with the device they’re supposed to connect to, which is the same scheme followed by USB Type A, B, and C cable connectors.  We’ll also briefly cover other HDMI types like Type B and Type E HDMI connector standards for good measure. 

With that in mind, what exactly are the specific differences between an HDMI Mini and an HDMI Micro relative to a standard HDMI cable? What are they used for, what are their specs, and what should you expect from them when shopping for them? Keep on reading to find out, dear reader!

HDMI Mini vs HDMI Micro Cables

HDMI Mini versus HDMI Micro

 The specifications or specs show the difference between the mini and the micro, but by common parlance, you should be able to figure out that micro is smaller than mini. So in terms of drink sizes of small, medium, and large, the small is the micro HDMI, the medium is the mini HDMI, and the large is the standard-sized HDMI. 

  • What Is HDMI? HDMI is an acronym of the High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It was developed as an A/V standard to transmit video and audio signals together in one cable to modern HDTVs or High-Definition Televisions as opposed to the multiple or three-pronged cables of RCA and component video cables. It’s capable of linking a media source like a tablet, video camera, TV, computer, smartphone, DVD/BD player, or game console to a display device like the HDTV, HDMI monitor, or HDMI projector. This is a fully digital interface that delivers 1080p HD video quality or even 4K to 8K quality if you upgrade to HDMI 2.0 and so forth.

 

  • Type A, Type C, and Type D HDMI: There are 3 different types of HDMI connector that link to 3 types of HDMI ports—Standard HDMI, Mini HDMI, and Micro HDMI. They’re also known as Type A, Type C, and Type D HDMI respectively. The main difference between the 3, as discussed, is the size and how big the appliances they’re connecting to an HDTV are. Type A connects the most types of appliances while Type C connects camcorders and Type C connects certain smartphones to a given HDMI display, from a TV to a projector. Mini and Micro cables are quite rare.

 

  • Type B and Type E HDMI: If there’s a Type A, C, and D, then where’s Type B? Type B follows Type A HDMI in that it’s based on HDMI 1.0 and above standards. It carries signals for dual-link DVD-I video. However, it hasn’t been used in other products since the introduction of HDMI 1.3, which had speeds that exceeded that of the old dual-link standard. There’s also a Type E HDMI that’s mainly used for automotive applications, like connecting the radio, portable fan, portable vacuum, and so forth to your car using a cigarette lighter port adapter. It was introduced during the introduction of the HDMI 1.4 standard.

 

  • What Is a Standard HDMI Port? The most common and popular HDMI cable type—the AA or AAA battery of HDMI—is the Type A or standard HDMI port. Type B is just like Type A but it has a dual-link tech behind it for faster connections that would eventually be outdone by the HDMI 1.3 standard. Standard HDMI ports for Type A cables are found on 99 percent of HDTVs as well as the majority of laptops and desktops requiring connection to an HDMI monitor (as opposed to the old VGA standard). As laptops get smaller and smaller, manufacturers are looking into USB-based linkups to monitors.

 

  • The Specs of the HDMI Mini and Micro: The Type C HDMI Mini has a size of 10.42 millimeters by 2.42 millimeters. It’s also defined for using the HDMI 1.3 and above specification. Its connector has a 19-pin configuration. The Type D HDMI Micro has a size of 6.4 millimeters by 2.8 millimeters. It’s also defined as having an HDMI 1.4 and above specification, since it came about a little later than the Mini. It also features a 19-pin configuration but on a smaller connector frame. So the Micro is the smaller version of the Mini by the looks of things.

 

  • Both Use the 19-Pin Configuration: Although both use the 19-pin configuration for their connector and their ports, they differ mostly in size and application. The Type C or Mini HDMI offers all positive signals for its differential pairs, such that they’re swapped with their corresponding shield. Meanwhile, the CEC is assigned to the 14th pin instead of the 13th pin while the DDC/CEC Ground is assigned to the 13th pin instead of the 17th pin. In contrast, the Type D Micro HDMI shares the same pin configuration of a standard HDMI cable known as HDMI Type A.

 

  • What Is the Mini HDMI Called? The Mini HDMI standard is also known as the Type C HDMI. You can’t use it to connect to a standard Type A port but you can instead use it on smaller devices, most commonly camcorders. It might’ve been planned for use with laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices. However, most manufacturers like Apple and its iOS devices or companies supporting the Android OS preferred USB connections and the use of adapters to link up the display or interface of their mobile devices to an HDTV.

  • What Size Is Micro HDMI? The Micro HDMI standard is even smaller than the Mini HDMI. As mentioned above, the Micro HDMI is 6.4 millimeters by 2.8 millimeters versus the 10.42 millimeters by 2.42 millimeters size of the Mini HDMI. If the Mini HDMI is supposed to be a smaller version of a Type A or Type B HDMI, then the Micro HDMI is the smaller version of the Mini HDMI. It’s supposed to be the size of a phone charger. It’s mainly used on devices like more advanced MP3 Players, certain smartphones, and personal digital assistants.

  • Applications of Mini and Micro HDMI: Standard HDMI cables are what you use for connecting HDTVs, monitors, and projectors to media sources like game consoles, DVD players, BD, or Blu-Ray Disc players, and cable or satellite boxes together. Mini HDMI cables or Type C cables are mainly used to link up your HD camcorder to your HDTV. Type D or Micro HDMI cables are used to linking smartphones to your HDTV. These smartphones include the Spring HTC Evo, Motorola Droid X, and the like. Type D is an alternative to USB or Lightning linkups and directly links screen interfaces together instead of storage or battery charging.

 

  • HDMI Mini-Micro Cables in the 21st Century: The 2006 HDMI 1.3 introduced the Type C Mini HDMI connector (which made the Type B dual-link HDMI obsolete and redundant). The 2009 HDMI 1.4 introduced the Type D Micro HDMI connector (along with the Type E Automotive HDMI standard). Both Mini and Micro HDMI cables offer the same signal quality and transmission as their Type A progenitor but only for certain smaller types of mobile devices. They’re 40 percent smaller than Type A HDMI; the manifestation of the micronization of technology that was all the rage during the turn of the century.

 

  • Large Equipment versus Small Equipment: Type A HDMI cables are mainly used for large equipment like media players, game consoles, and cable/satellite boxes as well as various other pieces of tech. If you want to link up your smaller devices like smartphones, digital cameras, handheld consoles, tablets, camcorders, and so forth that have their operating system user interfaces with them, you can do so with a Type C and D connector. Or at least that was the plan but companies weren’t as quick to adapt these connector types as the standard compared to Type A HDMI and HDTVs.

 

  • HDMI Format Wars on the Mobile Display Front: HDMI technology has become an everyday part of human life. However, like with the format wars between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD or Betamax and VHS, to the victor goes the spoils. Mobile device manufacturers either came up with their own display link format (iPhones and Lightning) or used another format altogether (Androids and USB-C) to link up their devices to an HDTV, even to the point of bolstering the adapter and converter industry altogether. As a result, Type C and D type connectors are quite rare to come by compared to Lightning or USB-C connectors.

 

Why Aren’t Mini and Micro HDMI Commonplace?

The standard Type A HDMI cable is more commonplace than the Type C and Type D cables because those two have alternative connections in the form of USB-C or Lightning. What’s more, not every person hooks up their camcorder to their HDTV. As for smartphones, later versions of the iPhone and Android allowed screen mirroring through wireless HDMI or the USB/Lightning to HDMI adapter, which is also more readily available to purchase than the Type D HDMI Micro. Regardless, like A batteries for primitive laptops or B batteries for bike lamps, they’re a part of the HDMI cable and port format history. 

References:

  1. HDMI Mini vs HDMI Micro“, The Trench, Blogspot.com, July 19, 2010
  2. James Peterson, “Micro HDMI VS Mini HDMI Simple Difference Explained“, The Conch Tech, January 7, 2020
  3. HDMI Mini-Micro Cables“, Cmple.com, Retrieved April 12, 2020
  4. HDMI Connectors“, Wikipedia, Retrieved April 16, 2020

 

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