Now and then, a new type of this connector is developed as technology takes those incremental steps forward. Most users are not particular about these changes—that is until something doesn’t fit. The mini HDMI and USB-C confusion is one such example.
The mini HDMI is not the same as USB-C even though they are the spitting image of each other and may even both be referred to as “Type-C”. They each serve different purposes and cannot be used interchangeably.
That said, one can’t be faulted for not knowing there are actually extensive differences between the mini HDMI and USB-C. So what exactly are these differences? Let’s have a look at them.
Also read, Mini HDMI Vs. Micro HDMI Explained
Is Mini HDMI the Same as Type-C?
The mini HDMI is not the same as the Type-C, although the mini HDMI is also known and often referred to as Type-C. However, this means a Type-C HDMI connector, not a USB Type-C connector. Each one has a different use and meets specific needs.
The iterations of HDMI connectors are the:
- Regular or Type-A
- Mini HDMI or Type-C
- Micro HDMI or Type-D
Whereas, the USB connectors are designated:
The mini HDMI cable, in particular, is sometimes mistaken for a USB Type-C connector cable. However, while this is a tether with an entirely different function, they have the “Type-C” name in common.
Each of these connectors meets a specific need. These functions should be taken into consideration when choosing which connector cable to make use of.
How a Mini HDMI Is Different From USB-C
To the non-tech savvy, all these cords and connectors look the same. However, there are actually significant differences between the two when it comes to design and function.
Before we get too specific, let’s first explore the difference between the HDMI and the USB, as this will unlock our understanding of why a Mini HDMI is vastly different from the USB-C.
USB Connectors Facilitate Data Transfer
Since its invention in the ‘90s, the Universal Serial Bus, or the USB as it’s better known, has been connecting computers to peripheral devices in offices and homes the world over.
Its range covers the fundamental peripherals like keyboards and mice, to web cameras, printers, scanners, and a whole lot of other gadgets.
USB connector cables were originally used for connection and data transfer. Today, their usage has soared thanks to them doubling as charging and power cables for various devices such as smartphones and tablets.
HDMIs Transmit Video & Audio
On the other hand, the purpose of the High-Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI is hinted at in its name. To get into a little more detail, the HDMI transmits digital video and audio simultaneously from a source device to a display device such as a television, computer monitor, or projector.
In the tech world, where smaller and lesser are considered better, an HDMI cable is an asset. It’s essentially a 2-in-1 tether, and you can’t argue with the convenience this provides.
While both audio and video once called for two separate wires, the HDMI meets both transmission requirements in a single cable.
The mini HDMI and USB-C are the current standards for their respective connector types. Their smaller sizes fitted with better and faster functionality retain the essence of their original designs, which mark out their differences.
Types of HDMI Connectors
HDMI connectors do us the service of transmitting audio and video through a single cable. This cable and its connectors come in three variants:
- HDMI Type-A: This is the full-size HDMI cable used to transmit uncompressed video format. The connector itself measures 13.9 mm x 4.45 mm (0.6 in x 0.18 in) and contains 19 pins along two rows.
- Mini HDMI (Type-C): The mini HDMI connector is also known as the Type-C. At only 10.42 mm x 2.42 mm (0.4 in x 0.09 in), it’s considerably smaller than the Type-A connector. However, it has the same total number of 19 pins. It’s designed for smaller devices such as mobile phones and cameras.
- Micro HDMI (Type-D): A mere 6.4 mm x 2.8 mm (0.25 in x 0.11 in), the micro HDMI or Type-D is the smallest of the three and well deserves its name. Unlike its predecessors, with 19 pins each, the Type-D has a single row of 5 pins.
Types of USB Connectors
There are a few different types of USB connectors, and each one works with a port explicitly designed for it.
This is somewhat ironic considering that the “U” in USB stands for “universal,” but these connectors can only work with what they’re fitted for. And while the USB-C is now considered the standard, other types remain in use across a range of devices.
- USB Type-A: Each end of a USB cable typically has a connector different from the other tip. And one of these ends is nearly always a Type-A connector. This part goes into a USB-A port, one or more of which can be found on desktop and laptop computers and even televisions, sound systems, and gaming consoles.
- USB Type-B: This connector has the least resemblance to the bunch. It’s nearly square-shaped as opposed to the rectangular conformation of the other types. It’s far less common now, but back in its heyday, it was usually the link between a computer and other devices, especially printers.
- Mini-USB: The mini-USB, as its name suggests, is a smaller connector than the Type-B. Its port was the standard on mobile devices. Some of these are still in use today, though less seldomly seen.
- Micro-USB: The micro-USB is even smaller than its mini predecessor. It’s more common too. However, this is rapidly changing as USB connectors have been downsized further.
- USB Type-C: Today’s standard USB connector is the USB Type-C. It’s newer, smaller, and a lot faster. It’s what comes with most current devices and has two cable options—with a USB-A on one end or with Type-C on both ends. There’s no right-side-up to this connector. It cuts back on time spent fumbling and sticking it into the port the right way.
In brief, both the Mini HDMI connector and the USB-C connector are indispensable for their respective purposes, and it’s purpose that sets them apart from one another.
The mini HDMI connector halves the cable requirement by simultaneously transmitting audio and video, while the USB-C connector functions in data transmission and can also power up devices.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.