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What is USB-C (USB type C)? Can USB-C Be Used for Video?

USB-C for video

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:33 am

Updated June 2020

You may have heard of USB-C especially in relation to smartphones but don’t really know much about it.

What is USB-C or USB type C?

Can USB-C be used for video?

Let’s first check out what USB-C is.

What is USB-C or USB Type C

USB Type-C or USB-C is the new kid on the connector block that’s fast gaining popularity.

USB-C is an industry standard multimedia connector that has the ability to deliver not only data but also power to and from multimedia devices through a single cable.

One main advantage of the USB-C is it could be plugged in in any way, without worrying about which is the top and bottom as with other connectors like USB and HDMI.

In other words, USB-C is a symmetrical connector.

USB-C History

The USB-C saw development through the USB-IF or USB Implementers Forum, the body that sets USB standards.

It comprises the big boys of the multimedia industry , about 700 of them, including Samsung, Dell, Apple and Microsoft, among others.

What Does USB-C Look Like?

USB-C connector
USB-C connector

At first glance a USB-C connector bears a close resemblance to a micro USB cable.

However, on closer inspection, you’ll see that it has an oval shape and more rounded than a micro USB connector.

Micro USB connector
Micro USB connector

Also you’ll notice that a USB-C connector looks much sturdier and thicker.

What is the Difference Between USB and USB C?

USB-C is smaller in size compared to USB. The main advantage is you can plug in a USB-C connector in any direction, just like an RCA connector. There’s no top or bottom sides.

USB-C also has the capability to transmit higher power. Apart from using it to charge smartphones and tablets, it could also be used to charge high-powered devices like computer laptops.

You can’t use a USB cable to charge a laptop computer.

What’s Special About USB-C?

USB-C adopts the USB 3.1 data transfer standard.
Gen 2 USB 3.1 promises data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.

For the sake of comparision Gen 1 USB 3.1 and USB 3.0, can handle only up to 5Gbps.

USB-C also supports Thunderbolt 3, a data transfer technology developed by Intel which can handle up to 40Gbps.

If you’re one of those who have experienced the early days of USB, particulrarly USB 1.0 which supports up to 12Mbps, USB 3.1 works up to 3000 times faster.

Does USB-C Work With Thunderbolt 3 Devices?

No, USB-C don’t work with all types of Thunderbolt 3 devices.
On the other hand, Thunderbolt 3 is more flexible. It’s compatible with all USB devices.

Can USB-C Be Used for Video? Can You Convert USB-C to HDMI?

Yes, USB-C can be used for video. It has a feature called Alternate Mode (Alt Mode) which allows video to be transmitted to connections such as HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI and even VGA to computer monitors, HDTV and projectors.

USB-C to HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort adapters are readily available and affordable, too.

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