When you are installing drivers, you may see some references to items that leave you wondering exactly what they are and what purpose they could possibly serve. With that in mind, today’s SuperUser Q&A post helps clear up the confusion for a curious reader.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

Photo courtesy of Audio Mix House (Flicker).

The Question

SuperUser reader Dan Dascalescu wants to know what the Display Audio mentioned during his laptop’s driver installation process is:

I have downloaded an Intel HD Graphics driver for my Dell laptop and the installer’s welcome screen says it will install the following components:

  • Intel Graphics Driver
  • Intel Display Audio Driver

What exactly is Display Audio? Dell’s and Lenovo’s pages are spectacularly unhelpful.

What is Display Audio?

The Answer

SuperUser contributors ultrasawblade and Techie007 have the answer for us. First up, ultrasawblade:

HDMI and DisplayPort are capable of transmitting audio as well as video. To Windows, it looks like an additional soundcard appears on your system, for which a driver is needed. So if you connect a monitor on the other end of your HDMI or DisplayPort and it can play sound, you can send sound to that monitor by selecting “Intel Display Audio” or similar as your audio device.

Followed by the answer from Techie007:

It is for sending audio through the video adapter (for use with video interfaces that support it like HDMI and DisplayPort).

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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