Why weren’t all cable ports designed to be plugged in either way?

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One of the best things about USB C and lightning is how you can connect them both ways. Why aren’t all cables like this? HDMI, Ethernet, display port, USB A, etc. Why weren’t these ever designed to go in both ways from the get go? It seems like a simple thing.

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Many of the older ports that were digital were parallel ports. Meaning that each wire corresponded to a bit in a digit. If your flipped them, the order of the digits flip.

Some of the older displays were analog. So the wires were different colors, which posed the same issue flipping.

Not exactly really necessary. Desktop computer connections typically are very rarely removed/reconnected, so it’s not really a high priority

Old ports are wired to receive data on certain pins and transmit data on certain pins. If the receive and transmit pins are not lined up correctly information cannot be transferred. If it’s a powered cable like USB swapping your power and signal pins could potentially damage the device.

for older interfaces its due ot their physical wiring, their connection pins represent actual wires that are expected to match 1:1 with their approriate port match.

having the interface be strict like this is also helpful at simplyfying controller logic as it doesnt need ot check for multiple working states: it either plugged correctly, or it will not work.

I think identification is one reason. Most people know what an hdmi cable looks, some other connection types might get confusing if they all just start having various shapes as connection points (square, rectangle, octagon etc)

Some need additional measures to making sure the connection doesn’t get broken requiring them to be keyed (network cable)