TV Video/Audio Connectors
Composite, Component, and Svideo (Supervideo)
*** also see
RCA Jacks with Composite Video
- the most common of all TV system Cable Connectors and Video Formats
(one yellow Composite Video jack, and 2 red/white Stereo Audio
NOTE: many people use "monster cables"
for the Yellow, or even all 3 cables
Monster cables/connectors are very high quality and resistant to
interference. They are also very expensive !!
Table of Connectors
are the most common cables, used to hook up your standard VCR and
stereo equipment. Typically, they are color-coded: red, white, and
yellow. Red is for right channel audio. White is for left channel
audio. Yellow is for video. The entire video signal is transmitted
by one cable. This is the lowest quality cable for a video source,
but again, it is also the most common. Most new televisions, all
video camcorders, all VCRs, and all videodisc players will have RCA
jacks for these cables.
are actually just another form of an RCA/composite cable. The end of
the cable looks different from an RCA cable, but can be changed to
an RCA end with a simple adapter. Most professional video equipment
will have a BNC jack instead of a RCA jack. The physical connection
is more secure because BNC cables twist and lock in place. BNC
are more often used with professional equipment.
are standard monitor cable. It is typically male-to-male with three
rows, 15 pins. A VGA cable is used for computer to monitor, or
computer to projector connections. Its only home theater application
may be as a connection to an HDTV decoder, such as the current RCA
VGA is RGBHV !! The signal is the
way a computer connects to a projector. Five pins on a 15-pin VGA
cable are RGBHV.
Svideo is used for TV-Out on video
cards and with some TV systems. This cable might also be
referred to as a SVHS cable and can be found on most high-end
televisions, all videodisc players, camcorders, digital cable and
satellite set top boxes, and SVHS VCRs. S-video cables differ from
composite cables in that they split video signal into two different
components: luminance and chrominance. The S-video cable will offer
marked improvement over a composite cable.
Video Interface (DVI) cables look a
little like a standard VGA cable, but they are slightly
larger. Under ideal circumstances, the DVI cable creates a
‘digital to digital’ connection between video or data source
and display device. There are, however, only limited
situations when this ideal circumstance occurs. DVI is
still developing, so there is no universal standard for the
DVI cable as of yet.
-Display Interface System - for
projectors. M1 is rare - only InFocus and Sony use it
It is a multi-purpose interface that supports DVI, VGA, USB
and IEEE 1394 (a.k.a. Fire Wire) signals. This single
connector replaces the VGA, DVI and USB connectors found on
other projectors. An M1 connector can also provide power to
external devices. There are three primary variations of the
M1-DA (Digital and Analog): The most
common type. It supports VGA, USB, and DVI signals.
M1-D (Digital): Supports DVI signals
M1-A (Analog): Supports VGA signals.
cables are a smaller version of DVI
cables. HDMI cables can also carry 16 bit, 8 channel,
digital audio signals as well as video. HDMI is expected to
hit the street in late 2003 on a limited number of
projection televisions, plasma televisions, LCD TVs, DVD
players, and other consumer electronics devices. HDMI looks
to become a connectivity standard for HDTV in the following
HDMI connections will be made backwards
compatible with DVI devices. Since the conversion will be a
pin-to-pin connection, there should be no detectable signal
loss when converted. However, the DVI to HDMI conversions
will not be able to carry the 8 channel audio signal
available on a pure HDMI connection. Since video projectors
and computer monitors do not typically provide high quality
audio, DVI is likely to remain strong in these areas.
look just like composite cables. The difference is
that, where a composite cable carries the entire video signal on a
single cable, component cables split the signal in three. This
connection gives a superior image over composite or S-video
connections. The signal itself is referred to as either Y,Cr,Cb, or
Y,Pb,Pr. Most manufacturers make connecting these cables easy by
color coordinating them. The tips of the cables and jacks will be
red, green and blue. Unfortunately, this can be a bit confusing
because computer RGB connections are colored the same way. A good
rule of thumb is that, if the connections are RCA type, it is
usually a component cable. Computer RGB cables will usually be BNC
type. Most high-end DVD players and HDTV tuners will have component
Component video is NOT RGB !!
RGBHV cables are a form of RGB.
The RGBHV cable splits the video signal into five streams.
There are actually three different types of RGB cables, and
RGBHV is one of them:
RGBHV is a five-cable system
that splits the video signal for color into red, green,
and blue, and then has two more cables to carry the sync
for the signal (horizontal and vertical sync).
RGB H/V is a four-cable system
that splits the color the same way, but has the
horizontal and vertical sync on a single fourth cable.
RGB video cables again split the
color signal in three, but carry the additional sync
signal on one of the color cables, usually the green
(called RGB sync on green).
VGA is RGBHV !! The
signal is the way a computer connects to a projector. Five
pins on a 15-pin VGA cable are RGBHV. The projector
recognizes the type of signal and projects accordingly.
RGBHV connectors are found on most high-end
professional monitors and on the most popular HDTV decoder
(by RCA). Note that RCA has chosen to send the HDTV signal
via a 15-pin VGA cable instead of a component connection.
This may become the standard connection for HDTV tuners in
the future. We will have to wait and see
Component vs Svideo vs
The highest quality is Component, followed by Svideo, and then
Composite - however, few people can really notice much difference.
Most television Home Theater systems have a main
"Receiver/Amplifier" that is a central hub for all the inputs (Cable box, DVD
player, etc) - and it also is connected to the Television and speakers. It
sends video to the TV and Auido to the speakers (typically 5 speakers and 1
Most receivers accept "composite" inputsm which is one video
port and two audio ports.
Composite Video (YUV) - A video
color format that combines all three YUV video signals into one channel. The
first video signal to include color, composite video transmits brightness/luma
(Y) and colors/chroma (U and V) over one cable. NTSC, PAL and SECAM television
are composite video.
Component Video (Y-U-V or in some cases R-G-B)-
a video color format that maintains the three YUV video signals in three
separate channels. Component video provides a sharper image than composite video
and S-video. See YUV, composite video and S-video.
Analog Component Video
Component video may refer to "analog" component video (YPbPr), especially
with regard to the Y, Pb and Pr cable connectors on devices such as DVD
players, set-top boxes, receivers and TVs. See YPbPr.
Digital Component Video
Component video may refer to "digital" component video (YCbCr), which is the
norm for tape formats such as MiniDV, DV and Digital Betacam. Digital
component video (YCbCr) is also natively supported by many nonlinear video
editing programs (NLEs). See YCbCr and YCbCr sampling.
RGB: Digital or Analog
Sometimes, component video refers to RGB signals rather than YUV. It may
refer to "digital" RGB, which is the native graphics format in the computer,
and it is supported by all nonlinear video editing programs (NLEs).
Component video may also refer to "analog" RGB, especially with regard to
a three-cable RGB attachment to a studio monitor or high-end video camera.
Svideo (Y/C or Y/UV)
- (Super-video) - since you can directly
convert Svideo to Composite via a simple wiring change, many people think yhat
the only difference is the interface pinouts. Actually, Svideo differs
from composite video on the signals as well. Svideo splits the video
signal into two different components: luminance (Y) and chrominance (C -
where C = UV combined), which is why there are 4 connectors (4 pins).
Composite video has only 2 connectors because the video is all in one combined
stream. An Svideo-to-Composite adapter simply combines the two signals
from the Svideo pins into one.
Svideo is a video color format that combines the three YUV video
signals into two channels. Brightness/luma (Y) is in one channel, and color/chroma
(U and V) are in another. S-video provides a sharper image than composite video,
but is not as good as component video.
HDCP over DVI is a recent development in the world of consumer
electronics. The new HDCP content protection standard has expanded the use of
DVI in high definition DVD players and HDTV set top boxes.
The color encoding system used for analog television worldwide (NTSC, PAL and
SECAM). The YUV color space (color model) differs from RGB, which is what the
camera captures and what humans view. When color signals were developed in the
1950s, it was decided to allow black and white TVs to continue to receive and
decode monochrome signals, while color sets would decode both monochrome and
Luma and Color Difference Signals
The Y in YUV stands for "luma," which is brightness, or lightness, and black
and white TVs decode only the Y part of the signal. U and V provide color
information and are "color difference" signals of blue minus luma (B-Y) and
red minus luma (R-Y). Through a process called "color space conversion," the
video camera converts the RGB data captured by its sensors into either
composite analog signals (YUV) or component versions (analog YPbPr or
digital YCbCr). For rendering on screen, all these color spaces must be
converted back again to RGB by the TV or display system.
Mathematically Equivalent to RGB
YUV also saves transmission bandwidth compared to RGB, because the chroma
channels (B-Y and R-Y) carry only half the resolution of the luma. YUV is
not compressed RGB; rather, Y, B-Y and R-Y are the mathematical equivalent
of RGB. See color space conversion and YUV/RGB conversion formulas.
Composite Video and S-video
The original TV standard combined luma (Y) and both color signals (B-Y, R-Y)
into one channel, which uses one cable and is known as "composite video." An
option known as "S-video" or "Y/C video" keeps the luma separate from the
color signals, using one cable, but with separate wires internally. S-video
is a bit sharper than composite video.
When luma and each of the color signals (B-Y and R-Y) are maintained in
separate channels, it is called "component video," designated as YPbPr when
in the analog domain and YCbCr when it is digital. Component video is the
sharpest of all.
The Term Is Generic
In practice, YUV refers to the color difference encoding system whether
composite or component, and "YUV," "Y, B-Y, R-Y" and "YPbPr" are used
interchangeably for analog signals. Sometimes, "YCbCr," which is digital, is
used interchangeably as well, which does not help to clarify the subject.
See YPbPr, YCbCr, luma, ITU-R BT.601 and YIQ.