Technology is changing so fast, and most people are finding it hard to keep up with the changing trends. For instance, when it comes to computer and video cables, you realize that there are more than a dozen ways out there to make a video connection from a source to an output device. Over the years, the different ports and connections that were in use have been rendered obsolete. Video cables have a multitude of uses either in our homes or the offices. They are used to connect television sets to DVD players, cable boxes, game systems, computers and even our mobile devices. Considering this, it means that you cannot overlook having the right video cable to connect your entertainment equipment.

This article is crafted to ensure that you will find all matters video cable connections addressed. Read on to get rid of the confusion between the different video cables and connectors.

VGA Cable 

VGA Cable

The Video Graphics Array is among the oldest connections available and is compatible with most of the PCs sold today. It was first introduced in 1987 by IBM for use in analog graphics. This cable has a resolution capacity of 2048 x 1536 at 85 Hz. The resolution can, however, be adjusted to have 256 colors by lowering it to 320×200. Also, the resolution used when your computer is in safe mode is known as mode 13h. VGA can carry Red, Green, Blue, Horizontal Sync and Vertical Sync video signals. For easy identification of a VGA cable, it is blue in color, and when you look inside its socket, you should see three rows of five pins. It has two screws on each side of the socket for easy attachment to the device.

RCA Cable

RCA Cables

It is also known as a Cinch connector or a Phono connector or commonly referred to as AV jacks. The RCA cable is a product of the Radio Corporation of America, from which it derives its name. Although often referred to as RCA cables, RCA is the name for the metal connectors at the end of the wires. The cable type used is known as coaxial. RCA is used for composite video and component video.

Composite Video Cable

Composite Video Cable

This is usually the yellow RCA connector on your TV set. It carries NTSC, PAL, and SECAM video signal, primarily one channel. A standard composite AV cable consists of three cables colored yellow, red and white. In this case red and white are for audio.

Component Video Cable

Component Video Cable

It is also paired with two audio cables and three video cables colored red blue and green. A component video signal is usually two or more channels.

The RCA cables for both component and composite have a central male connector on each end of the cable surrounded by a ring. When connecting, the plug’s rings are meant to fit perfectly over the female jacks mounted on the device.

DVI

DVI Cable

In full, it stands for Digital Video Interface. Unlike the RCA and VGA, this type of cable can be used for both digital and analog displays. It was launched in 1999 by the Digital Display Working Group. A DVI can transmit digital video in either of three different modes. It is, therefore, important for you to know which one your device uses before purchasing one. 

· DVI-I (Integrated) digital and analog are combined in the same connector.

· DVI-D (Digital) only supports digital signals.

· DVI-A (Analog) only supports analog signals

DVI cables come in two varieties either dual or single link. Their main difference comes in the resolutions supported by each with the single link capable of 1920 x 1200 while the dual link can do 2560 x 1600 at 60 Hz.

DVI cables have a variety of uses; they can be used to connect video cards to monitors, connecting a computer to a monitor or flat screen TV as well as a projector. DVI doesn’t support audio and therefore if you are using with a TV, you should consider a HDMI cable.

The DVI monitor port is common in the latest models of laptops with the new breed of thin laptops using the smaller variants of the DVI including the mini DVI and micro-DVI.

HDMI

HDMI Cable

HDMI stands for High Definition Media Input. These cables have gained popularity for their ease of use and connectivity. It is used to transfer uncompressed video and uncompressed or eight- channel compressed audio to digital TVs, monitors, and DVD players. HDMI and DVI use the same video format and are therefore compatible with an adapter without any loss of quality. HDMI connectors come in three types.

· Type A: full sized connection used for TVs and home theater.

· Type C: used on laptops and tablets

· Type D: also known as mini HDMI used on mobile devices 

HDMI has a Consumer Electronics Control channel that automatically turns on your TV when you turn on your Blu-ray player.

Standard HDMI cables can measure up to 5-15 meters long and can support a resolution of up to 4096 x 2160 (4K).

A HDMI cable is reverse compatible with a DVI cable, and one can be used in place of another with a converter only, but note that DVI has no audio.

SCART

SCART Cable

It is also known as a Euro-connector. SCART cables are used to connect cable and digital satellite boxes, PVRs, VCRs and DVD players to a TV set. They transmit both video and audio signal in one cable. SCART cable may be preferable if you do not have a digital television since it transfers using analog signals.

Display Port

displayport

This is a product of the Video Electronics Standard Association. It is a digital display interface that can transmit both digital and audio making it similar to HDMI. Their similarity in functionality makes it possible to connect the two devices together through a Dual-Mode Display Port adapter. The display port is mainly used to connect computing devices to monitors. It functions using packet data transmission making it more useful in the office rather than for home entertainment.

Thunderbolt

Apple Thunderbolt

Image: CC BY SA 2.0 Image courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns on Flickr.

This is an input/output technology that enables you to connect devices to your computer. This cutting edge technology from Apple combines video output, data transfer and charging in a single connector. Its data transfer rate is 40 Gbps, and it supports USB 3.1. Some of the devices using Thunderbolt include:

  • MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Air
  • Mac mini
  • iMac
  • Mac Pro

You can connect up to six peripherals using one Thunderbolt port.

Conclusion

There are many types of video connections available, but with this article, you’d have some ideas on most of them. Most of the video cables and connections used to date have been included. Now that the confusion is out of the way, you can enjoy using your devices with the right choice of video connections.

One Response

  1. Tyler Meredith

    It’s interesting to read about some of the different connectors and cabling use in data systems. It makes sense that you’d want different wires for different applications for maximum efficiency as well as avoiding mistaking a specific wire for something different, It’s something to remember when having any sort of wiring done because having all the cabling we might need installed beforehand could be a good way to future-proof the building. Thanks for the post!

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