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10 Types of Video Cables

This is a quick but simple overview of digital cables used for Audio and Video and the cables that were used prior to digital technology.

This is a quick and simple overview of digital cablesused for Audio and Video and the cables that were used prior to digital technology.


There is a lot of excitement surrounding HDMI technology and for great reason. HDMI was designed to replace the need for multiple video and audio cables. It has one cable and one plug (connector) per end of the cable. HDMI is also a digital cable, meaning there is little in degradation in viewing quality or sound. The newest versions of the cable, HDMI 1.4a, was released in 2010. This version of HDMI is capable of 4K x 2Kresolution, it can support several varieties of 3D, and provides a channel for Ethernet communication.

Displayport and Thunderbolt

Like HDMI, Displayportis also a digital audio/video cable. Displayport was created by the VESA group, the group that also developed the DVI connector. Displayportwas designed to replace the DVI and communicates in the same language as DVI. Like HDMI, Displayport has the capability to transmit 3Dand works equally as well for a computer as it does a flat screen.Mini-Displayport has been widely adopted by computer manufacturers. The Thunderbolt cable, recently released by Apple and Intel, uses the same connector as the Mini-Displayport. Thunderbolt is capable of transferring huge amounts of data, 10Gbs, and is seen as a replacement for Firewire and a competitor to USB 3.0.

Component Video

Technically the term Component Video means any video signal that has been split into two or more channels. Most often Component Video is referring to an analog signal carried over three cables commonly labeled as YPbPr or RGB Component. The cables ends are RCA plugs and colored Red, Blue and Green. Before HDMI was released, Component Video was one of the most popular connections for Home Theater devices. Component Video carries only video and additional cables are required to transmit audio.


S-Video is a one plug analog video cable that carries two channels of information, Luma and Chroma. Luma is the video intensity and Chroma is the color. S-Video is seen as the middle ground in quality between Component Video and Composite Video connections. It also requires additional cables for audio is usually paired with dual (Stereo) RCA connectors and cable.

Composite Video

Composite Video cables look very similar to Component Video because they both have RCA plugs. The Composite Video actually only has one channel and thus one yellow RCA plug. Often the Composite Video connector is already paired with the Red and White RCA audio plugs.


First introduced in 1999 the Digital Video Interface (DVI) cable and connectors look more suitable for a computer than a TV. The DVI connector has multiple pin configurations based on the performance abilities. Multiple configurations of DVI connector has lead to a great deal of confusion because some of the cables are compatible with some features, while others are not. The newest standard of this cable is labeled M1 and is most often used for home theater projectors. DVI is the only cable capable of communicating in both Analog and Digital and for this reason, DVI cables can be found with conversions to VGA and HDMI with some limitations.


Video Graphics Array (VGA) was the go to connection standard for many years to connect a personal computer to its cathode ray computer monitor. Because the VGA was so wide spread this connector type is still seen on many brand new Flat Panel Tv's. The VGA was the last graphic standard introduced by IBM and is the base standard for all computer graphics hardware.


Digital Flat Panel(DFP) is a more obscuredigital video connector that unlike DVI never hit the mainstream. It was designed as a replacement for the VGA connector when Digital Flat Panel Displays were first introduced.

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