Learn About Component Video Cables 3
Everyone’s familiar with bundles of three analog cables with red, white and yellow RCA connectors, which are commonly used to hook up audio and video components. The red and white connectors are for stereo audio, and the yellow one is for video. Those bundles are called composite cables, and we’ve all been using them for years.
Put all of that familiarity aside – because we’re discussing something very different than composite cables in this article. We’re looking at three-connector component video cables. These component video cables aren’t used to transfer audio at all, and they don’t deliver low-quality video from a source to a monitor. They’re designed to transfer high-quality video, and can deliver pictures which are often as good – and sometimes even better – than those transferred via an HDMI cable.
Composite and component cables are often confused because their names are similar and because they look similar; the only obvious difference is that composite cables normally have red, white and yellow connectors while those on composite cables are usually red, green and blue. However, the differences run far deeper. We’ll take a look at them next.
(One important note before we continue: in this discussion we’re looking at three-connector video cables, referred to here as component video cables 3. There are other, more complicated bundles of component video cables with as many as six video connectors on each end, as well as component video cables that also have audio cables attached. However, we’ll leave those for another article.)
How Does Component Video Work?
First things first: component video is analog, not digital like HDMI. So the best way to explain component video is to compare it to another type of analog signal, composite video that’s transferred through the old-fashioned yellow connector we’ve talked about.
The way an analog video signal is traditionally sent from source to destination is perfectly described by the word “composite.” All of the information needed to display the picture is encoded into a single composite signal, which is then transferred through the cable with the yellow connectors. The TV or monitor then takes that information and decodes it in order to display the picture.
Component video, by contrast, delivers the three major “color difference components” individually through three separate cables. The Luminance (“Y” or green), Red Minus Luminance (“Pr” or red) and Blue Minus Luminance (“Pb”, or blue) each arrive at the display separately, along with the “sync pulses” that separate frames (which are also sent on the “Y” channel).
The difference should be obvious: with three separate cables and no need to create and then decode a composite signal, component video cables 3 deliver unencoded signals with a much greater bandwidth capacity. That results in a display with greater quality and better color definition than can be achieved with composite cables, or even the S-video cables which were popular for a while.
Component Video Cables 3 vs. HDMI
We can already hear you wondering: “Component video may be great, but if it’s an analog format and HDMI transfers digital signals without any loss, why would I ever want to use component video?” It’s a sensible question, and there’s a sensible answer: “Because the component signal may be the better alternative for some situations.”
Let’s start with the fact that every type of equipment produces and processes signals differently. As one example, DVDs are recorded using the YPbPr color difference format, the same format used by component video cables. For that reason, it’s quite common that signals coming from a DVD player show in better quality and better color when transferred via a component video connection rather than an HDMI cable.
A second factor is that the native qualities and colors of video signals can vary widely, and TVs and monitors won’t always be calibrated by default to display all of them optimally. Further, all signals must undergo at least some processing and scaling before they’re shown on a TV screen. An HDTV’s default settings and processes may favor component video in some cases and digital video in others.
Finally, HDMI cables aren’t designed to work perfectly over long distances without special equipment like signal boosters. Some may start to show telltale “sparkles” – or may stop working completely – once a signal is being sent more than 25 or 50 feet. Analog cables, on the other hand, have a much greater error tolerance over long distances. That would make composite video cables the better choice, for instance, for room-to-room cable runs.
In short, there’s no guarantee that an HDMI cable is a better choice than composite video cables 3. They’re both high-quality methods of transferring signals, they’re both capable of effortlessly handling today’s high-resolution HD signals, and it’s worth trying both if you have the option to do so.
How To Buy Component Video Cables 3
Most good component video cables 3 will be more than adequate for transferring high-quality content from video sources to HDTVs or monitors. The key is buying from reputable manufacturers like Cmple.
Our component cables, like those from other high-end manufacturers, are designed for optimal high-speed signal transmission with a fully-shielded copper center conductor inside heavy-duty RG-59U coaxial cable; this combination protects against signal loss and both radio-frequency and electromagnetic interference while the video is being transferred. You should always look for cables with an impedance (which measures the resistance of the cable) right around 75 ohms and the ability to handle frequencies above 35 Hz, which should not be an issue with component video cables 3 sold by any decent manufacturer.
You’ll also find that all good component video cables will have molded construction, color-coded red, blue and green connectors for easy hook-ups, and gold-plated connectors which help in reducing interference and protect against corrosion over the long term. You’ll find all of those features in our wide range of Cmple component video cables 3.
One thing you don’t need, though, is high-priced, “super-duper” cables like the ones sold at big box stores. There’s nothing special or “super-duper” about them (except their price) as long as they meet the specifications we’ve listed; the video signals won’t be able to tell the difference, and neither will you.