With so many options to connect your media source to your television, it can be challenging to determine the right choice and filter the clutter and sales pitches that may be thrown your way.
In this entry we will address inputs and resolutions because no matter what we have heard or how hard we try, we cannot get all resolutions through every connection option.
First – some simple laymen definitions:
- Source – computer, cable box, dvd player — anything that has content that you want to connect to your TV
- TV / Monitor – for our purposes we will use the term TV. Monitors and PC’s have converged recently with similar inputs but different underlying technology. For this reason, I will list the maximum input on TV’s — as monitors can offer different resolutions
- Cables – the brand of cable used does not change the quality of the signal over short distances. Over longer distances, there is some degradation that may or may not be noticed or measured without the proper tools.
Standard connection options:
- Coaxial – this is the standard cable cord that has been used for years that is usually a thick white or black cord with two female ends. This cable carries both sound and video.
- Composite – this cable is made up of three individual cables usually colored red, white and yellow whereas the red and white are left and right for stereo audio and yellow is for video. Even though their are three cables, they are all actually identical, just color coordinated to make connections easier. Both ends of these cables are male.
- S-Video – by providing slightly more information then composite cables, this video-only male cable is often seen as an upgrade to standard composite cable. Utilizing this cable still requires additional sound cables.
- Component Video – the three cables must be used in series with all connections being accurate from the source to the TV splitting the signal across red, yellow and blue signifying one brightness and two color controls. Utilizing this cable set can only carry video and additional wiring is needed for audio.
- HDMI – the standard in the digital era providing both sound and video through a single cable with two male ends. This cable supports two way communication between the TV and Source which can be used in a variety of ways including DRM (digital rights management) and Resolution Matching.
Resolutions and More
This standard cable, sometimes noted as RF or ANT on the TV provides for simple installation and throughput of both video and sound.Signal type: analogMaximum resolution: about 350i
This is the most common connector found on most TV’s dating back 25 years. This cable now comes with most sources such as dvd players.Signal type: analogMaximum resolution: 480i
This 4-Pin Connection provides a sharp picture by splitting the color and brightness of the video signal proportionally, reducing interference.Signal type: analog
Maximum resolution: 480i
High-Definition video is a good alternative when HDMI is not available. Although analog, it delivers an accurate picture with clearer color reproduction and less bleeding then S-Video.Max Resolution: 1080P
Signal Type: analog
Both high-definition video and high-resolution multi-channel audio are carried through this cable. It offers the highest picture and sound quality available and is your only option for 3D TV.Max Resolution: 1080P
Signal Type: digital
Based on the independent setup of your system, there is a proper cable for you. Ultimately, the cable can only show the highest resolution from the source. Cables aren’t miracle workers — and the connection is most important. Regardless of the cable, if the connector is broken or lose, all the information will not be passed through and the image / sound will suffer.
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