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Everything about the different types of cables in an AV system

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On this page you will find all information about cables like different types of cables? What is the difference between analog and digital? What are the specifications of cables? What should I pay attention to when buying a cable? You will find it all here. The cabling discussed on this page is split into two main categories; digital and analog cables.

Digital cables

What is a digital cable?
Where previously noise could arise on the cables (analog cables), this is now no longer possible with the use of digital cables. The digital cable is the substitute for the analog cable. Not only the noise can no longer arise, but also the image quality with the use of a digital cable is many times better than with an analog cable. All new televisions and almost all new peripherals that are being developed have a digital connection. So we can no longer ignore it. The digital cable is well established. To give an overview of the types of digital cables there are, we have drawn up a selection of cables that are widely used.

HDMI cable (Video & Audio)
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. The HDMI cable ensures that you can connect any audio / video source, for example a DVD player, Blu-ray player or a receiver, to a TV with an HDMI connection. In the days of the VCR and DVD player, the SCART cable was the connection between these sources and the TV. The HDMI cable is the replacement for the SCART cable and can be found on almost all new LCD and plasma (and also LED) screens. The SCART cable was (and still is) used to send analog signals from the source to the TV. An HDMI cable sends digital signals from new sources, such as Blu-ray players, to a TV. Due to the digital transmission of signals, the chance of noise is small, which is the big advantage of an HDMI cable.

There are two types of HDMI cables: Type A and Type B. Type A is the HDMI cable with 19 wires, which is for home use. Type B is the HDMI cable with 29 wires. This HDMI cable is used in the film industry. In principle, you should not use HDMI cables longer than 5 meters to prevent loss of quality, but there are nowadays better quality HDMI cables that can easily bridge a length of 15 meters, without loss of quality. However, these cables are still on the pricey side.

More information: HDMI versions

DVI cable (Video only)
DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. There are three types of DVI cables: DVI-D, DVI-A and DVI-I.

The DVI-D cable is used for a direct digital connection between the source (PC, DVD player) and receiver (beamer). A digital connection provides a faster and higher quality image than an analog connection. With DVI-D, it ensures that the analog conversion is disabled and this in turn improves the connection between source and receiver. The DVI-A cable is used to transport DVI signals to an analog receiver. Unfortunately, it does cause some quality to be lost due to the digital to analog conversion, but the DVI-A cable still provides a better quality than the standard VGA Cable (analog cable). The DVI-I cable is an integrated cable that transmits both a digital to digital signal and an analog to analog signal.

Optical and Digital Coaxial (Audio only)
There are also digital connections specifically for audio, such as digital coaxial and optical (shown above). These connections give the best audio quality, without any loss of signal, which can happen in analog connections. Surround audio formats can be sent through these digital audio cables. The same also applies to the HDMI cable. The advantage of the HDMI cable over these cables is that the HDMI also transmits video so that only one cable is needed.

Analog cables

What is an analog cable?
An analog cable was previously used to connect a source, such as a VCR or game console, to a TV. For this, a SCART cable was used. With an analog cable, it is possible that noise can occur on the cable. This can cause the image quality to deteriorate. So it is necessary to buy a good sturdy cable to avoid noise. So make sure you don’t buy a low-budget analog cable; do not save on an analog cable. With digital cables it is not necessary to buy a very expensive cable. The difference in quality is often minimal. To give an overview of what types of analog cables there are, we have drawn up a selection of cables that are widely used.

SCART cable (video and audio)
A SCART cable is used for connecting audiovisual devices. The SCART cable provides analog audio and video signals. The SCART cable ensures that external equipment such as VCRs and DVD players can be easily connected to the television.

VGA cable (Video only)
VGA stands for Video Graphics Array. VGA is a standard for displaying images on a computer monitor or for displaying the image from a computer on a TV (older plasma and LCD screens therefore also have a VGA connection). The VGA cable has the disadvantage that it is an analog cable. Since the monitors are all digital nowadays, the VGA cable is used less and less. This makes it time-consuming to transfer the signals analogously.

S-Video Video only)
S-Video stands for Separate Video. This is a standard for transporting video signals. S-Video is now widely used to connect your computer analog to the television (digitally it is often done using DVI or HDMI). If the television does not have an S-Video connection, an adapter to SCART can be used. Unfortunately S-Video does not take any sound and it is also analog. A separate cable must be connected for this. You can use an adapter from mini-jack to a red-white RCA plug for this.

Component (Video only)
A component connection / cable is one of the better used – analog – video connections on various DVD players and flat screen TVs. Three separate image information streams run to the TV via a component cable. The cable contains only picture information, no sound. For this, a separate cable should run towards the TV or receiver. Please note; Component cannot transmit Full HD signals. An HDMI cable must be used for this.

RCA / Tulp (Audio only)
The analog RCA, or cinch, connection is special and only for audio. It is the most well-known audio connection, but it does not provide the best quality. The RCA cable is a red / white cable that sends stereo sound from the component to the receiver. This cable is also purely analog and is often used for connecting audio sources to a receiver or a Hi-Fi system, for example. There are also RCA cables with an extra YELLOW cable, in addition to the red and the white. This yellow cable can be used to transmit video material, provided the source and receiver use the yellow video connection.

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