HDTV Interconnects, Connectors and Interfaces

How to connect your high-definition television and related equipment together; starting from the most basic analogue connections through the latest digital interconnects. Broadly speaking the further down the page the better the video quality.

Composite Video

This is the most basic analogue format used in standard definition television systems. It is usually carried on a single yellow RCA connector shown below:

Composite Video CableA Composite Video Cable, video (yellow) and audio (red and white)

Component Video

In component video the three video signals multiplexed together in composite video are transported as three or more separate signals. Several component video standards exist and these usually represent the best analogue video connection for consumer electronics.

The three most common component video connectors are RGB, YpbPr and S-Video:

Component Video CableAn RGB Component Video Cable

In Europe composite RGB signals are most commonly found in a SCART connector that carries video, audio and other control signals between system components.

DVI

Recognising the limitations of the above analogue formats for transmitting higher bandwidth and higher resolution video signals, the DVI (Digital Visual Interface) was developed. This digital interconnect was developed give the best picture results with digital display devices like computer monitors, digital projectors and flat panel displays.

DVI CableA DVI Video Cable

Later versions of the DVI standard are able to support copy protected video signals (encrypted with HDCP) but not all sources and displays will be accept or be compatible.

HDMI

The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the newest of all the connections discussed here and is a fully digital interface designed for connecting high-definition consumer electronics equipment together

HDMI can carry audio as well as video data so is able to provide a single connection between any two pieces of compatible audio-visual equipment, including set-top boxes, DVD plays, games consoles and high-definition televisions.

HDMI CableAn HDMI Cable

HDMI was designed to be compatible with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) digital rights management technology so support for carrying protected video such that next-generation DVD and games consoles is much improvised over DVI.