A Guide to Video Cables and Connectors
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
by Ferooz Sekandarpoor, SimGHOSTS President
Disclaimer: SimGHOSTS, like any other organization, has used or is using these cables for their events and offices. There is no financial interest in promoting them. The information expressed in this blog belongs to the writer, who is a user of the products.
What are video connectors?
Almost every video system requires a medium “cable/connector/interface” to transfer or receive signals. These video devices use a variety of different interfaces that are easy to connect, and I am sure you are familiar with many of them. However, knowing the different types can help you decide which is best for your application. In this blog, I am going to talk about the types of video cables. In a subsequent blog, I will review audio connectors. Knowing the types of video and audio connectors will help you chose the right product for your simulation center and your home. There are many manufacturers for these products, and their goal is to make them simple to use for average users while maintaining the quality of the signals.
BNC “Bayonet-style Neill-Concelman Connector” are round plugs with a locking system which uses the coaxial cable. It is mostly used in professional AV systems. Due to some limitations, VGA is slowly fading away from new products, however, some legacy systems are still using them. BNC was patented in the 1950s and was very successful in TV and broadcasting for an extended period. Today the BNC connector is used only for very specific tasks and isn’t often seen outside broadcast facilities.
RCA is an older method of transmitting video signals using the composite and component video cables. They are both analog signals and are not used in the latest devices.
A composite video cable is also known as an RCA. It comes with 3 colors: yellow for video and red and white for audio. It doesn’t support High Definition (HD) video. The video is heavily compressed due to using one cable and it is loses much of its resolution and picture clarity. Some legacy equipment still may require this connection.
Component video splits the video signals into three cables (green, red, blue) and it transmits each color independently, and therefore, the resolution is higher than composite video. This allows the signal to support HD resolution as high as 1080P. Although it supports HD, the cable is fading away and being replaced by HDMI.
VGA (Video Graphics Array) is a very common connector used to connect computers and monitors. Until recently It could be found on almost every display and computer. VGA signal is analog. Its resolution is not as good as DVI and HDMI cables, which we are going to discuss later. The VGA port was standard on every desktop and display from the 1990s through 2010. VGA cables are capable of displaying RGB (Red, Green, Blue). VGA connectors have 19 pins.
DVI (Digital Visual Interface) is an upgrade from VGA. It is analog and connects computers to monitors with higher resolution. DVI connectors contain 24 pins, arranged in three horizontal rows of eight pins. DVI connections cannot transmit audio but supports high definition video signals. They can be found in the newer model of computers, ultrasound machines and recording systems.
DisplayPort is an interface technology that is designed to connect high-end graphics capable PCs and displays as well as home theater equipment and displays. DisplayPort is commonly used for computer monitors but it does support other data transfers such as audio, even USB and Internet. The latest version of DisplayPort is 1.3, 32.4 Gigabits per second of bandwidth which is huge. It can also drive a 5K display.
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. HDMI technology uses the same video information as DVI but it also supports digital audio and control signals. This is pretty much the standard for many devices. There are several different generations with different capabilities. The most recent version is HDMI 2.1.
While HDMI cables are used on TVs, DVD players, Projectors and computers, HDMI Mini cables are used for DSLR cameras, and some smaller electronics. The quality of the signal would be the same as the regular HDMI, however the size of the connector measures 10.42 mm x 2.42 mm.
The HDMI Micro connector is used for cellphones, cameras and some e-readers to display the content in bigger displays, the HDMI micro connector measuring 6.4 mm x 2.8 mm. Using this connector will still provide the same quality as the regular HDMI connection.
Stay tuned for next month’s blog about audio connectors and cables.