Component Cables

Written by Serena Berger
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Component cables may look similar to composite cables, but their video quality is significantly better. The three-cable connection allows color to be processed distinctly from brightness. This contrasts with composite cables that deliver both color and brightness through a single wire. Specialization almost inevitably results in superior performance, and component cables are no exception to this rule.

While S-Video works in a similar fashion, composite cables are a step better because they split the color signal into two parts. This results in increased color accuracy. On a small screen, you might not notice the difference in color between composite, S-Video and component connections--but on a larger screen, any minute flaws are amplified, and component cables really make a difference.

Devices That Use Component Cables

While composite connections are standard on almost all home theater components (including DVD players, VCRs, and even digital video recorders), component connections are becoming more popular on high-end devices. They are frequently included on DVD players and HDTV tuners, even cable boxes, because of the stunning video quality that they can produce. If you purchase a television that is HD-Ready or has a built in HD tuner, it will almost certainly have component cable connections.

If you are going to buy component cables, be sure that both your television and other components are able to use them. If you are planning to use an old television that has only an RF connection paired with a new DVD player, component cables will not do you any good. Even if you use an adapter, the picture quality will still be limited by the RF connection to your television. You should assume that the picture and sound quality that you ultimately experience is no better than the lowest quality connection in your home theater system.

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