RCA Cable Color Code: An Ultimate Guide on RCA Connection


RCA cables are essential when connecting DVD players and camcorders to your TV and speaker outputs. So, it is necessary to know how to use the RCA connectors. The color codes connect a device to another device’s matching color scheme output. Let’s have a clear picture of the RCA cable color code and follow the pattern on the left and right channels to ensure the sound reaches selected speakers.

Table of Contents

What Is an RCA Cable?

It is an audio-video cord with RCA connectors, connecting different electronic devices, like Televisions, gaming gadgets, speakers, DVD players, decoders, etc. The cable links the connected device’s video and audio modules with two to three connectors. The colored connectors can identify RCA cables.  

Most Common Colors

Mostly found in a home setting are red, yellow, and white. Everyday devices, such as televisions and gaming systems that require RCA connectors have three basic audio and video ports: two for analog audio (left and right) and one for composite analog video.

Composite video ensures that the red, green, and blue video signals are transmitted by one cable. Red and white stand for audio to the right and left speakers, respectively, while yellow represents the composite video.

Other Audio Colors

Digital audio equally needs a different line from standard analog audio. The connector is usually orange in color.

More complex sound systems, such as surround sound, require additional connector cables. A surround sound system has six extra cables to the common red and white. If there is a central speaker, the cable will be green. Then the Left surround and right surround speakers are blue and gray. The left and right back speakers are brown and tan. Lastly, use the purple cable to connect the subwoofer.

Other Video Colors

Suppose you connect a device that uses component video instead of composite video. It needs a different cable for the three primary color signals (red, green, and blue). The cable’s color will match its color signal; red lines transmit red signals, blue transmit blue, and green conveys green.

Color Codes of Different RCA Cable Types

Below are the various RCA cable types.

Composite + Audio

One color transmits the video signal, and the remaining two transmit the left & right audio signals.

  • Black or White Cables perform the same function as transmitting the left-hand stereo sound. Plug the cable into the matching input.
  • Red Cables – they transmit the right-hand stereo sound. Plug it into the red input on your Television or device.
  • Yellow Cables – Transmit the images to your Television or component. Yellow cable usually sends the composite video. They combine both chrominance and brightness into one connector.

Component Digital Video

It has three red, blue, and green cables that carry three analog video signals from the device to the Television, monitor, or projector. It transmits twice the resolution as composite video and is the best for those with higher-definition televisions. The colors are as include:

  • Red- Red Chrominance
  • Blue-Blue Chrominance
  • Green- Green Luminance

Orange – Coaxial Output

It is a digital audio coax used for carrying a 5.1 signal. It is the only other way to get border sound besides HDMI or Fiber optic. The DVD player may have a black connection for this digital audio coaxial output.

What if the Jack and Cable Color Codes are mismatched?

Interchanging the red and white won’t affect anything, and you will hear the output sound. It will only interchange the sound sources on the left and right points. The sound fields reverse if the left and right signals swap. The texture and sound quality will vary, but most people will not distinguish them. It’s advisable to use it in the right place.

However, inserting the white or red cable into the yellow socket will not work because you will interfere with the video’s signal transmission. Swap the wires of the audio signals only.

Inconveniences associated with RCA AV Cables:

The challenges associated with it include;

  1. Sometimes, a loud thrill sound is created due to the high signal linkage made before the low ground connection. 
  2. Their usage has declined because they require help transferring quality HD video.  
  3. Each signal requires a different link, irrespective of how insignificant the signal is, leading to a mix-up in its connection setup.
  4. The size of the cable ruins the signal quality as it transfers analog signals. Therefore, reduced and organized AV cables offer quality signals compared to lengthier and messy AV cables.

Are RCA Cables Still in Use?

Yes, they are still in use. RCA cables are more affordable than HDMI. They are better with camcorders with three RCA jacks. These cables are better with quality camcorders with three RCA jacks. They lead to high-quality transfers.

Other types of AV Cables

As mentioned above, RCA cables have some inconveniences. You can look for an alternative from the following.

Digital Visual Interface (DVI) and Visual Graphic Array (VGA) AV Cable:

DVI is mainly made for the transmission of digital signals. It works well with analog communications and can connect with older VGA and the latest versions of HDMI connections. Nevertheless, these AV cables are not able to transfer audio signals, which requires the use of a separate 3.5mm jack.

DVI Cable

Caption: DVI Cable

It provides a better quality display than the other types. It is due to the use of the three-modular coaxial cables for audiovisual transmission in its place. VGA is an outdated technology that transmits analog signals using 15 distinct pins. 

VGA Cable

Caption: VGA Cable

RCA Cable Color Code: Coaxial AV Cable

It can transmit audio and video signals at the same time. The cable conveys audio for television channels and video signals from television providers to cable boxes. They also send internet connectivity to your modem after a subscription.

RCA Cable Color Code:  Coaxial AV Cable

Caption: Coaxial AV Cable

HDMI (High definition Multimedia Interface) AV Cable:

A modern cable carries audiovisual signals from the source to Computer screens or Television. It is the uniform cable for all HDTVs and other gadgets like gaming stations, laptops, and desktop computers. The type of HDMI cable determines the quality of the video transmitted.

RCA Cable Color Code:  HDMI Cable

Caption: HDMI Cable


RCA cable color code information helps one make proper connections without any problem. Of course, for a better AV experience, you have many options. For any queries, feel free to contact Cloom Tech.