TV Cable Types: How to connect different TV Cable Ports to Associated Devices

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

Have you checked the backside of your TV? If not, try it. You will see several different ports to connect your TV to other devices to transfer audio and video signals. We have tried to explain the TV cable types.

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TV Cable Type Basics 

While dealing with different kinds of TV cable, you may encounter different phrases.

  • Signal type: it refers to the way data transfers through the connection. It is either a high-quality digital signal or a low-quality analog one. 
  • Maximum Resolution: this word is related to video ports and refers to the sharpness and clarity of images. A larger resolution like 1080p means images is better and more precise than smaller resolution images (480i). However, 4K Ultra HD images are the best.
  • Associated devices: You can connect these devices to the TV with their corresponding ports.

Different Types of TV Cables

These leads below can provide either video or sound, or both down the cable. And the connection you opt for depends on the compatibility between your equipment.

Video and Audio cable For TV

HDMI cables:

HDMI cables, and high-definition Multimedia Interface cables, are the most common TV cables available. 

You can get high-definition digital video connections with these cables. And the latest HDMI cables can support 4K and Ultra HD Videos.

You can also use them to connect sound systems and soundbar. For example, HDMI cables can feed a 7.1 speaker system. Also, you can use HDMI ARC compatible to connect your TV and sound system through a single cable only.

SCART leads:

SCART stands for Syndicat des Constructeurs d’Appareils Radiorécepteurs Téléviseurs (French name). Earlier, a SCART cable was enough to replace various other cables, and it supported RGB video, S-video, stereo sound, and PAL. Though they have become obsolete, you may still require them in connection to DVD players or your old VCRs. 

These cables have big and bulky connectors that may become loose over time. A fully wired SCART comprises 20 pins, and each pin serves a different purpose. 

An exclusive feature of SCART leads is that it switches source on pin eight, which means when you turn on your AV equipment, it will automatically show what was on the TV.

Component cable

The component cable comprises five cables wired in a SCART lead. 

It splits the analog video signals into three cables, i.e., red, blue, and green. The green transmits the brightness information, while red and blue transmit the red and blue components of an image.  The separate streams of blue, red, and green color provide better picture quality than if these were delivered together. 

The other two cables are second red and white, responsible for stereo sound. 

RCA cable/Composite Cable

If you have a yellow connector instead of the red, green, and blue this is a composite/ RCA connection. You can also call them SD video ports providing standard definition analog video. 

Two other cables, i.e., red and white, connect to phono connectors for stereo sound. 

Video Cables only For TV

S-Video Cables

S-Video or separate Video or Y/C ports are analog connections. People use them for video input on the TV. These are black circles with lots of dots. By separating the brightness and color and combining them, an s-video port gives a brighter picture than a composite video but is not as good as a component video or HDMI port.

best to worst of Video Cables

Caption: best to worst of Video Cables

Source: https://www.cabletv.com/ 

Audio Cables only For TV

Optical digital

You can also call them digital audio ports/optical audio or optical digital ports. The port comes covered with a small flap, and it sends digital audio to various sound systems. The signals from optical digital ports are crisper than RCA stereo as it uses digital format rather than analog. If your sound system does not have an HDMI port, you can use this port. However, the cable becomes less effective with increasing distance. Further, these cables are more delicate than coaxial cables, and if you bend them at sharp angles, you can damage them permanently.

Coaxial digital

You can also use it as digital audio/coaxial digital audio. Coaxial digital is also similar to optical digital as it also connects a sound system to send digital audio signals. However, coaxial digital is sturdier than the former.

orst of Audio Cables

Caption: best to worst of Audio Cables

Source: https://www.cabletv.com/ 

TV Cables to connect Computers

DVI Cable

You may know it by different names like Digital Visual Interface/DVI-D single link or dual link, DVI-A, DVI-I single link, or dual-link.

These ports help you connect your TV to the computer. And you may find various types but which one is better to use depends on the number of pinholes and their arrangement. DVI-A is the only analog port; DVI-D is digital, while DVI-I is suitable for analog and digital devices.

DVI-D and DVI-I have two types: single-link and dual-link. Dual-link connections are twice as powerful as single links, thus delivering higher speed and better signal quality. 

If you want to transfer audio through DVI cables, DVI-I to HDMI and DVI-D to HDMI support this. However, the transfer of video signals depends on your computer’s video card. If it doesn’t work, you may need a separate audio connection. 

These ports are better than VGA but not as good as HDMI. 

 VGA Cable

If your TV does not have HDMI and DVI ports, you can use VGA or Video Graphic Array ports to connect your TV to the computer. Of course, you will have to compromise on the quality, and VGA ports do not support audio signals so you will need a separate audio connection.

best to worst of TV Cables to connect Computers

Caption: best to worst of TV Cables to connect Computers

Source: https://www.cabletv.com/ 

Other TV ports

Antenna In Cable

You may also know it by the names of RN in or Cable in. The port helps in providing audio and video signals from an over-the-air antenna. In earlier days, it worked as a TV input source for many devices, and it is not much in use today as HDMI has become more common. However, if you are looking for an input option for OTA devices, these ports are the best.

USB Cable

Universal Serial Bus port on your TV will serve various purposes:

  1. You can use it as input for a USB flash drive.
  2. You can power a TV antenna or any streaming device.
  3. If you can charge your mobile with a USB port.

Ethernet Cable

Ethernet or LAN ports help you establish faster internet connections than Wi-Fi. You can find this port on a smart TV, and it looks like a standard phone-line port. Though it is a bit cumbersome as you have to connect a cable from the modem to the TV, it improves the streaming speed considerably. If your TV programs take too much buffering time, you can switch to the Ethernet port.

Ex-Link Cable

Export is like an oddball port that you may find in some Samsung TVs, and Samsung technicians use them to update your TV. There was a motorized TV mount in Samsung TVs that you could plug into the Ex-link port. However, you will not find this mount on Samsung TVs anymore, so these ex-link ports are of no use now.

How can you Connect Ports That don’t Match?

If your TV does not have the right ports, connecting devices to your TV becomes challenging. Thankfully, there are solutions. You can use converters to convert one port into another; however, the audio and video quality in converted ports does not have high quality.

Converters work with similar input or output layouts. TV ports work as input to connect media players, DVRs, computers, and game consoles. The port on all these devices functions as output. TV ports are output for sound systems, and the sound system has an input port.

You can find converters for old output to new input like component port to HDMI or S-video/composite to HDMI. Also, there are converters for old output to new input, and these are HDMI to component or HDMI to s-video/composite.

Caption: Converters for Old Output to New Input

Source: https://www.cabletv.com/ 

Conclusion

While buying a new TV or any other device, you must know the cable type. The TV port needs to match the device port for a proper connection. If you are confused, Cloom can help you. Here, you can get common cables and custom ones for the perfect connections.

Get a free Cable Assembly Quote.