If you’ve ever gone into an electronics store, the vast supply of video cable types and cable management products can get confusing. Your home, office, and pretty much any place you’ll need to connect or power the devices you use will have a wide array of different cables and there’s a reason each type of connective cable works the way that it does. For those who don’t work in the video trades, the types of cables used for various portions of electronic set up can be difficult to keep straight.
We’ve rounded up a comprehensive list of some common video cable types you’ll find, with an explanation for their uses. This should aid you in finding the proper cable when you need a replacement or are in the process of installing new equipment.
Video Cable Types and Their Uses
- Coaxial Cables – Coaxial cables are the most common type of cable used for audio and visual purposes. Most homes come with at least one coaxial jack – if you have cable television services in your home, this is the cable that connects your cable unit to their service.
- Component Cables – Component cables are typically used for analog video. These cables only transmit visual images and often are paired with separate audio cables. These cables have RCA plugs at the end and are often color coded to match the correct port for easy installation.
- Composite Cables – Composite cables look similar to component cables in that they also have RCA plugs at the end. However, these cables carry both audio and visual information. They are color coded – red for left audio, white for right audio, and yellow for visual.
- Digital Coax Cables – A digital coax cable is used to connect your cable to devices like a DVD or CD player. These cables have an RCA interconnect on the end.
- DisplayPort Cables – Display Port cables were designed by the Video Electronics Standards Association and are commonly used in home computers and electronic devices. These cables connect the video source to your display, for example, a computer monitor.
- DVI Cables – DVI cables are one of the most common digital video cables attached to your desktop computer. There are three DVI formats to choose from, DVI-D which is true digital video, DVI-A which is high resolution analog, and DVI-I which is a mixture between both worlds.
- HDMI Cables – HDMI Cables are used to transmit both video and audio signal from your device to a TV or monitor. They simplify the process of connecting multiple devices by only having to use the one HDMI cable.
- S-Video Cables – S-Video Cables are used to transmit only video signals over a cable by dividing the video data into a color and brightness signal. They are typically used on older televisions that might not have HDMI to improve picture quality.
There are a number of other cable types which are less commonly used, but this list should help you in understanding some of the standard cables you use every day.