Plasma TV Cables & Connectors

Tags: Cables, Connectivity, DVI, HDMI


Before you start shopping for your own home theater it’s good to know what connectivity options you have. In this guide you can find out about the various connectors you can find on a plasma TV and details about each – how good it is, what is its intended use, and so on. Knowing in advance the connectivity options, will be helpful when shopping for the devices that will form your home theater setup because you will understand how you can connect everything and what is the degree of compatibility between the components.

HDMI

The HDMI standard transmits high definition video (1080p) and multi-channel audio over a single cable. It is the best type of connectivity available these days, not just because it lets you use a single cable for both video and audio but also because it offers the best quality and bit rate. In order to benefit from best quality we recommend you to use cables that are HDMI certified.

DVI

This type of connector might be familiar to you if you have an LCD monitor for your computer. This is a standard for transmitting digital video. It does not support audio however. If the video card on your PC supports HDCP then you can use the HDMI output from it to connect it to the DVI connector of your plasma TV, or if your plasma doesn’t have DVI you can use an adapter to connect it to the HDMI connector.

VGA PC Connector

This is also a connector found on computers (older types however). It is an analog video connector and if you have it on your plasma TV, it’s sole purpose is to connect the plasma TV to an older computer that has this type of connector. The VGA standard offers less quality than DVI because it is analog while DVI is digital.

Component

The component video connectors transmits an analog signal. It can transmit HD and it is best for standard definition DVDs. The video signal is transmitted over three cables – two for color and one for brightness. The quality is not as good as with HDMI but is close. You can also use three composite cables, just double check that the ends match.

S-Video

This is also a video-only standard. It does not work with high definition content because the maximum supported resolution is 480i. The standard transmits analog video on two separate signals – one for color and one for brightness. This is a type of connector that you might find on many computer video cards as TV-OUT. Since it doesn’t support high definition resolution it is worse than the "component" standard.

Composite/RCA

This type of standard is similar with S-Video – it can carry maximum 480i resolution. It transmits the video information as a single signal and in terms of quality it is not as good as S-Video. These types of cables are usually found bound in pairs – one red or yellow for video signal and one white for audio. They ware used a lot with VCRs and older camcorders.

Digital Coaxial

This is an audio connector. It is the second best after HDMI. It transmits multi channel audio signal in digital format. The quality is not as good as with HDMI because of the lower bit rate.

Optical

Another digital audio connector. It is called optical because instead of using electricity to transmit the signal, this type of standard uses light. In terms of quality it comes after digital coaxial. It also supports multiple channels. You should avoid bending it too much because sound quality might suffer.

Analog/RCA

As it is the case with Composite/RCA for video, the Analog/RCA offers the lowest audio quality. It does not support multi channel audio signal so you have to use one cable for each audio channel. It is also not as good as the other standards because it is analog – which degrades the quality of digital audio.

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Comments:
  • I am buying a plasma TV–42 inches and 720p

    What new cables will I need to get maximum picture quality?

    Bob
    Cobb, CA

  • I have a Panasonic TPC 50S2 plasma that has a 600hz refresh rate. Are there better HDMI cables that can ‘support’ a higher refresh rate than others to maximize the capabilities of the TV? The salesman showed me an inexpensive HDMI cable box that indicated it supported only up to 60hz and was guiding me to much more expensive Monster Cables and Rocket Fish cables. Am I missing out by using the less expensive cables? Thanks.

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