Plasma TV Cables & Connectors
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.