Forums: Television Hardware: The differences among RCA cable, S-video and component video?

 
  • Avatar of 123home123

    123home123

    [1]Aug 5, 2008
    • member since: 05/24/02
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    How much of a picture quality difference is there between RCA cable connections and S-video? What about between S-video and component video connections? I have a regular analog television so HDMI wouldn't make sense for me right now.

    Can people really tell the difference in quality if you're watching on an analog TV set? Assume for this thread that we're not talking about HD programming or Blu-Ray Discs, just regular digital cable programming. Thanks for any answers and comments.
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  • Avatar of belial_77

    belial_77

    [2]Aug 7, 2008
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    123home123 wrote:
    How much of a picture quality difference is there between RCA cable connections and S-video? What about between S-video and component video connections? I have a regular analog television so HDMI wouldn't make sense for me right now.

    Can people really tell the difference in quality if you're watching on an analog TV set? Assume for this thread that we're not talking about HD programming or Blu-Ray Discs, just regular digital cable programming. Thanks for any answers and comments.


    Between Composite (RCA) and Component, you'll see big differences... S-Vid will provide a better picture then RCA, but I dunno how much of a diff you personally would see...

    Basically what separates each type of cable is how the information is isolated as its sent to the TV. The more separation of the signal, the better an analog signal will look b/c the more information that's in the same "pipe" the more likely you are to have information bleed over or contaminate the other types of signal.

    In the most basic hook-up, Co-axial cable, all the info for the picture as well as both left and right channels of sound are all in the same pipe, so the information is more likely to get jumbled. RCA separates the Left and Right channels of sound, but still all the picture info is left together. In S-video, Left/right Sound is carried in a separate RCA wire, AND the black and white info of the picture is separated from the color info. Generally, this will make the Blacks darker and Whites brighter.

    Component cabling allows each of the color signals to be carried in separate lines so there is little to no bleeding of information between them. This will allow the colors on screen to be more true to the source and increase the general "brightness" and tint of the colors. furthermore, Component is the only analog cabling that has enough bandwidth (amount of information that can be carried across it at the same time) to carry what is called "Progressive Scan" signals. Usually from DVD players or games systems, Progressive Scanning vastly improves the overall quality of the picture (I won't get to techy bout it, but if ya wanna know more, just use wikipedia to look up the terms... despite a bad rep for quality info, I found alot of the tech stuff to be pretty accurate).

    Hope this helps ya.
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  • Avatar of 123home123

    123home123

    [3]Aug 7, 2008
    • member since: 05/24/02
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    Thanks for the detailed info. Yeah, I'm somewhat familiar with the basics including progressive scan pictures but I've never done a personal comparison of the resulting images.

    I'm connecting a DVD recorder to my digital cable box. I already see some limitations. Of course, the television signals enter the set-top box through a coaxial cable, so component video cabling isn't an option at that end.

    For the input connections to the DVD recorder, I only have the options of RCA cable or S-video cable, but not component video. Since I have an extra S-video cable on hand, I'll go ahead and use that.

    I can connect the DVD recorder to the TV using a component video cable. I guess that would only be useful for pre-recorded commercial DVDs. Anything I record from the digital cable signal will only enter the DVD recorder through the S-video cable.

    Thanks again for the assistance.
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