How to Choose Video and Audio Cables for Your TV and Other Equipment

By: CableOrganizer®

There are different types of video connections for electronics including your TV, DVD player, and other gaming systems. Some of these cable technologies below are for older technology, with the rankings for these video cables from lowest to highest picture quality:

Here are more in-depth explanations of each of these different types of video and audio cable connections available:




S-Video is older technology for transmitting video signals over a cable. It divides the video information into two separate signals: one for color (chrominance), and the other for brightness (luminance). It is a cable useful for older TVs, as well as some DVD players and gaming equipment incompatible with HDMI®. Many of these legacy devices were designed to display separate Luminance (Y) and Chrominance (C) signals. (The terms Y/C video and S-Video are the same.) Computer monitors are designed for RGB (short for red, green, and blue monitor) signals. Most digital video devices such as digital cameras and game players produce video in RGB format. The images are clearer when displayed on a computer monitor or analog television. To use S-Video, the device sending the signals must support S-Video output and the device receiving the signals must have an S-Video input jack. Then you need an S-Video cable to connect the two devices. S-Video cable can typically run over 200 feet with little signal loss, but that also depends on the quality of the cable and its length.




Component Video uses three separate cables to send red, green and blue signals to provide the sharpest, clearest, best possible picture for equipment that uses this type of cable.

While Component Video is a high-performance video connection for digital sources such as TV, DVD players, and gaming systems, it’s still an analog-based connection. To operate in the digital domain, Component Video must undergo multiple digital-to-analog conversions that degrade the signal quality. This signal loss can result in decreased resolution and detail, as well as other video problems. The picture quality after several digital-to-analog conversions is like looking at a copy of a photocopy — each new copy looks worse than the previous. It is not as sharp and true as the original.




DVI is a digital interface standard to convert analog signals into digital signals to accommodate both analog and digital monitors. The standard specifies a single plug and connector that encompass both the new digital and legacy VGA interfaces, as well as a digital-only plug connector. DVI handles bandwidths more than 160 MHz. The DVI interface provides a pure digital video connection for a better picture. DVI is a pure digital-to-digital signal that delivers a sharp picture and maximum color saturation. DVI is used to transfer the digital video signal from compatible source devices like some professional audio or video equipment, and older computer monitors.




HDMI® is best level of all the cables discussed in this article because HDMI® combines Digital Video (DVI), Multi-Channel Audio, and more — all into one convenient cable. In many cases it has replaced S-Video, Component Video, and DVI cables. With the DVI video cable, you must hook up the audio using separate cables, since DVI transfers only digital video signals. DVI cables typically don’t exceed 16 feet since longer lengths may result in an unreliable signal. HDMI® was the first interface to carry high-definition video (720p and 1080i or standard video formats) along with multi-channel surround sound audio.

Another key feature is the ability of HDMI® to let components and displays “talk” to each other via the remote-control channel (requiring only one remote control for an entire system). It allows your components to automatically find and play back at each other’s highest resolution sound and format all automatically. HDMI® is backwards-compatible with DVI. This type of cable sends uncompressed digital and audio signals across a highest-available-speed interface from source to display. The advantage is its ability to send large quantities of data across a long wire at a very high speed. Since high-definition, high-resolution video and audio is sampled at highest possible rates, the result is a sharper, clearer, more accurate reproduction of the source material than what analog signals and conversions from the digital signal can accommodate.

HDMI® Features:

  • • High-resolution audio and video that’s superior to all other available formats.
  • HDMI® is a digital signal, so a direct HDMI®-to-HDMI® connection bypasses performance-mitigating digital-to-analog conversions (or vice versa) for best-quality sound and picture.
  • • All audio and video (and the control signal) passes through only one A/V cable, instead of the maze of cables that connected an entire system in the past. This makes using HDMI® far less messy, expensive and complicated than current hook-ups, enabling better wire management.
  • • Automatically able to find and set component compatibility, playing music and movies in your system’s optimum available formats.
  • • Backward-compatibility with DVI, so you can connect new HDMI® with existing DVI-compatible components and displays.
  • • Works with all existing audio formats.
  • HDMI® can easily incorporate future new technology advancements and capabilities.
  • • Automatic Format Intelligence (TV and A/V Receivers can adjust without consumer intervention). Entire home theater controlled from a single remote — enables high-level functions such as "one-touch play."

There are several levels of HDMI® Cables, including:

Standard — This is the baseline for HDMI®, which is 720p or 1080i video formats. There are standard cables with a dedicated ethernet channel, as well as an automotive variety, that is often equipped with a Type E connector that offers dust and vibration-resistance.

High Speed — This cable supports between 1080p and up to 10.2Gbps bandwidth, supporting 3D, Deep Color and 4K@30hz. Like Standard HDMI®, it also has an ethernet and a separate one for automotive.

Premium — This cable, as well as the ones for ethernet, can support 4K/UltraHD, 4K@60Hz, up to 18Gbps, HDR and BT.2020. These are part of the HDMI® Cable Certification Program, undergoing greater testing for both the Premium High Speed and Premium High Speed with Ethernet. These cables support Type-A and Type-D connectors and are labeled with the special certification label from the HDMI® Licensing Administrator.

Ultra High Speed — Like the premium type, this also has a special Cable Certification Label, after undergoing testing at the HDMI® Forum Authorized Testing Center. It is backward compatible with earlier technology and can support HDMI® 2.1a, including 8K@60 and 4K@120 and up to 48Gbps.

Contact CableOrganizer® if you have any questions concerning your video cable or audio cable needs. Know exactly what you’re looking for? Shop for audio and video cables here.

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