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Component Video Cables

Component video cables transmit an analog video signal from a video source to a display. They are often used in televisions, monitors, projectors, cable boxes, VHS and DVD players, and similar devices. Component video is a type of RCA connection in which a male cable plug connects to a female socket consisting of a hole with a metal ring around it.

How do component cables work?

Component cables transmit a video signal that has been split into at least two separate channels as opposed to only a single channel. Component may refer to many different types of interfaces, but the typical component interface is made of three RCA connectors which are colored red, green, and blue. This type of interface is often called YPbPr because the green connector is labeled as Y, the blue connector is labeled as Pb, and the red connector is labeled as Pr. Essentially, the brightness and color information are sent separately. Y carries the information of the luma or brightness. Pb carries blue information, and Pr carries red information. With these three cables together, the television can display the entire range of colors. A green signal is unnecessary since the green information can be derived from the other three signals.

What are the features of a component cable?

The main feature is that by splitting up the signals, the quality of the image can be generally transmitted at a high standard. Another is that a component video cable is capable of carrying high-definition video. Component was sometimes used in older high-definition television sets, but it was eventually superseded by HDMI as the most common high-definition standard.

Do component video cables carry sound?

No, they do not carry sound. Component video cables only carry video. To hook up audio speakers, you will need audio cables. However, most devices come with component cables that pair up the audio cables together into a five-wire set. Three of the wires are used for transmitting video, and the other two are used for transmitting audio. So unless you want to hook up your television to an external sound system, you usually do not need to buy any separate audio cables.

Is component video compatible with HDMI and other digital interfaces?

No, component is not compatible with HDMI. The former uses an analog format and the latter uses a digital format. They are fundamentally incompatible signals. The way to convert the analog signal into a digital signal is through a converter box. For example, an HDMI converter box is commonly used to reconcile the difference between older analog hardware and HDMI-only displays or vice versa.

Is there a digital component video format?

Yes, digital component video does exist, but it is not very common. Digital component video is mostly used in digital cameras. It uses a single cable such as FireWire or SDI to transmit the signal.

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