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     Home > Cables & Adapters > Cable Connection Help Page

Cable Connection Help Page
Search by cable connection type below for information. The purpose of this page to identify and understand the different options you may have for Audio and Video input on your home theater, TV, PC, DVD, or other device - so that you may know exactly what cable you need for the proper connection.





       Video Connections: Select a connection type below
      Component Video
      Composite Video
       Audio Connectors: Select a connection type below
      Digital Coaxial
      Toslink (Optical Audio)
      Analog Audio
       HDTV Diagram: Select a connection type below













Video Connections
Find the definition of each type of video connection below with a sample photo of the female port for that connection (as you would find on your video device)

  1. HDMI - (High Definition Multimedia Interface) HDMI is an audio/video interface which carries an uncompressed digital signal that contains both video and audio between a source, such as a set-top box, and a digital display, such as a plasma TV. HDMI can support all HDTV resolutions (720p, 1080i, 1080p), EDTV (480p, 576p) and SDTV and can be found on many HDTV and EDTV displays, DVD players, cable and satellite boxes, digital receivers, home theater systems and some newer Video Game consoles. HDMI is currently the best quality interface for Video and Audio available.

    HDMI Female Port

    What kind of resolutions does HDMI support?
    HDMI can support all HDTV resolutions (720p, 1080i, 1080p), EDTV (480p) and SDTV.

    What audio does HDMI support?
    Currently, HDMI supports up to 8 channels of 1-bit audio.

    What types of HDMI connectors are there?
    Type A HDMI has 19 pins. Type B HDMI has 29 pins. Currently all mass produced devices use the 19 pin Type A connector. Type B will be used for displays with resolutions higher than 1080p.

    What about HDMI and DVI?
    Type A HDMI is compatible with single link DVI-D. Type B HDMI is with dual link DVI-D. You can connect a DVI device with an HDMI device but the cable will not be able to carry audio like a HDMI to HDMI cable would.

    What if I have a cable but need to a different plug to fit my device?
    You may be able to use an HDMI adapter.

    What about HDCP?
    HDMI is compatible with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) Specification 1.10. HDCP is a digital rights management protocol to control content that travels across DVI and HDMI. In the future high definition content may be ‘downscaled’ or not displayed at all if it is not displayed in a HDCP compliant manner.

    See our selection of HDMI Accessories here.

  2. DVI - (Digital Video Interface) DVI connectors are used on graphics cards, LCD monitors, HDTV displays and projectors. The DVI port above can accept digital and analog signals, a DVI port which accepts digital only looks slightly different. DVI ports are found on some displays, set top boxes, DVD players, projectors, PCs and other devices.

    DVI Female Port (DVI-I Dual Link)

    What is the difference between DVI-D, DVI-A and DVI-I?
    DVI-D cables carry a digital video signal. DVI-A carries a high-quality analog signal.   DVI-I cabling has the flexibility to carry both DVI-D and DVI-A signals.

    All Possible DVI Ports

    What does single link or dual link mean?
    DVI-D and DVI-I connectors come in single link and dual link formats.  Dual link DVI has more pins and allows for a higher resolution and faster refresh rates. Single link can display up to 1920x1080 @ 60 Hz and dual link can display up to 3840x2400 @ 41 Hz.

    Is there one type of connector that fits all DVI plugs?
    Yes. Since DVI-I can carry all the DVI formats the DVI-I dual link female connector is the universal mate for all DVI male connectors. That connector looks like:

    Every DVI male will fit into this connector.

    What if I have a cable but need to a different plug to fit my device?
    You may be able to use a DVI adapter. A simple adapter will not be able to convert a digital signal such as DVI-D to an analog signal such as VGA. Abacus offers various DVI adapters on our DVI Accessories page.

    Digital to Analog - Can they be converted?
    DVI connectors are either DVI-Analog (DVI-A), DVI-Digital (DVI-D) or DVI-Integrated (DVI-I).  DVI-A carries a high-quality analog signal.  DVI-D cables carry digital video signal DVI-I is integrated and can carry either a digital video signal or an analog signal.

    You cannot convert from a digital to an analog signal using a simple cable or adaptor.  This means that you cannot convert from a DVI-D (digital video signal) to a VGA or a DVI-A (high-resolution analog) without a hardware converter to perform that conversion.

    DVI-I is integrated and can carry either an analog or a digital signal.  So therefore you can convert from DVI-I to either DVI-A or VGA.

    See our selection of DVI accessories here.

  3. Component Video - Component video (Y-Pr-Pb) is analog video sent as two or more signals. A common term for component is RGB and the typical component input connector consists of Red, Green and Blue colored RCA jacks. Component can carry high resolution signals but cannot comply with content protection such as HDCP, so is being phased out. Component connectors are seen on many displays, DVD players, set top boxes and receivers. Currently, Component Video is the best analog signal of Video transfer, and is considered one step down from HDMI and DVI, which are pure digital video transfers.

    Component Video Female Port

    See our selection of Component Video accessories here.

  4. S-Video - S-Video is analog video sent as two signals in one package. Images can be displayed in standard-definition TV resolutions of 480i or 576i. S-Video, although still found on many devices, is considered slightly outdated to the Component Video interface and the digital interfaces of HDMI and DVI.

    S-Video Female Port

    See our selection of S-Video accessories here.

  5. Composite Video - Composite video is an analog video format. Composite can only display SDTV. In the US composite video connectors use RCA jacks and are usually yellow (like the example photo below). Composite video, although still found on many devices, is considered slightly outdated to the S-Video and Component Video interfaces as well as the digital interfaces of HDMI and DVI. Usually, Composite video is only used for camera, camcorders, VCR's and other smaller or older electronics.

    Composite Video Female Port

    Abacus24-7 currently only offers composite cables for Camera & Camcorders at this time.

  6. Firewire - FireWire is a high-speed serial bus interface for transfer of digital data. Almost every modern camcorder has a 4-pin FireWire port to transfer movies in DV format. Also, many PCs, Laptops, Cameras, Camcorders and some MP3 Players use FireWire. FireWire ports can be also be labeled as IEEE 1394, 1394, i.Link, DV or the FireWire logo.

    6-Pin Port             4-Pin Port

    Where can I find FireWire ports?
    FireWire ports can be found on almost all DV and mini dv camcorders, many PCs, and some TVs, DVD players and digital audio receivers.

    How many kinds of FireWire ports are there?
    There are 3 formats of FireWire ports: 4-pin, 6-pin and 9-pin.

    My device doesn't have FireWire written anywhere on it, do I even have FireWire?
    You might. FireWire ports are not always labeled ‘FireWire’. Sometimes they are labeled DV, IEEE1394, 1394 or i.Link. The best solution is to look for a distinctive FireWire port, as shown above, or to check you user manual.

    See our selection of FireWire accessories here.

  7. VGA - (Video Graphics Array) VGA type connectors carry analog signals. An older connector used on some PCs, some high end video equipment used the VGA port to display RGBHV. If you need to connect a digital signal to a VGA port you will typically need a converter. Also called HD15.

    VGA Female Port

    See our selection of VGA accessories here.


Audio Connections
Find the definition of each type of audio connection below with a sample photo of the female port for that connection (as you would find on your audio device)
  1. Digital Coaxial - Digital coaxial cable connects audio devices using the Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format, or S/PDIF. The digital coaxial input is and RCA jack and is often orange in color. Digital coax can provide extremely high quality digital audio.

    Digital Coaxial Female Port

    See our selection of Digital Audio accessories here.

  2. Toslink (Optical Audio) - Toslink is a standardized fiber optical system which, like digital coaxial cable, transmits data via S/PDIF. The inputs are usually labeled ‘optical’ and have a distinctive protective cover, as seen on the left-hand port in the picture. The right-hand port is uncovered and ready to accept a cable. Toslink can provide extremely high quality digital audio, and is currently the best interface for a pure digital audio transfer. Toslink interfaces can be found on newer DVD Players, Home Theater Systems, HDTV's, and HD Cable or Satellite boxes.

    Toslink Female Port

    See our selection of Toslink Accessories here.

  3. Analog Audio - Analog audio is a standard audio format on nearly every audio device. The picture is of the common stereo RCA jacks, typically a red jack for the right channel and a white jack for the left channel. Analog audio is also transmitted in mono, via 2.5mm, 3.5mm, ¼" and various MIDI plugs. Where possible, the use of a Toslink cable is the better option for quality audio transfer. Analog Audio cables can be found on most TV"s, DVD Players, VCR's, Stereo's, Home Theater Systems, Cable and Satellite boxes as well as some PC's, cameras and camcorders.

    Left & Right Analog Audio Female Ports

    See our selection of Analog Audio cables (with our S-Video Cables) here.

HDMI S-Video Composite Video Analog Audio Component Video Component Video Component Video Analog Audio Analog Audio Analog Audio Analog Audio VGA Toslink


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