Video Cables Information
How to Select Video Cables
Image credit: Point Grey Research Inc.; APC by Schneider Electric; Digi-Key Corporation
Video cables are used for the transmission of video signals, including monochrome, composite and component color video signals. They are used with video cards, cameras, monitors, servers, and multiplexers; digital to video recorders (DVR); and scan and video converters.
Video standards include RGB, Y PbPr, Y/C (S-Video), and composite. RGB is a type of component video output in which red, green, and blue image components are transmitted as separate signals over three separate wires, allowing for full bandwidth for each component. Y PbPr is a component video format in which three signals (Y, R-Y, and B-Y) are transmitted via separate cables. S-Video or Y/C output contains two separate signals, luminance (Y) and color (C), which are transmitted on two separate video cables. The C color component is modulated on the same 3.58 MHz sub-carrier as it would be for NTSC output, but the bandwidth is not limited as it must be for composite output.
The GlobalSpec SpecSearch database categorizes video cables according to technology (communication protocol) and/or application.
- CC-LINK cables use a high-speed industrial communications protocol that enables devices from different manufacturers to communicate.
- Fibre channel cables are twisted-pair, coaxial, or fiber optic connections that provide high-speed, serial data transfers. Using optical fiber, fibre channel arbitrated loop (FC-AL) supports full-duplex data transfer rates of 100 Mbps.
- FireWire video cables or IEEE 1394 video cables are used for high-speed connections between personal computers (PCs) and peripherals such as graphics cards, high-speed scanners, direct video, and monitors. They provide very fast digital data transfers such as streaming video.
- HDMI cables use high-definition multimedia interface, a standard digital audio/video interface protocol.
- Ethernet cables are designed to run at 10 Mbps, 100 Mbps, or 1 Gbps. They support the Ethernet network protocol for local area networks (LANs).
- Patch cables or patch cords are flexible cables terminated at both ends with a plug. They are used for interconnecting circuits on a patch panel.
- Parallel cables simultaneously transmit multiple bits of data over separate lines and are usually unidirectional.
- SCSI cables use the small computer systems interface (SCSI) for parallel communications.
- Serial video cables transmit data sequentially, one bit at a time. Examples include RS-232, RS-422, and RS-cables.
USB video cables are used for low-to-medium speed peripheral device connections to personal computers. They are also used for monitor controls.
Video cable connectors are available in multiple gender configurations. Male connectors, sometimes called plugs, consist of a protrusion which fits into the female connector, sometimes known as a receptacle.
A male (left) and female (right) connector. Image credit: Amphenol Alden Products Company
Common video cable configurations include:
Male-Male: both ends of the cable terminate in a male connector.
Male-Female: the cable features a male connector on one end and a female on the other.
Female-Female: both ends of the cable terminate in a female connector.
BNC connectors are bayonet-style locking connectors. They are typically used for A/V applications, as well as older devices and third party monitors.
A BNC connector. Image credit: CONEC
DB connectors are used to connect computer peripherals. They are available with a variety of pin arrangements.
DB9 (9 pin) connectors. Image credit: APC by Schneider Electric
DIN connectors are designed to adhere to standards from Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN), a German national standards body.
DVI connectors are able to transmit analog (DVI-A), digital (DVI-D) or analog / digital (DVI-I) data. The DVI-D is the most common DVI connector.
DVI connectors. Image credit: Digi-Key Corporation
FireWire® connectors are available in 4-, 6- or 9-pin configurations.
High density 15 (HD-15) connectors are VGA connectors with 15 pins.
RJ connectors are modular connectors used for telecommunications and serial applications.
An RJ-11 connector. Image credit: Newark / element14
USB Type B connectors are square shaped with beveled edges and have 4 pins.