Most of us use AV cables daily however, if someone asked us to hand them the AV cable, we wouldn’t know what they’re referring to. AV stands for Audio Visual. AV cables come in different shapes and sizes, the most common being the HDMI cable. Prior to the development of the HMDI cables such as DVI, VGA and RCA were at the forefront of home AV. These cables are used for televisions, game consoles and DVD players. In this article we’ll discuss the available options and outline the fundamentals to help you make the correct decision for your home AV set up.
Audio Visual cables are used to connect separate pieces of audio-visual equipment together. For example, an amplifier to a speaker. A traditional AV cable such as the RCA will have three individual cables (Red, White, and Yellow) each cable will carry an individual signal (audio right, audio left, and video). Each cable will carry its respective signals from one device to another, providing a seamless entertainment experience.
Other types of Home AV Cabling
Composite (RCA): Now only found on older equipment due to their inability to carry HD signals. Composite cables transfer video signal through one cable and connector. Because the video signal travels through a single cable it becomes heavily compressed thus losing its resolution and clarity. In addition, this cable is prone to suffering from radio interference which also degrades the picture quality.
DVI: Commonly found on computers, DVI cables allow you to connect your computer to a bigger external monitor or TV. With the ability to support both formats, analogue and digital. DVI cables can convert analogue signals into digital signal. This feature allows you to transmit a signal from an older piece of AV equipment to a HDTV or DVD player.
Coaxial (Coax): Previously used to directly connect your television to the aerial, coaxial cables have been around for decades and are still used today. Coax cables can handle different types of signals and can handle bandwidths of up to 2Ghz, this enables them to remain on par with modern technology. Today, these cables are used to connect your Aerial to the TV box but then the TV box connects to the TV via HDMI. This allows you to have a sharper/better image in comparison to a direct coaxial connection.
HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface cable is the most recent addition to the advancement of AV cables. With the rise in technology (HD and 4K videos) AV cables needed to be upgraded to deliver the required video quality. HDMI is highly versatile and powerful; the cable is designed to carry HD audio and visual. HD cables can send up to 5Gbps of information. This cable is widely recognisable as its used for all home AV equipment.
Which is the best cable for Home AV?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal cable that will do everything that is required by your home set up. Although HDMI is the most recognised and commonly used cable its not superior to all other cables. The answer really depends on your requirements for instance, if you still have some of your old equipment such as DVD players or VHS players, HDMI will be no good. In this situation we’d advise you to invest in a selection of cables and possibly converters.
HDMI cables are perfect when it comes to connecting HD input devices to HD output devices. As a part of a modern AV system, you can invest in gold plated HDMI cables to minimise resistance and signal interference. HDMI can be used across a wide range of products; they can be used to connect a TV to a sound bar. However, specialist speaker systems are unlikely to have a HDMI input as they will require other cables such as component (red and white) or coaxial digital S/PDIF cables.
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