Video Input Types

The latest development in television video input technology – HDMI – represents a new and intriguing way to view television shows, movies, and other features at home. Understandably, the choices of video input types offered to the consumer have created confusion regarding the differences between the various technologies on the market. This article will give an overview of HDMI and will explain the differences between this input type and component video (YPbPr), composite video, and S-video.

What are video inputs?

Video inputs are the way that digital information is transmitted to a television set for the viewer. In other words, it is how images and sound appear on a television screen. Video inputs are important because the picture quality is directly affected by the type of input being used – which is why television manufacturers are constantly striving for new, innovative pieces of technology to increase audio-visual quality and the overall user experience.

What is HDMI?

HDMI Cables Demystified HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, and is a standard interface now incorporated in many home theater systems and high-definition (HD) television sets. HDMI is the latest video input type to be developed, and is now being used with virtually every HD television brand on the market.

HDMI works by essentially taking 19 separate wires and wrapping them together in a single cable that delivers the source signal (a.k.a. the source of the digital information) to the television set. This input type allows the information to be transmitted with a bandwidth of 5 Gbps, or gigabits per second. This is an extremely fast bandwidth for television and is double that used by more conventional methods.

What is Component Video?

Component video is another video input type that offers increased picture quality over older composite video and s-video. Input for this type consists of three jacks – green, blue, and red. This type does not carry audio, so additional audio cables are needed. While this is an improvement over older types, picture quality is not as good as it is with HDMI.

What is the difference between HDMI 1.3 and 1.4?

There are two versions of HDMI on the market today: version 1.3 and version 1.4. Version 1.3 is an upgrade to HDMI that offers a higher bandwidth for video. This basically means that the resolution of your television set – usually 1080p – can be increased greatly by using 1.3. Version 1.4 is another upgrade that increases the compatibility between your television and other pieces of equipment, such as 3D ready Blu-ray players and home theater receivers and systems.

What is S-Video?

S-video cables were designed as a step up from composite video cables. They use either a four-pin or seven-pin interface to deliver a higher picture quality than composite video (although they are more expensive than your standard cables).

What is Composite Video?

If you have used a cable with three jacks – one red, one white, and one yellow – then you have used a television set that makes use of composite video. This method is the most common type today and basically uses one video jack and two audio jacks to transmit a signal. Composite video is one of the oldest types and does not offer as good audio or video quality as HDMI.
As you can see, HDMI offers superior audio and video quality over the other video input types used today. On the horizon is wireless HDMI, it requires additional equipment but allows you to send a HDMI signal wirelessly . These reasons and more are why HDMI is quickly becoming the standard for most television sets today. More information on these components, and other products, can be found on the OneCall Learning Center.