What Type of Cable Should I Use?

The variety of different cables available for connecting devices to TVs can be quite bewildering. The choice can be a lot simpler than you might think though! A few simple rules can help you to choose the right cable for your system.

Rule 1: Choose HDMI if you can

Lots of Connection Options!
Lots of Connection Options!

If your new device has a HDMI Out socket and your TV has HDMI you should choose this method. If your device is a Blu-ray player, they’ll all have HDMI Out. Some DVD players will have HDMI and so will many other media or game devices.

If you have more HDMI media devices than HDMI Inputs available then you start having to make a choice as to which items you’ll use HDMI for and which to use other inputs. Here’s my suggested priority of devices for choosing HDMI:

  1. Blu-Ray Players/Recorders
  2. High Definition Personal Video Recorders
  3. High Definition Gaming Machine or Media Device
  4. DVD Players/Recorders
  5. Standard Definition Personal Video Recorders
  6. Standard Definition Gaming Machines and Media Device

Basically any device that is High Definition(HD) should take first priority in the use of the HDMI socket. There are a few Standard Definition devices that do have HDMI and if you have spare HDMI sockets on your TV by all means use them. SD devices just don’t get the same level of benefit from HDMI that HD devices do.

Rule 2: Component is the Next Best Thing to HDMI

Component video is an analogue video standard that can handle High Definition video. It’s becoming less common now as it requires 3 RCA connectors for video and 2 RCA connectors for audio, making for a total of 5 connections per device. This can seem confusing but isn’t really as bad as it seems.

The first priority in allocating Component sockets should be High Definition devices that you weren’t able to use HDMI for. Follow the same priority list as for HDMI.

Rule 3: Composite for Everything Else

Composite AV is typically a lowest common denominator for connecting TVs to DVD players and media devices. If nothing else is available, pretty much everything will have Composite. You can use it to connect most everything, and for standard definition content it will be pretty acceptable.

One Last Tip: Connect Computers Using DVI or VGA

Many laptops and desktop computers have HDMI sockets for connecting to monitors and TVs now. I’d still recommend using DVI or VGA though. This is is because HDMI is not designed for a high number of connection and disconnection cycles. Even if you need a DVI to VGA adaptor, I’d recommend using that method, not HDMI for computer connection to a TV.