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Audio/Video Cables

Whether setting up a media station in the office briefing room or building a home entertainment center for movies and music, an audio video cable is an indispensable, if under-appreciated, accessory to almost every device in the setup. This type of cable carries audio and video signals from one device to another, allowing a big-screen TV to run off of satellite, stereo, and video disc inputs. Cables exist in many formats, lengths, and connection types, so it's important to find the right style before committing to a given media setup.

Audio Video Cable Formats
Many formats have come into, and passed out of, wide use over the years, and televisions, VCRs, and stereo systems may use one or several connection types. Composite cables are some of the oldest technology still in use. These cables are color coded red, green, and blue, and they can convey high-definition video signals, though they're less capable with high-definition audio.

VGA and DVI cables handle high-definition audio and video, and most people use them for monitors and other computer equipment. S-type cables work with video signals, but they cannot carry audio and you must pair them with another set for sound. HDMI cables are compatible with all types of signals and are steadily growing into the industry standard for nearly everything.

Audio Video Cable Converters
This plethora of formats has summoned into existence many cables of mixed types. This occurs when as one technology falls out of favor and another rises. Older recording-and-playback devices may need to connect to newer output devices, such as pairing an old VCR with a newer HDTV set. When this happens, a mixed-format cable or converter makes the two sets compatible, allowing a person to still use the VCR. A recorder that uses composite cables, for instance, may connect with a TV that offers nothing but HDMI ports, if the cable between them has both types of interface on either end.

Lengths of an Audio Video Cable
Length is the next consideration. The exact length needed for a hookup purely depends on the device's position in the media center. Connecting a monitor to a hard drive, for example, may call for a VGA cable that's only a few inches long, while connecting a TV set to a gaming console mounted in a cabinet requires several feet of HDMI cable. Measuring the distance between the devices and adding a few inches ensures your cable never runs short.

What Do Your Connect Devices With an Audio Video Cable?
Almost every device used for video and audio output needs cables to connect with other devices. Cables carry output from disc players and VCRs to cable boxes and satellite dishes, as well computer drives or media players to speakers and screens. Some audio video cables carry two-way traffic between TVs and game consoles. No matter your devices, you benefit from using these cables.

How Is an Audio Video Cable Preferable to a Wireless Connection?
Wireless communications, such as Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks, tend to have limited bandwidth and are prone to interference. While this isn't a serious problem for most data transmission, the high demands of audio and video streaming make hardwired connections both safer and more reliable than wireless hookups, ensuring no connection issues.

How Does an Audio Video Cable Plug Into a Device?
Some cables, such as HDMI or composite, attach to their ports with a simple push. Others, such as VGA, mount screw-type fasteners that create a very secure connection with the port. In all cases, the connector firmly seats itself into the port with as little effort as possible.
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