Video

Video is one highly contested, confusing, hot topic these days. Let us begin with a brief breakdown of the different types of connections and what they are for.

A) Composite video

(the single yellow RCA type connector)
Used for analog video of up to 480i resolution. Examples are VCRs, Wii, DVD players

B) Component Video

(the three colors red, blue, and green on separate RCA type connectors)
Used for analog video up to 1080p resolution. Examples are High Definition sources like blu ray, satellite, and cable boxes

C) HDMI

(the single cable with the flat connectors on the end)
Used for digital video up to 1080p resolution. Examples are High Definition sources like blu ray, satellite, and cable boxes

Before we go any further, you need to understand what the “p” and the “I” stand for after these resolution numbers. On a TV display resolution is measured in vertical lines across the screen. For ease of math, assume a television that is 60” wide. Now assume that the resolution of said mythical TV is 60. The result is that you now have a 60 inch wide screen that has 60 vertical lines each 1 inch wide. The “i” means that the signal is interlaced. That is, only half of the vertical lines on our TV are actually on at any given point in time. So if our resolution is 60i, only 30 inches of our screen are lit up at a time. The lines alternate usually about 60 times a second so it is not noticeable to the naked eye, but it happens. Now for the “p”. This stands for progressive scan. In this scenario, all 60 lines are illuminated at the same time. This makes for a much sharper picture and allows for less motion blur. If our television had a resolution of 60p, then all 60 lines would be on at the same time. This is why a 720p signal is better than 1080i.

You may have noticed that component video is listed as being capable of 1080p. This is, in fact, correct. So why then do we need to purchase costly HDMI cables? The answer to that is twofold. First, motion picture studios demanded a connection that they could put an encryption on. Component video is raw analog signal and can easily be copied. Therefore, 1080p is disabled on component video outputs through software. It is not a hardware limitation. Second is the newfound glory of 3D. In order for a television to display 3D, it must be able to communicate with the blu ray player to sync up the picture correctly. HDMI cables allow for two way communication between devices rather than just spewing out whatever the player says regardless of the display type.

Hopefully we haven’t lost anybody in all that.