Types of Cables
Let’s start with the basic video cables and advance from there.
This is the single screw in type of cable that connects from the wall to a television set. This is the worst type of connection you can make. It is one cable for both audio and video. Not the best quality.
This is the yellow cable from a set of RCA cables. This cable can transmit about a 180 lines of resolution. This cable was invented pretty much with televisions. Better than coax, but not high up the chain.
This is your next step up from composite. This cable was invented when super-VHS tapes were released. S-Video cables separate your video signal to reduce distortion and improve picture quality. Transmits up to 280 lines of resolution and will give you decent picture.
This set of cable was the standard for high definition until HDMI took over. Component cable is basically 3 composite cables that separate your video signals further to reduce picture distortion. 180 X 3 = 540 lines of resolution is what component cables can transmit. Component cables will give you amazing picture and is enough to transmit what most cable/satellite companies offer.
Stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. This cable basically reduces all video cables and audio cables into one neat single cable. This is a full digital cable which again helps reduce distortion. Another advantage to HDMI is that it can transmit even higher resolutions; up to 1080 lines.
HDMI with Ethernet
Same as above but has the ability to transmit an internet connection through the same cable. These cables are advantageous to those who have Blu-Ray players or gaming systems which have Ethernet connectivity. In turn your TV has access through this cable.
Simple left and right. Two channel audio which is the standard since 20 years ago. This is perfect for connecting anything to your television.
Toslink Optical/Coax Cables.
These cables provide up to 5 distinct channels to your receiver from components which have the optical or coax output.
This cable is used to connect any of your components (Xbox, DVD player, cable/satellite set top boxes) to an audio receiver. The advantage is that you would get 5 separate channels to give you much better sound compared to the 2 channel that RCAs provide.
So to recap; best way to connect a video source to your TV is HDMI. Best way to connect an audio source to your surround sound receiver is Digital Coax or Optical cables.