With the popularity of the HDTV, gone are the days when a TV was just used for broadcasting Television and simply connecting your cable box was all you needed to do. All kinds of different gadgets are now being connected to your Television set. Your TV screen provides various functions in your home entertainment as it is used for gaming, watching movies, photos, and it can even be used as a computer monitor.
In order to get the optimal performance out of your HDTV, it usually comes down to how it is connected. Some people become frustrated when dealing with the endless multi-colors rows of inputs and outputs. It can be a daunting task if you do not know which connection to use; not only on your HDTV, but also on the many devices you are connecting such as DVRs, Blu-ray players, cable boxes, sound receivers, and gaming systems. All provide you with many options to use for connecting to your HDTV and make no mistake about it, how your HDTV is connected does make a difference in both image and sound quality.
What ways can you connect?
There are usually 5 ways to connect your HDTV to other devices: HDMI, DVI, Component, S-video and Composite. Some HDTVs may not have all of these connections, however, most newer ones will at least come with HDMI, DVI, and component. So, what exactly are these connections?
HDMI – or High Definition Multimedia Interface is the standard for high definition home theater. It gives you uncompressed 1080p high definition video and up to 7.1 channels of surround sound in one cable.
DVI – Digital Visual Interface was the best option with older HDTVs. It can give you 1080p high definition video, but you will have to use a separate cable for audio.
Component – Component Video splits video signal into three separate signals, two for color, and one for brightness. Highest resolution it can achieve is 720p and 1080i.
S-video – S-Video splits the video signal into two parts, one for color, and one for brightness.
Composite or RCA – Composite has color and brightness delivered over one cable.
Which one is best?
The easy answer to this question is the HDMI cable. With the ease of connecting just one cable you get the best quality in image and sound. HDMI cables have up to 5 Gbps of bandwidth, which is more than enough to carry uncompressed high definition video images and up to 8 channels of 24-bit high definition audio. This limits any affect on video or audio quality, since there is no converting of signals (digital to analog) or any compressed signals. And blu-ray players are all about achieving the highest quality of image and sound possible.
There are four main versions of HDMI that most hardware will have. They are: 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3. All versions of HDMI has the capacity to carry HD video up to 1080p.
1.0 – First version of HDMI. Will decode most audio codecs found in DVDs and digital TV signals, as well as Dolby Digital and DTS.
1.1 – This version allowed for 5.1 channels audio, eliminating the need for 6 separate audio RCA cables.
1.2/1.2a – Allows for the use of Super Audio CD (SACD).
1.3/1.3a/1.3b – This version allows for the transmitting of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio, which are used with Blu-ray players. This version also increases the bandwidth to 10 Gbps.
The drawback to the HDMI cable is the cost. HDMI cables can run anywhere from $20 to $150. Some argue there is no difference in HDMI cables, no matter what the cost. DVI may be another option for you, with this cable you should be able to get the best high definition, 1080p. However, other cables will be needed for audio. Your best option if purchasing a HDMI cable, is to find a modestly price HDMI cable and work your way up until you find the one that suits you best.