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Maximizing TV Playback

There are currently three popular methods for transporting an analog video signal over cables: Composite (also referred to as RCA), S-Video and Component.

Composite, being the older method, transfers the entire signal on one wire. This is the simplest and most common connection you will find. If your TV set does not have this connector, you are in serious trouble. Your only resort would be to purchase a device which maps the A/V signal onto an antenna connector. This of course, will reduce the image quality and is not recommended.

S-Video splits the image into two channels. A brightness channel and a color channel. This, in theory, should improve image quality (more on that later).

Lastly, a rather new video standard called Component is starting to appear in high-end video equipment. However, it's quite uncommon at this point, and I doubt any display adaptor will support it anytime soon (if at all).

Now, please note that while one standard is in theory superior to another, in practice it doesn't always work like that. I have personally purchased a $10 RCA Composite cable and compared the signal with a $50 S-Video cable. While both of these cables can not be considered "High-End", you would still expect the S-Video signal to be superior to the Composite connector. This was not the case in my situation. The composite cable gave a much sharper image.

Note that there are a lot of things that can effect this, so I strongly suggest you explore all the options available to you, prior to settling on one solution.




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