component vs composite cables

Difference Between Component And Composite Cable

Remember all those cables and wire that used to come with our televisions or video cameras when we were in our childhood? You could connect the two devices and watch something on a big screen.

This leap made groundbreaking changes in the world of technology, and its effects were one of the foundations of the world we live in today. All of this was possible because of two cables called the component cable and composite cable.

And today, we are going to learn all about them in our component cable vs composite cable in-depth review guide.

What Is Component Cable?

What Is Component Cable?

A component cable is a three-headed cable you find in your DVD players. This cable is the reason why DVDs can produce such clear and vivid pictures when compared with VHS or laser disks.

Its sole purpose is to provide high-quality motion pictures for your audio-visual devices.

There are three RCA connectors on one end of the cable, which is the input end that you connect to your device, and they are often red, green, and blue colors. The colors are an indication of which plugs go where, as each of the plugs has a distinct function.

When we talk about component cables, we can’t ignore the basis of its existence that is component videos, which we see as a lively and clear result on our television sets.

Component videos fall into the multi-scan format category because it can transfer multiple lines and frequency rates no matter if they are in the interlaced mode or the progressive scan mode.

The signals from the component videos consist of three different sets of information, which are as follows.

  • Scan: It indicates exactly where the video frame and lines begin and where it ends.
  • Luminance: The luminance determines the brightness of the motion pictures.
  • Chrominance: It governs the color of the image.

Now, we come to the main question, why do they have three different plugs? It is the chrominance part of the video signal that has been divided into three different parts and each of them, relating the luminance and sync data, transmits colors marked on them.

So, the red plug transmits red color, the blue plug transmits blue color, and the green plug is combining the luminance data and sync pulses.

You must be wondering why the green plug doesn’t transmit green color like the others. This is because televisions or any other players only need red, blue, and luminance values and can deduce the green parts of the picture by that information automatically.

According to their functions, the cables have been named as follows:

  • The green cable is called the Y cable
  • The red cable is called the Pr
  • The blue cable is called Pb

Due to this separation of the chrominance portion, the component video gets to produce such good quality picture.

As the video signals are distributed between their different cables, component video is clearer, and component cables can produce such refined pictures.

Keep in mind that component cables only transmit standard and HD image resolutions; it does not transmit audio signals. For audio signals, you have to use a different optical or coaxial audio cable.

What Is Composite Cable?

What Is Composite Cable?

Composite cables are sometimes regarded as the last resort. It is one of the very first inventions which was able to carry a video signal from one device and project it on another.

It was mainly used in the older versions of television sets, which do not support HDMI cables.

It is that single-headed yellow-colored plug that comes with your device. The single RCA jack does not need to be put in any particular way; you can insert either end of the cable into your television set.

However, some have AV out marked on one end of the cable. That is the plug you should insert in your television set in that case.

The composite device sends composite video signals from an input device, like a DVD player or a video camera, into a device that can display the output like a television or AV set.

As mentioned earlier, composite cables transmit analog composite video signals. This format mainly transmits standard-definition videos and travels in a single channel. Hence, it is a one-headed plug.

Composite videos are sometimes referred to as CVBS, which is abbreviated to the composite video baseband signal.

This signal takes care of the color, video, blanking, and the sync pulses of the image. More commonly, however, it is called the SD video as is transmits standard-definition signals only.

The reason why composite video quality is average is that the signal sent through the composite cables are very compressed. It is too much information and data for one cable to pass on.

Sometimes the video quality may vary because the cable can face a radio frequency interface, which makes the compressed signal worse.

The composite cable can be used in other ways as well. Like you could use it to connect your camera or the video signal device to your computer or laptop, provided that the machine has the RCA jack port for better picture quality.

Remember that this cable only transmits video signals. You have to use a separate cable to be able to receive the audio signals.

Component Cable Vs Composite Cable

Now that we have thoroughly gone through the fundamentals of each of the analog video signal transmitting cables, let us find out the differences below.

1. Connectors and Their Colors

Composite video cables are one of the oldest of such cables with one connector only on either end. That one yellow connector is used to transmit the analog video signal.

The picture quality produced by using composite cables is that of the quality that old television sets used to produce, which is a combination of hue, saturation, and luminance.

Nowadays, you won’t find such cables with any devices because this technology is just older.

On the other hand, component video cables have 3 connector heads, each responsible for transmitting a different component of the analog video signal.

This extension makes the picture quality great and refined. Thus, this is the technology that’s used in modern devices.

2. Image Transmission

As composite cables have one single tube, all the image data is heavily compressed and programmed through a single channel.

Sometimes that may become too much information for a thin yellow cable to handle. So, don’t go on expecting crystal clear images coming out of a composite cable.

Meanwhile, a component cable has three different wires, which means the cable has three different channels to process their information.

Hence, their image transmission is smoother, and the images are more vibrant. In the consumer electronics field, these cables are also called the YPbPr.

3. Resolution

As technology advances, people want better versions of most things. As composite cables are one of the earlier inventions, it can carry a resolution of 480i on average.

An advanced composite cable can sometimes go for 576i, but that is the roof; the picture quality cannot get better than that.

Being an improved version of the composite cables, component cables can display a picture of the resolution of 1080p or even higher.

It depends on the device that it is transmitting the video signals too. If your display device can handle higher resolution, so can the component cable.


One might assume that the differences aren’t many, but people usually prefer component cables more nowadays because the science invested behind composite cables is too old and the technology is dying out.

I don’t think anybody deliberately would want to see blurry videos when you can get a better resolution and picture quality.

Even component cables are slowly being replaced by DVI or HDMI cables as well because even this technology is too old for the world.

Nevertheless, let us know if our component cable vs composite cable review could answer your queries properly.