Explain the 6 most important TV connections

Have you ever looked at the back of a TV and wondered why all those plug ports are used on the floor? It can be very confusing to navigate each port and see which port does what. So here are some of the most popular TV cables, their variations, and what they do.

1. HDMI

Different HDMI cable

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HDMI is one of the most popular connection cables across the board and comes in a range of variants. The most common type, Type A, is usually used to connect source devices, such as a laptop or game console. Video inputs such as DVD or BluRay players can also be connected to your TV via an HDMI cable. It is a versatile connection, and most input devices have such a port.

A Micro HDMI cable is also included. This can be used to connect your TV to smaller devices, such as a DSLR camera or tablet. Keep in mind that with HDMI variations, only one end of the wire differs, and the other end is a standard Type A size (it fits most devices).

Related: Best 4K HDMI Cables

Outside of Mini HDMI, there is a smaller Micro HDMI cable. You’ve probably seen this before, given how common it is to connect phones or wireless speakers for charging.

You also get a right-angle HDMI cable to make it easier to connect to your TV, as well as a grab-and-go cable to avoid an uneasy connection. There are already HDMI cables available for every purpose.

If you have an old TV that does not have an HDMI port, it is also possible to use a composite connection for similar purposes. This type of connection will be discussed later here.

2. S-Video

black wire for video

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As the name suggests, S-Video is a funky looking wire that is responsible for sending video signals only to your TV. This is done by dividing the video data into color and brightness signal in order to improve the display quality of less modern TVs. It is also known as the signal standard for standard definition video.

The most common type of S-Video cable on TVs has four pins. However, there is a minor type that has seven pins, although this is more common on computers. No matter how much the pin is, you can still use the standard four-pin cable, so don’t buy yourself an extra seven-pin cable if you want to connect your computer.

3. Component

Component video wires

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This multicolored set of cables is called a component connection. All three of the cables are different RCA connectors, and their colors match the ports on the back of TVs. You have the green Y cable, the blue Pb cable, and the red Pr cable. These are used to connect TVs to DVD players, allowing for higher picture quality over an analog signal.

There are three main types of signals that can be transmitted to TVs via a composite connection: scanning, coloring, and lighting. These relate to the brightness, color, and frame limits of the video.

Keep in mind that you probably won’t need to use a component cable if your TV has an HDMI port (which, if relatively new, would be). So make sure you know which ports your TV has so you know which cables are needed.

4. Ethernet

Ethernet cable picture

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Ethernet cables are very important for Internet connections. Your Wi-Fi router will have a hard-wired Ethernet connection, and your TV should have such a port as well. If you want your TV to receive a faster and more stable internet connection, it is definitely worth connecting it with an Ethernet cable.

Related: How to Setup Ethernet and Wireless Powerline Adapters

However, this will depend on the cabling ecosystem in your home. You will need an Ethernet wall socket near your TV to connect the TV to the Internet via a wired connection. Alternatively, you can insert an Ethernet cable from another room through your wall, but you will probably need to call an engineer to get this done. However, it may greatly improve your TV’s internet connection, so it’s worth considering.

It is also worth noting that if your TV is very old, it may not have an Ethernet connection, since such a TV may rely on an external antenna to provide channels. In this case, you may have to rely on a wireless connection instead.

5. Compound

Compound ropes

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Another multicolored, multi-faceted cable that can sometimes be confused with the component connection discussed earlier here. A composite connection can be used to transmit a video signal to your TV.

This type of connection is usually used for older external devices, such as a Nintendo Wii or VCR player. They do not support HD picture quality, which is the standard for many modern TVs. This connection type is also subject to radio frequency interference, and this can degrade the image quality that the cable provides.

It is probably best to use a composite connection over a component connection (if your TV has composite ports). This is because a composite connection can provide better picture quality, and can support higher resolution TVs. Component connections are basically the next step up from installation and are better suited for newer TVs. However, most modern TVs still support composite connections via the single yellow cable, so older devices can be connected if desired.

You can also use the previously mentioned S-Video connection as an alternative to the composite, due to its ability to provide a high-quality transmission signal.

6. USB

White USB cord

The USB connection is truly one of the most popular in the world. Many devices have a USB port, including laptops, computers, and televisions. A USB connection can be used to connect streaming devices, such as the NOWTV or Amazon Fire TV Stick.

USB cables also allow the connection of external hard drives or flash drives. You can even charge your phone via this connection. TV antenna can also be supported via USB connection.

Know which outlets do what they do before you buy any cables

Although each TV connection port has its own function, you probably won’t need a cable for each port separately. Therefore, it is worth noting which external devices you need to connect to determine which cables you need and do not need. Once you do that, you’ll be ready to enjoy movies, games, or TV shows at your convenience.


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