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rca

  1. Spring Cleaning: Cables to Keep (Or Not)

    Cables to Keep Around the House

    Spring is here and a lot of us are going to use that nicer weather to get a little cleaning done. If your house is anything like everyone else's, there is probably a junk drawer somewhere with a big mess of old cables. After untangling all the knots, you will want to look at each cable to see what you should keep and what can be tossed.

    Keep: Micro USB 2.0

    Micro USB is better known as a “phone charger” since they are mostly used for Android phones. Not to mention tablets, streaming devices, smart speakers, and more. Micro USB is not going anywhere anytime soon, so keeping a few extras around is a good idea right now.

    Keep: Micro USB 3.0

    This upgraded Micro USB is mostly used for external hard drives. Some cell phones use these for charging cables too. While not as widespread as the older 2.0 version, this is new enough that hanging onto one or two of them is worth it.

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  2. History of Video Cables

    Many electronics have to be connected to a monitor before you can use them. Even devices with their own screens like smartphones and laptops have that option so users have the option of using bigger displays like televisions and projectors. Over the years, many new video cables been introduced and gradually replace the old as technology continues to grow. Modern high-def TVs have come a long way from the black and white TVs of old.

    1956: Composite RCA is introduced, becoming a common standard for televisions, VCRs, LaserDisc, video game consoles, computers, and more for the next several decades. Each cable can only send a single signal, paving the way for multi-signal cables to eventually replace RCA in the future.

    1979: S-Video is released as a superior (for its time) alternative to composite RCA. It is included on VCRs, home computers, and some early video game consoles up through the early 90s.

    1987: VGA was initially created by IBM for their x86 machines. It worked so well that VGA went on to become an industry standard on computers, televisions, projectors, and other electronics. Over time, it becomes the most successful and longest lasting analog connector.

    1990s: Component RCA, an upgrade to composite, is developed. While powerful for an analog cable, it has little time to catch on before digital cables start becoming the new standard.

    1999

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  3. Cable Switches

    Cable switches are used to connect multiple signal inputs (computers, DVD players, video game consoles, etc.) to a single output (televisions, computer monitors, etc.). Switches all work on the same general principle and most are purely mechanical. A switch only goes from multiple inputs to one output; if you need to go from one input to multiple outputs, you will need a splitter instead.

    Switches are used when you have a screen, such as a TV or computer monitor, that does not have enough ports. For example, say you have a TV with one HDMI port but you want to connect a DVD player, a laptop, and a video game console. One option would be to constantly reach behind the TV and switch the cables, but that gets old fast. The simpler solution would be using a switch that connects all three devices to the TV and lets you change between them at the push of a button.

    Most switches are mechanical and do not require a power cable to work. The inside of a switch works similar to switching the rails on train tracks. Say you have a 2-way switch, so the signal can come in from Input A or Input B. If the switch is set to Input A and you press the button to change it to Input B, parts inside the switch move from A to B to change the connection. This is why switches can only use one input at a time. If a switch was built to use multiple signals at once, the signals would interfere with each other and none of them would work.

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  4. Audio & Video Cables

    Audio and video cables go hand-in-hand, often being paired together. Some cables can even transmit audio and video on just one line. Over time a lot of new audio and video cables have been introduced, so the cable you need will often depend on the age of the equipment you are using. Most TVs, computers, and other devices can use multiple types of audio and video connections, so it is good to be able to identify them and know your options.

    Audio-only cables include:

    • 3.5mm
    • 2.5mm
    • ¼”
    • Optical Toslink
    • XLR
    • SpeakOn
    • MIDI

    Video-only cables include:

    • S-Video
    • DB9
    • VGA
    • DVI

    Audio/video cables include:

    • F-type
    • BNC
    • RCA
    • Component
    • HDMI
    • DisplayPort

    Audio-only

    3.5mm

    3.5mm, also called ⅛” cables, is one of the most common audio cables. They are sometimes called “headphone jacks”, being the type of connection used for headphones. These ports are frequently found on cell phones, computers, and televisions.

    There are a few different versions of 3.5mm: TS, TRS, and TRRS. TS cables will have one ring, dividing the metal sections into two conductors and are most often used for mono connections like microphones. TRS has two rings to give it three conductors, allowing them to be used for stereo connections such as speakers. TRRS has three rings for four conductors to support stereo aud

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