Connections: Composite

Composite ports and cables are the most common, but have the least quality - especially for video signal feed. This type of connection is also referred to as RCA composite or just RCA.

composite videoUnlike S-Video and VGA which are used only for VIDEO signal feed, Composite cables are used for both AUDIO and VIDEO. Most all vcrs have these ports.

composite video cableComposite ports and cable ends for video are YELLOW. (Apple uses RED for Video)

This is to help prevent them being plugged into the composite Audio ports.

composite audio cable

composite audioComposite AUDIO connections have two ports. These two ports carry the two signals that make up Stereo audio feed. One port is usually WHITE, the other RED.

Composite cables many times include both the video and the two audio cables in one combined cable:

composite a and v

Advantages of Composite:

1. Most devices have these ports.

2. Cables can be of almost any length. One way of having great length (100 feet or more) is to acquire coax cable (the type that cable tv is fed through). Get a length of this and put coax cable threaded ends on each end. You can then acquire composite male and female ends to screw on the end of these cables.

Disadvantages of Composite:

1. Less quality, especially for video, than VGA and S-Video. (To deal with this, manufacturers have increased the quality of the connections by plating the ports and cables with high conductivity metals such as gold. These will cost you. However, the fact that a composite cable has only two leads (represented by the collar and the prong; s-video has four, and VGA has many more, and HDMI has the optimum) would show why quality suffers for video. One type of video used for high-end applications - BNC - will use composite leads, one each for the basic colors (red, green, blue) and one each for horizontal and vertical signals.

2. Most of the time the two audio feeds must use a special stereo two lead to one lead or converter from composite to pin to connect to the ports and maintain stereo (left and right channels).