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/commentable: Video Cable Resolution Lines.
Dinarius = digital interest
2 March 2008

Video Cable Resolution Lines.

02MAR08 – I made a computer animation today at 1080 by 768 and looped its playback through an S-video cable to the high-definition television expecting to see a crisp, clear and LARGE version of my time-well-spent. I didn’t. What I forgot was that different video cables support different bandwidths and, hence, different lines of resolution. The television is ready to produce 1,080 lines of data across and 768 up and down. The S-Video cable, however, was capable of about 700 by 486 lines of video resolution. So the image was blurry and the creator was far from satisfied. A refresher course on the many different video cable lines of resolution is needed.

High definition is great when you can get it. So what gets it? Component video cables provide three, meaty wires for video signals to travel through. Reds, blues and greens all travel with brightness to fill that 1080 potential crisply.

Component is often confused with COMPOSITE. It’s a rookie mistake – composite cables also come in budles of three wires, but two are for SOUND and only ONE is for video. The microchips at the ends of the composite wires strip the signal down so far and reduce the quality, that only about 400 lines of resolution make it to the other side. The process is mpeg encoding and compression – it’s no different than the compression that occurs when you save a file in Photoshop.

An old SONY video camera I still use produces about 420 lines of resolution in the final picture – great for Internet but looks blurry on television when a composite (yellow) video cable is used. When I use a four-pin S-Video cable, the picture is as sharp as it ever will be. There are S-Video cables with more pins (look on the S-Video Out on the side of your laptop). It probably allows for a SEVEN pin S-Video cable.

HDMI video cable resolution can rocket up to 1440p and easily transmit an animation crisply to a high definition televsion supporting 1080i or progressive. More commonly, a lot of laptops have VGA, 15-pin connectors (the blue trapazoid shape monitors plug in to). Despite the horrible confusion this will start you on, that VGA connector is good for 720 lines of resolution even though there are 15 pins and the monitor you’re using now probably provides many more than 720 lines of resolution. Don’t ask. Or do! VGA WIKI

Making that VGA (analog signal) perform marvels for DVI or HDMI (digital signal) televisions, you’ll need to unload that wallet! The VGA to DVI/HDMI converter is one bulky bastard and at $299 will stay that way just as my 1080 computer animation will remain blurry. Hopefully you’ve been paying attention and see that a Pro 7-pin S-Video to RCA Composite would actually snuff resolution since those RCA cables don’t carry as much signal as even a 4-pin S-Video cable.

RCA/Yellow is about 400 lines of resolution.
S-Video 4-pin maxes out at about 600 to 700 lines of resolution.
Pro S-Video 7-pin averages about 700 lines of video resolution.
VGA is an ANALOG signal and apples to oranges with:
DVI and HDMI which are DIGITAL signals.

VGA will send 720 lines of resolution to the television straight, but can be expensively converted to a digital signal and provide what you would expect, up to 1440 lines of video resolution.

DVI and HDMI can effortlessly send high quality, sharp video signals to your high definition television from your laptop or computer if you have the native connectors for them. And, naturally:
Component video cables deliver 1080 lines of resolution, but only 540 of color! So your best bet for trasporting crisp images to a high definition television may not be the most obvious! Lesson learned.

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