Custom Installation
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Custom Installation
Home Cinema
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Home Cinema
Multi-room Audio Visual
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Multi-room Audio Visual
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round media room

Which Cable Does What?


Posted Tuesday 4th November 2014 at 03:48pm

HMDI, Component, S-Video, Composite, SPDIF, Coaxial, Optical, Toslink and analogue are terms that you are about to become familiar with. If your home entertainment devices have HDMI inputs and outputs, you should use these connections as they will get the best quality out of your devices. HDMI cables can be expensive and as a result, retail stores tend to sell you very short ones which limits the distance apart you want to place your equipment. Two or three metre cables as a rule are a good length and provide you with a little flexibility to achieve this. It will make your life much easier if you can connect your equipment whilst it's sitting on the floor in front of your cabinet rather than trying to plug in your new cables with your hands reaching around the back trying to find the right hole in the dark. If you would like to purchase home theatre cables, click here to contact us

Video Connectors and Cables


HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface, and that's a pretty good description of what it is. In layman's terms, HDMI is a type of digital connection that's capable of transmitting high-definition video and high-resolution audio over a single cable. To do the same thing with analog cables, you'd need to connect three component-video cables plus six analog audio cables, that's a whole lot of cable clutter.

HDMI delivers the best image quality of any of the cable types available today. It can handle high-definition video of up to 1080p resolution at 60 frames/second, which is the most bandwidth-intensive video format currently available. If your equipment has these connections, then use these cables to connect your equipment.

Component   Component video cables are one of the high-end video interfaces offered on audiovisual equipment today. They carry analogue signals and are not as high quality as the digital HDMI cables, but they are the best option for either long cable lengths (>15m) or equipment without HDMI inputs and outputs. Component video cables have three RCA or phono plugs (pictured left), one green, one red and one blue. These 3 video cables able to better preserve the various elements of the video source signal when compared to the single cable variety of S-Video and composite. They carry visual data only, so audio cables are still required. i.e. the red and white ones or digital audio cables mentioned below. 

S-Video (Separated Video often referred to as "Super-Video" is next level down on the quality tree and is often the highest quality output from most Foxtel / Austar pay TV boxes, some DVD players and some VHS machines. S-Video is a step up from standard composite video, which uses a yellow RCA jack and RCA cable, while S-Video utilizes a mini-DIN plug and S-Video cable. When connecting equipment that has both options the better option to choose here is S-Video.
As with component and composite video, S-Video only transfers visual data. Audio cables are required for transferring sound to and from your devices.


Composite cables along with the previously mention red and white audio cables tend to be the most commonly supplied cable with your new TV. PVR or Digital set top box. Unfortunately these cables are usually pretty poor quality and don’t really allow you to get the best picture and sound for your system.
Check for a HDMI, Component or S-Video connection on both your TV and DVD/PVR before plugging your system in with these cables. The difference will surprise you.

Audio Connectors and Cables


Toslink or Optical audio cables are fibre optic cables that carry digital audio streams between DVD players, PVRs, CD players, HD TVs and Amplifiers. This one cable can be up to 10m in length and can carry up to 8 channels of full bandwith surround soudio audio, PCM, Dolby 2.0, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, neo 6, DTS and stereo are all compatible formats.

Having a digital audio signal means that the sound quality does not degrade or pick up interference over 5-10m and the sound quality remains distortion free. The alternative is either a Coaxial digital connection (listed below) or up to 8 individual ananlogue cables.


Coaxial digital audio connection is a wired connection that is used for transferring digital audio signals (such as PCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS) from a source device, such as CD or DVD player and an AV receiver or Surround Sound preamp / Processor.
Using high quality 75Ω coaxial cable, these digital cables can be run up o 100m. These plugs are the same RCA or phono connectors found on some of the cables shown above. Usually the colour band on these connectors are orange to differentiate them from yellow video composite cables. Theoretically, standard composite cables could be used to connect a digital audio signal between devices, but dedicated digital cables are best.

Analogue Audio   Analogue Audio cables are used widely to connect all sorts of equipment together. As the name suggests they are not digital and only carry one audio signal per cable. These cables are fine over short distances, but may start to degrade the quality of the sound once the cable is longer than 5m. Electrical and radio wave interference can cause hum or buzz on on poor quality cables. Buy cables with gold RCA or phono connectors as these will make a better connection to your sound equipment and will corrode less over time ensuring the best quality signal between your devices.