Buying a new TV can be an exciting moment, but it's easy to forget about the time and trouble it takes to set it up when we get home. TVs have now become the hub for our home entertainment and will probably connect to a number of devices - this inevitably means lots of cables. In this article, we will go through, what cables you might come across and why you need them.

The Knowhow

Below is a list of the different types of connections:

HDMI Cables

HDMI Cable for TV

HDMI is becoming the standard way to connect your HD TV to other devices, such as a DVD or Blu-ray player or a Sky Box. The cable carries a high-quality digital signal, transferring audio and video. Easy to use, as both sides of the cable are identical and plug straight into the TV/device.

If the port on the TV looks the same but is smaller than the standard HDMI cable, it could be a mini HDMI port. If this is the case, you can buy an HDMI to mini HDMI adapter for a small cost or a mini HDMI to HDMI cable.

If you have an internet TV, you can also get an HDMI cable with built-in Ethernet, meaning you can reduce the number of cables needed.


TV Scart Cable

These cables used to be the most widely used form of connecting devices like VHS or DVD players but are gradually being superseded by HDMI cables. The reason for this is because you lose out on image quality if connecting HD devices with them.

The SCART cable is one of the most universal ways of connecting devices to a TV, so newer TV's will usually have one SCART port. If there isn't one, you can buy a SCART to HDMI converter.

Component & Composite Video Cables (AV)

TV Component Cable

Although both types of cables look familiar there are some recognisable differences:

Component has a total of five cables; three for video (Red, Blue, Green) and two for audio. This type of connection is becoming a regular port on more HD TV's.

Composite has a total of three cables (Yellow, White, Red); one for video and two for audio. These cables are often referred to as RGB cables, being commonly used to connect game consoles to a TV. If your TV doesn't have an outlet for them, you can connect them using a SCART adapter.


TV USB Cable

USB ports on the television are useful for various features including; installing TV software updates and connecting a portable media player, computer or camera.

Digital Audio Output (SPD/IF)


SPD/IF is generally used to hook the TV up to a home theatre surround sound system. This port lets you transmit audio in digital format which in return will give you sharper, high quality audio. HDMI is more commonly used as it transmits video as well, but if there isn't an HDMI connection on the surround sound this is the output to use.


S-Video Cable TV

S-Video is frequently used to connect TVs to camcorders, VCRs and older gaming consoles due to the high image quality produced.

DVI & VGA Cables (D-Sub)

DVI Port TV VGA Cable TV

These types of ports can normally be found on a desktop computer or monitor, with DVI supporting digital and VGA supporting analogue video. If you want to connect your computer to the TV and you don't have an HDMI port on the PC, you can use a DVI to HDMI cable or a VGA to HDMI converter.

Wi-Fi Dongle

Samsung Wi-Fi Dongle TV

Provided you have a wireless router and an internet connection, this handy USB plugs into the back of your Smart TV to provide it with internet. Note: You can only use the dongle recommended/made by the manufacturer.

If you don't have a wireless router or want another option, you can use an Ethernet cable which goes from your router to TV - it just means you'll have more cables lying around.

Other Digital Equipment

RF modulator: You may wish to connect your set top box to other televisions so you can watch digital television around the house (only the channel that is currently being viewed). If you intend to connect using a standard aerial cable, you'll need an RF modulator in your set top box.

Updated On:

May 10, 2012

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