Journey into video connections.by Pixel Pusher
Growing up I had access to many different video cable types. Each one an improvement from the previous. When I was young I hooked up my Sega Genesis/Sega CD to my GameGear through the TV turner. I was so excited that I figured this out. This was not the ideal setup but the TV in the hotel room didn’t have composite connection and I didn’t have an RF adaptor nor did I want one. Also convincing everyone to let me monopolize the TV in the room seemed like another challenge not worth it. Also just not being able to connect via composite to the TV made that conversation null and void. My dad had a similar interest in gadgets. While he was not interested at all in video games he enjoyed watching movies. Well this moment of accomplishment was very short lived playing my Sega CD on a GameGear. My dad’s reaction was of surprise that I owned a GameGear. This lead to my end of playing video games until college. After the trip I had to pack everything up and not get to play them at all. The reason was I had to many.
Still I used my knowledge of video cables and helped wire the house and home stereo. At the time S-Video was the best that was available to me. We had an SVHS player with S-Video and later a LaserDisc player late in its lifespan because it was also a karaoke player. I was happy to find out the nearby Blockbuster rented LaserDiscs. The first TV I had a composite connection and I used that with my NES. I could see the difference then over RF. Later I upgraded to a TV with S-Video. Then the last CRT I bought had Component. I first learned out when DVD players first came out. So even from an early age I was aware of differences in video cables and could see the benefits like lack of color bleed and accurate colors.
VGA, DVI and HDMI was the next round in video connections. This was a short race to HDMI. These days HDMI is the standard. Only that there have been upgrades to the format with 3D and 4k signals going through HDMI. HDMI is digital so this is simple that it carries the signal digitally and it is just 1s and 0s. I know not cables are the same but HDMI made things simpler.
Another thing with all these different video cables also has another part to it. That is not all video cables are equal. There are varying degrees of quality in analog video cables. Running cables through the house I learned more about this with signal degradation and shielding. Having some experience I really looked at not just getting to certain cable types but quality cables with shielding and quality components in cables. Gold tips and thicker video cables with shielding became the desired features of cables.
SCART is a format I have learned about over the past few years. This format carries an RGB signal. The benefit is that it separates out the different components of the video signal. The separation provides the more RAW and complete signal an analog format can provide. While all the consoles are digital they convert the image to analog. There have been some great developments in tapping into that digital signal and converting that to HDMI these days I kind of jumped in prior to these options to be available.
Looking at Component you see the video cable go from one single cable to three color coded red, green and blue. Playing DVDs and PS2 was my first experience with an RGB format. My love for movies and DVD really drove home this desire for component. VGA was also some kind of RGB signal but I never had a VGA monitor with my mac so I never used it. SCART is also an RGB format. Used primarily in Europe and JP21 used in Japan is the newest video format I learned about next. Knowing the principles of different video cables and the more the signal was broken into the different components providing better picture quality this made since to me. It wasn’t until I really saw a side by side comparison did I really appreciate the cable. I had been using component prior to going HDMI. Knowing that my old consoles had a component type signal coming out of most of them straight out of the box was an exciting discovery. I learned out this when researching upscalers.
For the most part I have gone RGB when possible. My systems cables are using SCART, S-video(N64), Component and HDMI these days.
I have been chasing this better video signal my whole life. I’m very happy with where I am with all this these days. Only one console I have uses S-Video and that is my N64. I’m not too interested in getting it RGB or HDMI modded currently. Maybe I will change that but these days that mod scene is active in developing and I am not in a hurry and will wait till some of this settles down.
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