DVD Video Connections

DVD Video can be connected to a television or monitor using a number of different types of video connection, like SCART, S-Video and RGB. Many DVD players include two or more different options for video connections to suit the type of monitor you will be using, and this page offers an introduction to the major types in use today.


Lets begin with the television. Traditionally, televisions have only needed one type of input to accept the single coaxial antenna socket. The signal from the roof mounted antenna was connected directly to the television. When video recorders became available, they simply fitted into the system using an extra length of coaxial cable. The antenna signal was fed into the VCR and out to the television allowing the TV to display pictures from television transmissions and from video tapes. With the further development of the technology behind televisions, video recorders and the fairly recent addition of more complex video sources, the coaxial cable has been joined by a number of high quality video connections in order to maximise the final picture quality. Most DVD players carry two or more different video connections that suits any system - none use the normal coax cable.


SCART Cables

The next step forward from coaxial cable was the introduction of the Euro A/V SCART sockets to both the TV and the VCR. The SCART cable has up to 21 separate cables within the main cable and allows picture components and audio channels to be separated during transfer between the components, thereby reducing internal cable interference and improving the overall signal quality. SCART cables are also bi-directional, allowing information to pass back from the TV to the VCR. Today, SCART connections are the most commonly used type of link between video recorders, video sources and televisions. And the SCART is also the most widely used type of connection for DVD players. With the exception of a small few, the SCART lead is present and allows the DVD player to connect to both the television and the VCR, although the VCR connection is simply a loop-through - you can't record DVD's onto tape due to copy protection.


Composite Phono Video

Composite video is a single phono cable connection that carries picture information only from the source to the TV. They are usually found together with a pair of standard audio phono sockets, one for left stereo and one for right stereo. These three phono sockets offer high quality audio and video connections between components with suitable inputs and outputs. Composite video inputs are found on the front panel of many video recorders and televisions to allow connection of a camcorder. As more Home Cinema sources, including nearly all DVD players, gained a composite video output, these sockets have been used to connect these sources. Composite Video is the basic type of signal used for picture transfer through SCART cables, although SCART is also capable of using the two higher-quality formats described below.



S-Video is a video only cable and is considered by many to be the best quality connection for transferring picture information from a source to a television in most Home Cinema systems. The single cable plugs are split into four separate pins that each carry different parts of the picture signal, thus reducing interference and producing a high quality output. Two of the pins carry Brightness information, known as luminance (Y) while the other two carry Colour information known as chrominance (C). This is why sometimes S-Video is called a Y/C connection. The S-Video standard was originally developed in the late 1980's to transfer high resolution pictures from the new S-VHS video recorders. Although S-VHS may not have caught on as much as was hoped, the S-Video connections have been widely adopted for Home Cinema and can now be found on DVD players, video recorders and surround sound amplifiers.



The best type of video connection used in common home cinema systems is the RGB connection. RGB stands for Red Green Blue, the primary colours, and works by splitting the pictures into the individual primary colour components, plus independent control signals for timing, brightness, that get carried along with the Green and Blue signals. Because each colour has its own cable, the amount of interference between them is reduced, allowing the signal to arrive at the monitor in a higher-quality form. RGB can commonly be found as an input on the back of projector units, as television and video SCART connections, and on DVD players as either SCART outputs or as three individual outputs, one for each colour.