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How to Use S-Video Cables

by Dan Stone

Super-video is an analog color-video format that offers better picture quality than composite video and lower picture quality than component video. S-video cables are designed to connect the outgoing S-video signal from a video-playback device like a VCR, DVD player or computer and send it to a display screen like a TV set or a receiver. You use the cables by connecting them to S-video compatible devices. S-video only sends video content and relies on RCA connections to send audio information.

Step 1

Locate the S-video and RCA audio jacks on the video source device.

Step 2

Connect one end of the S-video cable to the S-video jack on the video source device.

Step 3

Plug in the RCA audio cables in the color-respective audio jacks.

Step 4

Locate the S-video and RCA audio jacks on the TV set, receiver or monitor. The jacks can usually be found on the back or side of the device.

Step 5

Connect the free end of the S-video cable to the S-video jack on the TV, receiver or monitor.

Plug in the free ends of the RCA audio cables in the color-respective audio jacks on the TV, receiver or monitor.

Tips

  • S-video technology separates the video signal into two sections for luminance and chrominance -- light intensity and color in layperson's terms. S-video is able to transmit a sharper image to the playback device because it splits the signal over two wires instead of one, which offers more signal bandwidth. S-video is not direction sensitive.
  • Devices less frequently support the S-video standard than composite and component standards, which makes support and compatibility an issue for S-video devices. However, you can connect an S-video out device to a TV that doesn't support S-video by using an RCA-to-S-video adapter. Attach an adapter to the free end of the S-video cable, attach a composite video cable to the adapter's free end and connect the composite cable to the yellow socket on the TV, receiver or monitor. You can also use an S-video-to-component adapter, which splits the S-video signal across three cables. Converting S-video to composite video results in a reduction in picture quality. Converting S-video to component video produces a lower quality picture than a straight component-to-component connection.
  • RCA audio connections use two cables to offer dual-channel stereo audio. The right-channel cable and jack are typically color-coded red and the left-channel cable and jack are typically white. Each cable is installed into the matching color socket.

Items you will need

  • Composite audio cables

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