How to Use S-Video Cables (6 Steps)
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.
Locate the S-video and RCA audio jacks on the video source device.
Connect one end of the S-video cable to the S-video jack on the video source device.
Plug in the RCA audio cables in the color-respective audio jacks.
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.
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.
- PC Magazine Encyclopedia: Definition of: S-Video
- PC Magazine Encyclopedia: Definition of: RCA Connector
- PC Magazine Encyclopedia: Definition of: Composite Video
- Verizon FiOS TV: Composite Video and S-Video Setup for a Motorola 2500 Standard Definition Set-Top Box
- Webopedia: S-Video
- Techopedia: Super-Video (S-Video)
- Computer Hope Jargon: S-Video
- 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.
Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.