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2012.02.02

 

Cable Port How it's used
USB (Universal Serial Bus)
USB

Transmits data at various speeds.
USB 1.0 @ up to 12MB/second
USB 2.0 @ up to 480MB/second
USB 3.0 @ up to 5GB/second
USB cables are backward compatible, but a 3.0 cable is required to get 3.0 speeds.

Standard USB Type A
USB type A-port

Transmits data and delivers power (USB 1.0 does not deliver power). Commonly seen on devices with permanently attached cables.
Example: A keyboard to a PC.

Standard USB Type B
USB-port

Transmits data and delivers power to peripherals.
Example: A printer to a PC

Mini-A USB
Mini-A USB or Mini-AB USB

Transmits data and delivers power to smaller devices. Mini-A has been superseded and is no longer being used for new devices.
Example: A digital camera to a printer

Mini-B USB
Mini-B USB or Mini-AB USB

Transmits data and delivers power to smaller devices.
Example: A digital camcorder to a PC

Micro-A USB
Micro-A USB or Mircro-AB USB

Transmits data and delivers power to portable devices. Similar width to mini USB but approximately half as thick.
Example: A smartphone to a PC

Micro-B USB
Micro-B USB or Micro-AB USB

Transmits data and delivers power to portable devices. Similar width to mini USB but approximately half as thick.
Example: A PDA to a PC

eSATA (External Serial ATA)
eSATA

Transmits high-speed data. A branch of the Serial ATA interface. Faster than FireWire and USB 1.0 and 2.0.
Example: An external hard drive to a PC

VFireWire
FireWire

Transmits high-speed data. The six-pin version delivers power; the four-pin does not. FireWire is also called i.LINK and IEEE1394. Faster than USB 1.0 and 2.0.
Example: A digital camcorder to a PC

Ethernet/RJ45/8P8C
Ethernet/RJ45/8P8C

Transmits high-speed data on local area networks (LANs), including Internet and intranet networks.
Example: A PC to a router

Modem/RJ11
Modem/RJ11

Transmits faxes and data on local area networks via phone line. Much slower than Ethernet.
Example: A PC to a fax machine.

Standard/Category 1 HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)
HDMI 1.0-1.2

Transmits and protects copyrighted digital video and audio at speeds up to 4.9GB/second, with a refresh rate fast enough for 1080p video.
Example: A DVD player to an HDTV.

High-Speed/Category 2 HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)
HDMI 1.3-1.4

Transmits and protects copyrighted digital video and audio at speeds up to 10.2GB/second, with a refresh rate fast enough for 1080p and 3D video.
However, HDMI 1.3 will display 3D content in 1080i and 1.4 will display 3D in full 1080p.
Example: A 3D Blu-ray player to a 3D-capable HDTV.

DisplayPort
DisplayPort

Transmits and protects copyrighted digital audio and video with bi-directional communication.
Example: A PC to an HD monitor

Mini DisplayPort
Mini DisplayPort

Transmits and protects copyrighted digital audio and video with bi-directional communication for smaller devices.
Example: A laptop to an HD monitor.

DVI (Digital Visual Interface DVI-D (Digital)DVI-I (Integrated)
DVI DVI-D (Digital)
                        DVI-I (Integrated)

DVI-D transmits digital video without audio.
DVI-I transmits digital and analog video without audio.
Example: An HD tuner to an HDTV

Component video
Component video

Transmits video and comes in standard definition and high definition (HD). Higher quality than S-video and composite.
Example: A DVD player to an HDTV

S-video (Separate video)
S-video

Transmits video as two separate signals: lumen (luminance) and chroma (color). Higher quality than composite but cannot deliver HD video.
Example: A video game console to a TV

Yellow RCA (Composite video)
Yellow RCA (Composite video)

Transmits analog video. Cannot be used for HD or digital video.
Example: A DVD player to a TV

VGA (Video Graphics Array)
VGA

Transmits analog video from a PC to a monitor or TV.
Example: A laptop PC to a monitor

Coaxial digital audio
Coaxial

Transmits digital audio.
Example: Stereo speakers to a receiver

Toslink optical digital
Optical

Transmits digital audio.
Example: A video game console to a receiver

5.1 Channel outputs (analog)
5.1 Channel outputs (analog)

Transmits up to six specific audio channels (such as left, right, center, left surround, etc.) from your DVD player to an external device.
Example: A DVD player to a receiver

Composite/stereo (RCA stereo)
Composite/stereo (RCA stereo)

Transmits left and right channel audio.
Example: Stereo speakers to a receiver

RCA mono
RCA mono

Transmits analog audio. 
Example: A subwoofer to a home theater system

 

Some of these cables are included with products; others must be purchased separately. Check product specs to see what’s in the box.

Video connection comparison

Good Better Best

S-vide

Component video

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)

Yellow RCA (Composite video)

 

DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort

 
 

DVI (Digital Visual Interface)

Video connection comparison

Good Better Best

Composite/stereo (RCA stereo

)

5.1 Channel outputs (analog)

Coaxial digital audio

 
 

Toslink optical digital