CABLE GUIDE
Whether you need to purchase a new cable or you are having trouble identifying an existing cable, the below cable guide will help you identify the most common audio and video cables and their features/applications.

DIGITAL VIDEO: HIGH DEFINITION/STANDARD DEFINITION
HD-SDI (HD or SD):
Professional, single coax cable with BNC connection which supports high definition video (including embedded audio).
HDMI (HD or SD):
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) includes video and embedded audio on a single cable. HDMI cables can carry high-definition digital video signals up to 1080p. With HDMI, the video signal remains in digital form from source to source, so you avoid the slight picture degradation that can occur with translating the signal from digital to analog and back again.
FIREWIRE (SD ONLY):
Apple's name for the IEEE 1394 interface, commonly used to connect data storage devices and DV (digital video) cameras.
ANALOG VIDEO: HIGH DEFINITION/STANDARD DEFINITION
COMPONENT (HD or SD):
Best quality for analog video. Three RCA cables, usually red/green/blue, carry high quality analog video. Audio comes as two additional RCA left/right cables.
S-VIDEO (SD):
Higher quality than composite, but lower than component. Also known as super-video or Y/C.
COMPOSITE/RCA (SD):
Lowest quality for analog video. Single RCA video cable, usually yellow. Audio comes as two additional RCA left/right cables, usually red and white.
DIGITAL AUDIO
HDMI:
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) delivers the highest quality picture and sound over a single cable.
OPTICAL:
When HDMI is not an option, optical is your next best choice. With an optical cable, digital audio signals are transmitted as pulses of light, making optical cables nearly impervious to interference. Although optical cable is surround-sound-capable for up to 5.1 channels of sound, it can't carry the high-resolution audio formats found on Blu-ray discs.
COAXIAL:
Coaxial digital audio cables look like standard analog RCA cables however they are specifically engineered to pass a digital signal. Like optical cable, coaxial digital cable can deliver 5.1 channels of audio. Although sound quality is generally the same, coaxial cable is not as common as optical cable.
ANALOG AUDIO
XLR:
XLR cables are usually used with high performance professional audio equipment and microphones. Good for applications that require exceptional sound quality over long runs. XLR cables are mainly used for analog audio, however, there are digital XLR cables available as well.
2-CHANNEL RCA:
Most common type of audio cable for making a stereo audio connection.