Is there a way to connect composite to the component ports on your TV? As it turns out, it’s not that difficult. So you want to hook up some retro equipment, but your device uses composite while your TV only has component ports.
Confusing composite and component cables is an easy mistake to make because they both look similar and have similar names. The ports are almost identical too, except for colour codes. You might be in a situation where your TV has either composite or component video ports but not both.
How to Connect Composite to Component:
To connect composite to component, you can either buy a specific adapter for the console you’re trying to connect or use a converter box. The first option is the easiest.
Before we continue, while it’s possible to connect composite to component video, it’s not such a good idea. The reason is the video quality with composite video cables is much worse than component video.
It’s best to connect the console or multimedia device to the component video instead. Most TVs have component video ports, but you might have a retro device that only outputs composite. If you plug composite cables into the component video ports, you’ll likely get a black and white screen or no signal at all.
Buy a Console Specific Component Cables:
If you want to connect an old console like a WII to a display that only has component video ports, you could get a WII component video cable. The same goes for other consoles like PS2 and PS3. The WII can also output composite video, but the quality won’t be as good.
Composite Converter Box
The second way to connect composite to component video is to use a converter box. The type of converter will depend on the available ports on your TV.
Composite Video to HDMI
If it’s a TV with HDMI, you can get a composite to HDMI converter box. It converts composite input to HDMI output. It’s the easiest way to connect a retro device to a modern TV. Another option for HDMI is this 5 RCA to HDMI converter.
Composite Video to SCART
For older TVs, another option would be composite to SCART.
Composite Video to S VIDEO
The SVideo port on your TV is black and has four pins. You can buy an SVideo to Composite video cable. Bear in mind, SVIDEO doesn’t carry audio, so you’ll have to use another option to get the audio.
What are Composite Cables?
Composite cables carry composite video, it’s also called AV or RCA. You’re probably familiar with composite cables because they’re the traditional RCA cables: red, white, and yellow.
These cables have two channels for audio (red for right, white for left) and one for video (yellow). Even though composite is a very old technology (designed in 1956) most modern TVs still include ports.
To check if your TV is compatible with composite cables, look on the rear panel for the colour coded ports. The red and white ports will likely be labelled with “R” and “L” for the audio channels.
One thing to keep in mind is the term “Composite video” is usually used to describe the single yellow cable. The multiple video signals are compressed into one signal and carried by one cable, so the quality of the composite video is not that good. It’s highly compressed.
Of course, back in the day, any almost any video signal was considered good quality.
What are Component Cables?
Component cables carry component video signals. The purpose of component cables was to improve the bandwidth of the video signals. They do this by splitting the video signals into three separate cables; red, blue, and green.
Each cable carries a different video signal. For instance, luminance, and two colour difference signals. Generally, the video quality from component cables is a bit better than composite because the cables can transfer more data, and the signals are not compressed.
Composite Vs Component
The main difference between composite and component is composite cables use one cable for the video, while component uses three for the video signals.
Contrary to what you heard, composite does not carry audio, it requires two additional cables for the audio channels. Remember, the composite video is the single yellow cable in the bundle, not all three cables.
Wrapping it Up:
It’s very easy to confuse these two types of cables, so don’t worry. When it comes to video quality, component video is much better, so that should be your priority. Most TVs will have component video ports, even the latest TVs still use them.
Likewise, you can still find TVs with composite, but those are dying out. Nevertheless, there are usually a couple of other ports that you can convert on your TV to composite.
Have you recently connected old electronics with composite or component cables? Let me know what steps you took in the comments.