NoRights Podcast: S3E2 – Live Hot Cable Talk!

  • On February 4, 2014 ·
  • By ·

This week Ben and Ian discuss cables. Audio cables, data cables, network cables – you want cable talk, you got it.

Cable Types

A Visual Guide to Computer Cables and Connectors
Audio and Video Connector
Audio and Video Interfaces and Connectors

Video Cables

List of Video Connectors
VGA, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort Explained
How to Connect Your HDTV and Home Theater
Comparison of Video Input Types – HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video
How To Compare Different Types of Video Cable

Common Video Resolutions

  • 240P (352×240)
  • 360P (640×360)
  • 480P (720×480)
  • 720P (1280×720)
  • 1080P (1920×1080)
  • 2K (2048×858)
  • 4K (4096×1714)
  • 8K (8192×3428)

Composite Video/RCA – 1956 – Analog – 720 x 480i at 59hz
RCA Connector
DIN connector

Composite video (1 channel) is an analog video transmission (no audio) that carries standard definition video typically at 480i or 576i resolution.

S-Video 1979 – Analog – 720 x 480i at 59hz
Mini-DIN Connector

Separate Video, commonly known as S-Video, Super-video and Y/C, is a signalling standard for standard definition video, typically 480i or 576i.

VGA / RCA – 1987 – Analog – 2048 x 1536 at 85hz
Mini-VGA Connector

VGA connectosr are found on many video cards, computer monitors, and high definition television sets.

DVI – 1999 – Analog / Digital – 2560 x 1600 at 60hz
Mini-DVI Connector
Micro-DVI Connector

Digital Visual Interface (DVI) is a video display interface used to connect a video source to a display device, such as a computer monitor. DVI can be DVI-D (digital), DVI-A (analog), or DVI-I (Integrated).

Display Port – 2007 – Digital – 2560 x 1600 at 75hz
Mini-Display Port Connector

DisplayPort is a digital display interface primarily used to connect a video source to a display device such as a computer monitor, though it can also be used to carry audio, USB, and other forms of data.

Component Video – 1990s – Analog – 1920 x 1080 at 60hz
Video-in video-out Connector

Component video is a video signal that has been split into two or more component channels. In popular use, it refers to a type of component analog video (CAV) information that is transmitted or stored as three separate signals

HDMI – 2003 – Digital – 2560 x 1600 at 75hz
Mini and Micro-HDMI Connectors

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a compact audio/video interface for transferring uncompressed data from a HDMI-compliant device to a compatible computer monitor, video projector, digital television, or digital audio device.

Coaxial – 1880 – Varied resolution
RF Connector
BCN Connector

Coaxial cable is used as a transmission line for radio frequency signals. Its applications include feedlines connecting
radio transmitters and receivers with their antennas, computer network (Internet) connections, and distributing cable television signals.

Audio Cables

Audio Connectors
Guide To Audio Connectors & Cables
Audio Cables Buying Guide
Audio Connectors, Cables, and Signal Formats

Common Audio Channels

  • Mono (1 Channel)
  • Stereo (2 Channels)
  • Quadrophonic (4 Channels)
  • 5.1 (5 Channels)
  • 7.1 (7 Channels)
  • 9.1 (9 Channels)

Common audio bit rates include – 32, 40, 48, 56, 64, 80, 96, 112, 128, 160, 192, 224, 256 and 320

Mult-Channel Color Coding

Phone Connector (audio) – 2.5mm, 3.5 mm, and 1/4″ Phone Connectors – analog – mono/stereo

In electronics, a phone connector is a common family of connector typically used for analog signals, primarily audio.

RCA Audio Connector – analog – mono/stereo

The RCA connector is used in several audio applications. For dual channel stereo audio, two RCA connectors deliver the analog composite audio signal to the left and right channels of audio.

S/PDIF – digital – 5.1/7.1

S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) is the “red book” standard for digital audio signal transfer. A S/PDIF coaxial cable can carry linear PCM or multi-channel Dolby AC-3/DTS digital content

TOSLINK – digital – 5.1/7.1

TOSLINK is the name of an optical interface for digital audio signals. The interface was developed by Toshiba, and TOSLINK is their registered trademark.

XLR – digital – mono/stereo

The XLR connector is a style of electrical connector, primarily found on professional audio, video, and stage lighting equipment. The connectors are circular in design and have between 3 and 7 pins.

Data Cables


Universal Serial Bus (USB) is an industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols used in a bus for connection, communication, and power supply between computers and electronic devices.

  • USB 0.7 Released in November 1994.
  • USB 0.8 Released in December 1994.
  • USB 0.9 Released in April 1995.
  • USB 1.0 Released in January 1996 – 1.5 MB/s
  • USB 1.1 Released in August 1998
  • USB 2.0 Released in April 2000 – 35 MB/s
  • USB 3.0 Released in November 2008 – 500 MB/s
  • USB 3.1 Released in July 2013 – Over 1 GB/s

Connector Types

  • USB A-Type – Found on host controllers in computers and hubs, the A-style connector is a flat, rectangular interface.
  • USB B-Type – The B-style connector is designed for use on USB peripheral devices. The B-style interface is squarish in shape.
  • Micro-USB A-Type – This connector can be found on newer mobile devices such as cellphones, GPS units, PDAs and digital cameras.
  • Micro-USB B-Type – this connector can also be found on newer mobile devices such as cellphones, GPS units, PDAs and digital cameras.
  • Micro-USB AB-Type – Designed exclusively for USB On-The-Go devices, can accept either a Micro-USB A or Micro-USB B cable connection.
  • Mini-USB B-Type – Measures almost a half inch on each side and comes in 4 and 5 pin models.

Apple Connectors

Dock Connector – 2003 – 30 Pin

The Apple dock connector is a proprietary 30-pin connector that was common to most Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, 1st through 4th generation iPod Touch, iPad, iPad 2, and iPad. (3rd generation))

Thunderbolt – 2011 – 20 pin

Thunderbolt (codenamed Light Peak) is a hardware interface that allows for the connection of external peripherals to a computer. It uses the same connector as Mini DisplayPort. (MDP)

Lightning – 2012 – 8 Pin

Lightning is a proprietary computer bus and power connector created by Apple Inc. to replace its previous proprietary 30-pin dock connector, used to connect Apple mobile devices like iPhones, iPads and iPods to host computers, external monitors, cameras, USB battery chargers and other peripherals.

Firewire – 1990s – 50 MB/s

The IEEE 1394 interface is a serial bus interface standard for high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data transfer. It was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Apple, who called it FireWire.

PS/2 Port

The PS/2 connector is a 6-pin Mini-DIN connector used for connecting some keyboards and mice to a PC compatible computer system.

Networking Cables

Telephone Plug

A telephone plug is a type of connector used to connect a telephone set to the telephone wiring inside a building, establishing a connection to a telephone network.


An Ethernet cable is a thick cable used to connect a computer to a large network. for example. Most Ethernet cables are full duplex, meaning they can upload and download information at the same time.

Ethernet Categories

  • Category 3 – 10 Mbps
  • Category 5 – 10/100 Mbps
  • Category 5e – 1000 Mbps
  • Category 6 – 1000 Mbps
  • Category 6a – 10,000 Mbps
  • Category 7 – 10,000 Mbps

Ethernet (Crossover) Cable

A crossover cable is a type of Ethernet cable used to connect computing devices together directly where they would normally be connected via a network switch, hub or router, such as directly connecting two personal computers via their network adapters. Some newer Ethernet devices support the use of cross-over cables in the place of patch cables.

Optical Fiber Cable

An optical fiber cable consists of a center glass core surrounded by several layers of protective material. The outer insulating jacket is made of Teflon or PVC to prevent interference. It is expensive but has higher bandwidth and can transmit data over longer distances. Modern fiber cables can contain up to a thousand fibers in a single cable, with potential bandwidth in the terabytes per second.

Power Lines

Although power wires are not designed for networking applications, new technologies like Power line communication allows these wires to also be used to interconnect home computers, peripherals or other networked consumer products.

Power Cables

Power Connectors
NEMA Connector

NEMA 5-15-P – The NEMA 5-15-P is normally referenced as a “3-prong grounded plug” which plugs into a standard 110 VAC wall outlet. The connector has two flat parallel blades, with a round ground pin located between and above them. The female mating outlet for the 5-15-P is called a 5-15-R (R for “receptacle”).

NEMA 1-15-P – The Nema 1-15-P is normally referenced as a 2-prong plug that fits into a standard 110 VAC wall outlet. It has two flat blades, just like the NEMA 5-15 plug, but has no ground pin.