A Short Introduction to the RCA Cablegahzly
RCA cable tends to be one of those things that gets taken for granted. We have all grown up with these cables so they tend to get overlooked in favour of newly developed ‘cutting edge’ cables such as HDMI and fibre optics. However, the trusty RCA cable is able to be put to many uses, so here is a brief guide to get you up to speed on this important cable.
What Does RCA Stand For?
The name ‘RCA’ is derived from the ‘Radio Corporation of America’ – they were the people to first develop the cable in the 1940s as a way of connecting amplifiers to phonographs.
Does The Cable Have Any Other Names?
Yes, just to add to the confusion a RCA cable may also be known as a ‘phono connector’; ‘cinch connector’ or ‘lotus plug’. It’s probably easier to call it a RCA cable, but all of these names refer to the same type of cable, so it doesn’t really matter which you use.
Why Do Some Cables Have 2 or 3 Plugs?
RCA cable is quite flexible and has been adapted to carry both audio and video signals. A cable designed to carry audio will have two plugs at each end, one for the right channel and one for the left channel. If the cable is designed to carry video signals, then it will have three plugs, but this is where it gets a little complicated as RCA cable can be used for both composite and component video.
Why RCA Plugs Are Different Colours
The plugs are colour-coded to make it easier to connect the cable to your equipment. For audio, the plugs are usually red and white (or red and black). In both cases the red plug denotes the right hand channel, while the white or black plug denotes the left hand channel.
A composite video cable will have red and white (or red and black) plugs in addition to the yellow plug. Again the red and white/black plugs are for audio, while the yellow plug carries the video signal.
A component video cable usually has red, green and blue plugs, each of which carry a separate component of the video signal.
Do I Have To Stick To The Colour-Coded Connections?
Essentially, all RCA wires are the same, so if you are connecting an RCA cable to your stereo system then the world won’t suddenly end if you accidentally plug the white/black plug into the red jack. However, if you plug the white/black plug into the red jack on your source device you must also plug it into the red jack on your output device. So long as the same wire is connected to the same source and output jacks then there shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but it’s generally a lot easier to just stick to the colour code in the first place.
Do I Have To Buy An Expensive RCA Cable?
The chances are that when you buy a new piece of equipment the manufacturer will provide a RCA cable in the box free of charge. Generally speaking it is best to buy an upgrade, since the cables that are given away are usually made to a pretty low standard. Having said that, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on a cable; a lot of retailers use clever marketing campaigns, fancy plug designs and techno-jargon as a way to separate you from even more of your money, so don’t be misled into spending more than necessary.
BY by GAHZLY
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