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Cables (video, audio, USB) 

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Cables (video, audio, USB): specifications, types

Type

— Cable. A cable is usually a wire — usually quite long — equipped on both sides with male connectors (that is, plugs for connecting to sockets). This is the main difference between a cable and an adapter (for more on this difference, see "Adapter"). There are also extension cables, with a male — female set of connectors; they differ from adapters, in addition to length, in that the connectors at both ends are of the same type. In other (non-extension) cables, the connectors can be of different types.

Adapter. Adapters are devices designed to ensure compatibility between different types of connectors. In this case, the design may include a wire; however, the adapter and the cable are still different things. And the point here is not only that the cable usually has a long length; the main difference between these devices is that the cable has male connectors at both ends — that is, plugs designed to be connected to sockets; the adapter, from one end is equipped with a male connector (plug), from the other — with a female (socket). Thus, the cable is designed to connect two sockets, while the adapter is used to connect the plug to the "non-native" connector. Less common is a specific kind of adapters — gender changer, designed to change the type of connector — turning female into male or vice versa.

For phones and PC (USB)

USB — microUSB. An equipment that has a full-size USB connector on one side, and microUSB on the other. Classic USB is known as one of the most popular ways to connect peripherals to PCs and other devices. And microUSB is a smaller version of this interface, widely used as a universal connector in portable equipment like smartphones and tablets. Most USB to microUSB equipment are cables.

USB — USB C. A cable or adapter that has a USB C connector on one side and a classic USB on the other. Type C is a type of USB connector that has been released relatively recently as a potential alternative to both full-size USB and microUSB. It has compact dimensions and a double-sided design — the plug can be inserted into the connector in either direction. Also note that the Thunderbolt v3 interface is physically based on the Type C connector. And the standard USB connector has long been known widely as one of the main formats for connecting peripherals to computers. Cables of this format are usually used to connect gadgets with Type C ports to USB ports of computers, power banks, etc. Adapters, in turn, usually have a USB socket and a USB C plug and are used to connect peripherals with full-sized USB plugs to Type C ports.

USB — Apple 8 pin (Lightning). A device that has a USB connector on one side, and a proprietary 8-pin Apple Lightning connector on the other....The Lightning interface has been used only in portable Apple devices (in particular, iPhone and iPad), since 2012. Accordingly, all such cables and adapters are designed to work with Apple technology. However, most often we are talking about a cable — with it you can connect an Apple gadget to a USB port on a computer or charger. However, there are also adapters of this format — in particular, for connecting USB (microUSB) devices to the Lightning port.

USB — Apple 30 pin. A cable or adapter similar to the one described above with a USB connector on one side and an 8-pin Apple 30 pin on the other. Apple's 30-pin connector is the forerunner of the 8-pin Lightning used in Apple portables until 2012. Technically, it is considered definitively obsolete; however, many users already have fully functional Apple gadgets with such a connector, so USB cables for them are still being sold.

For phones and PCs (USB C)

USB C — USB C. A cable that has USB C connectors on both sides. Type C is a type of USB connector that has been released relatively recently as a potential alternative to both full-size USB and microUSB. It has compact dimensions (only slightly larger than microUSB in size) and a two-sided design — the plug can be inserted into the connector in either direction. Also note that the Thunderbolt v3 interface is physically based on the Type C connector; although the compatibility of the Type C accessory with Thunderbolt needs to be specified separately.

Note that in PCs and laptops, Type C connectors are relatively rare and in smaller numbers than in full-sized USBs. Therefore, to connect a portable gadget with a USB C connector, USB to USB C cables are more often used (see the relevant paragraph). The same type of cable can come in handy, for example, if the gadget needs to be connected to a compact ultrabook, where there may be no conventional USB ports at all.

USB C — Lightning. A cable with a USB Type C connector on one side and Lightning (8 pin) on the other. Cables of this type are designed exclusively for connecting "apple" devices to PCs, laptops, power banks and other equipment with USB C (or Thunderbolt v3) connectors.

USB Type C — microUSB. A cable with a USB Type C connector on one side and microUSB on the other. Cables of this t...ype are intended mainly for connecting portable equipment with microUSB connectors to Type C (Thunderbolt v3) ports on computers, laptops, power banks and other equipment.

USB Type C — HDMI. A device that has a USB Type C connector on one side and HDMI on the other. Most often it is an adapter. Type C is a type of USB connector with a compact size and double-sided design. It is on it that the Thunderbolt v3 interface is physically based. HDMI, on the other hand, is a comprehensive digital audio/video interface designed specifically for high-definition content and multi-channel audio. Such an interface is ubiquitous in modern HD video technology. Adapters of this type are usually designed to output video signal from the Type C (Thunderbolt v3) output to an external HDMI device and have a Type C plug and an HDMI jack, respectively.

USB Type C — DisplayPort. It is mainly made in the form of an adapter and has a USB Type C connector on one side, and DisplayPort on the other. Adapters of this type are usually designed to output the video signal from the Type C (Thunderbolt v3) output to an external screen or video device with a DisplayPort input. Accordingly, such adapters have a Type C plug and a DisplayPort socket.

DisplayPort is a digital interface originally designed for high-resolution computer monitors, but more recently also supports audio.

Video cables (HDMI)

HDMI — DVI. Equipment with a DVI connector on one side and HDMI on the other. DVI is a video transmission standard (video only, no audio) that allows both analogue and digital signal transmission. HDMI, on the other hand, is a pure digital interface that supports both high-definition video and multi-channel audio. Therefore, DVI to HDMI accessories are usually designed for the types of DVI ports that support a digital signal (digital DVI-D and combined DVI-I). Note that such ports have two varieties — single and dual link, which are not fully compatible in terms of connectors; so the type of DVI connector in the cable or adapter should be clarified separately before purchase. Most accessories of this format are cables (see "Type"), however, there are also adapters – both from HDMI to DVI, and vice versa.

HDMI — HDMI. Cables or adapters with HDMI digital connectors on both sides. In this case, we can talk about both a cable and an adapter with HDMI connectors. At the same time, adapters can have both a set of “male — female” connectors, and only female — the latter variety is mainly used to connect two HDMI cables if the length of one is not enough.

HDMI Ethernet — HDMI Ethernet. The presence of HDMI connectors on both sides of the device with support for HDMI Ethernet technology. HDMI Ethernet is specifically designed for home entertainment networks...and devices with networking features such as TVs, media centers, game consoles, etc. When connected via HDMI Ethernet, these devices can exchange network data directly through an HDMI cable, eliminating the need for separate Ethernet cables. connections. This allows, in particular, to “share” a common Internet connection between devices, as well as to use specialized technologies like DLNA. Note that the HDMI Ethernet connectors themselves are no different from standard HDMI, however, to use this technology, it is necessary that the cable was originally designed for it.

micro HDMI — HDMI. Both cables and adapters can be produced in this format; while adapters are usually designed to connect full-size HDMI plugs to microHDMI ports. As the name suggests, MicroHDMI is a smaller version of the original HDMI connector.

mini HDMI — HDMI. Similar to the cable/adapter option presented above with connection to a smaller version of the HDMI connector. In this case, to the miniHDMI port.

micro HDMI — mini HDMI. Equipment that has a micro HDMI connector on one side, and mini HDMI on the other. Both connectors are smaller versions of traditional HDMI, the most popular modern interface for working with HD resolutions and multi-channel audio. Note that the need for a cable or adapter from one reduced version of HDMI to another is extremely rare, so there are few such accessories available.

mini HDMI — mini HDMI. Mostly cables with mini HDMI connectors on both sides (another smaller version of HDMI). As in the case of micro HDMI — mini HDMI, such options are not in demand.

Video cables (DisplayPort)

DisplayPort — DisplayPort. Cables with Display Port connectors on both sides. Display Port is a digital interface originally designed for video, but more recently it has also allowed audio transmission. In terms of capabilities, this interface is similar to HDMI, however, for a number of reasons, the main area of Display Port usage is computer technology: in particular, it is this connector (and its smaller versions) that Apple uses as a standard video output in its computers.

DisplayPort — HDMI. Cables and adapters that combine two of the most popular digital video connectors up to 2018 — HDMI and DisplayPort. Adapters of this format are most often designed to output a signal from the DisplayPort output to HDMI devices, but the opposite option is also can be found.

DisplayPort — DVI. Accessories that have a DisplayPort connector on one side and a DVI connector on the other. The digital Display Port interface is designed for video signal transmission and more recently allows audio transmission. As for DVI, this standard is also used in the main computer technology for video; at the same time, it can provide both digital and analogue signal transmission methods. And the two main modern varieties of DVI — purely digital DVI-D and combined DVI-I — can be either single or dual link, and these types of connectors are not always mutually compatible. So wh...en buying a cable or adapter with a DVI connector, the specific type of this connector needs to be clarified. Note that adapters (see "Type") of this format usually have a DisplayPort plug and a DVI jack — that is, they are designed to connect DVI devices to DisplayPort outputs.

DisplayPort — VGA. Display Port to VGA accessories are typically adapters (see Type) to convert a DisplayPort digital output to analogue VGA. This format is considered obsolete, does not support resolutions higher than 1280x1024 and does not allow audio transmission. Nevertheless, VGA devices continue to be used today — in particular, this standard is popular among projectors.

Mini Display Port — Display Port. Accessories of this type can be both cables and adapters, while adapters are usually designed to connect a full-size plug to a mini DisplayPort port, which is a smaller version of DisplayPort and is found, in particular, in Apple laptops. Also note that the universal Thunderbolt interface v1 and v2 uses connectors identical to mini DisplayPort, so many cables and adapters with this plug can also be used with Thunderbolt.

Video cables

VGA — VGA. The vast majority of VGA — VGA accessories are cables (see "Type"), they are used to connect monitors, TVs and projectors to signal sources with VGA connectors. However, there are also adapters of this format — usually this is the so-called gender changer, allowing you to turn the female ("mother") plug into male ("father") or vice versa. VGA is an outdated, but still fairly common interface for analogue video signal transmission (without audio). Provides resolution up to 1280x1024, which is enough for HD 720p, but not enough for more advanced standards.

VGA – DVI. VGA to DVI cables and adapters are designed for analogue signal and are made compatible with DVI analogue varieties – DVI-I and DVI-A. Note that adapters of this format usually have a DVI plug and a VGA jack, that is, they are designed to connect VGA devices to DVI ports.

VGA — HDMI. Most often, we are talking about an adapter that is connected to the HDMI output and outputs an analogue video signal through the VGA jack (in some models, this jack can be supplemented with an audio connector). Such devices can be useful for connecting older TVs and monitors, as well as some specific types of video equipment (for example, projectors) to modern HDMI video devices.

DVI – DVI. Note that most of the accessories in this format are cables (...see "Type"). There are very few adapters produced, mainly they play the role of adapters from reduced miniDVI connectors to a full-size version. DVI is a video interface that can provide both analogue and digital signal transmission. Note that the DVI standard actually covers five types of connectors — analogue DVI-A (practically obsolete), digital DVI-D (in two versions — single link and dual link) and combined DVI-I (also in two versions). So when buying a DVI — DVI accessory, it is necessary to clarify which connectors it uses and whether they will be suitable for your devices.

3RCA — 3RCA. Modification of the "RCA — RCA" cable, that provides 3 plugs on each side and, accordingly, 3 separate cables for signal transmission. The main purpose of such cables is to transmit a signal over a composite or component interface: both provide 3 separate data channels using RCA connectors, and using a triple cable for such a connection is more convenient than connecting three separate cables.

SCART — SCART. SCART is a large rectangular plug; it is the largest of the connectors used in consumer electronics. At the same time, the SCART standard describes only the connector physical structure and does not have “its own” signal format. SCART — SCART cables can transmit different types of signals — composite video/audio, component video, S-Video, commands for controlling video equipment from a common remote control, etc. However, audio and video signals specifically are transmitted through SCART only in analogue format, because of that this connector is sometimes considered obsolete. However, due to its convenience and versatility, it still continues to be widely used.

Audio cables purpose

Inter-unit. Cables used to transfer low-level signals between individual units in a system, such as from a DVD player to an amplifier. The most popular format for such a cable is 2RCA — 2RCA, although other types of connectors are technically suitable for this role, including digital. Ideally, the inter-unit cable should be well shielded.

Acoustic. Cables designed to connect loudspeakers to a power amplifier. The best material for such wires is oxygen-free copper. Note that among audiophiles, acoustic cables are considered one of the most important components of an audio system. In fact, most of these beliefs do not have scientific confirmation, and resistance is considered the main parameter of an acoustic cable from a purely engineering point of view.

Power. Cables designed to supply power to audio systems. Interference from external sources that occurs in the power wire can also cause interference in the audio signal and even damage the sensitive components of the system. Therefore, the random cable is not suitable for connecting high-quality sound system to the power supply, a prerequisite for this type of wire is high-quality shielding.

Subwoofer. Cables originally designed for connecting subwoofers. Usually, we are talking about active subwoofers with built-in amplifiers, so most subwoofer cables...are actually somewhat modified inter-unit cables. In more detail, with the same connectors (2 RCA), such wires are usually made longer than standard inter-unit cables, with thicker insulation, and sometimes shielding. This is due to the fact that the subwoofer often has to be placed at a considerable distance from the rest of the system, which increases the likelihood of interference, plus there is a good chance that the cable will be constantly stepped on.
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