Difference Between Component vs Composite Cables

With constant new inventions and innovations happening, the world has become a confusing place for people who are less technology-friendly. Just when you learn about one new concept of technology, there are tens of other concepts lined up for you to catch up on. Just a slight change in the components of a machine changes its purpose, working, and behaviours to such a great extent that it almost feels like you never knew even one thing about that machine. In today’s article on component vs composite cables, we will see the main difference between these two cables and which one is the best.

One such confusion that has bewildered some people is the similar seeming but definitely not similar component and composite cables. The two types of cables used in electronic devices have very different purposes and work. Yet, the two cables are often thought to be the same. Even if some people do know that the two cables are not the same, it is the confusion of which cable should be used where that bemuses them. Let’s break it all down in this article! In this article, we discuss in detail what a component and a composite cable is, their difference, their similarities, and their uses.

Composite Cable

Let’s firstly talk about our old buddy. We’re calling it the “old buddy” because it is probably one of the oldest versions of cables that were introduced. A composite cable also goes by the name of an RCA cable, or it also takes another name, a yellow plug cable. The moment we mentioned that it is an old device, you must have figured out that it does not promise us HD quality and that it cannot transfer HD data. There’s one more bad news, oops. It neither supports the progressive scanning feature.

Composite Cable


Since we already mentioned so many negative points regarding the composite cables, you must be wondering if it is of any use or not? It isn’t right to say that component cables are of no use. But it also won’t be wrong to say that the use of composite cables is soon going to be deprecated. The reason for that is – composite cables can very easily be replaced by the new technology component cables that we are going to discuss next.

Component Cable

Watching movies on the big screen is one of the favourite leisure times of almost every one of us. Sometimes we can’t really visit a movie theatre to have a great leisure time. Too bad? Well, no, we do have the option of a home theatre, right? Have you ever wondered how home theatres work? Now that we are discussing component and composite cables, you’d be amused to know component cables are the basic foundation of home theatres.

Component Cable

So, this information helps us establish the fact that component cables are used to send video signals from a DVD player to a device, say, a home theatre in this case. The primary purpose of a 75-ohm component video cable is to conduct an AC video signal from a source (DVD player) to a load (TV monitor) with as little change to that signal as possible.

Component Video

Because we’re talking about component cables, let’s briefly discuss what component videos are.  A component video is analogue and not digital like HDMI. You must be wondering what does the word “component” signify here? So it is about the colour components. Component video delivers the three major “colour difference components” individually through three separate cables. The Luminance (“Y” or green), Red Minus Luminance (“Pr” or red) and Blue Minus Luminance (“Pb”, or blue) each arrive at the display separately, along with the “sync pulses” that separate frames (which are also sent on the “Y” channel).


Due to some limitations of the composite cables, component cables have been started to use as a replacement for the former. Component cables are far more advanced than composite cables and hence are used to transfer video signals so that it promises HD quality even 4k resolution and a fantastic user experience.


The only limitation that a component cable has is that it is not as good as an HDMI cable. Just as the use of composite cables is decreasing, the same is going to happen with component cables when more people start using HDMI cables and realise the fact that HDMI cables are even better. However, it is no secret that component cables are still in every way better than composite cables.

Difference? composite vs component cables

The only difference between a component and a composite cable is that of the advancement. Composite cables are the cables of the past generation, and they are not muchly advanced. On the other hand, component cables are advanced, providing us with HD transfer as well as the progressive scanning feature that composite cables were unsuccessful in serving us.

Can these cables be used as a replacement for each other?

Now, this is a question which is the main query of many. We’ve discussed independently composite and component cables. We’ve seen what differences and similarities these two kinds of cables have, and we’ve also talked about their uses. Based on our understanding of component and composite cables, let’s try to answer the question of whether these cables can be used as a replacement for each other or not.

We are afraid that to answer this particular question, we’d have to use some technical terms. But don’t worry about a thing; we’re going to make it easier for you to comprehend. This is where something called “impedance” comes into play. Without discussing what this impedance is, we just need to know that both of these cables offer an impedance of 75ohms. Well, technically, 75ohm cables are 75ohm cables, be it composite cables or component cables. So yes, these cables can be used interchangeably in most cases. Any decent 75ohm video cable should have plenty of bandwidth for HD, whether it is used as a composite or not hence always solving the basic purpose of the cable.

Which one is better? – Component vs Composite Cables

There’s no doubt that due to technological advancement, component cables are way better than composite cables as not only do they support HD transfer of video signals, but they also support newer technological concepts like the progressive scanning of images. These new advancements are responsible for clearer and better quality pictures.

With all the necessary details being talked about in this article, we can very safely say that it is always a better choice to use component cables instead of composite ones. Both serve the same purpose, and it is only the quality of the service that differs. If we talk about the limitations, then both kinds of cables have more or less the same limitations making it pointless to differentiate between the two on the basis of those limitations.

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