HOME > Help & Info

A Brief Guide to AV Cables

In geometry, "coaxial" means two or more forms share a common axis. Coaxial cable is most commonly applied to home technology that receives cable TV signals. This type of cable actually has many more uses, but it is gradually being phased out in favor of more modern connecting cables. Coaxial cables, or "coax" as it is sometimes known, still has a place in today's world, but adapters are occasionally needed today to ensure compatibility.

During the 20th century, coaxial cables were utilized to connect radio networks, television networks, and long-distance telephone networks, but recently, advancing technologies have taken their place (ie. fibre optics, T1/E1, and satellite, just to name a few).

Short coaxial cables are still common when connecting devices such as: home video equipment; ham radio setups; measurement electronics; carry cable television signals to the majority of television receivers, as well as in other kinds of receivers.

Micro-coaxial cables are used in military equipment, ultrasound scanning equipment and for a wide range of consumer devices.


Embed this Infographic on your site using the HTML code below:

AV Cable Facts

RCA plugs, also known as AV cables, are one of the more universal ways of connecting audio and video in modern devices. The cable connector is a male push-in, with a thick central pin surrounded by a thin, rounded collar or crown.

The standard has been around long enough and is still useful enough that the technology can be used to transmit information between any two devices. Adapters are always available for those times when this doesn’t hold true.

You can use any RCA or “phono” cord for any RCA-style plug and expect it to work. RCA cable is usually used to transfer analog audio signals between electronic components, but it can transfer video, too! They’re called “RCA” cables because they were designed by the Radio Corporation of America, back in the early 1940’s.

Their original use was in home radio-phonograph consoles, used to connect the pickup to the chassis (it was originally intended to only be disconnected when servicing the console!). It is from this initial use that they are also known as “phono” plugs -- not to be confused with the “phone” connectors they gradually replaced.

RCA connectors started replacing quarter-inch phone connectors in a number of devices as high-fidelity grew in popularity in the 1950s. 1/4 inch connectors are still used in the professional audio industry, and the miniature 3.5mm and 2.5mm phone plugs are used in home audio electronics.

RCA plugs are a type of coaxial cable that are classified as “radio frequency coaxial connectors,” and are 0.354 in diameter (0.90 cm), with a passband between 0-100 MHz.

Component RCA cables are basically the same as the more common red/white/yellow “composite cables,” but there are more signals allowing for higher quality. There is still red and white for audio, but now you have blue, red, and green for high definition video. Again, these colors are just guidelines to help you connect everything to the right input and output.

There is a myth that gold tips or connectors are superior to silver. The average listener won’t notice any difference in sound or picture quality, and if the cord will be plugged and unplugged regularly, this can wear down the gold plating anyway.

AV Cables can be used not only to send signals to your television, but from it as well, allowing you to transmit signals from television to computer, or anything your imagination can design.