Traditional Composite video standards-NTSC, PAL or SECAM-combine luminance (brightness), chrominance (colour), blanking pulses, sync pulses and colour burst information into a single signal.
Another video standard-S-Video-separates luminance from chrominance to provide some improvement in video quality.
But there's a new kind of video called Component video appearing in many high-end video devices such as TVs and DVD players. Component video is an advanced digital format that separates chrominance, luminance and synchronisation into separate signals.
It provides images with higher resolution and better colour quality than either traditional Composite video or S-Video. There are two kinds of Component video: Y-Cb-Cr and Y-Pb-Pr. Y-Cb-Cr is often used by high-end DVD players. HDTV decoders typically use the Y-Pb-Pr Component video signal.
Many of today's high-end video devices such as plasma TVs and DVD players actually have three sets of video connectors: Composite, S-Video and Component. The easiest way to improve picture quality on your high-end TV is to simply connect it using the Component video connectors rather than the Composite or S-Video connectors. Using the Component video connection enables your TV to make use of the full range of video signals provided by your DVD player or cable box, giving you a sharper image and truer colours.
To make use of the Component video built into your video devices, all you need is the right cable. A Component video cable has three colour-coded RCA connections at each end. For best image quality, choose a high-quality cable with adequate shielding and gold-plated connectors.