Connecting a HDTV to gaming console is usually straightforward. A console often includes composite connectors, yellow for video and red and white for audio. It’s quite rare that you have different connectors in the box. These composite connectors are the standard “out of the box” connection for any gaming console. Although they are highly compatible to HDTV sets, these connectors are at the bottom rung of the audio-video connection hierarchy. Although generally acceptable, the resulting picture quality is usually worse than other alternatives, including S-video. If you don’t have HDTV-specific games than standard yellow-red-white composite connectors are enough.
If you want a significant boost in picture quality when playing HDTV games, the you should get an S-video connection or component-video connection.
Using composite connectors is easy; there are three different methods to use them:
- You can plug in the connectors into the front-panel inputs.
- You can run the connectors directly into the composite-video inputs on the back of your HDTV set.
- You can use A/V receiver, which usually has video-switching feature.
If the console and the HDTV are placed in your kid’s bedroom, it is preferable to choose a HDTV set that has front-panel inputs to prevent children from messing around with the potentially dangerous cables and connectors on the back of the set.
It is a huge improvement over the standard composite connector because it separates the signal, the luminance (brightness level) and the chrominance (the color information) into separate connectors instead of cramming everything inside a single yellow video connector. S-video can provide better picture quality and adequate convenience. Many HDTV sets already provide inputs for S-video connector at the front. You handle S-video connectors carefully, because the small pins bent easily. You shouldn’t let your children make the connection because the connectors and input must be lined up correctly. Just like composite connectors, you can connect S-video to the front, to the back, or through the A/V receiver. Choose a method that suits you best.
Use component-video cables if you want to have the best HDTV gaming experience. For certain games, this technology offers progressive scan video, instead of relying on the internal scaler of your HDTV system. If you use very high resolution, component-video cables support it best. Using component-video cable for gaming console is easy as long as you have the right cable system. These are a few things you should consider:
- Choose a HDTV set that has front-panel inputs for component-video connection.
- Choose a HDTV set that has enough component-video inputs, so you can connect to gaming console, DVD/Blu-ray player and cable box simultaneously. However, if your current HDTV set doesn’t offer enough connection, you can route console and other equipments through an A/V receiver. When using an A/V receiver, make sure it has 10MHz of bandwidth to support 480p progressive scan or 30MHz of bandwidth to support HDTV.
Even if your S-video or component-video connection works properly, you shouldn’t throw away the standard composite-video connector, because some consoles require composite connectors to access the built-in setup menu.