HDMI vs Component

HDMI and component videoWhich is better, HDMI or Component Video? I get asked this question a lot! Here are a few details on the differences between HDMI and Component video cables and which is better.

HDMI delivers both high definition video and digital audio in a single cable. It is a pure digital signal. HDMI cables are specifically designed for HDTV (High Definition Televisions) and cannot be used on standard TVs.

Component Video can be used for both HD (High Definition) and standard video signals. Component video is an analog signal which consists of red, blue, and green video cables. Component cables deliver video and do not carry sound.

Which will deliver better HD picture quality, HDMI or Component Video? The answer is most people will not notice the difference between the two. However, HDMI is able to deliver 1080p while component cables can only deliver 1080i. Most Blu-ray DVD players and HD satellite receivers have both HDMI and Component Video outputs. Most HD Televisions have the ability to accept both HDMI and Component video. With that said component video cables are usually cheaper than HDMI cables, so my recommendation is to go with the component cable for HD televisions. The only reason to use HDMI cable is if you want to feed both video and digital sound into your television or you want 1080p. Since most home theater systems have a separate sound system, you typically send the sound to the audio receiver and the video to the television separately, so in this case there is not a need for an HDMI cable.

So in summary go with Component Video cables when you have the ability and do not need to deliver sound to your television. It is the least expensive option and will still deliver excellent HD video quality.


19 Responses to HDMI vs Component

  1. Adrian says:

    I have a Sony with component cables and my directtv box with composite cables. Is there a 5 to 3 cable converter? As of right now I can view my cable but in black and white. Sony is of zero help to me. Thank you!

    • Jason says:

      I have never heard of such a thing. Is there any other input options on your Sony TV that you could use?

      • chris says:

        You’re getting black and white because you’re trying to put Component (Red, green and blue) into the RCA (red, white, yellow) jacks on the Television. If you don’t have component video on your TV and you plug the cables into the RCA instead, it will only show in black and white.

  2. Dr. Jayant Watve says:

    Can HDMI and component cables (red, yellow, and white) both be connected to the same TV if ports are there?

  3. Dr. Jayant Watve says:

    can HDMI and composite cables for audio-video (red, yellow, white) both be attached to HDTV ports?

  4. Cynthia says:

    I finally got a big flat screen HDTV for my 20th anniversary. The picture however is disappointing (worse than my regular tv).He also bought me an up-scaling 1080p dvd player which may not be the same as upconverting? We still only have standard dvr service with our direct tv service. I have red white and yellow cables but will buy any that will improve picture and can use with my standard service. Will also buy correct dvd player. Does HDMI work with standard service? I’m a nurse, this is a foreign language to me. Is there a website that explains how to hookup this stuff?

  5. Norman Eckler says:

    I have had bad experiences with hdmi systems. Problem 1 – bedroom samsung hdtv and dish hd receiver. One day tv screen is blue and message sez “no signal”. It took alot of jerking around with different inputs but thru process of elimination with dif tv & dif hdmi cords I determined that the satelite receiver hdmi output was dead. I hate dealing with companies about these sor t of problems so I just used component rgb cables & analog audio rca cords. I’m happy. I mentioned this problem because it leads up to my bigger problem 2. below. (no storms involved with prob 1.)

    problem 2: down stairs main tv – 46″ sony hdtv, dish hd receiver, and magnavox blueray dvd player. Situation: wife & I go on vacation for 2 weeks in july, adult kids at home. when we come home I turn on the receiver & tv and I get the “no signal” message again. Go through all the substitutions again and not happy when I find once again the receiver hdmi out put is dead, further all 4 hdmi input to my very expensive tv – dead. I then plugged in ok magnavox dvd player (did this before I concluded the the tv hdmi inputs were dead.) and I believe the tv killed the the hdmi output on the dvd player as it quit working AFTER it was plugged in. Had to buy extra component video and analog audio cables to get a working setup.
    I can’t tell the difference in the video from the satelite receiver with different cables. I haven’ tried the dvd player but am sure if I go blue ray I will be able to tell the difference. On reg dvd? Don’t know. I do know that they stopped putting rgb outputs on dvd players this model year, and had to buy last years model display dvd to get a unit that had one. Do I trust the greatest thing since sliced bread called hdmi? No way, I’m gunshy now! I can’t afford to have all this technology repaired. I also heard it through the grape vine that the hdmi commitee has decided that they will no longer support component video, is that why the outputs disappeared? My daughter did tell me they had a bad thunder storm while we were on vacation but that is not unusual. Why me? why hdmi? The equipment was not turned on when this happened and the rest of (other features of) the units (TV, DVD,& receiver) work fine. Question #? Are hdmi’s vulnerable to surges, line spikes, etc. is there a way to protect them in particular? Any thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated? I read your replies to others’ questions, you sound competent. PLease excuse my typing. P.S. the down stairs system is all on a powerstrip with surge protection, not tripped or spent.

    • Jason says:

      I don’t think the problem has anything to do with surges. If it did, your DVD player and satellite receiver would not work. To be honest, I have no idea what is wrong with your HDMI cables and connections. Very weird that all 4 stopped working on your TV downstairs.

  6. Shivani says:

    Hi I got a new 3d Samsung tv. I tried to connect it with my cable connection via hdmi but getting sound with black n white picture. Could you please suggest where I went wrong with my connection. Should I try with component wire n would I be able to get both picture n sound with component wire. Please help.

    • Jason says:

      Hi, it sounds to me like you have a bad HDMI cable, or a bad HD cable receiver. Connecting via a component connection would give you picture, but no sound, you would need to also connect sound through another connection, like optical. If you received good picture via the component connection, then you probably have a bad HDMI cable. If you have a poor picture with a component connection, then you have a bad receiver. A cheaper way to check your picture, if you do not have component cables, would be to use a standard RCA connection (Red, White, Yellow). If you connect with this connection and get a good picture then you would know that your HDMI cable is probably bad. Obviously, there is a small chance that your TV is bad, I am assuming that you have hooked up your television to say a DVD player and found that you received good picture and sound.

  7. peggy says:

    have a Sony TV only 3 years old. I am getting sound out of DVD and cable but no picture. When I click input button it does not give me choice of TV in external outputs menu. Is the HDMI CABLE bad or is there something inside the TV that has gone bad. We did have a tvmodule replaced about 6 months ago cause the tv hook up guy said that would fix it. Has that gone bad again. This TV is only 3 years old. It is an HDLCD TV 1080P??? Help!

    • Jason says:

      Will you please describe how you have your entertainment system hooked up? Tell me if any devices show a picture, (i.e. Video gaming consoles?). Do you receive picture through any other type of input, (i.e. Component Cable (Red, Green, Blue) or Composite Cable (yellow))? Could you hook your DVD up to your television via another input and see if it is working?

  8. Wayne Hilker says:

    How can you tell if a 120Hz LCD TV is actually converting 60 Hz to 120 Hz? The input from cable and Blu rays are 60 Hz… Samsung say the TV will up convert it to 120.

    • Jason says:

      All TV broadcasts and standard DVDs have a frequency of 60Hz. If you have Auto Motion Plus(120Hz) feature enabled the TV will double your frame rate. This is done by displaying the same frame twice which is suppose to enhance the viewing experience. Remember that the input is at 60Hz so the display info will state such, but the TV will indeed increase the frame rate. So the only way to tell if it is actually up-converting the frame rate, is to make sure you have the auto motion feature enabled which can be done by going to the menu and checking.

  9. Andrew says:

    Component cables can do 1080 HD image but it’s only 1080. Yes most people won’t notice, but it only can do 60HZ, and most TVs today do 120Hz if not 240Hz. Playing Blu-Ray movies through component is just plain stupid. Furthermore, HDMI version 1.3a is required for 3D movies, and HDMI is not just to have audio with your video, it allows one device to control others, so you don’t need multiple remotes, and version 1.4 introduced HDMI Ethernet Channel to share the internet connectivity between digital devices.

  10. Heather says:

    My new DVD player only has a HDMI connection. How do I connect my older Sony HDTV (model KZ-42TS1U) that has no HDMI connection to my new HDMI DVD player?

    • Jason says:

      You would have to buy a HDMI to component converter. Just search for HDMI component converter on Google. They will cost between $30-$50. In my opinion your money is better spent towards a new HDTV that can accept HDMI input. This will give you a much better picture.

  11. Mike says:

    I have a satellite receiver that only has S-video or Composite red, white, and yellow hookups. The TV has no S-video input, so I am running it with the composite cable. The TV has Component, VGA, and HDMI connections. My question is there any way I can get a better connection to my TV? Possibly with a an up-converting DVD player to increase my picture quality?

    • Jason says:

      Yes! With an up-converting HDMI DVD Player you can use either an HDMI or Component video cable and get a better picture than you are currently getting with the composite video cable.

Submit a Question or a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>