Which 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.