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Any benefit in using Component over S-Video from DVD to Non-HD TV?

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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   ChaseHanna


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Posted August 02 2003 - 09:23 AM

Im planning on pulling the trigger on a Pioneer 563A sometime this week and was curious as to whether or not I should use component cables or a S-Video cable since my 27" Toshiba is not HD. Will there be any noticible difference? Thanks

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted August 02 2003 - 09:35 AM

I have a 32" Sharp Cinema Series that I had a chance to compare component vs S Video and the difference was VERY noticable. Colors were much easier defined, picture was smoother, blacks were blacker as well. The difference wasn't subtle. Now the negative is the cost. It will cost you more for component cabling but the picture is well worth the effort and cost.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   ChaseHanna


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Posted August 02 2003 - 09:42 AM

I understand the cost will be greater, Im just trying to weigh the cost vs improvement of component cables. What would you recommend for a good set of budget component cables?

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   Mike Mundt

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Posted August 02 2003 - 01:04 PM

colors is what you will see the most. Sharpness of the picture will probably be almost no different from what ive seen.

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   greg_t



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Posted August 02 2003 - 01:55 PM

Acoustic Research makes good component cables at a good price. I couldn't tell much difference between them and the BetterCables silver serpent. The reason you want to go with component is that video is stored on dvd in component format, meaning you have three signals, two chroma and one luminance. If you output to your TV via component, there is no downconversion and the video remains true to what is on the dvd. S-video can only carry two signals, one chroma and one luminance. If you output via S-video, the player has to downconvert the image by combining the two chroma channels into one. This is why Mike said that you should get better color with component, because it retains the seperate chroma channels where S-video combines them.

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   RoyGBiv


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Posted August 03 2003 - 04:37 AM

The only way to know is to try it. I actually doubt that on a 27" TV you will actually see that much difference. SMK

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Chuck Kent

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Posted August 03 2003 - 06:44 AM

I don't think you'll see much of a difference either. What differences are there begin to show up more the larger the picture gets...

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Lewis Besze

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Posted August 03 2003 - 07:07 AM

Yes you will see a noticable difference,much more so then going from a good cable to a ultra expensive one,or "toggle" between composite and S-Video. Greg T. explained this rather well,so the size of the monitor is not that relevant.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Don Munsil

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Posted August 03 2003 - 09:04 AM

I'm going to mildly disgree with some here and say that the difference is likely to be quite subtle. Greg T. is correct about the chroma channel being multiplexed, and this does limit bandwidth, but only in chroma. The luma channel should be exactly the same, barring something wrong in your DVD player.

The chroma channel of a movie typically doesn't have much bandwidth to begin with, and your eyes are much less sensitive to chroma than to luma. So in practice while the loss of chroma bandwidth is substantial, it's pretty darned hard to see in a normal film. I spent many many hours looking at scenes in various films trying to spot a good one to demonstrate the differences, and failed utterly. It's very easy to see the difference on a chroma sweep pattern, though, or even the Snell and Wilcox zone plate on Video Essentials, which has two small chroma patterns at the bottom of the screen.

Keep in mind that the only difference is chroma *bandwidth*, not intensity or accuracy. In general, colors should look exactly the same, except in areas with very high frequency chroma. High frequency chroma would be very small bits of sharply contrasting color right next to each other. The kinds of scenes that might have high chroma bandwidth would be a long shot of bleachers at a sporting event, with lots of people in different colored clothing. Highly colorful and patterned wallpaper also might show a difference. Again, I've looked at a lot of these scenes, and haven't been able to see one that had obvious differences. That doesn't mean there aren't scenes that would show the difference out there.

When people see overt differences in color or black level when switching between S-Video and component, it just indicates that the voltage levels are slightly different between the S-Video and component outputs on the DVD player. This is (unfortunately) very common, but is easy to adjust back to normal using Avia, Video Essentials, or Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-up. It's not a "real" difference, in that calibration will eliminate it.

In the end, I use component whenever possible because there is a difference that is easy to see on test patterns, so I'd rather play it safe. But if it's more convenient to use S-Video, my recommendation just use it and feel perfectly fine. You don't need to buy high-priced component cables, for what it's worth. Radio Shack Gold series are fine, and I think they're about $30 for a 6-foot set. Any others that have adequate shielding and solid connectors are also fine. These cables from Parts Express look perfectly fine to me as well:

Dayton cables

Blue Jeans Cable (http://www.bluejeanscable.com) and Better Cables (http://www.bettercables.com) make excellent cables that are absolutely top quality, but are pricier.

You can make your own cables quite easily with RG-59 or RG-6 coax cable, crimp-on F connectors, and F to RCA adapters from Radio Shack, but in the end it'll probably cost about as much as just buying a decent brand.

FWIW, I personally use a combination of Better Cables and cables I made myself with Canare coax and connectors.


#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Matt Wallace

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Posted August 03 2003 - 01:09 PM

I calibrated a 27" Sony Wega with AVIA on S-Video and then hooked up the components a week later with AVIA calibration and the difference is noticeable. I can't believe people can say that they don't see it. Will the difference shake the earth? Not at all. Will you see it and it be worth the $20 or so (RCA cable at Wal Mart that are aluminum-braid coating - looks sharp! -, AR at Best Buy in that range,etc)? Yes. Of course, some of it has to do with what type of tv you have and how sensitive you are to colors, etc. It's comparable to the difference between RF and S-Video, if that helps any. Good luck! Matt
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#11 of 14 OFFLINE   Tom Blizzard

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Posted August 03 2003 - 03:00 PM

This very question was the topic of a "contest" Well over a year ago.............(my answer is about the 20th post)


There is a very noticable difference. You will see colors that you will never see with S-video.
Regards, Tom B.Posted Image
Still A LD and Vinyl FAN !!

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Mark Rich

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Posted August 03 2003 - 03:16 PM

I'd say it very much depends on the quality of the s-video cable being used. Normally there is only a small (subtle) improvement going from s-video to Component (using cables of equal quality)and that can be narrowed by using a top of the line s-video cable such as Nordost. I have an s-video cable made by Rhino Cables that gives my component cables a serious run for the money. Then again it wasn't cheap and I could buy good quality component cables for less.
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#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Hanson



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Posted August 04 2003 - 02:46 AM

I noticed that reds and greens were more vibrant with component, but I had already calibrated my set with the component cables, so it could just as easily been a calibration issue and not explicitly A being better than B. Frankly, anyone who's into HT as a hobby should just get the component cables for peace of mind. Admit it -- you're eventually going to do it anyway because it's going to be eating at you the whole time you're watching a DVD. Hanson

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Mark All

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Posted August 04 2003 - 05:02 AM

The only difference I noticed was in color saturation. Guys wearing black suits look like they're wearing grey suits when viewed with an S-Video connection. Component video enables the true colors to be output. The difference is striking to my eyes even on a 27 inch TV. However, my rear projection HDTV monitor doesn't seem to be as affected by this phenomenon.
Audio, ergo sum.

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