Rat Shack cables. Is there really a difference?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Poehlman, Oct 4, 2002.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    So, after a frustrating fiasco with my local cable company about getting a HD converter/cable box, I decided to peruse my local Radio Shack.
    As I am looking at the cables I notice a 6ft component video cable for $34.99.
    Right next to it is a 6ft audio/video cable for a mere $14.99
    The cables appear identical except for the color coding on the jacks. I asked the sales rep what the difference was and he nervously explained there was "some more sheilding" in the component video cable.
    Is Radio Shack trying to take advantage of the HDTV craze by saying a Blue/Green/Red cable costs more than a Red/White/Yellow one?
     
  2. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    It's my understanding that they are in fact the same, just different bands on the RCA's. I myself can't personally confirm this but supposedly an individual had subjected these to tests and found no difference. Seeing as how RS is everywhere, and if you're considering that brand, I'd take em out for a spin.
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Chu Gai, you are a little cryptic here in an applaudably succinct response...

    It sounds like you are implying that the user can merely buy 3 RS video cables -- standalone types if available without being attached to red/white -- and come out cheaper than a dedicated "component" set.

    If so, I'd agree, but one loses the convenience of having those nice blue/grn/red color coded terminals, yes?

    In any case, HTF moderator Bob McElfresh always recommends spending the bucks for quality video cables if nothing else.

    bill
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Wow..I'm getting quoted [​IMG]
    Dave: here are the rules -
    all video cables must be made with something called 75 ohm coax to correctly transfer the signal.
    Many audio cables are made with 75 ohm coax, but COULD be made with 50, 75, 110, 300 ohm coax.
    At One Time: the Radio Shack L/R/Video cables were found to all be using 75 ohm coax - just like the component video cables. (It's actually much easier to bundle 3 coax of the same type together than to try an bundle 1 75 ohm coax, and 2 others and keep everything straight).
    So unless RS has changed their manufacturing, sure, you could use the cheaper cable as a component video cable.
    But Wait. (regular readers can skip this part. you know what is coming... [​IMG] )
    The AR brand and Radio Shack brand are fine for "modest" systems. But some systems are more sensitive to the cable than others.
    My guideline is that your system is "sensitive" if it has any of the following:
    - Display size bigger than about 40"
    - Pushing Progressive or HD video instead of ordinary Component.
    - Feeding a HD/HD ready television that will digitize, de-interlace, line-double that signal.
    You mentioned the problem of getting HD signals. I suspect this means you have a HD television. This puts you into the "sensitive" catagory.
    You could cheap-out and try the $15 cable. And my guess is it will work/look fine. But I suspect there will be subtile problems that you may not even notice - at first.
    A factoid: Ordinary component video signals top out at about 4 Mhz. Component cables are designed to handle roughly twice this. But:
    Progressive Video: tops out at 13 Mhz
    HD Video (1080): tops out at 35 Mhz
    A good component cable that can handle HD signals sells for between $50-$100 if you hit the custom sites. These places are usually low-overhead and sell cables made from production-studio grade parts. Compare this to the high-end Monster cable for about $230 and you should hopefully see that it's not that hard to get "the good stuff".
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    well i hedged my answer a bit because in part I just don't want to believe that they're functionally identical. the information i had was that these two sets were sweep tested out to 200 mHz and that the resultant curves were a dead overlay. to me that suggests that the Shack is simply terminating the cables differently and charging double or so. the last person i'll trust for accurate information is a radio shack saleperson. ok i also don't trust car salesman etc.! now if one's connecting a dvd to any sort of tv and we're dealing with nominal distances (6 & 12 sound pretty nominal to me), and the dvd's outputting a signal that's only several mHz, personally I can't fathom why running cable that's rated for 2 or so gHz would make squat for difference over something that's rated for 10 times less. I mean both cables exceed the requirements for the dvd and besides, it's the rca connectors that are the limiting factor in all this, acting to some degree as a limiter.
    I appreciate Bob's and others recommendations for belden and the like and have no issue with wanting an over designed cable.
    getting back to the radio shack question of the poster, if both sets of cables are running a single wire and aren't stranded, then try out the cheaper set. it's not like radio shack has an onerous return policy!
     
  7. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    Well. sorry to rain on anyone's parade, but they are now different. At least the ones listed above are. I recently tried the red/white/yellow in an commercial application and it didn't work. All three were not 75ohm.
     
  8. George Martin

    George Martin Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the RS audio/video cable in my system it was quick fix when I wired in a new DVD player after work and did not have time to go buy a new componant video cable, I couldn't bare the thought of using the cheapies that came with the player.I hooked it up and it worked fine. I then bought a $110.00 tributaries componant video cable the next day hooked it up and saw no differance at all. I then took the RS cable and a blue sharpie, I now have red, blue and green connector rings on the rca end and the $110.00 back in my pocket.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    it the cable fits you must aquit? i'll see if the shack will respond with some specs on both cables...should be interesting.
     
  10. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    RS responded to my question on the physical difference between the A/V & component cables, which, for those of you just tuning in, appear identical (even the rca jacks are the same.. not like they are pictured on the website), but the component cables cost $20 more:

     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well I'm a bit confused also as it's my understanding black level is a function of the tv. Ummmmm, where's there one of dem calibration technicians when you need them!
     
  13. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Ooops. :b I'm embarrased to say the packages do not state 16 guage.

    That's what I get for not having the package in front of me as I type.
     

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