Component Vs RGB (Scart?) Vs Svideo Vs Composite

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by Nic Rhodes, Aug 6, 2002.

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  1. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Not sure this is the right place for this, moderators feel free to move if necessary.

    Right this has come up repeatedly over the last few months so I thought I would try and quantify the differences for people to understand. It is not meant as a technical description as Richard A has done this already on this site. More a practical why.

    Signals are stored digitally on DVDs in a natural component form. This is also known as colourstream (colorstream?) or YPbPr colour difference. Component is a high quality interface. It is an American system. It comes in interlaced and progressive versions. It is cheap, reliable and high quality. Cables are also cheap.

    RGB is another high quality interface. It also comes in interlaced and progressive versions. It is most commonly seen on computers where we use a 5-connection system RGBHV (Red Green Blue Horizontal sync Vertical sync). It is how most computer monitors are driven (HD 15 connector to CRT monitor showing VGA, SVGA, XGA etc are all RGBHV). There are numerous other versions. A 4 wire one where the sync signals are combines. A three wire hides the sync signal on one of the colour signal. RGB signals in general come through a variety of physical connector. The best are BNCs, then we have ordinary RCA / Phono plugs all the way down to SCARTs (the worst connector in the world?), designed by a committee (quote Ian J!). I think we can blame the French for hoisting this one on us, as previously it was known as a Peritel connector. It uses RGsB on some of its 21 pins. This is an interlaced ONLY version, the Gs means a sync signal on the G. The connector also has the ability to transfer Svideo and composite as well. It really is the lowest of the low re RGB signals. Signal levels are lower than other RGB signals and are therefore not easily matched / interfaced without additional electronics. (Scart to projector / plasma (without SCARTs sockets themselves) is a no no without additional electronics).

    To be strictly accurate RGB is a component signal, however in reality the day to day terminology is different. Component refers to YPbPr (USA) signals and RGB is usually UK Scart RGB.

    To get a RGsB Scart signal a conversion needs to take place within the DVD player. This is easily accomplished with MINIMUM degradation. However many TVs manufacturers are international now and use internal chipsets to make the TVs. This means that much of the digital wizardry is done internally in a natural component form (NTSC based American world) (this is why Lowe TVs can accept either RGB or Component via a non-standard Scart). This means that the RGB Scart signals need to transpose back into component. Again not difficult but not really necessary.

    Now we need to look a bit closer at the difference between RGB and component. Basically component signals are LESS susceptible to colour errors (instability and phase) than their RGB brothers. Feed either to a PAL TV and you really shouldn’t see much difference (other than the extra stage of conversion the RGB Scart signal needs to go through to be converted into component internally). Look for TV with native component inputs is good advice. PAL is actually a very nice system and is more robust. The American use NTSC and this isn’t as robust. They NEED component signals to keep quality. Feeds them a RGB signal and NTSC suffers from colour instability problems in comparison. Hence, NTSC Never Twice the Same Color! These are the reasons why I recommend component over Scart RGB. It is easily demonstrated. Add into the equation that PROPER component cables are cheap (well-screened 75 ohm co-ax, 50p / m?) it starts to look very rosy against you silver wired RA Scart for £250. Hells even the £50 IXOS / QED SCARTs looks expensive in comparison.

    For transferring DVD signal I recommend component signals. For transfer higher resolution signals (scaler to projector) I recommend proper RGBHV. Given the preference I would do all on BNCs.

    Svideo can be best thought of as a cut down 2-wire version of component. It therefore retains many of the advantages of component signals. It is a stable system that works with both NTSC and PAL. Some players like Tag and Toshiba’s have been shown to have better Svideo performance than any RGB Scart for just these reasons. It is down to the quality of engineering. Again the internal TV chipsets are more SVideo aware than RGB Scart aware. We are now in the realms of bigger differences between the connectors than the interface standard. SCARTs are really bad, with emphasis on BAD, phonos are better, Svideo mini din is a bit better again but by far the best connector is the BNC. This is why top products will output EVEN their Svideo signal on BNCs given the option. My Tag can output a Svideo signal on 2 mini dins and a pair on BNCs (for ultimate quality on Svideo).

    At the bottom of the pile is the poor old composite signal. It is actually not as bad as many want to make out. Don’t forget this is what analogue TV a laserdiscs use. It can produce an excellent picture in it’s own right so don’t dismiss some just because it only as composite. Ever seen the Arcam TV box at play? It is composite.

    Any conversions in either direction will cause degradations, as will any cheap switching box. However when done well you should not be able to see any degradation to the signal (most receivers nowadays will pass interlaced signals with no visible degradation). Unfortunately the reality is there are more conversions going on than we perhaps realise.

    A rule of thumb

    Component > RGB Scart <> Svideo > composite

    This is the best order on interfaces but connectors / engineering / transposing formats can certainly reverse at least the middle two Svideo and RGB Scart.

    I just wish Scarts were not so damn convenient, if we rated them on performance
    :(


    Hope this helps someone.
     
  2. Guest

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    Nic - another very interesting point you've brought up!! I cannot comment on component, but after what you've said I'm definitely going to try S-Video on my Tosh SD-900E, as I've never been blown away by the video performance of this player, and I always expected to be based on the reviews!

    Thanks!
     
  3. CJROSS

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    Moderators - My Vote For A Sticky Please !!
     
  4. MartinImber

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    PAL / NTSC do not exist in RGB land - it is 625/50i or 525/60i

    DVD players normally use sync on composite, however Nokia mediamaster uses sync on green

    Assuming all is equal RGB is better than SVideo as colour resolution is higher.

    Component / RGB conversion should be lossless either way

    Connecting DVD or DVB to TV will require one Component to RGB conversion as RGB drives the tube.
     
  5. kevenh

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    Ain't RGB a full bandwidth signal, and american component bandwidth limited? :confused:
    I guess it's a good idea to try all the output choices you have available. End of the day, use what output you like. :cool:


    Also, why do they convert to component inside a TV when CRTs use RGB guns?
    Must do it to make it easier to adjust brightness, and other things :confused:
     
  6. MartinImber

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    >>Also, why do they convert to component inside a TV when >>CRTs use RGB guns?
    >>Must do it to make it easier to adjust brightness, and other >>things

    Also 100Hz uses it

    my 50Hz TV doesn't do RGB-Component-RGB
     
  7. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Quite correct by as I said in the original post all is not as simple as it first appears. Why can some DVD players output RGB signals and be only PAL compatible? If it worked as you have said it would always work, it doesn't.


    As I indicated there are many versions of RGB and the syncing arangements. I didn't want to get too technical as I feel we loose many readers..

    Agreed but this is not a level playing field.

    Agreed, said basically that in the original post.

    "To get a RGsB Scart signal a conversion needs to take place within the DVD player. This is easily accomplished with MINIMUM degradation."

    Nice idea but the reality is often different. Why didn'y my old philps 50 hz show NTSC colour when run in RGB?

    RGB signals can certainly be a much higher bandwith than component hence I said

    "For transferring DVD signal I recommend component signals. For transfer higher resolution signals (scaler to projector) I recommend proper RGBHV. Given the preference I would do all on BNCs."

    Brightness, contrast, 100 hz and all those gizmos but it does appear on 50hz sets as well. Personally I think this a shameas I would much rather have 50 hz than 100hz but would prefer to hold out for progressive done correctly.

    Remember the old Faroudja video processors (3000 / 5000?). They took component signals in and converted them to SVideo before doing the DcDi thing but they still component sockets on the thing.

    What I am saying is be aware of how these devices work and try things out to see what works best for you. Some makes work really well with RGB, others less so. It is all down to the engineering and how things are done.

    At the end of the day, if RGB Scart is so wonderful why don't we use it in plasmas and projectors routinely? Component rules the day here, ever wondered why?
     
  8. MartinImber

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    Well component was originally invented in the UK by BBC AFAIK to allow easy conversion to B&W

    Well my TV is definately RGB from Scart to tube with no conversion - same with the DTTV tuner - makes pal look bad!

    There are no SVM artifacts on any RGB source, I have use SVid sources and I was unimpressed.

    As to projectors using component - broadcast standards again, also a world standard RGB is a computer and Europe standard

    My old 25" TV (one with DTVA) doesn't do NTSC via composite, but does display RGB 525/60i - also I was unable to tape (a test thats all) and the head motor was going ape.

    Theoretically using top end components via similar cables RGB and Component would be identical and SVid would be noticably worse
     
  9. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nic, Excellent post.
    Martin, good points.

    I am currently investigating an interesting anomoly I've found with Component in to Loewe tellies...in either RGB or YPrPb form...s-video(also component) is not affected. I don't want to say what it is yet until Loewe have had a chance to tell me if they will do anything about it...

    I'd agree with Nic that you have to forget about theory and look in to what works in practice...if indeed anything does!

    Gordon
     
  10. Guest

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    Gordon......
    Loewe, Component / RGB .............i'm interested!

    Adzman
     
  11. Reiner

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    Nice idea but the reality is often different. Why didn'y my old philps 50 hz show NTSC colour when run in RGB?

    Because it may have downconverted to S-Video. If you feed a RGB Signal into a TV and it allows adjustment of brightness and color you can be sure it's downconverted to component or S-Video. After that you need to upconvert it back to RGBHV.
    IMHO 50 or 100Hz has nothing to do with it.
     
  12. Guest

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    Vaguely on-topic here; I tried using S-Video on my SD900E, and after a considerable amount of jumping between that and RGB SCART, I prefer SCART. The picture was clearer, more detailed. I can only assume my dissatisfaction with many films is simply due to the fact that...maybe the player is pulling out too much detail? The biggest problem is with visible digital compression artifacts.

    Of course, stuff like LOTR and Gladiator look absolutely stunning, but less well transferred stuff can be quite ugly (that'll teach me to be a Star Trek: TNG nut I suppose!).
     
  13. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Agreed Reiner, hence my Faroudja example of how even the high end use these common techniques. However there is a belief that they are using a 'purist' videophile approach. i.e. RGB going straight to the RGB guns. The reality (for all tvs?) is much different and the reason I wanted to 'raise' the topic.

    Visual artifacts are a fault of the poor quality of tv internals and is the reason why I describe all tvs as flawed. Proper scaling / de-interlacing to a projector / plasma easily shows all the faults. I know of NO tv that does an acceptable job here.
     
  14. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Quote from Joe Kane, godfather of video

    “……..It is often accomplished by converting the incoming component signal to S-Video, then sending that signal to their standard decoder chip. Believe it or not, this is a common practice, not only among TV set manufacturers, but in several video upconverters. There is a picture quality loss going from component to S-Video then back to component inside the old processor chip. This is usually what’s going on in the video system when reviewers proclaim S-Video equal to component video.”

    Now I have ‘researched’ this subject more I am of the opinion that this is common practice at the very least. I am also VERY suspicious that some may even process in composite. And you all thought it was simple……

    As I said before, buyer beware or at least be educated. It may well be that all the high resolutions signals (component / RGB) get down converted to S Video (or composite?) internally and the differences we see are down to engineering and connectors. Poor old Scart…..The more I look into this subject the worse it gets.

    The Snell & Wilcox Zone Plate test pattern on Video Essentials will help people investigate this further if they are as sad as me.
     
  15. michaelab

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    OK, so SCART may not be that great but in most cases, who cares? As you've mentioned, the advantages of superior systems are often nullified by converting everything down to a lowest common denominator like S-Video or even composite.

    It wasn't that long ago that most people were sending RF output from their VCR and/or STB to the TV, and that has to be by far the worst option! Still, most people were happy with it. Common acceptance of SCART has at least made that option almost obsolete.

    SCART has the advatage of being very practical in that you can daisy chain devices with it (providing they have 2 sockets as most do these days). It never ceases to amaze me how useful SCART is - everything just 'works' with it.

    I'll give you a (rather long) example:

    I live in Portugal but I have an old JVC VCR bought in the UK which doesn't support PAL-BG (only PAL-I) so I can't use it as a tuner (coz I'd get no sound). However, I have a Portuguese TV. Both the VCR and the TV only have a single SCART socket so I connected them up. Now, the TV can act as a tuner for the VCR (VCR on AUX (SCART)) with the SCART cable being RGB from TV to VCR and when I play tapes in the VCR, the TV automatically switches to the SCART input and I can see the video, so the SCART cable is now being RGB from VCR to TV.

    It gets better, in order to decode premium cable channels I have a decoder box from the cable company which has 2 SCARTs - one goes to the TV, the other to the VCR. Amazingly, the above scenario still works as before and in addition:

    When I change channel on the TV to a coded channel, the decoder picks that up and sends decoded output to the TV on the SCART and the TV automatically switches to SCART input, showing the decoded image. Of course if I want to record that decoded channel the SCART from the decoder to the VCR takes care of that.

    So, with just 2 SCART cables every imagineable scenario is taken care of and just works, in particular, the TV switching to the SCART input whenever it's relevant. The only thing that doesn't work is if I want to watch one channel and record another but that's the fault of my VCR (not being able to decode PAL-BG) and nothing to do with SCART.

    Michael.
     
  16. Nic Rhodes

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    Michael

    a lovely post on the usabilty of Scart but their performance is ****. ;) Why can't we have all these lovely 'communication' features without having to go through a committee designed abomination. I forgot, the rest of the world does;) One of the cheapest connectors around is BNC and it desinged for the purpose. Now that is novel, a connector designed to transfer a video signal. Would you store petrol / diesel is an ordinary plastic pot?

    I am glad it solves your problems, personally I want something that is better and doesn't fall out of my tv everytime a baby tugs a wire in the vacinity.
     
  17. Squirrel God

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    Here's what I don't get.

    I don't get why TV manufacturers convert from RGB. Surely converting to S-Video or composite would increase their costs because it requires additional components? Isn't it cheaper to just use the RGB signal directly? Or are there technical reasons for not doing so? :confused:
     
  18. michaelab

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    AFAIK no other connector exists that has the communication features or ease of use of SCART. And SCART may well be technically inferior to other connectors but it's more than good enough for 90% of AV users. It's only when you start playing with projectors and plasma screens that anyone is going to notice any difference, and people who have that kind of kit can afford to buy kit with component connectors and not have to worry about the inadequacies of SCART.

    Michael.
     
  19. Guest

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    The biggest mistake i've made in HC is getting a SCART version
    of the Meridian 596. I still cry @ my decision!!!!!!!!!!!
    Hopefully, with the advent of the Faroudja chip in the 598's, the tech will filter down to the 596 enabling me to beg for a BNC output!!!!!!.........god willing!

    Adzman.............can u hear my crying?
     
  20. Reiner

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    I don't get why TV manufacturers convert from RGB. Surely converting to S-Video or composite would increase their costs because it requires additional components? Isn't it cheaper to just use the RGB signal directly? Or are there technical reasons for not doing so?

    There are technical and cost reasons: since you must allow those adjustments for composite and S-Video you have this function already implemented.
    If you want to allow adjustment for RGB it has to be done for each signal (color component) seperately, thus requiring new hardware which will increas cost.

    Since the TV (the components inside) can happily convert from composite to S-Video (to component) to RGB and back there is not much effort required to allow adjustments of RGB signals - just downconvert and upconvert.

    Technically this is of course not the best way, thus a TV which does not allow adjustements for RGB should be purer or in case of TVs with RGB adjustments feeding a component signal can be better than actually using RGB.

    Not all is as it seems ... :(
     
  21. Squirrel God

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    Thanks for the reply Reiner. That makes sense. However, with regards to this point:
    Zacabeb made the following post on another thread a while ago:
    With this in mind, it seems to me that a TV that does not allow the RGB signal to be adjusted is using a technically inferior and 'cheaper' solution, not necessarily a "purer" one? Perhaps this is why I have always found non-RGB adjustable TVs to be a pain in the arse because the resultant picture has always appeared dull and washed out. To me, a calibrated picture on a TV with adjustable RGB has always been preferable to one on a TV with non-adjustable RGB (from the TVs I have seen).

    It seems proper RGB is a hard thing to come by indeed in TVs. :(
     
  22. Reiner

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    To me, a calibrated picture on a TV with adjustable RGB has always been preferable to one on a TV with non-adjustable RGB (from the TVs I have seen).

    But the point is it is usually not RGB itself what you are adjusting, it's a downconverted RGB signal ...
    But if someone prefers the adjusted signal there is of course nothing wrong with that. :)
     
  23. Squirrel God

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    I do prefer it :)

    Strange thing is, I also prefer it to the S-Video signal as well (using the same scart cable, same player and same TV - where the TV has an adjustable RGB feed) ... I don't understand why this should be the case if it's converted..... Maybe because the DVD player is worse at converting to S-Video than the TV is... Gawd, this stuff is complicated :(
     
  24. Jol

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  25. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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  26. jim.rae

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    After spending some years in TV edit suites wondering why the pictures were so much better than TVs at home as they were mostly component driven - I have had the chance this week to use at home a DVD player (a cheap Schneider from Asda - under a hundred quid), with component out, to a Samsung TV with component in sockets - and I'm amazed at the quality.

    The colour is absolutely clean - it's a joy to watch - let's hope broadcast TV is as good some day!

    This is how all TVs should be configured...
     
  27. GearHead

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    Nic,

    Do you know if the de-interlacers (eg Faroudja) built into a display device like a projector perform the de-interlacing in the S-Video domain ?

    The reason I'm asking is because if that is the case then feeding a projector with an interlaced component signal (expecting the projector to perform the de-interlacing) will result in the signal being downconverted to S-Video while it passes through the de-interlacer. If this is indeed the case then depending on the quality of the DVD player's S-Video output it could easily be the case that S-Video in this scenario will look better than component.

    Allan
     
  28. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    The old Faroudja did do component to SVideo for the deinterlacing. This certainly included the 3000, 5000 (£20k!) and the 400 series. They got into much 'trouble' over this. I think the newer ones might be better but the chipsets they supply to others in panel based projectors / DVD PS players I am not sure about. Gordon might be in a better position to answer this, he gets to play with these expensive toys :( An interesting question though.

    I think the latest SIL 503 (Arcam / Iscan Pro), SIL504 (Tag) do not down convert to my knowledge.

    Re all the lesser / other solution (Genesis etc) buyer beware again. Or at leastbuyer be educated.
     
  29. GearHead

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    Nic,

    Thanks for the reply. I'm sure the Faroudja (and similar) chips built into current DVD players are de-interlacing in the digital domain prior to any conversion to analogue. In my specific case the de-interlacer is built into the projector and being fed an analogue signal (S-Video or Component).

    I'm planning on using a Toshiba SD9000 into an Epson TW100. The Epson has an inbuilt Faroudja DCDi de-interlacer. Any one know if analogue de-interlacing on this chip is performed in S-Video or Component ?

    I guess when DVD player and projector are both with me I could try both connection methods and see which looks best but I'll need to get hold of a quality S-Video lead to make a fair comparison and it would be nice to know in theory, at least, which should look better.

    Allan
     
  30. mickey moo

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    At the end of the day everything you see is converted to RGB be it on plasma,projector or crt. component is compressed whichever way you look at it and it can be argued that it is not possible to produce every colour using component. Ok, so DVD stores the picture as component and you can't make something out of nothing, but the only reason that component may outperform RGB
    is because of the tweaks (progressive) done to it because ntsc was so junk in the first place.

    (sorry if I've repeated anyone but I'm tired and tried to read all the previous posts in 30 secs)
     
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