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Real world differences btw composite, svideo and component???

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by B.N.F., Dec 21, 2004.

  1. B.N.F.

    B.N.F.
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    Does someone have experience with the differences between composite, s-vid and component cables in a single system? For example, can you tell me what changes you saw, if any when ONLY the cabling was changed? Can a % difference apply here? (component was 50% better...for ex.)

    I am assembling a system with a HP ep7122 DLP XGA projector and I need to cut some £ from my budget - the easiest way is to wait on a new DVD player. I will instead keep my 1 year old Sony (without prog-scan, only composite video out).

    My receiver will convert to component. Do you recommend that I run component to the projector as well, or is it not necessary because of the already composite signal?
     
  2. Nick_UK

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    Composite cables carry the colour and the brightness (luminance) information down the same wire, which can lead to colour information causing interference on the luminance signal. This can look like herringbone patterns around the edges of brightly coloured objects.

    With S-video, the colour information and the brightness information are carried on separate wires, which results in a much clearer picture. Component video is supposed to be marginally better than S-video, especially with DVD's because DVD's carry component video information which can be outputted straight to the display device, and not have to go through any further processing. The difference in quality between s-video and component video is very subtle, and may not be noticed at all.

    You can't apply a "50% better" description for video, because it's all subjective.
     
  3. caleb

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    The difference between the three cable you mention is significant (but so is the price).

    You will see a major difference between composite and Svideo and so again to component.

    IMHO it is well worth spending the extra to get the difference.
    Caleb
     
  4. FoxyMulder

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    It all depends on your display device, some televisions and DVD players work better with S-Video or RGB but higher end televisions and DVD players should have a better picture when using component but once again it depends on the DVD player as tests have shown some Toshiba DVD players have a better picture using S-Video, don't spend a fortune on cables ( but avoid composite connections if possible ) as the difference really will be minimal just make sure its a well shielded quality cable and you will be fine.
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Component video is the American version of RGB and is usually pretty similar in quality. An easy way to compare the difference between RGB and the cheap n cheerful composite is to look at a cricket or football match via RGB from Sky and again through terrestrial analogue TV which will be composite.

    The little graphic in the corner of the screen telling you the score will be solid and clear in RGB but will look like a dot matrix printout with the composite signal.
     
  6. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    I disagree. The only time you'll see an appreciable improvement between s-video and component is when you are feeding progressive component into a device that can properly make use of it.
     
  7. gizlaroc

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    Composite is really poor, S-video can be very good and sometimes nearly up with component, but it depends onthe device you are putting it into.

    What you have to remeber is that your projector will have to convert to an rgb colourspace and transcoding between rgb and component should be lossless, where as converting from S will not have been the highest priority on their agenda when designing it so you will probably see a big difference.

    I reckon there will be a hell of a jump if you go to component, I have just bought a load of
    Akura DVD players from Makro, they play everything out of the box and do progressive scan, I didn't try the progessive as I was just setting them up for everyone so they can just plug them in, but have to say I was laughing when I saw how good it was.
    They are £22.99 and I guarantee it will be far better than your current composite only player. I would buy one of those now and then you have all the wiring in place for when you are ready to upgrade.
     
  8. LV426

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    Yep, I'd agree with most here. The big jump is from Composite to SVideo. Further improvements are less significant or less certain.

    Can't you use SVideo?
     
  9. CfP

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    B.N.F,
    I had a DVD player hooked up with Composite and then moved to Component and the difference was significant. (even with a cheap component lead ie:~£15 for 3m/~10ft)

    The issue you'll have is lead length and no matter what cable you go for (good S-Vid or average component) it'll still be roughly the same price. I'd guess the best thing to state is that using an average component lead (so long as it's 75 Ohms) will give you a better pic than using an average S-Vid lead.

    Set your budget and then see what you can get for it. You may find that you can get a reasonable (not boutique) set of component leads for a good price that will give you 80-90% of your possible picture on day 1, leaving you room to upgrade later.

    CfP
     
  10. alexs2

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    NickUK....I'm afraid thats wrong....I've fed my RPTV s-video and component,and the difference is clear to see.
    Component feed is much clearer,cleaner(i.e.less general noise and better definition).
     
  11. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Hey....why doesn't someone take some pics of a test pattern with composite....svideo....and component....then you can see the difference and how it might apply to picture material. OK talked myself in to it...will try to do this later. Might even include HDMI as well.....

    Gordon
     
  12. gizlaroc

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    Good Ol'Gordon !!

    I was waiting for someone to offer, so I didn't have to :) ;)
     
  13. Saxon

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    I have just upgraded my cabling from Chord S-Video Silver cable (old Pioneer DVD player didn't have component) to Chord Component cable and the difference is big, in my view probably 70% of that between composite and S_video. I had believed for years the notion that component is only a marginal step-up, well it isn't, it makes a very significant difference indeed. On the David Gilmour live DVD the whole image looks crisper, the fine details of hairs on hands and the grain of his guitars etc now looks more visible and the shadow detail is significantly improved. The picture now looks vastly more lifelike.

    I'm feeding progressive scan Component video off a Harman Kardon DVD30 down 10m of Chord component cable to an Infocus Screenplay 5700 firing on a Grandview 7ft electric screen. The S-Video and composite cables are also by Chord cables of Salisbury.

    Yesterday I took delivery of a Yamaha 750 processor which has the facility to upconvert. I'm still evaluating whether the upconversion of composite video makes much difference. I think from admittedly only 1 night's viewing that routing component video off DVD via the Yammy for switching purposes introduces some subtle degradation ie by adding an extra 1m Chord component cable into the line (and whatever circuitry/socketry) the Yammy imposes. Frankly I may be tempted to live with it though for the convenience of source switching entirely via the Yamaha.

    The NTL cable feed (composite) looks much the same even when upconverted I think.

    I hope this is helpful. In essence if I'd known how big a difference component made I'd have changed DVD player ages ago.

    Best regards,

    Saxon
     
  14. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    That would be a great idea. It would also show newcomers what to look for in the differences between the cables.
     
  15. Nick_UK

    Nick_UK
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    The difference you see is due to progressive scan, not the cables. You are using a projector, and the majority of projectors will always give a much crisper image if fed from a progressive video source.
     
  16. AML

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    Ive been using game systems and AV equipment for years now and the biggest change is from Composite to S-Video and component. Followed into DVI or HDMI. Thats a change from analogue into digital. It does make a difference.

    What also makes a huge difference is going from the free bundle cables you get with a new machine. (Wether its audio or video)
    Changing from bundle cables which tend to be the bare minimum to get the system working, to higher quality store bought cables, you will see a huge change.

    Going from good cables that are store bought to getting really expensive ones that cost as much as the original product you are using them for, then no. You wont see such a huge change.

    Its the law of diminishing returns, the higher you go.
     
  17. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    OK pics taken but not as obvious as I wanted. Will try again. If no success then I'll post what I have and little explanation. I suspect alot of what folk are claiming are bg differences are nothing to do with the changes in signal type but are more to do with the different qualty of outputs on their sources and the quality of the processing of the different types of signals in their displays......and differences in calibration between the inputs.....anyway....fun ahead....

    Gordon
     
  18. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    You will probably need to save this and zoom it in a paint programme to see the classic composite video dot crawl artefact.

    This is a composite video feed to a display. It shows colour bars that get narrower and narrower. You should see a nasty pattern in the bars as they start to disappear. The further right you go the higher the frequency of information. This is fine colour detail in the image that is lost. You can see the black and white equivalent bars underneath. The crawling dot pattern is caused as it's impossible to extract the b+w and colour info from each other ini a composite signal without either taking out some of teh black and white detail or leaving some of the colour in the b+w...You can see a similar thing on the TV guide of SKY with a composite feed. You'll see dots crawling up and down the sides of the boxes. On realworld footage wherever there is fine detail like the pile of straw at beggining of Insurrection (sorry to go on about it again), you'll see a smilar thing.

    Next....s-video
     
  19. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Same level of colour detail here but as the signals as seperate (colour and b+w) there are no artefacts associated with splitting them apart.
     
  20. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Component has more high frequency colour info. The colour info in s-video is basically lossy compressed version of component. You can't ever get back that lost colour info. In this image you can see the colour clear out to highest frequency.

    In reality the difference from composite to s-video is probably largest and most obvious. Some displays may take a component feed and turn it in to s-video for processing thus making the difference between s-video and component smaller than it might be on another product.

    With transcoding amplifiers etc you need to remember some stuff....Normal broadcast TV and pre-recorded video tapes are composite in nature. If you feed your tape deck to your amp for it to turn it in to component all you are doing is changing where the colourspace transformation occurs from the display to the amp....it might be better in the display! Same with an s-video tape deck.

    With fixed pixel displays that look at picture information to do their de-interlacing and subsequent scaling you can see that the poor info in a composite signal does the processing no favours....s-video is better and component is best. I've seen devices be unable to spot material is flm source just becasue it's being fed to the display by composite video....

    Go component!
    Merry Christmas
     
  21. deckard

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    Nice one Gordon, very instructive! :smashin:
     
  22. JiMbOb_74

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    So this is the final answer on the war about which signal type to use!!!

    If you find a toshiba is better outputing on s-video then throw it in the bin and buy a proper dvd player!!!
     
  23. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    If you find that the s-video of your DVD player is as good or better than component then either the component outputs are not done well OR the processing in the display is cheap and is not optimised for component. So the DVD player may be fine....it could be your display that's not that great.

    Dare I say it the world of video formats is not "black and white" :)

    Gordon
     

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