When technicians hear about the HDMI vs Old Component discussion, they immediately say “HDMI is better, no doubt about it.” Yet, a lot of people still stay with their Component-based devices and refuse to make the jump to HDMI. If HDMI were definitely the best, why haven’t they jumped to the other side of the HDMI vs Component debate?
Some other people have taken a middle stand on the HDMI vs Component issue. They keep some Component devices and they get some HDMI supporting devices.
Although there are many considerations to take into account, let’s focus for one moment on the HDMI vs Component specifications.
An important HDMI vs Component specification is the type of signal that these formats handle. In fact, this is the biggest difference between both systems.
HMDI works much more similar to a computer than a TV in the way it handles information. HDMI delivers digital information via a protocol called Transition Minimized Differential Signaling or TMDS. A protocol is somewhat of a “computer language” (imagine it as English or French for a computer. It’s not actually like that, but it gives you an idea). This digital information is sent from source to receiver in a similar way that you send an e-mail from a computer to another.
In contrast, Component delivers information in an analog format, much in the same way standard TVs have been working for decades. Analog information is sent via a series of continuous changes in voltages that the receiver can interpret. Unlike its predecessor, the Composite video, Component uses 3 cables for this transfer, instead of one. The information that the receiver gets from each cable is interpreted in a different color: red, blue, and green.
Digital information is much easier to send, both in quantity and quality. This results in an enhanced quality of video compared to analog.
Another HDMI vs Component specification that you might want to consider is the number of cables. HDMI handles both audio and video in a single cable, no fuss, no mess. The connector of the cable is the standard HDMI connector, with 19 pins.
On the other hand, the Component needs 3 cables in order to send video. Each cable handles one of the following colors; red, green, and blue. Thus the name of the format: RBG. In addition, audio has to be handled separately by two red and white cables. That’s a total of 5 cables to handle. All 5 cables use the RCA format.
It might not mean much to you now, but most receivers that handle Component only have one Component input. That’s understandable given how many sockets are needed. Also, for every Component source device that you add to your collection, there will be 5 extra cables needed.
Finally, choosing a side on the HDMI vs Component issue depends on your personal needs. Quality is definitely better with HDMI, but the devices that support them are much more expensive than devices that support Component. Some manufacturers design devices that support both, in a compromise on the HDMI vs Component topic. So, you have that choice as well.