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In the Old Component vs HDMI debate; there is not a clear answer like some people think. Just “HDMI is better” doesn’t cover all the details of the Component vs HDMI issue, which is why some people are reluctant to abandon their old Component devices and make the jump to HDMI devices. Currently, some electronic devices support composite video through analog signals. Some others support HDMI video, through a digital signal. You might have heard that HDMI is the best, and doubtless, it is in quality. If you’re still deciding to make the jump from component cables to an HDMI cable, then here are some Component vs HDMI specifications.

Component vs HDMI: Type of signal. HMDI wins. HMDI carries a sends a digital signal, thanks to it TMDS protocol. A protocol is a program that consists of a group of rules on how information is passed from a device to another. This digital signal is a bitstream that sends information, much the way a computer sends an e-mail to another. 

On the other hand, Component uses an analog format for sending images. Instead of sending a bitstream, as HDMI does, Component sends a series of continuous varying voltages through three cables. Each of those cables represents the red, blue, and green components of an image.

Since digital information is purer and doesn’t require encoding, HDMI’s video resolution is higher than Component’s.

Component vs HDMI: Number of cables. The winner is again HDMI. Component uses 3 cables for video and 2 cables for audio, for a total of 5 cables. The video cables use the RGB standard, which stands for Red, Green, and Blue. Component cable requires 2 extra red and white cables to carry audio. All of these cables use RCA plugs. 

On the other hand, HDMI carries both audio and video in just one cable. Therefore it’s much easier to handle and connect. Imagine you have a receiver where you get all the signals from all your devices. If you have two HDMI supporting source devices and one HDMI receiver, you need 3 cables. Now, if those devices only supported Component, you’d need 15 cables to connect it all. 

Component vs HDMI: Price. HMDI is cheaper. Most people will be surprised to find out that Component cables are actually more expensive than HDMI cables. That’s because they’re paying for at least 3 times more cable for just video transmission, and 5 times more cable if they add the 2 cables needed for the transmission of audio. In general, for the same length of cable, Component tends to be 2 or 3 times more expensive than HDMI.

In the end, while quality is better and the price is cheaper for HDMI cables, you should consider your own specific needs before you take a position in the Component vs HDMI debate. For example, do you still have Component devices that you want to continue using? Also, while the price of the HDMI cable is cheaper, the price of HDMI supporting devices is very high compared to one of their HDMI counterparts. That’s one reason why a lot of people still stay with Component on the Component vs HDMI debate.

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