Common Home Theater Adapter Cables

The ins and outs of cable adapters

Interconnected devices are becoming the norm in the world of home media systems, and as such, you may find yourself in need of adapted cables to allow you to create an interface between separate devices. The world of home theater adapter cables can seem confusing, what with an ever-growing list of devices springing up in the market and systems becoming increasingly complex. However, if you boil connections down to their basic elements, you'll find there are only two types:

  • Direct connections, which allow you to connect one device to another directly; an HDMI to HDMI cable is an example of a direct connection
  • Indirect connections, which require cable adapters; an HDMI to DVI-D connection is an example of an indirect connection

With direct connections, both devices have identical input ports, so you won't need to worry about cable adapters. However, with the indirect type, you'll need to plug the cable into an adapter which fits the port of the end device to create the connection.

Types of Cable Adapters

Here is a list of the main types of cable connections:

  • HDMI: High-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cables connect signal sources with output devices; for example, your cable box will connect to your television set with an HDMI cable.
  • DVI-I: This is a digital and analog digital video interface (DVI) cable; DVI-I cables are used to connect video sources with output devices, such as a computer hard drive and a monitor.
  • DVI-D: This is a digital-only type of DVI cable which is incompatible with analog video sources. Since analog video is all but dead, DVI-D cables have essentially become standard.
  • M1-DA: M1-DA cables are typically used to connect projector systems to source input devices, such as a DVD player.
  • VGA/SVGA: Video graphics array and super video graphics array (VGA/SVGA) cables are used to convey analog video signals to digital output devices. Again, these are becoming more and more rare.
  • Component: A feature of analog television, component cables are used when separate channels are needed to convey picture information from the incoming source to the output device (the TV).
  • Composite: A composite cable merges the various channels of a component cable into a single connection.

In essence, you can get a cable adapter that will connect pretty much any two connection types to one another. Before you buy, double-check to make sure you're getting the right adapter for the respective connection types on your devices.

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