Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between RCA and Component

RCA vs Component

RCA and Component are two types of cables that are used in analog signal transmission. Commonly, these are used to transmit audio and video signals from two audio/video devices like TVs, cable boxes, or media players. Although most people are sort of confused about these two and whether either one is better, there is really no point in comparing the two. Component, or component video to be exact, is just a way of transmitting video signals from one point to another. With component, the video signal is split into two or more signals that are sent separately. In comparison, RCA is a type of cable and plug that is predominantly used to send analog signals.

The main reason behind the confusion is the use of component and RCA cables. Actually, a component cable is just three RCA cables that are color coded in order to correctly identify, which cable is which. It doesn’t even matter if you follow to color coding, as long as you match the connections at the endpoints, as the cables are identical.

The usage of RCA cables in the main competitor of component, the composite cable, is also one of the reasons why people are confused. The difference between composite and component is that composite only uses one cable for the video signal instead of three. There are also other applications that use RCA cables; mostly in audio equipment.

Component is also not limited to RCA plugs. The very old SCART and even the VGA connectors and cables used in computer monitors are examples of component video connectors that do not use the RCA plugs.

RCA and component are one and the same, as long as the video signals are split into three cables. Differences in video quality depends more on the quality of the materials used in the cable construction and the way it was built rather than on what type of cable is being used. Cheap cables may be good for short distances but long distances needs the thicker conductor and better shielding that is often found only on pricier cables.


1.Component is a type of video signal or configuration while RCA is a plug type
2.Component cables are often composed of multiple RCA cables
3.RCA cables are also used in other configurations aside from component
4.Component cables can also use other connectors aside from RCA

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  1. I’m surprized I read what I read of the component wiring being “different” by only the assigned color identification.I mean NO insult by the prior statement.I’m simply surprized of being told in the later 80’s that each color designated a “particuler hertz range” and “if you get the wrong colors in the socket your patching,you’ll have poor results.” I am happy about the distinaion of the distance and the cabli size.It’s easy to see ,now that I’ve learned,why the cables on stage arn’t the same size as the 23 cables on my home setup.Thank You of the insight of knowledge!

  2. I have an LCD sony tv which has a component video input. I inputted a tv channel box video (TV Plus) using RCA cable but the tv monitor picture appeared black and white (also not that clear). I tried the tv channel box in other tv brands but picture appears normal(colored and clear). Is there any cable converter from composite to component type? Is there any programming on Sony TV that I need to change to convert component to composite? Kindly help.

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