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Definition: component video

A color video format that maintains the three traditional YUV video signals in separate channels. Component video provides a sharper image than composite video and S-video, which multiplex the signals together. See YUV, composite video and S-video.

Analog Component Video
With regard to TVs, DVD players, cable boxes, receivers and related A/V equipment, component video generally refers to "analog" component video. The connection comprises three wires identified as Y, Pb and Pr (see YPbPr). Component video cables come in three-wire sets (see below), or five-wire sets, which include two more wires for analog audio.

Digital Component Video
Component video may also refer to "digital" component video (YCbCr) for digital camcorders. The connection uses one cable, typically FireWire or SDI, and is natively supported by many nonlinear video editing programs (NLEs). Digital component video is also carried over HDMI. See YCbCr and chroma subsampling.

Analog RGB
Component video may also refer to RGB signals rather than YUV. In this case, a three-wire analog RGB cable is used to connect a studio monitor or high-end video camera. See RGB.

Analog Component Video (YPbPr)
Analog component video uses three cables. Audio travels separately using one cable for digital signals or two for analog.

Signal Comparison
This diagram shows how YUV is combined to make composite and S-video signals. The device (bottom) are ports from an NVIDIA video card. (Bottom image courtesy of NVIDIA Corporation.)

A Lot of Wires
Component video connections require five wires with analog audio or four with digital audio (coax or optical). Migrating to HDMI eliminated a lot of cable clutter. See HDMI.

Component Adapters
Modern TVs may still accept component video inputs and often with adapters such as these. The 3.5mm jacks plug into the TV. The pair on the left adapt both component and composite video, both of which are analog.