Cable Guide: Don’t Get the Wrong Cable

When learning how to buy cables, it is important to take the use, size, gauge and format into consideration in order to help make a decision on which is the best cable to buy. Audio cables were first used in the early 1800's as the telegraph used signals from an open wire system to connect two parties in a single conversation. Since then, the evolution of technology brought about the need for more complex cabling applications for the sensitive nature of digital delivery. In this cable Guide, aspects that should be considered on how to buy cable are broken down in an easy to understand language.

>> Consider the use

As you begin to shop for cables, audio cables and others, purchasing the right type of cable for the applied use is crucial. Surround sound cables require a specific setup that combines audio and visual graphics to be able to be displayed at one time. A cable type called RCA is used in most applications. RCA cables have a red connector, a yellow connector and a white connector. You simply match the colored connectors to the corresponding inputs on the television and surround sound system.

Where 6.1 or 7.1 digital or high-definition surround sound connections are concerned, it is best to use HDMI cables that are capable of Blu-ray playing as well. Some DVDs are made only on Blu-ray, and it is fast becoming a popular format for watching movies in high-definition. This does require a higher quality type of cable as well as a sturdy connector made of a durable metal. Understanding the different cable advantages pertaining to the application it will be used for includes ensuring that the cable purchased can be used with your devices.

As you learn how to buy cables for specific uses, shopping for cables can take some learning. Fortunately, most systems should have clear instructions on exactly what type of cables they are compatible with or require. Remember, certain systems may be able to use more than one type of cable. For example, dual channel sound systems may be able to use RF coaxial cables, optical cables, HDMI cables and more. Digital 7.1 surround sound systems, on the other hand, will only be able to use HDMI cables.

>> Consider the type

The two types of cables regarding interconnect cables are analog and digital audio cables. These different types of cables send sound from different platforms. Audio interconnect cables use a continuous fluctuation, or a changing signal. Digital formats use dedicated signals, similar to that of a computer. In learning how to buy cable, it is a good idea to learn how to distinguish between these two types of cables.

Most modern cables are working on digital signals and are combined with speaker wire to deliver a crisper or truer sound that is free of distortion. HDMI cables are used for high-definition applications that are connected with plasma and LCD/LED televisions. If only one analog component is part of your setup, stick with only digital cables.

>> Consider the audio format
The re are three main formats to distinguish between when understanding how to buy cable. Each has specific cable advantages as well. This is due to the different delivery applications and cable uses. The three main formats are stereo, analog and digital. The connector ends will also be different for these cables. The ends are generally gold in color and are a horseshoe shape to grab connectors tightly.

Stereo format refers mainly to audio connections. The proper type of audio wire used is important when connecting a tuner to an existing home theater system. Vintage systems use mainly an analog format in combination with stereo connections.

Analog also refers to older television sets, prior to plasma or LCD/LED television production that can use an antenna or digital cable signal to deliver music or television. These connections are slowly being replaced with the advancement of technology and the affordability of digital items becoming easier.

Digital formats are the most common used in homes today. High-definition cable and satellite television programming warrants the desire to switch to a completely digital delivery format in a home. Most digital connections are supported with the use of either optical or HDMI cables.

>> Consider the gauge and length

Another important factor when learning how to buy cables is to ensure that you have matched the right cable sizes with the right gauge. The cable size refers to the length. It is important to measure the length from the back of the television, or other home theater equipment, to the ending connection. If you do not have enough length, this stresses the connection and can make it weak.

With the different types of cable available, the gauge is not as important for home theater purposes as it is for strictly audio applications. The gauge refers to the size of the wires inside the outer plastic coating. For strictly audio or speaker connections, the gauge will also be dependent upon the length of cable or speaker wire needed to properly set up the home theater system.

>> Consider the quality
Part of the process of learning how to buy cable is choosing the right quality for the application. The cable design in the connector and inner wire is what matters most. Quality consists of a thick outer coating that is difficult to cut or shred along with protected inner wires. This means that each wire is also coated in protective plastic.

>> Consider the different connector types When it comes to cable for home audio and theater needs, one of the features of the cable to consider is the different connector types. The most durable are gold or platinum connectors. They hold solid signals and are able to withstand heat and vibration well to maintain optimal performance. Aluminum connectors are less expensive, but have less tolerance.

When you shop for cables, it is also important to consider the additional electronics supplies needed to complete the project such as cable ties, cable line tacks and electrical tape. These items add ease to the installation process. A secure connection from using the proper length and type is ideal. Be sure to have the right color coordination when making a purchase. Use the colored inputs on the back of your device as a reference. With the help of this cable Guide, you will be on your way to finding the right cables for your needs.

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