VGA and component are analog sources of high definition signals. Analog HDTV signals were first introduced on computers, satellite/cable set-top boxes, VCR and high-end DVD players. The picture quality was superior over composite or s-video, which is not capable of HDTV resolutions. VGA, some times called RGB, is a small format 15 pin, three(3) row connection used on most computers for connecting your monitor and gave us our first view of high resolution video. You will also find these connections on HDTV monitors designed to accept computer standard video and frontal projectors.
Here is where the confusion starts. VGA from a computer is capable of many resolutions, but the standard computer display resolutions are not compatible with HDTV unless the TV monitor can accept computer resolutions over VGA. If you purchase a VGA to component cable or BNC, to connect your computer to a HDTV that is component, it will not work. These cables are for special purpose applications.
For example some older Mitsubishi, Pioneer and other HDTV ready monitors sometimes used the same VGA connector called RGBHV and accepted the signal through five(5) RCA or the professional equivalent BNC connection at HDTV resolutions. These HDTV monitors require a converter box to convert component HDTV to these inputs.
Now you understand why there is so much discussion over the best installation method and if you need a converter from VGA to component and component to VGA. The converter boxes have electronics built in to take the horizontal and vertical sync signals in VGA and convert them to component or RGBHV or if you are going the other direction. Most are confused and for good reasons.
Quiz time! If component is sometimes mis-referred to as red, green and blue what is the HV in RGBHV?
Your best option is an external scaler.
- First, frontal projectors with VGA will also accept component to save space.
- If a VGA to component cable fails to yield a picture then you need a converter.
- To save space some converters use VGA connectors for both signals to save space.
- Read the equipment manual, it will tell you what signals will work over the VGA.
- This is why VGA to component cable exist, but seldom work unless on a frontal projector or special application!
Finally, we stated that component connections are only HDTV resolutions and VGA has multiple PC resolutions. Check out this Wikipedia link on all the resolutions and picture geometries options. The visual graphic array is just, exciting.
Stay tune for part III as we look at scalers and other HDTV switching options.