Archive for the ‘Cables’ Category

10 Things You Need To Know About Multimedia Cables For Your Home Theater System

Friday, December 17th, 2010

A multimedia cable is used to connect two working devices to send and/or receive digital data to and from each other—from a DVD player to an HD TV set, for example.

Now if you’re looking for a multimedia cable for your home theater system, here are a few things you must know before buying one.

1. Specifications. Multimedia cables come in various specifications. Some of these cables may not be compatible with your system. In this case, the best thing to do is to ask the salesperson about the right cable—the one that will work best with your system.

2. Length. Multimedia cables come in different lengths. Consider buying one with an enough length that can be stretched or extended from one area to another.

3. Conducting elements. Multimedia cables vary in their capacity to support two devices’ performance when sending and receiving data. Some systems need high-conducting cables to support high-performance devices while others don’t. Using the wrong one may burn the wires. When you purchase one, ask the salesperson.

4. Quality. As HD TV gains popularity so are multimedia cables. Today, there are a lot of manufacturers who try to copy and reproduce their own “versions,” which are often sold at a cheaper price. These pirated cables may damage your devices. It is therefore important to choose and purchase the right one. Make sure that these cables are HDMI-approved.

5. Wall plate. If you are running long multimedia cables through your wall, you may want to consider getting a wall plate. Wall plates, where your connection will run into, make a clean way to run cables at long distances.  Rather than rolling and unrolling your cable, use a wall plate to keep it from being crimped, which can cause breakage in the wires.

6. Installation. Some multimedia cables are difficult to install and need a little bit of technical background. If so, try asking the salesperson about how to do it. If not, ask the store if they provide installation service. Good though if the product comes with a manual.

7. Guarantee. Product warrantees always guarantee customers’ satisfaction. Any manufacturer knows this. Make sure that when you purchase a cable it’s covered by warrantee. This makes it easier for you to have it replaced, if not, fixed once it’s broken.

8. Seal. Make sure that it’s sealed. This assures you that the cable is new.

9. Low-cost. Although you can purchase two separate cables—one to work on audio transmission and the other on video transmission—multimedia cables present both functions in one cable at a high performance. And though this can save you from spending on two separate cables, which is quite expensive, remember that when you purchase one, do not compromise quality with cost.

10. Problems. The most common problem with multimedia cables is fuzziness in the signal. This is often caused by an interruption in the wiring or a broken wire due to oldness—or when always crimped. Once noticed, you can request for a technician to fix it. If not, you may purchase a replacement cable. In case this happens to newly purchased cables, have it replaced. New cables are not an excuse to this issue. This is because some of them are not long-term tested.

Now that you know, you’re ready to go.

This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry News Articles.

How To Choose The Right HDMI and Other Cables for Your Home Theater System

Friday, December 17th, 2010

The launch of high definition television sets paves the way for the introduction of High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cables. HDMI cables are used to transfer data—digital audio and video signals—from one device to another—a DVD player to your HDTV set, for example. Unlike a standard A/V cable, an HDMI cable transmits uncompressed, all-digital signals, leaving you with high-quality audio and video.

If you’re planning to get an HDMI cable (or any other cable), here are some things you must know to get the right one.

HDMI cables (and cables in general) come in different specifications. Not all of them work with your home theater devices. You must take into consideration what cables work with your device. You may find this in your device’s manual, if not, you can ask the store about it. Further, there are also two types of an HDMI cable. Type A is the mainstream consumer type, which delivers both HD audio and video while Type B—although works in the same way as Type A—differs in its size of the plug, which may cause compatibility issues with your device. Type B has higher quality as it is designed for the motion picture industry.

Like other cables, HDMI cables vary in length. You can always choose a cable that best works for you in terms of length. If you need to run a long HDMI cable, you can always get one at any store. However, the length of the cable may impact its performance, as regards the transmission of data. Long cables weaken the signal. The ideal length is 10 meters. Longer than that will need you a repeater—to keep high-quality output—which can be costly and hard to find.

Because HDMI cables have gained popularity, many manufacturers have made their own “version” of the cable. HDMI-accredited companies offer cable products that are long-term tested and of high quality. There are several pirated HDMI cables you’ll find in the market today, so, be careful in picking one. Most of these cables are not only inexpensive but are of low quality as well, and may harm your devices.

Like any product line, HMDI cables vary in price. Although in many instances, high-priced goods mean high quality, there are still HDMI cables that are sold at a reasonable price without compromising quality. Just make sure that when you buy one, it’s sealed and it’s covered under warranty. The seal will tell you that the product is new and it’s tested while the warranty guarantees your satisfaction—that, you can have it replaced or fixed once it’s damaged as long as it’s covered under the terms of the warranty.

All of these will help you find the right cable for your home theater system but by spending more time searching for cables made by trusted and HDMI-certified manufacturers before buying one, you might even find the best one.

This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry News Articles.

Read Before You Buy a Retractable USB Extension Cable

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

The Universal Serial Bus cable, or more popularly known as USB cable, is the latest standard for connecting various electronic devices. Particularly designed for connecting a wide range of peripheral devices to personal computers, USB cables are now used on many digital gadgets such as game consoles, smartphones, digital cameras, personal digital assistant (PDA) devices and portable media players. If you own any of these devices, having a retractable USB extension cable is essential.

There are several advantages of USB cables over other connection specifications, like Firewire, SATA or PS/2. Firstly, USB cables are relatively easy to plug-in. The USB cable connector is flat and can only fit in one direction, unlike PS/2 plugs which are round and has to be visually and carefully observed in order to get it in properly and avoid breaking the fragile pins. You can easily connect a USB cable by touch; if it doesn’t go in immediately, just flip it the other way and it is sure to connect without further issues.

While USB cables are comparable performance-wise to mid-range Firewire or SATA connectors, the former type is comparatively cheaper. However, the lower cost does not mean that it is less durable. On the contrary, USB cables are by design less prone to breakage and are more flexible than their expensive counterparts. USB cables are so built for the wear and tear that they can be assembled into a retractable rig.

Advantages of Retractable USB Cables

Standard USB cables sold to consumers or those that come packaged with a particular device usually vary in length from 6 inches to about 3 feet. This may be enough for specific normal usage. However, for people who travel a lot and use their gadgets in transit, these standard cable lengths may prove to be either too short or too long such that the wires would typically end up tangled.

A retractable USB extension cable can go from 5 feet up to about 15 feet in length, which is enough to connect your portable media player to your laptop stationed on the other side of the room. The main benefit is that when you need your device right beside your computer, you can easily hide all that extra cabling inside the retractable casing. Retractable USB cables are very easy to manage, convenient and safe; no one will ever have to trip over all that extra cord. They also pack neatly and easily when not in use.

Checklist for Buying USB cables

Before you purchase your retractable USB cable, there are important things that you must keep in mind.

1. Compatibility. Over the years, the USB specification has evolved into several versions, the most recent is USB version 3.0. The current standard however is still USB version 2.0. Getting a USB 3.0 cable should work for all but the oldest USB devices since it is backward compatible. Note however that USB 2.0 cables will not work for version 3.0 devices. Therefore, check your devices first and note down the USB version they will work with.

2. Connectors. Another key item that must be considered when buying a retractable USB extension cable is the type of connector. Most people are familiar with the type-A USB connector. This is what most computer-based devices, like USB flash drives, are equipped with. Other devices may have other connectors such as type-B, mini, and micro plugs and receptacles. Again, you will have to first determine the type of USB connector you will need based on your set of gadgets. You may even have to use various USB adapters to enable cross-compatibility of multiple devices using these different USB connector types.

The retractable USB extension cable is the ideal connectivity technology for mobile computing. If you are an on-the-go gadgeteer, having a retractable USB cable in your pack let’s you enjoy your electronic devices without having to worry about limits on distance between your gadgets or about the unavoidable tidying up after using your USB-enabled devices.

This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry News Articles.

A Simplified Approach To Cables and Cabling Terminology

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

We often take it for granted but the thing that makes ours an efficient electronic world is cable. The devices that we use everyday, the ones we have learned to rely on for information, entertainment and convenience, are all run through various cabling technologies. It is therefore important to know the different kinds of cable that connects these devices.

By definition, a cable is a set of two or more wires that are held together and assembled to act as a single unit. Since wires are made of various metals, they conduct electric current. Keeping this in mind, they have 2 general functions – first is to power electrical devices, and the second is to conduct an electric signal.

General Cable Classifications

Power cables are straightforward enough; they connect your electrical or electronic devices to a main power supply in order for your device to operate. Every electrical appliance needs one; otherwise you would not even be able to turn the device on.

Connecting cables that link your various devices to each other are the ones that carry a signal. For instance, your computer monitor is connected to your computer via its own connector. Signal-carrying cables can be differentiated into the type of signal that they carry. In general, these would either be analog or digital. They may also be defined further by the nature of the signal – audio, video or data.

Different Types of Cables and Connectors

There are many kinds of cabling used for consumer electronics. You can recognize them mostly by their various connectors. The following are some of the more common cabling technologies used in modern appliances and devices.

Analog Audio. Most audio devices are multi-conductor shielded cables. The tell-tale sign is the “jack plug” connector or TRS (short for Tip-Ring-Sleeve). This is used commonly for such devices as microphones and headphones. TRS is typically a 3-conductor cabling technology but there are variations that use 2-conductor, 4-conductor and even 5-conductor connections.

Apart from TRS, other connectors are used for analog audio. RCA connectors, typically colored in red and white, are very common and are usually included with most radios, DVD players and television sets. Then there are XLR connectors, which are used for professional microphones and high-end audio equipment.

Digital Audio. The most common standard for this is S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format). The signal can travel through optical fiber technology terminated by TOSLINK connectors. Otherwise, coaxial or coax – similar to the type used by Cable TV companies – can also be used. These can then be terminated by either BNC connectors or RCA connectors.

Analog Video. Most video connectors come as RCA colored in yellow. This is referred to as composite format and is a consumer standard for such video-output devices as Betamax, VHS, Laserdisc, VCD and DVD players.

For computer monitors, the standard was the VGA connector or the DE-15 subminiature. It is still in use today but there are monitors nowadays that are starting to use the DVI format. DE-15 is also known as HD-15 because some early HDTV units also use the connector.

Others in this set include S-video and component video. The S-video terminal plug looks like the PS/2 plug used previously on pre-USB models of computer mice and keyboards. On the other hand, component video use RCA connectors for terminals but differ from standard RCA video connectors in that it integrates three connectors (typically coded in red, blue and green) in one unit.

Digital Video. There are currently two standards used in the industry. The first is DVI or Digital Visual Interface and it is set to replace the VGA standard in computer monitors. The DVI-I version of this connector are compatible with VGA as well as with HDMI cable connections (using a special adapter).

HDMI is the second type of connector in this category. It stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. HDMI cable is actually used for both audio and video signals. This is the latest cabling technology to support the most high-end electronics in the market today.

Two other cable technologies are worth mentioning; these are Firewire and USB cables. They are digital connectors and are used mainly to capture and output audio-video as well as data between a wide range of peripheral devices and a computer.

This Article is written by John C Arkin, contributor of PrintCountry News Articles.

Easiest Thing You Can Read to Understand Cable Terminology

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

To the average person, talking or reading about cables can get confusing. There are so many terms that are usually involved and it can be quite difficult to understand. Here are some examples of common cable terminology and their definitions:

1. Cable – This is the lifeline of electronics communication systems. It is also interchangeably called a wire rope. However, what generally differentiates the two is their size. While a wire rope has a diameter of more than 3/8 inch, anything smaller than this is considered a cable or a cord.

They are usually described based on the type and number of conductors that they have, the gauge number and the usage description.

2. Conductor – The conductor is the metal part of the cable’s wire. The conductor carries the electricity. A multi-conductor means that there are two or more conductors. A stranded conductor means that the conductor consists of many small strands of wires that are twisted together. The stranded conductor is popular for audio and speaker purposes because it is very flexible. The solid-conductor means that the conductor is simply made up of one single wire.

3. Gauge number – A gauge number denotes the conductor’s size. Generally, the lower the gauge number, the larger the size of the conductor. A large wire conductor carries more electrical current than a small one.

Your cable should be labeled as in-wall or UL type CL2 if you plan on running it behind or through walls. If you are using it outside, make sure that it is rated as UV-resistant or outdoor. Ultraviolet light can cause the insulator to rapidly deteriorate if it is not UV-resistant. If a cable is not indentified as any of the above, then it means that it is most probably rated for indoor use.

4. Strand – A strand consists of two or more wires that are concentrically laid around a center wire and can have one or more layers. Usually, there are 7, 19 or 37 wires in a strand.

In product designation, a 7×7 cable would consist of 7 strands with 7 wires found in each strand. Similarly, 7×19 consists of 7 strands with 19 wires found in each strand.

5. Audio cable – This is used to transmit audio signals from one source to another. Common types of audio cables are Firewire, Toslink, Coax Digital Audio (S/PDIF), HDI, Stereo, Mono and Denon Link.

6. Video cable – This is used to transmit video signals from one source to another, to put it simply. Common types of these are HDMI cables, component and composite video cables, RF coaxial cables and S-video cables. Each type has a different purpose depending on their applications. While some improve the contrast ratio, others are preferred because they run longer in terms of length. Some can improve the quality of colors, while some lessen video distortion.

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