The increasing adoption of HDMI cables in place of component video and other analogue cables, like S-video and composite video, has brought much scrutiny in the performance of each. Whereas it is easily discernible and obvious that HDMI and component video outperform the rest, it is in the selecting between the two that has not yet been fully decided. It is also true that HDMI comes along with a number of advantages, including the convenience of using both audio and video components in just one cable, unlike the several audio cables you will have to get when using component video. Actually, HDMI allows you the opportunity of 8 different audio channels all in one cable. It is also true that HDMI allows for faster transmission and these and several other reasons usually lean the argument in HDMI’S favour. However, in one aspect, the argument is not so clear cut.
This is in terms of image quality. There is a little difference in the image quality from a component video when compared to a HDMI. In some cases it is hardly noticeable. This is despite the argument that since HDMI is all digital, that is it allows for transmission of the content in digital format from source to display without any conversion, it is much better. This argument has some truth in it but the difference is not reflected to such an extent to support the claim totally. This leads to the question: just what determines picture quality? There are several factors and very few are affected by the cable quality.
The first factor that affects the image quality, regardless of whether it is analogue or digital, is the source material. The source of the video could be of high quality or poor quality. From HD DVDs to the earlier versions these will determine just how good the image will be. It is pretty obvious someone watching a Blu-ray disc will be more advantaged, even when using component video, compared to another watching a low quality video even with HDMI. The same is also true for the display platform. With a HD television, you will obviously have greater image quality.
When working with television and monitors that come with fixed pixels, then you have to factor in this aspect. The higher the pixels and resolution, the better the image quality you will get. You also have to understand that there is a lot of scaling down from the source to the native format allowed with the display platform. All these factors affect image quality.