Last updated: August 19, 2021

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This time we will be reviewing RCA cables. Who doesn't love to enjoy a movie or TV series that looks and sounds good; well, for over 50 years, RCA cables have been the consequence of making this happen in every home.

RCA cables are among the devices that provide one of the best video and audio signals today surpassing S-video and composite video and second only to HDMI cables. These devices provide great signal clarity and better picture quality thanks to the 3 channels they have to transmit the signal.

That's why at Monederosmart we want to help you choose the best RCA cable. We will show you the types of cables that exist along with their main characteristics. After reading this buying guide, you will not only know which is the best RCA cable, but you will also be able to identify the factors that you can compare, where to buy it and its value.




Summary

  • RCA cables are named after Radio Corporation of America, because they were first used in the 1940s to connect phonographs to amplifiers. Then, from 1950 onwards, they were in common use in the home.
  • An RCA cable has 3 colour-coded connectors (white, red and yellow) extending from one end of a cable that connects to 3 outputs of the same colour on the back of a TV. In the case of RCA audio cables these only have 2 connectors (White and Red).
  • With the advent of Full HD televisions, a new range of RCA cables was created called component cables. These are more sophisticated and have more connectors. Component RCA cables are capable of transmitting much higher resolutions than composite cables: 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080p and even higher.

The Best RCA Cables: Our Picks

Buying Guide: What you need to know about RCA Cables

If you were unpacking a TV, home theatre system, DVD player or video game console and wondered what those coloured ports were for, it's because you were interested in how to get better picture and sound quality. This is where RCA cables come in and the great quality they offer the user.

Before the advent of HDMI cables, RCA cables were the best choice for optimal audio and video quality.
(Photo: Suwat Rujimethakul/ 123f.com)

What are RCA cables?

RCA cables are devices that allow audio and video connections to be made between devices that have these types of inputs or outputs. Its name comes from the English words Radio Corporation of America and at the beginning they were used only at audio level to later incorporate video.

Advantages
  • We still have equipment with RCA input
  • They are cheaper than an HDMI cable
  • They offer resolutions from 480p SD to 1080p HD
  • They offer a stereo sound quality
Disadvantages
  • They are starting to become obsolete
  • They do not compare to the quality of an HDMI cable in audio and sound

How did RCA cables come about?

While RCA cables were a common sight, especially in the 1990s, they date back to the 1940s. RCA cables allow 480p video resolution, which is equal to 720 x 480, and stereo sound quality that was excellent at the time.

By this time we had not yet entered the era of HD and Full HD as all TV channels broadcast in SD or standard definition. With the advent of high definition images, RCA component cables appeared, which allowed a picture quality of up to 1080p in HD.

Today HDMI cable connection is more popular, but you can still see equipment such as televisions, DVD players, stereos, video game consoles or home theatre systems with RCA input.

RCA cables and their types: What should you pay attention to?

There are 2 types of RCA cables: composite and component.

Composite RCA cables are made up of 3 wires. The red and white cables used for the left and right audio channels respectively and a cable with a yellow connector to transmit the analogue video signal.

Since these cables are designed to transmit analogue signals, the cable causes a slight loss of quality in both audio and video, which is why this type of cable is not suitable for use if you want to transmit high definition signals.

On the other hand, component RCA cables can be used in high definition televisions as they are made up of 3 video lines, red, green and blue, and 2 audio lines, red and white. Component RCA cables allow the transmission of higher quality video signals than composite RCA cables; up to a resolution of 1080p HD.

RCA Composite RCA Component
It is made up of 3 connectors: 1 video and 2 audio It is made up of 5 connectors: 3 video and 2 audio
It allows a picture quality of 480p SD It allows a picture quality up to 1080p HD

An RCA cable can last for years if its connectors are regularly maintained.
(Photo: Tawhy/ 123rf.com)

Purchasing criteria

In the market of audio and video products there is a wide variety of brands offering excellent quality RCA cables. This can be overwhelming for the buyer, as it is very difficult to know which model you need, and at first glance they all look the same.

That's why we need to be clear about the most important features to consider when investing in an RCA cable. At ReviewBox we want to show you the factors that you should take into account when buying a cable of excellent quality.

Each of these points will be covered in depth so that you can find out which RCA cable is best for you.

Connector materials

RCA cable connectors can be made of gold, silver or copper; there are also cables made of nickel, zinc and tin, but these are of the lowest quality.

The cables with gold connectors offer the best picture and audio quality, but are the most expensive. This material also offers better resistance to oxidation, but not so good for electrical conductivity.

In this case, silver connectors are the best for conducting electrical signals, with copper connectors in second place and gold connectors in third place. Since each connector has its pros and cons, gold-plated connectors are the best choice as they offer greater durability over the years.

Nowadays, almost all equipment has lost the RCA inputs. (Photo: Glevalex/ 123rf.com)

The length

The length of RCA cable you choose will depend on how much you need to install your equipment. The more you need, the more it will cost. But only buy as much as you need, as longer RCA cables have a negative effect on the signal quality.

It is best to buy a cable with a maximum length of 1.5 to 2 metres. This way you guarantee that you have the necessary length and that you will not lose out on both picture and audio quality. If you move your equipment in the future, it is recommended to have half a metre so that you don't have to buy a new RCA cable.

Shielding

Having an RCA cable with a good shielding guarantees a better picture and audio quality compared to cables without a thicker shielding. When choosing your cable, check that it has, in addition to the PVC coating on the outside, an internal shield to prevent interference.

Also take into consideration which material your cable will be connected to. If possible, match the material with the connector of your cable for better transmission and image quality. Otherwise there may be problems due to electrolytic reactions.

A well shielded RCA cable guarantees better picture and audio quality compared to cables without a thicker shielding.
(Photo: PD Pics/ Pixabay.com)

Types of connectors

Finally, another point to consider is what type of connector you need on your RCA cable. Today we can choose from a wide range of connectors; from classic RCA, to coaxial, VGA and even HDMI connectors. When buying your RCA cable, you should pay attention to the type of connector you need.

(Featured image photo: Joiner1/ 123rf.com)

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