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Understanding TV Components

The back of your TV will likely look similar to this. Understanding the back of
your TV doesn’t have to be difficult.

When you buy a new TV, you might be overwhelmed by the back of your set. Don’t let the number of inputs get to you. It’s simple enough to learn about what these components do and how to connect everything properly, even if you’ve not particularly knowledgeable about TV set ups.

Get the details on TV inputs, and make sure you have everything you need to set up your TV!

Different types of inputs

Your TV will have many inputs on the back of it, and it’s important to understand the types of wires you’ll need to make sure you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite shows with no problems.

Composite cable

Composite cables are used to transfer standard definition programming to your TV. These deliver the color video signals and sound of what you’re watching.

Composite cables have the same set of three plugs on each end of the wires.


HMDI stands for high-definition multimedia interface, and these cables make it possible for you to watch HD programming. Without an HDMI cord, you won’t have access to HD programming, even with an HD TV. Blu-Ray™ players, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 use HDMI cables to deliver HD content.

Component video connections

These components are the red, green and blue plugs that carry video signals. You’ll also need audio cables, as these component video cables only deliver the picture you see, not the sound you hear.

DVI cables

DVI stands for digital visual interface, and these cables are typically used with projectors and computers. These are most popularly used with computers to share visuals on a display — you might have used these cables to share something from your computer on a larger screen.

Tips about TV components

Get as many HDMI inputs as you need. Gaming consoles and Blu-Ray™ players require HDMI inputs, so it’s helpful to have more than one on the back of your TV.
  • When you buy a TV, look for one that has the number and type of inputs you’ll need.
  • Think about what you’ll connect to your television. Do you have gaming consoles or a DVD or Blu-Ray™ player that needs to be connected to the TV?
  • Will you need any extra components? Look into component switchers in case you need more inputs than are available on the back of your TV.
  • Make sure to purchase all the cords and cables you’ll need. Televisions typically don’t include extra cables, so you’ll need to buy these separately.

Check the owner’s manual for your TV for any specific information about television components. Call a TV expert if you need any additional help setting up and understanding your television.