PC Interfaces 101

Cinch RCA (Composite, Audio, HDTV Components)

Color coding example from a typical set-top box: yellow for composite video (FBAS), a pair of white and red jacks for analog stereo, and a trio of jacks in red/blue/green for HDTV components

These are used with coaxial cables for many types of electronic signals. The connectors are easily differentiated through the use of color, as follows:

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ColorUseSignal Type
white or blackAudio left channelanalog
redAudio right channel, also see HDTVanalog
yellowVideo Compositeanalog
greenHDTV Components Y Luminance with sync-on-greenanalog
blueHDTV Components Cb/Pb Chromaanalog
redHDTV Components Cr/Pr Chromaanalog
orange/yellowAudio SPDIFdigital

Warning: It's possible to mix up audio SPDIF with composite video connectors, so please always consult your handbook for their proper connection and use. Use of color for SPDIF isn't always consistent, either. Furthermore, it's possible to switch the red HDTV connector with the right audio channel. HDTV components always appear in groups of three on device panels, so be sure to match them up with three-element cables and connectors.

RCA connectors in various colors for different types of signals

Two types of SPDIF (Digital audito): an RCA/coax connector on the left, and a TOSLINK (optical fiber) on the rigth

TOSKLINK connector for optical delivery using fiber optic cable for digital SPDIF signals

An adapter from SCART to RCA connectors (Composite-Video, 2x audio, and S-Video)


  • RCA = Radio Corporation of America
  • SPDIF = Sony/Philips Digital Interfaces
Uwe Scheffel