What is the red, yellow and white cable?

what is the red, yellow and white cable

Electronic technology is evolving fast. You might face some challenges if you wanted to use your VCR machine together with a modern TV. The challenge will be, your VCR uses the red, white, and yellow cables while your current TV does not have those ports.

So how would you go about connecting an old media device to a modern TV or monitor? Why are the cables color-coded? What role does each cable play? Why does your electronic device require three separate cables? Read on to get more insight into these cables and how they work.

What is the red, yellow, white cable?

What is the red, yellow, white cable?

The red, yellow, and white cables are called the RCA or composite cables. Many people call them the red, yellow, white cable for easier understanding. You can use the following names to refer to the cable:

  • Audio video (AV) cable
  • Composite cables
  • RCA connector

Composite cables were designed in the 1940s and are still relevant today. At some point, they were the standard for connecting electronic machines. The HDMI cable replaced them, but they are still in use.

So, why RCA? RCA is an abbreviation for Radio Corporation of America that was the first company to produce the cables. The RCA cables are available in many different colors, but the most prevalent combination is the red, white, yellow cable.

Even though the RCA connectors were the standard for connecting media devices in the past, they are being gradually phased out. Many TV manufacturers have scrapped them completely and replaced them with HDMI. They are out-of-date but critical for connecting older media devices to modern display units.

Component cable colors

The component colors make it easy for the users to connect the cables to the TV ports, which are also coded. You only need to match the colors, and you are good to go. But, what do the colors mean?

Every color in the component cable colors has a particular purpose. Here is a breakdown of what they stand for:

  • Yellow – This color is responsible for video signals. The cable bearing this color transmits analog video signals only. It does not carry audio signals. Some TVs don’t have the yellow port, but they have a port labeled “Video In” that works the same.
  • Red and White – The red color is responsible for the audio signal on the left side, and the white connector is for audio on the right side. When the two cables are used together, the result is stereo audio. If you use only one of these cables, you will only have audio of a single speaker or one side of your TV.

AV cable colors

AV cable uses a color-coding system to differentiate audio and video signals. They include:

  • Yellow (Composite video) – The yellow RCA connector is the composite video cable. It is a coaxial cable and it should be thicker compared to other RCA connectors.
  • White and Red (Audio signals) – There are typically two audio channels, i.e., right and left. Red is for the RCA connector of the audio channel on the right. While white represents the left audio channel.
  • Red, Blue, and Green (Component video) – Video signals are sent in three separate components.

RCA cable colors

What is the red, yellow and white cable

The most prevalent RCA colors found in a home setting are red, yellow, and white. Composite video means that the three video signals (red, green, and blue) are relayed in one cable. Red and white represent audio for the right and left speakers, respectively. Yellow means the composite video.

How to connect red, yellow, white cable to red, green and blue cables

You will need a way to connect the red yellow white cable to a red, green blue cable when you want to connect old and new electronic devices. You can use either cables for the connection in some instances, but some appliances may not support both cables. Therefore, you need a composite to component converter.

Composite to component conversion simply means splitting the video signal of the composite video into three separate components. The Y component transmits the brightness while the Yb and Yr components relay the color difference.

How to connect red, blue and green cables to red, yellow and white cables

To hook up red, blue and green cable to red, yellow and white cable you must use a converter. The converter will turn the component video signal into a composite video signal transmitted as a composite video.

How to connect a DVD player to TV with red, white and yellow cables

This is arguably the simplest connection to make if your TV has the corresponding red, yellow, white input ports. Before making any connections ensure the TV and DVD are in their preferred positions, then follow the steps below:

  1. Hook on one end of the cable into the RCA plugs on the TV. Plug each cable to a port with a matching color.
  2. Plug the other end of the red, yellow and white wires on the DVD player. Make sure the cables are connected tightly, and all the colors are matching. If not, you might experience some hitches.

Composite input

Composite input

Many people get confused between the terms composite and component. Even though the names seem similar, the two are different. Suppose you don’t know the difference between the two you buy the wrong cable. The composite cables are the red, white, and yellow. The cables are designed to relay audio and video signals.

Composite to component

The composite video connection uses a yellow-tipped RCA cable. But a component video connection has three different cables and connections using red, blue, and green color. You cannot physically connect the cables; you need a red, yellow, white to the red, green, blue converter.  

Despite being regarded as obsolete, the RCA AV plugs still serve many. The most important things to remember are the AVI to component conversion and what to plug on different AV ports. With the knowledge you have gathered from this guide, you can integrate your old appliances with the modern ones.

Component input

Component input

On the other hand, the component video also has three color-coded cables – green, blue, and red. Their major distinction from the composite wires is that they can only relay video signals. For example, the green cable relays brightness while red and blue wires carry their respective colors.

The advantage of using the component input cable is it supports higher resolutions. This is because they do not pack the video signals in one cable; instead, they are separated into three. However, you’ll still need to use the RCA cable in order to get the audio but remember to leave out the yellow cable when using this.  

How to connect component cables to a TV

Component cables have three video color-coded wires labeled Pr, Pb, and Y and two audio cables for the right and left speakers. Below are the steps for hooking up component cables to your TV:

  1. Look for the component video and audio outputs on your video source and connect the cable. You could have a component video cable with a separate audio cable having white and red jacks. Or all the five jacks could be on a single RCA cable.
  2. Find the component audio and video inputs on your TV and connect the other end of the component cable.
  3. Test the connection by turning on both devices

AV input

AV input is a label used on a connector to receive audiovisual (AV) signals from an electronic machine that generates the AV signals. These terminals are common on devices such as TVs, DVD recorders and VHS recorders. They take input signals from the DVD players, VHS recorders and TV tuners.

These are the plugs used for video input:

  • Composite video – RCA connector, UHF connector, BNC connector, and 1/8 inch minijack phone connector.
  • S-video – DIN plug
  • Component video – RGBHV connector, RCA connector
  • Digital video – High Definition Multimedia Interchange (HDMI), Sony Philips Digital Interface (SPDIF), IEEE 1394 (FireWire), and Digital Video Interface (DVI).  

RCA to component

You can connect RCA to component using the following procedure:

  1. Hook the red and white RCA cables into the RCA audio output jacks on the device beside the component outputs.
  2. Plug the other end of the component cables into the matching color-coded input jacks on the rear of your HDTV.
  3. Plug the RCA audio cables into the RCA inputs next to the component inputs.

Video input

Video input is a device that sends data from an external source to a processing system like a computer or TV. It is any device that relays video. There are several input devices that you can use to play video on a display unit. They include:

  • Media Players – These are devices that play any media. Examples include physical media such as VCRs, Blu-ray players and DVD players. There are also digital media players like DVRs or streaming video players like Roku Netflix player.  
  • Video game consoles – These devices play video game media. Examples are PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Xbox 360.
  • Satellite or Cable receivers – These are devices that enable you to receive decrypted video signals from your cable provider. With these receivers, you can receive broadcast TV.
  • Digital cameras – Video cameras can help you input videos and still pictures. The cameras come with ports like composite or HDMI ports. With these ports, you can connect the digital camera to a TV and view photos and videos on the camera.  

Component to composite

If you thought you would find a component to composite cable, you thought wrong. Such a cable does not exist. You will need a component to composite converter to convert the red, blue, and green signal to a composite or yellow or S-Video signal.


What is another name for red, white, and yellow cables?

The red, white and yellow cables are also known as the RCA cables.

Do mini AV cables exist?

Yes mini AV cables exist. They are used to relay composite audio and video signals.

Does an LG Smart TV have a AV input?

The LG smart TV does not have the standard AV input. The AV input is compatible with the component video cable. If you are connecting devices that are a bit outdated, you will need a converter.

Does a Vizio TV have an AV input?

The modern design Vizio TV does not come with an AV input. Therefore, if you want to connect it to an old appliance, you might need an HDMI converter.

Does a Vizio TV have an RCA input?

Vizio TV has two varieties of RCA inputs, i.e., composite and component. The cables work as explained earlier in this guide.

Why is my TV black and white with component cables?

Usually, a black and white screen is caused by incorrect cabling. This might happen when you plug a composite cable into a component connection or the other way round. Please make sure that the correct cables are connected from the source to the back of your TV.

Does a Samsung Smart TV have a component input?

The latest Samsung smart TVs also come with component input and accept over 480i over a component. You can only connect one analog device at a time.

What cords does a Sharp TV use?

Sharp TV uses several cords, including the power cord, TV charger codes and AT AC power cords among others. 

Why is my Wii black and white?

Your Nintendo Wii gaming console will display images in black and white if there is a connection problem or you need to adjust your console settings. You can quickly fix this error in simple troubleshooting steps.

Why is my Wii screen black and white and fuzzy?

You might face the black and white screen of your settings are not right. Make sure the setting of the input select from a component signal. Poor cable connection can also cause it. Read further on how to fix the black-and-white screen on Wii.

How to connect Wii to Emerson TV

Follow the steps below to connect Wii to your Emerson TV:

  1. Locate a set of yellow, red, and white holes on your TV. They are labeled “Input.” Look for inputs labeled “Audio and Video In.” Please don’t connect your Wii system to anything marked “Out.”
  2. Hook the AV Multi Out plug on the Wii AV Cable into the AV Multi Out connector at the console’s back.
  3. Insert the red, white and yellow cord connectors on the Wii AV Cable into the TV input connectors. Yellow is for video input, white is for left audio input (Mono), and red is for audio right side input.
  4. After you have inserted the cables and your Wii is powered, look for Input Select for your TV to view the game. You can find this by pressing the TV/Video button on the TV remote. If there are several input channels, continue pressing until it displays from the Wii.

How do I connect a Wii to a Vizio TV?

Composite video is the basic format of home devices’ input.

  1. Find the Vizio TV has composite cable input ports.
  2. Next use the bundled Nintendo composite cable to connect Wii to your Vizio TV.
  3. Hook the rectangular plug on the cable to the back of the Nintendo Wii.
  4. Attach the yellow video cable to the matching composite input on the Vizio TV.
  5. Hook the red and white audio cables to the corresponding composite inputs on the Vizio TV.
  6. Turn on the Wii; you should see the Wii start page on your Vizio. If you have Wii color problems, check your connections.

How long does it take to connect Wii to Samsung smart TV 8000

If you understand what you ought to do before you begin doing this process can take a very short time. However, if you don’t get the instructions right, you will waste a lot of time troubleshooting.

Other articles that might interest you

Is Oculus Quest 2 Blinking Orange Light? Find Solutions Here