If you are buying a television or a product that you will use with your television, you will want to buy the one that will fit your needs the most, including the ports behind it, because these ports allow you to use your television in the most effective way possible.
You could connect your computer, soundbars, DVR, DVDs, or anything that might help you see or hear the things you want.
To connect them, you need to know which ports your TV has. We will examine the connectivity ports every TV must have and explain what they are.
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- Also known as: High-definition media input
- Maximum resolution: 4K Ultra HD
- Devices associated with: Media players, sound systems, Modern game consoles, DVRs, streaming devices and computers
High-Definition Media Input, HDMI, is the most modern port for all devices that can support both audio and video ports at the same time.
It might also allow you to turn your normal TV into a Smart TV with a streaming device.
Since HDMI have usage used for video ports, audio ports, and any other ports within a TV, it is important to talk about it under a specific heading because when you are buying a television, the very first thing that you must look at is whether the television has an HDMI port or not.
Nowadays, every cable has HDMI rather than other ports. If you want to use your computer on your television or connect a headset, DVD, or literally anything else, the cable will probably be an HDMI.
HDMI delivers the best quality since it transfers the data digitally without corrupting the information.
Here’s a guide on how you can determine which HDMI port does what:
- HDMI 1.4 – This port supports 1080p and 720p video and audio quality, but you won’t find this in modern 4K TVs.
- HDMI 2.0 – You will find this port in modern 4K TVs rather. As it supports 4K resolution and refresh rate of 60 Hz.
- HDMI 2.0a – This one is an updated version of HDMI 2.0, and it supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) metadata.
- HDMI 2.0b – This one is an updated version of HDMI 2.0a, and it supports Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) video.
- HDMI 2.1 – This HDMI port supports 8K resolution, higher frame rates, and other features. You will find this port is high-end TV and are mostly used with modern game consoles.
Does the HDMI port offer the best connection?
An HDMI cable transfers the data digitally and does not distort or compress the audio or video, delivering the best quality of video and audio. So yes, an HDMI port is a great connection option.
What is an HDMI Arc? or eArc
As the name suggests, HDMI Arc or HDMI Audio Return Channel helps send and receive audio input.
You can pair this port very easily with a sound system and can hook your all your devices with an AV receiver. And just by using this single cable, you can connect the receiver to your tv.
An advanced version of HDMI Arc is an eArc, this port supports dolby atmos and other full-resolution audio signal.
If your TV already has an HDMI port, you might not need video ports as HDMI supports video, too.
But, some devices like old cameras or specific headsets might have a different port need like a component or S-video video ports.
You might look for three different video parts: component, s-video, and composite. All three are analog signal types. You can use them to hook up DVR, media players, and old cameras.
- Also known as: CAV, Component video and Y/Pb/Pr
- Maximum resolution: 1080p
- Devices associated with: Media players, previous-generation game consoles and DVRs
The green, red and blue ports that you must have seen on the back of a tv are what is known as a component.
Before HDMI port became popular, a component port was used to offer the highest quality of audio & video.
If you have an old tv, then you can use this port to generate audio and video. And you can even play old-generation games on such TVs.
- Also known as: Composite video baseband signal (CVBS), Composite video, or SD video
- Maximum resolution: 480i
- Devices associated with: Old generation game consoles and media players and DVRs.
Composite video is a circular yellow-colored port that can be used for standard-definition video.
Although a lot of equipment comes with a composite port, you can still go for a better clarity-providing port, such as an HDMI port or Component port.
- Also known as: Y/C or Separate video
- Maximum resolution: 480i
- Devices associated with: Computers, and previous-generation media players, and game consoles.
The S-video port is a black port with a white dots on it. This port was popular in the 1990s and 2000s for providing video input on TVs.
As you can tell, these are not very common today, but you can find them on many old TVs.
An S-video port is not better than an HDMI or component port, so avoid using it if you have a better option.
Again, if the TV has an HDMI port, you might not need audio ports, but if you are going to connect soundbars, receivers, DVRs, or old media players, you might need audio ports since they are mostly not HDMI compatible.
There are three different audio ports, optical digital, coaxial digital, and RCA stereo. All three support soundbars and receivers but only RCA supports media players and DVRs.
- Also known as: Coaxial digital audio and Digital audio
- Devices associated with: A/V receivers and Soundbars
The Coax or Coaxial cable is used to send high-frequency electrical signals or satellite signals to your tv.
If you have a traditional tv or use a satellite dish, then it will be connected via a coaxial cable only.
- Also known as: Optical audio, digital audio out (optical), digital audio (optical), and TOSLINK
- Devices associated with: A/V receivers and Soundbars
The Digital optical port is covered with a flap, and it sends digital audio to your sound system. An optical digital port is clearer than an RCA stereo.
- Also known as: RCA audio, RCA stereo audio, and analog audio
- Devices associated with: DVRs, old media players, game consoles, soundbars, and A/V receivers
RCA stereo is those red and white colored ports that help in transmitting analog audio. They can be used either for input or output, and you will see “in” or “out” written on them.
- Also known as: 3.5-millimeter audio jack, audio jack
- Devices associated with: Speakers & headphones
A headphone jack is more difficult to locate on tv as they are more often than not located in an inconvenient spot.
An audio jack can be used for private listening if you have a long audio cable. You can also use this port for connecting stereo speakers.
- Also known as: Universal serial bus
- Devices associated with: TV antenna, streaming device and USB flash drive
The last thing you should look for is a USB port. Even though this is not a necessity, with developing technology, having a USB port in your television might come in handy as most stuff now comes with a USB stick, like a streaming device.
It might help you to connect antennas along with streaming devices. However, there are two different versions of a USB port that you should know of:
- USB 2.0 – The USB 2.0 port is usually black or white in color, was released in 2000, and is most commonly found in many TVs. This port can transfer data upto 480 Mbps.
- USB 3.0 – This port is blue in color, was released in 2010, and is 10 times faster than USB 2.0 with 5 Gbit/s.
- Also known as: Ethernet Port
- Devices associated with: Internet modem
If your tv cannot connect with your wifi or if it faces connectivity issues due to router distance or any other obstacle, then you can connect your tv to your wifi using an ethernet port or LAN cable.
Devices associated with: Headphones, mobile phones, mouse & keyboard, speakers, game controllers, etc.
Bluetooth option in a tv works just like how it does in your phones. You can connect bluetooth to your wireless headphones, speakers, and even wireless game controllers, etc.
Most modern TVs come with this feature, but make sure to check its connectivity while buying.
As some TVs might use Bluetooth for pairing only the remote control and not peripherals like a keyboard.
- Also known as: WLAN, wireless local area network.
- Devices associated with: TVs, smart phones, PCs, etc.
Most smart TVs are equipped with Wi-Fi, but it is important to check its version.
Many TVs commonly use 802.11 AC Wi-Fi which is an aging standard, and it allows only full HD or 4K content.
But if you are planning on buying 8K TVs, then look for a variant Wi-Fi 6E. This variant can support even 8K videos, given that you have a compatible router.
How To Add More HDMI Inputs To Your Tv?
How to Connect AV Composite on a TV with No AV ports?
To conclude, there are several ports that a TV must have, like audio ports or video ports, but most importantly, a TV has to have an HDMI port because HDMI is the most advanced port technology that allows both audio and video to transmit under one cable.
Every modern piece of equipment comes with an HDMI port and a cable.
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Do TVs come with cables or do I need to buy them seperately?
TVs do not usually come with cables, and you will need to buy them separately.
However, it is included with devices such as receivers or soundbars, which you can connect to your tv.
Which type of HDMI port is best for 4K?
HDMI 2.0 supports a bandwidth of 18 Gigabits per second that supports 4K quality at 60 FPS. So look for a tv having HDMI 2.0 port.
How many HDMI ports in my TV do I need?
The maximum number of HDMI ports that you can find in a TV is 4. So the more you have, the better.
Having just one or two HDMI ports might be inconvenient as you might need to keep switching between different cables.
Amit Gupta is the founder of National Planning Cycles, a company that helps startups, individuals, and small businesses with their financial planning. He has a vast amount of experience in the finance sector, having managed Google Play accounts for some of the world’s most successful unicorns. Amit is an expert in his field, and he uses his knowledge to help others achieve their individual goals.