Archive for rca plug

Connecting Multiple Composite AV Devices to a TV with only one AV Input.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 15, 2011 by marksun

The problem:  I have a Wii, a Cable Box, and a DVD player, all with composite,  connectors,  and a new HD TV with only one composite av input.  Why did I buy a TV with only a single input?  That’s another story, but it seemed like not a big problem.     A 3 or 4 device video selector should work, no?

I tried out a $50 Dynex 4-Device Component Video Selector box from BestBuy.  This unit is simple enough – has a 9v power brick , a simple remote control with 2 AAA batteries.  This should be a simple problem to solve.  You’d think that anyone going to the trouble of manufacturing a device would make sure that it works.  This device does work, kind of, but (to borrow a word from Jerry Pournelle)  alas, there are significant problems.

Dynex 4-Device Component Video Selector

#1, the Wii doesn’t work with the device.  While the static menus are fine, any screen with moving video rolls.

#2, the audio from the cable box and the DVD player is so low that even at maximum volume from the TV, the volume is just too low.

Clearly there is major signal loss.   Eliminate the video selector and there’s no problem.   I’ve got the receipt and Best Buy is good about returns.   Next stop, Radio Shack and see what they have.

(the very next day)…  My local Radio Shack offers a 4-In/1-Out A/V Selector Switch for $27.99.  This is a mechanical switch which allows selection of one of  up to four devices as input to the TV.  No power brick. No remote control.  Home again,  a few dusty moments,  hooked up, and … it works exactly as expected.

About AV cables.   Vintage input devices use standard composite AV cables with consisting of three separte cables, each terminated on both ends by a (normally) yellow RCA plug.   By convention the read and white  are for audio Right and Left, and the yellow carries the video signal.  For home applications, the main difference between the yellow video cable and the red and white audio cables is the color of the connector.  You can buy gold plated, armored,  jeweled AV cables for like $20 to $30 or more.   Or you can use the cables you may have lying around.  It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to the electrons.  The exception might be really nasty cables with corroded connectors or wires.  You’d want to replace cables with physical defects.

patch panel for AV cable switch

patch panel for AV cable switch

Top view. TV output is the left-most set of 3 cables, then the DVD, TV, and Wii