The most commonly used cable connector is the RCA connector or Radio Corporation of America connector. These cables are the oldest of its kind and were originally invented to allow mono phonograph connectors to be connected to amplifiers. But today it is widely used everywhere in almost all kinds of audio or visual equipment we use. RCA cables are also known as clinch-connectors or phono cables. They typically have 3 color coded jacks and 3 color coded plugs. They started replacing TRS connectors first, then took over most of the audio equipments and then were used for video equipment as well. But in Mp3 players, mini TRS connectors are gradually replacing traditional RCA connectors.
The advantage of such connectors is that they are widely used in many systems like televisions, stereo system, digital cameras, camcorders, etc. These cables are also very flexible and can be easily handled. The plugging color code system is also very easy to remember – the red and white or red and black plugs are for audio signals and the yellow one is for the video. The great thing about these is that they are cheap and are also easily available. Also most dealers would give you a set of free RCA cable connectors with any equipment you buy so you don’t actually have to buy them separately. For analog audio signals, like in home theatres, for surround sound systems, the color codes are grey, brown and tan. Sometimes for component videos, an extra blue and green plug and jack is also present. But these are more complex to understand and remember, so it is good to stick to the user manual which has been given by your dealer. Once the connections are clear to you, you will find how easy it is to use these connectors.
The main disadvantage of these connectors is the color code system. It is hard for one to keep in mind the colors especially in complex systems like component video systems and home theatres. Also three different cables may become difficult to handle. Low quality camcorders do have one single cable and jack but this reduces the video quality. Companies are trying their best to find a way to combine all the cables into one and keep the quality of video good but so far, there has not been much progress. HDMI connectors are another choice over RCA cables which help in covering these disadvantages. But RCA cables are being used for ages and there is no way that they will be rejected just because of the color coding problem. Soon enough there will be a solution to this minor difficulty and then these cables will have more years before they go out.