What Is an AV Cable?

By James Red

An AV cable is used to transmit an audio/visual signal. AV cables have been around as long as electronic home entertainment and they connect speakers to stereos, televisions to DVD players and computers to monitors.


Any kind of cable that connects one piece of audio/visual equipment to another is an AV cable. All home entertainment set-ups require some sort of audio/visual cable in order to operate.

RCA cables

In the U.S., RCA cables were some of the most widely-used type of AV cable for years. The cable plugs were usually yellow, white and red, and each signified a specific use. Yellow for video, white for left-channel audio and red for right-channel audio.

Coaxial Cables

Coaxial cable is another common type of AV cable. These cables transmit both audio and video, and are commonly used in the cable industry. They also used to be commonly used to connect video game systems and VCRs to televisions.

HD Cables

Neither RCA nor coaxial cable offer full support for high-definition signals. Component cables, which are similar to RCA cables but have three ports for video instead of just one, are compatible with high-definition signals. They are becoming standard in many homes, as is another form of high-definition cable: HDMI.

Computer AV cables

Any cable that transmits an audio/visual signal from a PC can also be considered an AV cable. This includes traditional VGA cables and newer DVI cables, which have enhanced support for high definitions signals.