Guides to jumpstart your Retrogaming lifestyle
User avatar
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:44 am
Location: Spokane, WA

The Scoop On Component Video Swiching...

by artphotodude Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:14 pm

Until HDMI, RGB and Component Video were the crowning formats for video-transfer in gaming. And while RGB is technically a 'Fatter' signal, Enhanced Definition (480p) and HD were available via Component only (unless using VGA in the case of Dreamcast).

At 480i, the difference from S-Video is very subtle until roughly 27" screens, except in one rather negative way - noise. Bad component really showcases interference and cable inadequacies. One common flaw will be a deep, reddish vertical band about 1/4 the width of the screen - visible in the deepest-darks. Also an overall greenish color-cast can often be observed.

On one hand it's awesome that so many machines now have 3rd-party HDMI converters available (like GameCube and XBox) and at such remarkable prices (around $25), because quality Component cabling is expensive. Where DVI/HDMI is either there or it's not, Component is in many ways the most sensitive and fragile analogue signal in electronics, and if you're serious about making the most of it on systems like the Wii Virtual Console, you'll need the best: MONSTER cable. This is one of the few cases where the big name is very worth it. Cabling from your console to the switching unit and then back to the TV can equal 12' in a heartbeat and if you are using a big, gorgeous CRT, then that means High Voltage radio interference from the Flyback Transformer (basically a Tesla Coil) and Horizontal Sweep Modulators - and LOTS of it.

Now if it is only one console you're talking about then you only need a MONSTER cable for that system, but some crazy people like me, are still using 4-systems on component, and I've tried a number of switchers over the years. They basically fall into two categories - cheap and professional. Cheap will be mechanical switchers like the ones Pelican made for Gamestop. They can often do a decent job, but over time, the buttons get snotty and stop working reliably (keep in mind you are switching 5-lines in total).
Mechanical switchers are affordable, but often unreliable.
#1.jpg (26.68 KiB) Viewed 6053 times

One step-up would be units like the Philips electronic auto-switchers. Sadly, this second option is actually 2-steps back because it adds a LOT of digital noise and random flickering to the signal. Even with these limitations, they have remained remarkably spendy, often fetching as much as $30 for a used one on eBay because of being the last rung before getting into the ultra-expensive professional models.
There are a lot of these Philips auto-switchers out there, but you can do better!
#2.jpg (21.83 KiB) Viewed 6053 times

So let's introduce you to one of those. There are a number on the market, but one that is pretty easy to come by is the Audio Authority 1154/1154A. They are easily identified with the funky-logo on the top and spartan appearance (like a metaphorical "Black Box" on an airplane), but make no mistake, this is GOLD STANDARD. Fully auto-switching 4-component video lines AND 4 COAXIAL OR OPTICAL DIGITAL AUDIO SIGNALS!!!! With good ole MONSTER cable going in and out, we are talking about silky-smooth switching with NO NOISE. Adding the Switcher and an additional 6' of cable make NO DIFFERENCE!
"Who's Your Daddy!"
#3.jpg (111.06 KiB) Viewed 6053 times

So now you're wondering "How Much?" and "Why Would I Bother?" (when HDMI is so common)? Because - a cosmetic case redesign in the follow-up 1154B model, has resulted in BIG price-breaks on a lot of these clunkier, but still bad-ass/functionally-identical older models.
See a recent eBay search:
Great things come to those who wait for a newer-version to come out!
#4.jpg (88.75 KiB) Viewed 6053 times

SO - If you already have the cabling or find it second-hand (still possible to get a good deal at yard sales or 2nd hand stores), add in one of these great switchers and an EXCELLENT Sony Wega, JVC or Panosonic SD/ED/HD CRT and you now have state of the art (that was) arcade hardware in your home - and thanks to the popular move to HDMI - at a GREAT PRICE! :D

FINAL NOTE: if you find an Audio Authority 1154/1154A without the AC adapter - keep in mind they use a kinda rare/strange center-negative plug going in. Using a regular adapter at best won't work and at worst will burn-up the unit. :oops:
"You wouldn't have won if we'd beaten you"
— Yogi Berra
User avatar
Posts: 11933
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:59 am
Location: Southern California

Re: The Scoop On Component Video Swiching...

by CRTGAMER Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:37 am

Looks like a making of a thorough Guide. Suggest as you get replies or as you come across new information, UPDATE THE OP above; a simple edit to refresh with new information. I use mechanical switch boxes and agree the Pelican/ Gamestop of the "PS2" design do sometimes stick. There are other non powered brands that do not have the sticking buttons, a preference choice over the added features of the auto sensor or even a remote control switchbox.


I feel Monster Cables though very heavy duty not worth the price, are way overkill and actually have a negative side. That heavy stiff cable really puts a strain on the jacks hanging off the TV and sometimes harder to route and plug in especially when the jacks are close together. Never have issues with just basic RCA cables even if third party. Interference not near as critical as an RF cable as long as the RCA cables are sound.

Save up for a monster cable for high end audio that require very long runs between the equipment to benefit the signal drop prevention. I run decent quality component cables, but no where as thick as monster going from the TV to the center of the room. All my game consoles on the coffee table plugged into multiple switch boxes of Component and SVideo/Composite and no interference. Same with multiple DVD and Bluray players; regular Component cables thru a switch box next to the HD CRT in the wall unit.


Concerning Component Cables two things to be aware of.

1. SD CRTs though having a Component jack are limited to 480i and cannot be set to 480p or higher. Component the better signal separation vs SVideo or Composite; still best to use the Component jacks know as Color Stream back then.

2. HD CRTs support resolutions all the way up to 1080i. LCDs and LED HDTVs support resolutions all the way up to their native resolution of 720p or 1080p or 4K. Many think that HDMI the only way to kick up the resolution past 480p which is not true. Component analog supports resolutions all the way up to 1080i. HDMI digital connections support up to 1080p or higher if HDMI Ultra matched with 4k TV.

HDMI 1080p> COMPONENT 1080i> SVIDEO 480i> COMPOSITE 480i> RF 480i
CRT vs LCD - Hardware Mods - HDAdvance - Custom Controllers - Game Storage - Wii Gamecube and other Guides:
CRTGAMER Guides in Board Guides Index:

User avatar
Posts: 7591
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:34 pm
Location: Henderson, North Carolina

Re: The Scoop On Component Video Swiching...

by ElkinFencer10 Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:19 am

CRTGAMER wrote:Component analog supports resolutions all the way up to 1080i.

YPbPr supports up to 1080p in practice and is technically capable of UHD resolutions in excess of 2160p although resolutions above 1080p, to my knowledge, have never been used via YPbPr due to the lack of copy protections. PS3 and 360, however, definitely support 1080p via YPbPr component.
Exhuminator wrote:Ecchi lords must unite for great justice.

Return to Guides

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest