Cables, Cords and Connectors: A Short Guide To The Wires Of Today’s World

One thing that can certainly be confusing is all the different kinds of cables and cords out there. All of them have different connectors and uses, and it may not be clear to a layperson what the actual differences between them are. If you feel frustrated and confused when trying to find the right cable for what you need, here is an outline of some of the most popular cords and what they do.

Cables, Cords and Connectors: A Short Guide To The Wires Of Today's World


Usb stands for Universal Serial Bus. Usb is the most common choice for today’s electronics and especially for computers. If you have a computer, you likely have multiple rectangle shaped USB inputs for things like your keyboard and USB drive. A USB cord connects to a USB port. However, you should be aware there are different versions including USB 1.0, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. Each successive version can transmit more data faster. They are backward-compatible with earlier versions but not forward-compatible with successive versions.


Hdmi is a cord that was developed specifically to make the transmission of HD audio and video simple and efficient. One of the things about HDMI that makes it superior to other cords is that it has the ability to transmit both HD video and audio through the same cord. Other set-ups require three cords, two for audio channels and one for video. However, HDMI is a single cord with a rectangular gold connector. You should find HDMI ports on things like HD televisions, HD cable boxes and HD streaming devices.


One setup that requires three cables is composite audio and video. These cables come with pin connectors with different colors around the head. The yellow connector is for video, and the red and white connectors are for audio. These cables, unlike HDMI, can only transmit analog video and audio in SD quality.


Ethernet is beginning to be phased out in favor of wireless Wi-Fi. However, if you want to connect a computer to the internet with a physical cable, that will most usually be accomplished with an Ethernet cable. This is the kind of cable used to make the connection between a router and a modem and between a modem and a computer. You can recognize an Ethernet cable as the one with the square like clear plastic head. Ethernet cables come in three varieties, Cat 5, Cat 5e and Cat6. Each allows for more data transfer than the last.


Vga stands for Video Graphics Array. This is the cable with a large head at the end with 15 pin connectors. It also includes two screws so it can be screwed onto a VGA input. It is used most often to connect a monitor to a computer.

Another issue you may run into when setting up your home’s various systems is poorly placed power outlets. Companies like Americord and similar business sell extended power cords – so this is one headache you shouldn’t have to stress over. As far as the other cables go, however, here’s hoping that this article will help you sort through them. There are of course many more kinds of cables in addition to the ones listed here, but this list should get you through most situations without an aneurism. Hopefully.