Without getting into the electronics here are some simple rules of thumb.
RCA AUDIO CABLE 6 FEET OR LESS:
Ok for VHS to monitor. Technically not very good, but neither is VHS so you won't see the loss. A trained tech may see it. Poor choice for DVD, real poor choice for HDTV.
COAXIAL RCA CABLE UP TO 25 FEET:
Ok for DVD and HDTV however some loss at HDTV may be visible with lower quality cables.
PROFESSIONAL OR BROADCAST GRADE VIDEO CABLE WITH BNC TO RCA
TYPES 8281 and 1694:
Good for 50 to 75 feet of HDTV without significant loss. Even 100 feet is quite acceptable for HDTV on a consumer enviornment.
RADIO SHACK VERSUS REALLY EXPENSIVE CABLES:
Bad forum topic. Causes major flame bait. My advice as a broadcast engineer / EE. You get what you pay for up to a point. Then the incremental cost buys less and less. I personally use broadcast grade cables because I can get countless 50 foot scraps for free in my profession. Barring that, the stuff isn't really that expensive anyway - 25cents a foot for 1694 retail cost!. Many forum members seem to like Bettercables.com. I agree. These are good no B.S. cables. When you consider the labor costs for assembly, it's a good deal. They use name brand professional raw cable. Hey if it;s good enough for the netowrk and production facilities, it's more than sufficient for HT use. After all broadcast facilities aren't wired with these cables you see in glossy full page HT mags!
Coaxial RCA's are cheap enough not to worry about it (ie ratshack gold vrs noname junk). Cheapest high quality approach I guess would be to string 3 rg6-qs cables together, and use rca-F adapters at each end.
Any recommendations for a 20 foot Component video cable?
For the best possible picture quality, that'll require vacuum-dielectric, hi-temperature superconducting ceramics coaxial cables. But the liquid nitrogen distribution system is a b*tch to install, though.
JUST KIDDING. But it's not far off the nonsense recommended you see in ads for some "videophile" cables.
Why don't you just follow the advice in Glimmie's post, which is probably the most concise, sensible reply I've seen on a subject like this.
You could do what I did, which is similar to Glimmie's advice. Get yourself three lengths of 20 ft. RG-59 coax cable, foam core and 100% shielded (any decent branded TV cable should fit the bill). If it makes your feel better, you can get RG-6QS instead, for just a little bit more money, although the cable is less flexible. Then get 6 F-to-RCA adapters and put them in the ends (Radio Shack has these). That's what I use, except I have F-to-BNC adapters at one end because that what my monitor uses.
Cables in the HT environment actually have a pretty easy life. They general get installed once, and left alone. There's not frequently getting flexed and pulgged/unplugged like cables in a professional situation (good thing; the RCA type of connector used on consumer equipment is way to fragile for that type of use).
If you really want to go higher end, maybe in your setup the cables and connectors are visible and you want something that looks attractive, you could get cool-looking "no B.S." cables from bettercables.com without getting a second mortgage.
You have a right to install OTA and dish antennas on property under your control.
A forum community dedicated to home theater owners and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about home audio/video, TVs, projectors, screens, receivers, speakers, projects, DIY’s, product reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!