What Are All These Connector Options?

If you're confused about connector options offered on our various cables, here's a little guide to show you what's what:

The RCA Connector:

An "RCA" connector is the type of video connector you're most likely to be familiar with, and is the standard audio and video connector type on most consumer gear. An RCA jack (the female connector, mounted to the equipment panel) looks like a short cylinder of metal, with a large hole in the center, while the RCA plug (the male connector, mounted on the cable) has a large pin in the center and an outer ring of metal which grips the RCA jack on the outside. Here are an RCA plug and a typical set of jacks:

RCA Plug (or "male")RCA Jacks (or "female")

The BNC Connector:

A "BNC" connector is a bayonet-type video connector, seen on most gear produced for the professional market. The female connector, usually mounted on the equipment, appears as a cylinder with a hollow pin in the middle. The outer cylinder has a groove around it, with two little nubs sticking out on opposite sides. The male connector, normally mounted on the cable, has an outer ring which turns so that it can bayonet onto the nubs of the female, and has a smaller center pin which joins to the female's center pin. Here's a plug and jack:

BNC Plug (or "male")BNC Jack (or "female")

The F Connector:

The F connector is familiar to most of us as the connector for a TV antenna, or on a cable TV wall panel or cable box. The female connector is threaded on the outside; the male connector has a center pin (sometimes just the center conductor of the cable sticking through) and a screw-fitting outer ring. Here's a male and female F connector:

Male F-ConnectorFemale F-Connector

The HD15 Connector:

The HD15 Connector, also known by a variety of other names, is a 15-pin connector used for computer monitor hookups as well as for many video projectors and HDTV receivers. It has three rows of five pins each in a roughly "keystone" shaped outer ring. Here's an HD15 plug: