A Complete Guide to VGA Cables

Cables make the world go ‘round. No matter what type of equipment or setup, cables keep us connected to the world at large. Getting the right kind of cable is one of the most basic yet essential things to do.

VGA cables may not be quite as popular as they once were but they still play an essential role in technology. Let’s get into the muck and learn all that there is to know about VGA cables and what they can do.

What is a VGA Cable?

Before you can get into the woods with things like a VGA to VGA cable from RS, you need to know what VGA cables do in the first place. VGA cables came around in the late 1980s, typically with 15-pin connectors that could be used on a wide array of devices that used video signals.

Whether for personal or business use, VGA cables connect to video ports on things like computer monitors, projectors, and other devices that are capable of supporting a video signal. This was once the standard before things like HDMI became more commonplace.

What Does a VGA Cable do?

The first VGA cable came to the market in 1987, with minor variations coming from a variety of manufacturers throughout the years. VGA sockets and cables are still quite commonplace, typically on TVs, monitors, laptops, and PCs. They all generally have the same three-row, 15-pin connector known as DE-15 or D-Sub.

VGA cables were designed to transmit an analog video signal between components and the accompanying electrical devices. Each of the pins in the VGA connector transfers and displays an RGBHV video signal (red, green, blue, horizontal sync, and vertical sync). When output by a device like a PC, it forms a video signal that is viewable through an accompanying screen, like a monitor.

VGA Cable Types

While there are a wide array of VGA cables and variants, there are two main types to focus on. Despite it being an older standard, the fact that VGA is still around shows how versatile the connector can be. The vast majority of manufacturers have a number of splitters and adapters, but knowing the two main types will get you further.

VGA cables. Short for Video Graphics Array, the pins carry analog video signals. They are generally designed to support video resolutions up to 640×480, an old and outdated resolution standard.

SVGA cables. Short for Super Video Graphics Array or “ultra” VGA, this also carries analog video signals. That said, the resolution can go up to 800 x 600.

Connectors and Adapters

Though many modern devices now feature HDMI as the standard, there are some that still have VGA ports. If yours doesn’t but you need to connect a new device to an older one, there are connectors and adapters that can be used instead. Most of them are generally HDMI to VGA but there are other adapters and connectors as well. There are VGA male to male, male to female VGA, female to male VGA, and female to female.

There are also new and legacy VGA connector types. These can be used in tandem with newer standards like HDMI and DVI. Though the terminology can be a bit vague, they are all generally quite similar. There are more connector types available than adapters, each with a variety among the VGA cable brands. Whether it be VGA to HDMI, VGA to DVI-D, VGA to VGA, USB to VGA, or VGA to mini-jack, each serves a distinct purpose and can come in handy when using older or outdated devices.