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Cabling

So much of the comfort that comes with understanding video, and computers in general, is rooted in a familiarity with the various cables they use. If you will take a moment to learn just a bit about cables and their connectors, you may be amazed to find that a world of complex things you used to avoid has suddenly become logical and simple. Knowing your cables will make you a whiz in your friends' eyes, more fun at parties, and probably loads more comfortable next time you hook up a VCR, DVD player, or stereo system.

Cables and terminals

Cables are composed of strands of metal wiring and protective shielding and insulation, usually wrapped up in a neat rubber-hose package. Wires come in a variety of gauges (thicknesses) and materials, all of which affect how much electricity or data they can carry without overheating. Shielding is a critical component of cabling: It prevents the electromagnetic fields generated by the cables from interfering with things (house wiring, recording devices, the delicate tissues of your brain…) on the outside. Cheap cables often have only minimal gauge and marginal shielding; two seemingly identical cables can have significantly different prices, simply due to variations in the quality of the materials used.


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