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The Basics of SCART vs. Composite

A real brain teaser occurs when you buy a TV or a DVD player or a gaming console and discover unexplained sockets at the rear of the equipment. Even if you plug in the correct cables in the respective sockets, you may be unaware of its advantages. You might have heard the names of connectors like SCART, component, composite, s-video, HDMI, and we will tell you what they are.

How Does It Work?

Before understanding the connectors and cables, let’s understand the mechanism of the audio and video on the TV. When a video camera shoots a particular scene, the lens captures the light in three colors, viz, red, green, and blue. These colors are commonly known as RGB. This light hits the sensors to produce RGB signals. These signals are then stored and transmitted through various connectors—this application is used in TVs and computer monitors.

Now how are different colors visible on the screen? Different colors are the result of the combination of RGB with each other. If you see the white color on the screen, it results from red, blue, and green mixed in equal quantities. If you see the black color, it is because none of the colors are combined. No color is black.

A single image is formed by pixels: the picture element or, in layman terms, a group of dots. Each pixel contains these three primary colors- red, green, and blue. Signals are sent through the connectors and cables to activate these pixels. And when signals are sent at a faster rate, the color changes faster, and you see a moving picture.

Before digital signals came into the arena, analog audio and video signals were in usage for transmission. But the technology of digital signal disrupted the scenario and reduction in the use of analog technology. Nevertheless, analog signals’ popularity didn’t wither and still applied in SCART, composite, component, and s-video signals. In this article, we will focus on SCART and composite, their features, and difference. Let’s start with SCART.


SCART originated in Europe and gained popularity all over the world. SCART is Syndicat des Constructeurs apparels Radiorécepteurs et Téléviseurs, “Radio and Television Receiver Manufacturers’ Association.” SCART was widely used in TVs, DVD players, gaming consoles, and VCRs. But with new and seamless analog technology developed over time, SCART got old. Indeed, the use of SCART connectors reduced over the years, but the popularity it gained remained unchanged. Even today, SCART is used in specific AV equipment and preferred over any other connectors.

The important aspect of SCART is that when the TV is awakened from the standby mode, it goes to the designated AV channel if it is turned on through the SCART connector. Another advantage is its application for high definition signals ranging from 720i, 720p, 1080i to 1080p. From the HDMI came into the scene, SCART has taken a back seat. But for some tech aficionados, it remains their favorite.

How Does SCART Look Like?

The female connection of SCART is shown in the picture.

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The male SCART pins are connected to the above connection. The male SCART pins are shown below.

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The 21 pins in the SCART cable are used to transmit the audio and video signals. But sometimes, some cables are not entirely wired. Generally, this creates a problem for transmitting the RGB signals. But overall, SCART is an all-rounder. Versatility is its USP. SCART can transmit signals in component video, composite video, s-video formats through the same connectors. But unfortunately, not simultaneously.

Composite Video Signal

Composite signals are composed of three things- the black and white picture element called Luma, the color component called the Chroma, and the timing component called Sync. Bundled together, these are called the composite signal.

Among the red, yellow, and white connecting leads, the yellow one is usually designated for the composite video. And the red and white leads are for the sound. The standard definition TVs use component video signals. But it is not compatible with high definition TV. VCR saw extensive use of composite video. To date, you can find a yellow output socket in the TVs, set-top boxes, projectors, and VCRs.

The drawback of Composite video is the phenomenon of the cross-color interface. Usually, this happens when the composite signal cannot separate the chroma or the color information from the luma or the monochrome information. The residual is termed as the cross-color interface. Due to this, you can see some disrupted outlines on an image.

How Does The Component Look Like?

The composite cable is quite simple. All you have the do is to plug in the yellow cable in the yellow socket of the AV equipment. The composite cable looks like this.

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The yellow socket at the rear of the AV equipment is shown below.

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Difference Between SCART and Composite

Both are used for analog transmissions. SCART is used less, but the use of composite video is much lesser than SCART. Composite is neglected because of its low video quality. Even though the composite video application is simple, the image quality is grainy because of the cross-color interface. Use composite video if there is an old VCR to connect to the TV.

Let’s have a look at the differences between SCART and composite.

Picture qualitySCART can transmit the signals in composite, component, and s-video formats, thus ensuring good picture quality.Composite lacks in fine picture quality.
CapabilityIt has RGB capabilities.It doesn’t have any.
ConnectionsSCART has 21 pins in the connector.Composite has an easier application with just one yellow cable.
ColorSCART projects well-defined colors.Composite suffers from a cross-color interface.
UsesAlthough old, it can still be used in some AV equipment.Composite can be used to connect an old VCR to the TV.


The differences between SCART and composite portrays a clear picture. Above all, digital technology has already clouded analog technology. But if we minus the digital technology for a second, it is preferred to opt for component or SCART over composite. Composite videos suffered many sets back but still survived to dig up the old memories of video games and VCRs.

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