S-Video: Format and Use of Technology

S-Video is an abbreviated term for Separated or Super Video. This video technology enables you to divide the video information to a cable into two signals: according to (1) brightness, and (2) color.

Difference from Other Video Formats

This video format is unlike composite video, which transmits solely the picture information; hence the signal is of lower quality. Meanwhile, component video is also different in that the picture information is divided into three separate signals that are of higher quality – mostly one for brightness and the other two for color.

The S-Video technology creates better picture quality and sharper images when transmitted to a television. The reason being televisions are mostly designed in such a way that separately displays the luminance (Y) and chrome (C) signals. Thus, S-Video is also referred to as Y/C video.


The separation of the brightness and color components of the video makes this type of video signal often considered as a type of component video. But knowing the great breakthroughs that video schemes has seen (say, RGB), it can be considered to be of low quality.

What sets S-video apart from other (and much higher) video schemes is the fact that color information is transmitted as one signal. Therefore, it needs a special device to encode the colors. However, if you aim for full compatibility on these signals in an S-video, you have to use a compatible device for color encoding. Aside from that, S-video typically has lower color resolution.

History of the S-Video

Despite the fact that S-Video technology has been present in the market since the start of the 80’s, it wasn’t until nearly the end of the 80’s that it was recognized, alongside the release of the S-VHS. The said video system, though, failed to reach mainstream success, despite being adopted as home theater segment.

Meanwhile, during the 90’s the S-Video port was released alongside the larger TVs (25”). Other devices that also brought along a support for S-Video technology included DVD players, videocassette recorders, video game consoles, satellite receivers, and computer Video cards.

To connect an S-Video signal, you will need a 4-pin mini DIN connector and because of the expansive use of this technology for most home component systems such as DVD players, you can get this cable in the market at relatively low price.