If you have already invested in a projector, you must already be seeing many connections with different tech terms to each. The user manual, however, explains the function of each input or connector.
Connecting a projector can be intimidating with the kinds of options and functions involved. And there is also a fear of making the wrong connection and blowing off the projector.
There is a varied range of connections possible in a projector, starting from your laptop to a gaming console.
Identifying the purpose of each cable and each input point can be challenging. Therefore, here is a comprehensive guideline of all kinds of cables and connections possible in a projector, irrespective of the models.
Cable and Connection Types
Primarily there are two kinds of connections possible in a projector: digital and analog.
The cables supporting digital connections are HDMI, Optical, DisplayPort, DVI, and Ethernet. VGA, S-Video, Component Video, 3.5 mm input and output, and Composite Audio and Video are examples of analog connection.
Digital Video Cables
These are ideal connections for Digital video processing and storage.
In use since 2002, these High-Definition Multimedia Interfaces are the most popularly used A/V connections that can process and play media content in high definition.
HDMI cables can process both videos and audios together. Their usage is found commonly to connect HDMI monitors and displays to the HD media players.
It comes in 3 variations – DVI-D, DVI-I, DVI-A, were initially considered connectors for computer monitors. The audio was not supported for the cables until recently.
They stand as an alternative to HDMI and DisplayPort cables. DVI-D is digital, DVI-A is Analog and DVI-I is both analog and digital DVI.
If you are looking for HD A/V transmission, these cables are an alternative to HDMI cables. In just one cable, connected to two ports, both audio and video transmissions are possible.
It can support a wide variety of devices ranging from mobiles, game consoles, computers, cameras, and BD players and projectors.
DisplayPort cables can function on older technology, compatible with VGA, HDMI, and DVI cables.
Mobile Handheld Devices
Most projectors can process media from handheld devices, like mobile phones, tablets, and an iOS and Android-powered projector.
USB-C to HDMI Cables
Used for connecting Android devices to projectors. It is a 24-pin USB point that enables you to connect a regular HDMI cable to it. You can also use these adapters to connect a newer iPad to your projector.
iPhones and most other iOS devices use lightning ports and not USB-C ports. Lightning-to-HDMI cables make connecting your Apple device to your projector exceptionally simple.
While laptops are not handheld per se, they are mobile devices, and most of them come with an HDMI port to make connectivity easy.
If you have a MacBook or another device with a Thunderbolt 3 port, you can get your hands on a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI adapter to connect it to your projector.
Analog Video Cables
These cables were in function earlier than HDMI to connect TVs and computers.
Expansion of RCA is Radio Corporation of America. They are the age-old cables of red, yellow, and white color coding, which were used as A/V connectors. All ancient and some recent projector models have these ports.
This cable used to be the analog video transmitter that connected CTR TVs, old VCRs, and projectors’ models. The video quality is standard definition (SD).
Video Graphics Array cables are mostly analog video transmission cables. It is a connection between your PCs and the projector and has 15 uniquely operating pins. The first three ports are to transmit primary colors to your display device.
Audio Cables and Connections
These audio connectors are most commonly used and are an essential component of any projector.
The popular metal jack for audio has existed since the 20th Century. It’s an easy connection with your cell phones or musical instruments to headphones, speakers, etc.
These cables are used to connect audio with video. It starts from the left with red and moves to the right with white connectors, connecting stereo speakers for a surround sound effect.
TOSLINK or the optical audio cable connects audio networks like DVD and CD players, game consoles, computers, etc., to the A/V receiver, in this case, the projector.
These cables and connections are essential and yet can function without having to use an adapter. You can use the right converter in case of the unavailability of ports to connect to the projector.
It looks similar to the VGA port and was used to control the older projector models. These ports are used to connect communication devices like Modem to your projector and enable you to turn your projector on and off remotely.
These ports and cables are mostly used to connect external hard drives, old smartphone models, printers, etc. They are connected through a USB Type B cable and interfaced through your computer to the projector.
You can also connect your projector’s remote to your projector using these cables – the remote will function as a wireless mouse when you’re giving a presentation.
LAN (Ethernet Or RJ45)
Local Area Network cables are predominantly used to control and connect the data transmission.
The projector models with Ethernet, RJ45, and LAN allow you to process and transmit both audio and video data, like in HDMI, VGA connections, only the quality being slightly lower.
Projectors are connected to the electrical ports through a power cord. In some models, the projectors have an in-built battery that self-powers itself. The standard voltage to power a projector is 100-120 volts.
Multiple ports with numerous cable connections deliver a wide range of functions. These cables are essential and are often color-coded for understanding.
Once you have procured the projector, follow the instructions to connect the right cables to the correct ports. Some ports are also available for streaming services or devices like Amazon fire stick, Roku, etc.
You may need some extra cables and connectors to interface the projector with A/V devices correctly in some projectors.