The BIG Technical Jargon Guide

If you need answers to broadband jargon or technical terminology you're in the right place


A Glossary of Essential Common Cables

This page outlines the essential role of various common cables for connecting TVs, mobile phones, and broadband. Explore more technical terms by choosing a different topic from our menu or enter a specific query into the search box to get started. Please note that our BIG terminology guide has hundreds of entries so if you use a common word in your search, you may have to scroll through several results to find what you're looking for.

Last modified: February 2024

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What is a DisplayPort cable?

A DisplayPort cable is a cable used to connect a computer or other device to a display, such as a monitor or TV. It allows the device to transmit high-quality audio and video signals to the display, providing a clear and crisp image.

DisplayPort in more technical detail

Unlike analogue interfaces, such as VGA or DVI, DisplayPort cables transmit high-quality audio and video signals using digital signals, resulting in a clearer and more vivid picture. DisplayPort cables can also support advanced features such as 4K resolution, high dynamic range (HDR) and variable refresh rates (VRR) for a smoother and more immersive viewing experience. They are commonly used in gaming, video editing and other applications that require high-quality display output.

What is an ethernet cable?

An ethernet cable, also known as a network cable, is used to connect electronic devices, such as computers, routers, switches and other networking equipment. It is designed to transmit data between devices over a wired network. Ethernet cables come in different categories, such as Cat5, Cat6 and Cat7, each with varying levels of speed and performance. The cables typically have a rectangular-shaped plug on either end that fits into an ethernet port on the device. Ethernet cables are commonly used in home and office networks to provide reliable and fast internet connections, as well as to connect devices for file sharing or other purposes.

What is a HDMI cable?

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It's a type of cable used to transmit high-quality video and audio from one device to another. A HDMI cable connects two devices, like a Blu-ray player and a TV, allowing the user to enjoy high-definition content with superior picture and sound quality. It's a single cable that can transmit both digital video and audio signals.

What is a lightning cable?

A lightning cable is a type of cable that is used to charge and sync Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and iPods. The cable is named after the small, compact connector that is used to plug the cable into the device. Lightning cables are typically USB-to-lightning, meaning one end of the cable plugs into a USB port on a computer or charging adapter while the other end plugs into the lightning port on the Apple device.

What is an optical audio cable?

An optical audio cable, also known as a TOSLINK cable, is a type of cable used for transmitting digital audio signals between devices. It consists of a fibre optic cable and connectors that use light to transfer the audio signals, which provides higher quality sound than traditional analogue cables. The optical audio cable is popular in home theatre setups because it can transmit high-quality digital audio without any interference or loss of signal.

What is a scart cable?

A scart cable is a type of cable used to connect audio and video equipment, such as a DVD player or games console, to a TV. The cable features a 21-pin connector that carries both audio and video signals. Scart cables were commonly used in the 90s and early 2000s but have since been largely replaced by digital connection standards such as HDMI.

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