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A video coupler is a piece of hardware used in installing video cabling. It can also be a device that captures images from telescopes, microscopes, and similar equipment. In the second sense, it may also be known as a video adapter, depending on manufacturer; this can be somewhat confusing, because hardware intended to convert between cable formats is also called a video adapter. The intended meaning of the phrase is usually clear from the context.
Technicians use video cables to carry a feed from a camera, playback device, or similar piece of equipment. The feed can display on screen, route through a projection system, or output into another device. Depending on the type of system and the cabling used, there may be multiple pins for audio, and several different channels can be handled in one cable. More sophisticated systems tend to offer better quality, but are also more expensive.
Hardware like a video coupler can extend the functionality of the system. Technicians can use it to attach two cables extending the distance covered. A cameraperson covering an event might need a video coupler to connect cables to meet a mobile van, for instance. Couplers can also allow people to connect cables hardwired into devices with other pieces of equipment. They may include male or female connections, depending on the system they are designed for.
A high quality video coupler is important for a high performance system to avoid degrading the signal. The best choice can depend on the system and the components used in the existing cabling. If the signal quality is very good originally, an expensive video coupler may not make a significant difference. This device is only as good as the system is works on, and poorly constructed cables may degrade the signal as it is transmitted.
In the case of optics devices, the video coupler allows a technician to capture video and still images from binoculars, telescopes, and microscopes. It attaches to the eyepieces and can be adjusted to perfect the focus and calibrate the color capture. Such equipment is used to generate a record of observations and to create images for illustrating articles and discussions; for example, a video coupler can take still images of the stages of cell division for a textbook on the subject. This equipment can be expensive, as it needs to be fitted with an array of sensors to pick up light along with hardware to interface with the system.