A VGA cable is a lead used for transmitting video signals, and it is most commonly used to link computers with monitors. Some high definition televisions use this type of cable as well. VGA stands for video graphics array, and it was a graphics standard used by IBM in its early PCs sold in the 1980s. Today, all PCs support VGA, but most of them use a more advanced system depending on the actual monitor used. The Windows® loading screen appears using VGA as it is seen before the computer loads the relevant information about the monitor to use.
In most cases, the term "VGA" refers to the type of cable used to carry the display signals, regardless of the actual graphics system being used. It’s characterized by 15 pins on the plug in three rows of five. The plug also has two screws, one either side of the pins, that secure it into place in the socket. These screws have ridged edges, meaning they can be tightened and loosened by hand rather than needing a screwdriver.
There are a wide range of VGA cables available at differing prices. More expensive models offer features such as gold plating on the plugs, or shielding to prevent the individual wires from causing interference. Many people believe these offer little improvement and generally aren’t worth the extra costs, however, and as a rule of thumb, the difference in picture quality between an extremely cheap cable and an averagely priced one will be much more significant than between an averagely priced cable and an expensive one. Individuals should also buy the shortest cable that meets their needs, as this will prevent signal degradation.
In addition to computers, VGA cables can be used with some games consoles, allowing them to be used with a computer monitor, which may offer a better quality picture than older cathode ray televisions, particularly for games that have fine detail or small text. The quality will not be as good as with a television set that can connect to the console through a component video connection or a high-definition input such as HDMI, which means that it is often only a makeshift option.
Some high definition television sets have a VGA input, and there is a great debate about whether an analog signal carried by a video cable can offer picture quality as good as the digital signal carried through methods such as HDMI. There is also a problem that some television sets with multiple sockets only have advanced picture processing features switched on for digital connections. The relatively low price of a VGA cable means this option may be worth trying out before people decide to switch the screen or input device to models that carry digital signals.