Component video is a video signal that has been split into two or more components. In popular use, it refers to a type of analog video information that is transmitted or stored as three separate signals. Component video can be contrasted with composite video (such as NTSC or PAL) in which all the video information is combined into a single line level signal. Component video cables do not carry audio.
Analog component video
Reproducing a video signal on a display device (for example, a CRT) is a straightforward process complicated by the multitude of signal sources. LaserDisc, DVD, VHS, computers and video game consoles all store, process and transmit video signals using different methods, and often each will provide more than one signal option. One way of maintaining signal clarity is by separating the components of a video signal so that they do not interfere with each other. When a signal is separated this way it is called 'component video'. S-Video, RGB and Y'PbPr signals comprise two or more separate signals: hence, all are 'component video' signals. For most consumer-level applications, analog component video is used. Digital component video is slowly becoming popular in both computer and home-theatre applications.
RGB analog component video
The various RGB (Red, Green, Blue) analog component video standards (e.g., RGBS, RGBHV, RG&SB) use no compression and impose no real limit on color depth or resolution, but require large bandwidth to carry the signal and contain much redundant data since each channel typically includes the same black and white image. Most modern computers offer this signal via the VGA port. Many televisions, especially in Europe, utilize RGB via the SCART connector. All arcade games, excepting early vector and black and white games, use RGB monitors.
Analog RGB is slowly falling out of favor as computers obtain better clarity using Digital (DVI) video and home theater moves towards HDMI. Analog RGB has been largely ignored, despite its quality and suitability, as it cannot easily be made to support Digital Rights Management. RGB was never popular in North America for consumer electronics, as S-Video was considered sufficient.
RGB requires an additional signal for synchronizing the video display. Several methods are used:
composite sync, where the horizontal and vertical signals are mixed together on a separate wire (the S in RGBS) separate sync, where the horizontal and vertical are each on their own wire (the H and V in RGBHV) sync on green, where a composite sync signal is overlaid on the green wire (SoG or RGsB). Composite sync is common in the European SCART connection scheme. Sometimes a full composite video signal may also serve as the sync signal, though often computer monitors will be unable to handle the extra video data. A full composite sync video signal requires four wires – Red, Green, Blue, Sync. If separate cables are used, the sync cable is usually colored white (or yellow, as is the standard for composite video).
Separate sync is most common with VGA, used worldwide for analog computer monitors. This is sometimes known as RGBHV, as the horizontal and vertical synchronization pulses are sent in separate channels. This mode requires five conductors. If separate cables are used, the sync lines are usually yellow (V) and white (H), or yellow (V) and black (H), or black (V) and gray (H).
Sync on Green (SoG) is the least common, and while some VGA monitors support it, most do not. Sony is a big proponent of SoG, and most of their monitors (and their PlayStation 2 video game console) use it. SoG devices require additional circuitry to remove the sync signal from the green line. A monitor that is not equipped to handle SoG will display an image with an extreme green tint, if any image at all, when given a SoG input.
Y'PbPr analog component video
Further types of component analogue video signals do not use R,G,B components but rather a colorless component, termed luma, combined with one or more color-carrying components, termed chroma, that give only color information. This overcomes the problem of data redundancy that plagues RGB signals, since there is only one black and white image carried, instead of three. Both the S-Video component video output (two separate signals) and the Y'PbPr component video output (three separate signals) seen on DVD players are examples of this method.
Converting video into luma and chroma allows for chroma subsampling, a method used by JPEG images and DVD players to reduce the storage requirements for images and video. The Y'PbPr scheme is usually what is meant when people talk of component video today. Many consumer DVD players, high-definition displays, video projectors and the like, use this form of color coding.
These connections are commonly and mistakenly labeled with terms like "YUV" and Y, B-Y, R-Y. This is inaccurate since Y'UV, Y'PbPr, and Y' B'-Y' R'-Y' differ in their scale factors.
In component video systems, additional synchronization signals may need to be sent along with the images. The synchronization signals are commonly transmitted on one or two separate wires, or embedded in the blanking period of one or all of the components. In computing, the common standard is for two extra wires to carry the horizontal and vertical components ('separate syncs'), whereas in video applications it is more usual to embed the sync signal in the Y' component ('sync on luma').
When used for connecting a video source to a video display where both support 4:3 and 16:9 display formats, the PAL television standard provides for signaling pulses that will automatically switch the display from one format to the other. However Y'PbPr does not support this operation.
For further detail, please refer to the source article in wikipaedia.