- RF: The lowest quality of the bunch, RF uses radio frequencies to transmit video, and it hooks up to the antenna port on your TV. There is almost no reason to use this on a modern set.
- Composite: Composite video improves on RF by separating video and audio into their own cables: You'd probably recognize the familiar yellow, red, and white RCA cables used to do this job (the yellow cable transmitted video and the others transmitted audio). Believe it or not, these were designed in the 1940s, and while still ubiquitous, produce very low-quality video.
- S-Video: S-video split the luminance and chrominance—aka, the black-and-white and color signals of a picture—into two separate lines within the cable, providing better image quality than composite. These are less common on modern TVs and receivers, but you will see them occasionally.
- RGB or SCART: This format splits the video signal up even further, giving red, green, and blue signals their own lines, providing a cleaner picture than all of the above options. While some retro systems supported this using a SCART cable, most U.S. televisions didn't support that, since the format was more common in Europe. As a result, you probably won't be able to use this without some sort of converter box—which we'll get to in a moment.
- Component: This is similar to RGB (the cables are even red, green, and blue), but more common in the United States. Most consoles didn't come with component output, but these days, you can grab component cables for compatible systems at HD Retrovision.