Bear with me because I am very new to this topic.

I saw a setup where someone was recording using two cameras and sending the output to a laptop. The camera output was sent via a three pin cable which I now know is known as RCA. These outputs were sent to something known as a selector which allows you to select the camera by flipping a switch.

When reading online I see that the RCA cable is used to transport an analog signal. But these camcorders also have HDMI output. Does this mean that the cameras can output either analog or digital signal?

PS. In the above setup, the output of the selector was sent to a device named ADVC-55. Reading online I see that it is used to convert analog signal to digital. The problem is that the video observed on the laptop monitor seems lower quality than what is previewed in the camera. Hence my question to understand if this ADVC-55 device is needed at all for this purpose or if there is a different way to get better quality.

  • 1
    RCA is two-pin, but I'm guessing there were three rca connectors, one red, one white and one yellow, which would be right audio, left audio and composite video. Unless there was a red, green and blue connector in which case you're dealing with component video.
    – stib
    Jan 8, 2021 at 6:13
  • After the introduction of HDMI, it wasn't uncommon to see camcorders with both HDMI and RCA. The RCA was for backwards compatibility with TVs, VCRs, and other video equipment that hadn't yet adopted the new standard. Feb 8, 2021 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


The best way to answer this definitively would be if you know the model of the camera.

RCA cables from video cameras are nearly always analogue signals. It is possible for a camera to have both digital outputs such as HDMI and SDI, and analogue outputs such as component or composite video from RCA sockets. The analogue outputs are almost always standard definition (ie 480 or 576 lines of video).

HDMI outputs are usually high definition 1080 lines (or possibly 720 on older cameras, higher on newer 4K cameras).

If you are asking how to capture video from a camera with HDMI output in high quality into a computer with USB3, I would use an adaptor such as the Elgato HD60 S Capture Card.

  • Thanks for the answer. I would like to achieve what you mention, including the capability to attach multiple cameras and switch between them. I am looking at amazon.de/-/en/RGBLink-multi-format-video-mixer-inputs/dp/… . Do you know a better/cheaper alternative?
    – Pubudu
    Jan 7, 2021 at 16:06
  • I would do this in software instead. Maybe make a new question outlining exactly what your needs are. A couple of cheapish webcams and OBS software might solve your problem without having to buy expensive switchers obsproject.com
    – tomh
    Jan 7, 2021 at 18:04
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    Worth noting that RCA video connectors are almost guaranteed to be standard definition (480p). Any high definition analog equipment is most likely going to have BNC connectors.
    – stib
    Jan 8, 2021 at 6:11
  • Think UK PAL might be 576 lines
    – tomh
    Jan 8, 2021 at 10:56

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