What are the ports in TVs, mean, explained

Blog

USB type and USB versionwhats the difference?

Type

Version

The shape of the USB connector or port

Examples: USB Type-C, USB Type-B Micro

The technology that allows data to be transferred along a cable from one device to another

Examples: USB 2.0, USB 3.0

Read more about USB versions on our page about USB compatibility.

Video

How can I get Netflix on a non smart TV?

Download the Netflix app from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Once installed, you can log in using your Netflix account and password. You can then enjoy hundreds of films right on your smartphone or tablet.

Can the Monitor Ports Charge Devices?

USB ports on a hub do pass power through the ports. That means you can charge USB devices by plugging them into your monitor.

What’s more, is that your monitor has its own power supply. 

So, even if you don’t connect the monitor to the computer, you can still get power from the USB ports on the monitor.

This is a great way to use your monitor as a charging station if you don’t need the other resources available from the USB hub.

HDMI ports in TVs explained

Universal Serial Bus – serial data transfer between electronic devices.To connect peripheral devices to the USB bus special cable is used, The presence of built-in USB power lines allows you to connect a USB device without its own power supply. Standard USB outputs 5V 0.5A, but due to the increasing number of devices that consume more power 0.5A, in TVs and kits the ports give increased power of 1A. In the picture you can see (enlarged) Samsung SMART TV 3D Full HD LED UE40ES6100, that the lower USB port is signed HDD 5V 1A, it can power a device that consumes up to 1 amp.

You can see in the TV USB ports of two standards USB 2.0, USB 3.0USB 3.0 is the third major version of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard for connecting devices. Among other improvements, USB 3.0 adds a new data transfer mode called “SuperSpeed” (SS) capable of transferring data at up to 5 Gbps (625 MB/s), which is more than ten times the high speed of 480 Mbps (60 MB/s).

USB is now mostly used to connect flash drives to watch videos. Some video streaming devices can also be connected to USB.

How many watts does a TV USB port supply?

In general, the specifications for a USB 1.0 and 2.0 standard downstream port, delivers up to 500 mA or 0.5A. Also, with a USB 3.0, it can provide up to 900mA or 0.9A, which translates into 4.5 watts.

3. Firmware update

You can directly update your TV’s firmware to the latest version if connected to the internet. Another way to get it done is by downloading the latest firmware software of your TV model from the manufacturer’s support website on your computer. Transfer the file to a USB drive and connect to your TV.

Under the “Software Upgrade” section of your TV, choose the “update by/from USB” option. Your TV will automatically locate the update file and commence the update process.

What About USB-C Ports on Monitors?

So far, we have only covered traditional USB ports.

USB-C is the most modern version of USB. These ports are a different shape from the rectangular USB slots we all recognize, and they provide considerably more functionality than older USB connections.

For anyone unfamiliar, USB-C is the connection used on most non-Apple smartphones.

It can charge them and allow them to connect to external devices, media, and computers.

Many modern monitors have USB-C ports on them, and they provide a number of options for users.

For starters, the USB-C ports here can function like a hub that works the same way as what was already discussed. 

You can attach USB-C peripherals this way, and they will be able to directly communicate with the computer.

You can also charge USB-C devices (like a phone), and they will charge faster than if you use a USB 3 (or older) port.

Overall, USB-C ports allow you to communicate with the computer, add data storage, play videos, and more.

There’s an additional feature of USB-C that makes it even more interesting as a port choice for a monitor.

You can daisy-chain additional monitors using these ports. This is to say that you can plug an additional monitor into your current monitor using that USB-C port. 

When you do, you add a fully functional display to your setup. In most cases, the second monitor doesn’t even need a power cable. It draws enough juice from that USB-C port.

You can continue the daisy chain beyond a second monitor. This will depend on the design of the monitor.

For larger monitors that work at higher qualities, the power needed to function is higher than average. 

If power needs are not constraining, you can daisy-chain up to three additional monitors to your original. That means you can have four working displays on one setup using USB-C daisy chains. 

Keep in mind that each added monitor will need an open USB-C slot to continue the chain.

What If My TV Doesnt Have a USB Port?

If your TV doesn't have a USB port, you can easily add one. Most TVs have several HDMI ports, and you can connect your phone via an HDMI to USB adapter. Simply plug in your phone to the USB side of the adapter, and plug in the HDMI end to a free port. Then set your TV to that port and keep going.

There are a couple drawbacks to be aware of:

  • It's unlikely that the USB connection will charge your phone, which means you need to watch your battery life.
  • The connection may not be quite as fast as the wireless connection. But it will probably be your best option.

 Scart, RGB, RCA ports in TVs explained

European standard Scart connector for connecting multimedia devices to your TV, e.g. VCR, DVD player. An obsolete format, it is designed to transmit an analog signal to your TV. SCART connection integrates various devices, it combines all necessary signals in one connector. RGB is a similar format, only video and audio are output on separate connectors.

Video and audio connections

(Image credit: Future)

HDMI: HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, and is the standard connection for modern video and audio across TVs, media players and audio products. Almost any device you want to connect to your TV will use HDMI, but that doesn’t mean that the standardized HDMI connector will always offer the same connection and features. With a standardized connector shape and digital signal that can carry everything from ultra HD video and surround sound to internet data, HDMI is a versatile connection. But there’s more than one version of HDMI, and new HDMI standards have added new features and functions to seemingly identical HDMI ports.

(Image credit: Amazon)

In fact there are three primary versions of HDMI that you’re likely to find on today’s TVs, each with slightly different capabilities and features. If you’re lucky, these are clearly marked on your TV, along with identifying what standard they use. More often however, you’ll need to dig into the user’s manual or find the product page for your TV and look at the technical specifications to determine which are which.

  • HDMI 1.4 – Supports 1080p and 720p video and sound, but generally isn’t used on modern 4K TVs.
  • HDMI 2.0 – Supports 4K picture and refresh rates up to 60Hz. Unless specifically identified as HDMI 2.1, this is the most common HMDI version in use on today’s TVs.
  • HDMI 2.0a – An update to HDMI 2.0 that added support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) metadata.
  • HDMI 2.0b – An update to HDMI 2.0 that added support for Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) video, which is a different form of HDR used in TV broadcasting.
  • HDMI 2.1 – used by the latest game consoles and found on higher-end TVs, HDMI 2.1 offers more bandwidth for supporting higher frame rates, up to 8K resolution, and a number of distinct features. Here are the best TVs with HDMI 2.1.

Generally speaking, most current TVs have 3 or 4 HDMI ports (we recommend opting for more when you can). If you find yourself with more devices than you have ports, you should probably get one of the best cheap HDMI switchers to add some extra connections.

Find out more about the latest HDMI offerings in our article What is HDMI 2.1? Here’s everything you need to know.

ARC or eARC: It’s also likely that one of those HDMI ports will be labelled ARC, which is short for Audio Return Channel, a feature of some HDMI connections. It offers two-way communication between devices over a single HDMI connection, letting you use a single HDMI cable to connect a TV and soundbar, using that single HDMI as both an input and an audio output.

A newer version of ARC is included in HDMI 2.0 and 2.1, called enhanced audio return channel (eARC). The biggest improvement eARC offers is support for full-resolution audio signal, meaning that it supports Dolby Atmos and other uncompressed sound formats.

Learn more in our guide What is HDMI ARC?

(Image credit: Monoprice)

Coaxial/RF connector: A threaded connection used with coaxial cable for connecting a TV antenna or older cable and satellite TV equipment (though cable and satellite now use HDMI exclusively). This connection uses a screw-on RG-6 or RG-59 cable, and feeds into the TV’s built-in TV tuner. Because coaxial cable is used to transmit both UHF and VHF radio waves, this is the standard connection for over-the-air TV signal, including current ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 digital standards.

(Image credit: Fosmon)

RCA connection: This round style of plug is often referred to as an RCA connection, which is short for Radio Corporation of America, the company that developed the plug design. RCA plugs are used for audio, composite video and component video connections.

Composite video: An older video connection that’s still found on current smart TVs, and can be identified by a yellow RCA connection, or sometimes a yellow headphone jack-style connector (generally with an included headphone jack-to-RCA adapter). This older standard uses analog video signal, and doesn’t support HD video formats, but is useful for connecting older devices, like DVD players and retro gaming equipment.

(Image credit: Adaptermvp)

Often on modern TVs, this connection will look very different, using a headphone jack-style connection that is marked yellow or labeled “AV input.” This requires an adapter, which combines composite video with RCA stereo sound on a single connection.

(Image credit: Cmple)

Component video: Another older video connection (and one which has largely disappeared from current TVs), is component video. While it uses the same RCA type connectors as composite video, it carries analog video signal that has been split into three separate signals for higher picture fidelity.

Stereo analog audio: Easily identified by a pair of red and white inputs, this audio connection is used for stereo sound, with the white connection carrying the left channel signal and the red connection carrying the right channel.

Headphone/3.5-millimeter audio jack: A familiar sight that might still leave you confused is a normal looking headphone jack. Though rarely located in a convenient spot for your average set of wired headphones, you can, in fact, use this jack for private listening with a longer audio cable. The connection is also used for connecting wired stereo speakers.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Digital optical audio: (Sometimes labelled TOSLINK or S/PDIF.) An audio connection originally developed by Toshiba, which uses fiber optic cable and pulsed light to send digital audio signals. Though it was a cutting edge technology in it’s day – digital optical audio was once the must-have connection for multi-channel sound – it doesn’t offer the same broad format support of HDMI, and is limited to a maximum 16-foot cable length. This older audio connection is still found on many TVs thanks to the prevalence of older audio hardware. 

USB types explained

The term “USB type” can mean three different things:

  1. The connectors at the end of a USB cable
  2. The ports the cable is plugging into
  3. The cable itself (and sometimes this will have two types in its name)

In the case of 1 and 2, the type describes the physical shape of the connectors or ports.

This cable would plug into two ports that have these shapes:

USB Type-C

USB Type-C

USB Type-A

USB Type-A

Although a cable has two differently shaped connectors, it takes the name of whichever connector is not USB Type-A. That’s because USB Type-A is the most commonly used USB port and connector so an alternative type is the most distinguishing feature.

For example, this cable would be considered a USB Type-C cable.

USB cable types are explained in more detail below.

Types of USB connector

USB connectors are sometimes referred to as “male” connectors, as they plug into a “female” port.

The different types of connector—shown by USB version—are as follows.

USB 2.0

Type-A

Type-A

Type-B

Type-B

Type-B Mini

Type-B Mini

Type-B Micro

Type-B Micro

USB 3.0

Type-A

Type-A

Type-B

Type-B

Type-C

Type-C

Type-B Micro

Type-B Micro

USB Type-A Mini
  • Developed to allow On-The-Go (OTG) peripheral devices such as smartphones and tablets to function as host devices for keyboards and mice
  • Superseded by USB Type-B Mini and Type-B micro connectors
USB Type-B Mini
  • Found on digital cameras, external hard drives, USB hubs and other equipment
  • Used by USB 1.1 and 2.0
USB Type-A Micro
  • Found on USB On-The-Go (OTG) devices such as smartphones and tablets
  • Doesn’t have a dedicated port but instead fits into a special AB port which accommodates both USB Type-A Micro and USB Type-B Micro
  • Mostly superseded by USB Type-B Micro
USB Type-B Micro
  • Used by modern Android devices as their standard charging plug and port

1. As a single type

For example, a USB Type-C cable.

With these cables, the type is whichever end of the cable isn’t the standard USB Type-A connector. So, for example, a cable with both a USB Type-A and a Type-C connector is a USB Type-C cable.

If both connectors are USB Type-A, it would be a USB Type-A cable (or a USB male to male cable or, simply, a USB cable).

An iPhone cable is described as an Apple Lightning cable, to correspond with the iPhone’s unique Lightning connector.

An Android cable is called a Micro-USB cable.

2. As one type to another

For example, a USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable.

If the cable has a Type-A connector at one end (as in the above image), that will usually be the first type. The second will be the shape of connector that will plug into your device.

Some cables have the same connector at both ends and are named accordingly—for example, a USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable.

Types of USB port

The port (also called a socket, jack or receptacle) is the part of your device the USB connector plugs into. USB ports are sometimes referred to as “female”, as they accept a “male” connector.

The different types of port—shown by USB version—are as follows:

USB 2.0

Type-A

Type-A

Type-B

Type-B

Type-B Mini

Type-B Mini

Type-B Micro

Type-B Micro

USB 3.0

Type-A

Type-A

Type-B

Type-B

Type-C

Type-C

Type-B Micro

Type-B Micro

Apple Lightning

Tags