With modern technology and all the video systems we have available to us, sooner or later you will have a conversation with someone who claims the picture quality using HDMI is far better than the picture quality while using Component. When pressed, they can rarely tell you why they feel this way. There are in fact differences. Whether one is better than the other is personal preference. But let us explore the differences before you decide.
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and it is digital. Component is analog. HDMI is standard for interfacing televisions, video game consoles and computers. Component is an analog means of transporting signals between the devices.
Component needs an individual line for each data stream it needs to transmit. So, video and stereo would require 5 lines. HDMI is much less work. It uses a single line to transmit standard definition and high definition and 8 channels of audio. To connect two devices together you would need one wire versus 5 or more with component.
When the source is analog, component is adequate. But when the source is LCD display or Blu-Ray, HDMI is preferred. HDMI sends the data in digital which is how LCD displays it. If you are using component, it has to be converted from analog to digital to the LCD Display and the converted back from analog to digital so it can be displayed on the screen. A huge amount of data is lost in the conversions so the component source ends up displaying a much lower quality video.
HDMI is not usually affected by environmental factors. However and interference from the environment will affect the picture quality on a component source.
Component has the ability to go to 1080i. That in theory should give the same quality as HDMI. The problem is in the interface. Some Blue-Ray has code built in that is only readable with HDMI. You have to consider the video and audio capabilities of the gaming systems, computers and surround sound. The simple fact is, with HDMI you get the easiest connection, less mess from wires, and full video and audio benefit out of the box. There is nothing extra to do, to make it operate at full potential.
Component has the ability, but it takes more effort and once you are in operation, more things can interfere with the results. HDMI is simply an easier method of getting the same or in some cases, much better results. There is less interference and HDMI is designed to work with the latest video systems.
If you plan on upgrading your video systems, computer or LCD display in the future, you would fare better to go ahead and use the HDMI connection now. It will save you a lot of aggravation in the future.