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CVBS, which stands for “composite video baseband signal” or “color, video, blanking and sync,” is the yellow RCA cable used to transmit analog video feeds (white and red are for stereo audio).

What is CVBS?

CVBS, which is also sometimes referred to as composite video, is one of the standard cabling systems used for analog video. Many older analog CCTV security cameras are connected using CVBS. These are cheap and easy to install cables and were instrumental in early security camera installations.

CVBS refers to the yellow cable in the RCA system, named for the Radio Corporation of America that invented the system in the 1930s. Along with the white and red cables, which combined provide stereo audio, the RCA system makes it easy for anyone to color-match the cables to the right ports to connect A/V equipment.

While the RCA system was still widely used until recently for short distance transmission (e.g., to connect a VHS machine to a TV), the high level of noise led to their phasing out for longer distances, for example from a security camera on a retail shop floor to the back office, in favor of TVI.

Indeed, CVBS cables are notorious for noise, which limits their range. In fact, CVBS cables are limited to a modest length of 50 m/160 ft. This makes them impractical for many security applications.

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Why is CVBS important?

There are still many analog security cameras in use today. While the technology can be considered obsolete, it would still be expensive to replace still functioning analog cameras with newer IP cameras, so the related technologies, including CVBS and TVI cables, are still found in many businesses.

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