PCWorld's Giant Cable Guide

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PCWorld's Proprietary Cable Guide

Have a cable you don't recognize? Here's our guide to various proprietary, device-specific cables commonly used for game consoles and portable gadgets.

iPod Connector

Use it for: Connecting an iPod to anything

If you have a choice, select it instead of: The headphone-out port

It's similar in performance and use to: The headphone-out port (depending on its use)

It adapts to: USB, S-Video, component video, Toslink audio, RCA audio, and more

Apple has standardized its connector across different iPod models thus far, although the plug is still used only on iPods. Depending on the cable or device attached, this connector can result in USB, audio, video, and other ports.

Zune Connector

Use it for: Connecting a Zune to anything

If you have a choice, select it instead of: The headphone-out port

It's similar in performance and use to: The headphone-out port (depending on the situation)

It adapts to: USB, S-Video, component video, Toslink audio, RCA audio, and more

Similar to the situation with iPods, Microsoft has standardized its connector across different versions of its Zune player, but you won't find this plug on anything aside from Zunes. Depending on the cable or device attached, this connector can result in USB, audio, video, and other ports.

Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or Wii Connector

Use it for: Connecting a game console to a TV and audio system

It adapts to: S-Video, composite video, component video, RCA audio, VGA, and more

Video game consoles from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo (cables pictured here) all have proprietary jacks, though the Sony PlayStation 3 also uses standard HDMI. This setup allows the systems to send signals out to a variety of plugs, including component video, composite video, RCA audio, and S-Video.

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