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YPbPr or Y'PbPr, also written as YPBPR, is a color space used in video electronics, in particular in reference to component video cables. YPbPr is the analog version of the YCbCr color space; the two are numerically equivalent but YPbPr is designed for use in analog systems whereas YCbCr is intended for digital video.
YPbPr is most commonly referred to as component video by manufacturers, though in truth this is imprecise: there are actually many types of component video, most of which are some form of RGB. Some video cards come with video-in video-out (VIVO) ports for connecting to component video devices.
YPbPr is converted from the RGB video signal, which is split into three components: Y, PB, and PR.
- Y carries luma (brightness or luminance) and synchronization (sync) information. Y = 0.2126 R + 0.7152 G + 0.0722 B. Before the advent of color television, the Y axis on an oscilloscope display of a video waveform represented the intensity of the scan line. With color, Y still represents intensity but it is a composite of the component colors.
- PB carries the difference between blue and luma (B − Y).
- PR carries the difference between red and luma (R − Y).
To send a green signal as a fourth component is redundant, as it can be derived using the blue, red and luma information.
When color signals were first added to the NTSC-encoded black and white video standard, the hue was represented by a phase shift of a color reference sub-carrier. P for phase information or phase shift has carried through to represent color information even in the case where there is no longer a phase shift used to represent hue. Thus, the Y PB PR nomenclature derives from engineering metrics developed for the NTSC color standard.
The same cables can be used for YPbPr and composite video. This means that the yellow, red, and white RCA connector cables commonly packaged with most audio/visual equipment can be used in place of the YPbPr connectors, provided the end user is careful to keep track of the device functions (i.e., connect any one of the individual functions to the corresponding function on the other end using any cable color).
Signals that use YPbPr offer enough separation that no color multiplexing is needed, so the quality of the extracted image is nearly identical to the signal before encoding. S-Video and composite video mix the signals together by means of electronic multiplexing; however, more often than not the signal is degraded at the display end as the display is not able to separate the signals completely. It is possible for their multiplexed counterparts to interfere with each other (see dot crawl).