YPBPR cables are also commonly referred to as Yipper cables. YPBPR is commonly called "component video" by manufacturers, but this is imprecise, as there are many other types of component video, most of which are some form of RGB.
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 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).
Female RCA connectors used to output YPBPR component video from a set-top-box, DVD player or similar device. Female connections in this configuration are also used for YPBPR inputs on display devices such as TVs.
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).