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Does anyone know what these RCA-to-USB cables are/do? There doesn’t seem to be any electronics in the cable like an EasyCap, so I can only assume that the RCA connectors are directly connected to the USB pins. I suppose that it could be used for A/V capture, assuming of course that there were some kind of driver/software, but then again, I doubt that the computer would pick it up as a device of any kind when you connect it since it would be directly connected to a TV/VCR/etc. Looking around, I see mentions of connecting it to “RCA cameras”, but that does not clear things up at all.

What are they?

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I am also incredibly interested in this. Those cables are being sold all over the place, and as far as I can tell, they are completely useless. RCA type plugs are typically used for composite video and audio, both analog signals, and USB is a digital signal. Without a converting the signal this cable is just a bunch of junk. Perhaps there is some completely non-standard hardware out there which outputs a composite signal through a USB connector? – Tim M Apr 10 at 21:18

3 Answers 3

I did some digging and found some useful information in a review on Amazon. As you suspected, there is no analog/digital conversion hardware in the cable, the RCA lines are tied directly to the USB pins. The reviewer says that he disassembled a cable and found this pinout:

  • USB Ground and USB Data- -> Ground of all three RCA connectors
  • USB Data+ -> Left audio and video composite pins
  • USB Vcc -> Right audio pin

From that pinout, it is impossible for this cable to carry either a valid composite A/V signal (because the left audio and video composite pins are tied together), or a valid USB signal (because Data- and Ground are tied together). This cable is an elaborate—and surprisingly widespread—scam.

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hook a rca camera to the usb cable and you are now able to use any camera as a video conference room camera.

No driver needed. Most conference calls are able to be recorded thru the website you are using for the call.

You are correct! It will not work for recording, unless you are using some other program that allows you to delicate this camera for use inside the program you are using.

But there are many other usb cables that do cam with drivers to install for surveillance.

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According to the product description at Amazon, they are RCA-to-USB cables...

They plug into a camcorder via RCA, to display images/sound on certain "USB-enabled TVs and PCs."

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Exactly, but that doesn’t make sense; all modern PCs are “USB-enabled”, but I highly doubt that you can just plug an RCA A/V source into it and capture audio and video (for the reasons I mentioned in the post). Even with a TV, I would imagine that it would require a USB-to-USB cable the way a DVD/DivX-player with a USB connector does. – Synetech Jul 6 '11 at 6:29
Yeah, I don't know how it works. Google searching suggests that a driver is needed. But it does seem that it is intended only for camcorder-to-PC/TV, and not the other way around. I wonder if maybe it doesn't truly adhere to USB specs, and thus might not work through a USB hub? Or maybe there really are some conversion electronics in that little black box. I've seen a few other similar products on google with much larger boxes--with sufficient room for a PCB. Maybe the newer ones are just that much smaller. – Flimzy Jul 6 '11 at 6:36
There's a lump of plastic in the lead and also a large moulding round the USB connector - plenty of room for some electronics – Linker3000 Jul 6 '11 at 8:42
@Linker3000, possibly, but I suspect that those are just to make it easier to manufacture these cheap cables (smaller = more expensive). – Synetech Jul 7 '11 at 0:13
The product description is incorrect. These cables are scams. – Tim M Apr 11 at 2:08

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