All Giz Wants: One Plug For Everything

All Giz Wants: One Plug For Everything

Come with us into the world of fantasy, where there's just one kind of plug and its associated cable that will work for every electronic device. What we would like to see is one cable that carries audio, video and power to or from whatever device you need to use. It needs to be small, it needs to have tremendous bandwidth (perhaps using fiber optics), and it needs to be smart enough not to ruin anything you plug it into. It sure would beat the alphabet soup we have to deal with now.

Think about it: you need an HDMI cable for your home theater equipment that carries audio as well as video, but now there's a new cable on the way called DisplayPort specifically made for computer displays. Or maybe you'd like to hook up your TV to your computer via VGA. Then there's the old-timey composite, component, and S-video connections.

Not digital enough for you? Let's use DVI, or if you want higher resolution, you'll need dual-link DVI. Then there's digital audio, connecting via fiber optic that can't even decide whether it's called Toslink or the eloquent S/PDIF. Or maybe choose a coaxial connector for your digital audio, the same as an RCA plug used to connect analog audio, not that cable TV variety of coaxial.

Want to connect hard drives? You could use USB 2.0, or FireWire 400 is just about as fast. Want FireWire 800? Oops, you'll need a different cable for that. What about the new FireWire 3200? Yep, it'll need new cable, too. Connecting faster SATA hard drives isn't simple, either, because if you want to hook them up internally, you'll need an "L" connector, but if you want to use the external SATA drives (eSATA), well, those use in an "I" connector, to keep you from using unshielded wires inside a PC. The confusion goes on and on.

Oh, and by the way, while you're dealing with this Tower of Babel, you'll have to sidestep all the ripoff artists trying to charge you ten times as much for a cable that does exactly the same thing as its cheapest counterpart.

It's a mess. Please, someone round up all the consumer electronics manufacturers, and somehow make them all use the same connectors. But that's like herding cats. We told you we were going into the world of fantasy, but anyway, that's All Giz Wants.