Many modern HDTV sets have several HDMI inputs and assuming the components you want to connect to your set have HDMI outputs, that's still the best way to connect them. Beware, a $15.00 HDMI cable performs equally to $75.00 HDMI cable. The exception may be a HDMI cable that does not have a manufacturer's name on it: if they are not 'proud' enough to brand it, it may be junk. I have one of those if you want it ... so far, I can't give it away.
HDMI is pretty much going to be your only choice for several reasons.
TV manufacturers are dropping composite inputs, or combining them with the component jacks. HDMI inputs are now prominently featured on new TVs and other A/V gear. Even the new Honda Odyssey comes with HDMI inputs for its rear seat entertainment system.
Device manufacturers are also emphasizing HDMI. Apple TV, for example, is HDMI only pretty much.
HDMI is a godsend for cable management. A single cable that does audio, video, control and optionally ethernet? A dream come true.
HDMI is Hollywood's dream come true. HDMI is basically a secure, encrypted connection between devices and your TV. It has DRM built in and the cable companies are already testing the waters. They are reluctant to tee off consumers though, so they are treading carefully. Basically the HDMI outputs will display full resolution but the cable company can send a flag that will lower the resolution of analog outputs such as component while HDMI remains at full resolution. This is to discourage piracy, although most people who engage in piracy actually rip the content at its source (DVD, Blu-ray or download off the DVR).
This is not even taking into account support for 1080p, high definition audio formats etc.
well HDMI as n2rj said is a best type of connection but for sources of High definition and high datastream, can show a great image and have great capabilities due the broadcast is fully digital, unlike video component or y pb pr connection that also support HD resolutions but is analogic processing so the television needs do the work of process the analogic source separated too
for be objective
the best connections for an newer television are
HDMI (the best) if your components supports HDMI
Video component (y-pb-pr) for older components that can show up HD images or good quality images (SD resolutions best performance) in HD is a acceptable quality
S-Video also is not new is very old comes since the laser disc was made (SD resolutions best performance)
Composite video well is very old this one no futher comments about it (SD resolutions best performance)
HDMI cable offers bi directional communication
also if both components are compatible can offer HDMI CEC (basically can take control with one remote control of the basic options of the HDMI component connected) many brands of components the advanced functions are not compatible between brands but can put pause or play to a video without compatibilty problems.
also offer uncompressed audio and Video and also supports big datastreams so is suitable for HD content where quality is priority. and also one cable for audio/video/ data broadcast like internet via HDMI and control setup features over HDMI
also the versions of HDMI are very importants
first HDMI televisions comes with the 1.2 version of HDMI basically can show up an color spectrum of 8 bits
1.3 versions or also called XV color supports color spectrums of 16 bits and also video in 3D modes
1.4a supports 3D video and have an improved capability of manage big datastreams.
about HDMI CEC
can some functions not be compatible with HDMI CEC ie an panasonic TV is not compatible with some functions of HDMI CEC of an blu ray Philips basically in the tv remote control can not use the button submenu due an compatibilty problems between brands.
that is my experience with HDMI CEC but can control basic reproduction play- pause-fast forward etc
in all televisions can turn on and setup the right input even in my viera television can do the blu ray philips well between viera link and easylink , but can be sellected that do not have such behavior the HDMI CEC of turn on and tune the right input of the device turned on and sent the turn on flag just specific stuffs are not retrocompatible like advanced buttons for take control of menues etc.
about XV color well HDMI 1.4 also have the color deep if the content is avalaible in 16 bits but have advanced 3D management and also can carry an BIG dataflow an cable HDMI version 1.4a is compatible or retrocompatible with HDMI 1.3 XV COLOR or 1.2 the most commonly found version in cheap televisions or entry level ones.
i forgot say video component and HDMI are the only connections that support progressive scanning or (p) ie 1080p and HDMI supports progressive scanning and Interlaced scanning both connections.
interlace and progressive scanning well is very simple
progressive scanning means that an image is "drawed" in a single step in the display with an technique of show up the whole image at same second. not divide the sector of the display in fields is just a field that is the whole image
Interlaced scanning is a bit complex to explain,
divide your display in halfs so have two sides left and right, those are called fields, and those fields are drawed but sequentially not all at same time start the field A ie field A the left side and Field B the right side, both sequentially in less of a second , is a technique that allow save bandwidth for broadcasts, the side part is that for show up sports images can have some issues of artifacts or blur because in sports images need lightning fast image drawing, not an drawing by fields which is also fast but not too fast and accurate for for images with unpredictable motion and fast actions or motions.
that is why ie some Tv channels broadcasts sports or their regular programming in 720p because is more accurate in show up images with fast motion, in the USA are many examples of broadcasts in 720p.
also well in the world is not HD system that supports 1080p because the side part of a progressive image is a big dataflow and that mean not efficiency in broadcast.