How to connect your HDTV and Home Theater

Plasma Digital cable STBHDTVDirectv STBProjector

What do the Connections look like, what are they for and what should I use?

Jump to -> Video (HDMI, DVI, Component Video, S-Video, Composite Video, RGB/VGA)

Jump to   -> Audio (HDMI, Stereo, Digital Coax, Digital Optical, Multi channel)

Quick links to common Connections:

DVD - Surround Sound Receiver - Sub Woofer - TV/HDTV


Less Frequently Asked Questions:
What do I need to see High Definition on my HDTV?

What is the truth about Speaker Cables?

What is all this HDMI and DVI "HDCP" stuff?

I want my Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio!

Should I get a new Receiver to upconvert my Component Video/Composite Video/S-Video?


Download our Home Theater Connection Diagrams:

Home Theater Connection Diagram with HDMI Switching Receiver

Home Theater Connection Diagram without HDMI Switching Receiver

_______________________________________

What do the Connections look like and what are they for?


 

Video connections:

HDMI

hdmi cable

HDMI Cables and Specifications

HDMI has high Definition Digital Video and Digital Audio. Different versions offer different levels of support for Audio and Video Signals, but all versions are capable of ATSC video standard resolutions, 8-channel, 192kHz, uncompressed digital audio and the DVD related compressed formats (Dolby Digital and DTS)
    HDMI is used on Cable TV, FIOS and Satellite STB's (Set Top Boxes) , Receivers, Display devices such as HDTV's, LCD's, Projectors, Plasmas, DVD players, Blu Ray Players, HD DVD players, the Playstation 3/4, Xbox One and the newer versions of the Xbox 360, and Wii.

The Good:
HDMI is the new standard like it or not, you need it! 
When using devices that support it, you can take care of both the audio and video connections with a single cable. And since just about everything except your toaster has one, it makes a LOT of connections WAY more easy!
HDMI is continually being updated with new features while still remaining very backwards compatible with old versions. This we should all be extremely happy about. I mean just think about every Apple®™ device you have ever bought and then tried to connect to another Apple®™ device two years later to find that every connection was completely incompatible...
The small size allows more connectors in a limited space such as on the back of your Receiver allowing a Receiver to have on-board HDMI switching.

The Bad:
The connector has no locking mechanism so it is easily pulled out by accident.
HDCP copy protection does not typically allow conversion to analog for compatibility with older HDTV's and other displays. 
Length - long cables require boosting, or some other type of solution.

The Ugly:

Incompatibility and "handshaking" issues descended like a plague on "early adopters" and continued through each major and minor update. Since HDMI 1.1 came out in 2004 and problems still persist with even some new equipment, we are all still somewhat early adopters.  Before you go and get mad at HDMI, remember one thing - it is not entirely HDMI's fault. The various manufacturers rush to get out products, have lots of price pressures and so product testing suffers and so do we...


hdmi cable

please buy our HDMI Cables
!


DVI

DVI connector

DVI Cables and Specifications

This can be either a Digital only connection as seen above, or a Combination Digital and analog connection. Devices normally only put out or receive one or the other, so if it's digital there won't also be analog at the same time. For Home Theater it is typically Digital only. See our DVI Info page for more information on DVI-I, DVI-D and DVI-A. Many HDTV's, DVD's and STB's (Set top Boxes) for Satellite (DSS) or Digital Cable TV used to have these connectors. Now they are virtually only seen on Professional equipment for medical imaging or Display Advertising. Computer display monitors used to have this connection as well, but if they do not support HDCP, they are not compatible with source devices that have HDMI or DVI with HDCP. Buyer beware! DVI is capable of high resolution 8-bit RGB video. Some large Computer displays support extremely high resolution by using "dual link" connections. Any resolution greater than 1080p or 1920x1200 must use dual links to accomplish the higher resolutions.

The Good:

Wide range of support for various resolutions depending on the source and display.
Extremely secure locking connector with "thumb screws" for locking.
Possible support for either analog or digital video.

The Bad:

No audio support.
Very confusing due to support of digital and/or analog video - DVI-D, DVI-I, etc.
Many devices do not support HDCP, which causes massive confusion. Manufacturers are/were not always forthcoming about support of HDCP.

The Ugly:
Just because of its versatility and wide usage it is confusing as a bug. <-Note we did not mention women.


dvi cable

Buy our DVI Cables


Component Video

Component Video (Y-Pr-Pb) Cables

This connection was available on most HDTV's and decent or better DVD players and "Set Top Boxes" until fairly recently, and now it's virtually non-existant. In fact, many new TV's require the use of a dongle in a special proprietary connector to even connect a Component video source! The conspiracy to eliminate component video is driven by hollywoods obsession to eliminate any analog unprotected high definition signals that a bad person could could use to steal their content.  Meanies!
Notice the Red, Green and Blue color coded connectors. They do not mean "Red, Green and Blue" and are not compatible with RGB (VGA computer displays, etc). Component Video is capable of all high definition resolutions, depending on the source and display capabilities. Component video in its analog form is being phased out for copy protection issues in high definition source devices.

The Good:

By taking advantage of human eyesights differing abilities to discern color detail and overall black/white detail, component video saves bandwidth and disk space without losing perceived detail.
Can have excellent video quality if equipment and cables are of good quality.

The Bad:
No Audio.
Three freaking connectors?!
RCA connections don't normally lock and can be accidently unplugged.
RCA connectors which are very often used are not really perfectly "75 ohm" connections.

The Ugly:

No copy protection means that Hollywood is not into letting you use this for high definition video.



component video cable

Buy our Component Video Cables
 before they go extinct!


S-Video


S-Video Cables

Seperates the luminance (black and white information) and chrominance (color information) signals onto seperate cables and connections for a better possible video image than Composite (single video) video connections. Used on old  DVD's, TV's, Satellite receivers and Cable TV boxes. Also used on some Computers with TV outputs.

The Good:
Single connector.
If the source is S-Video and the Display is S-Video and you use a good S-Video cable it can look pretty good.

The Bad:
Not used for high definition video signals.
No Audio.
The single connector is crappy. It breaks easily, falls out very easily and is real hard to plug in, in the dark.


The Ugly:
Many manufacturers added the input connection as an afterthought without really using the signals properly so it won't look any better than composite. 
Many cables were half as good as a composite cable so the picture would be no better.



s-video cable

see if you can still buy our S-Video Cables
!


Composite Video


Composite Video Cables

- The old "AV" standard connector. This is color coded Yellow for Composite video.


The Good:
Easy to connect a single cable.
With good equipment and cables, and a really good signal, standard definition can look very nice, just don't put it on a very big screen or get too close.  Makes it reasonable to relax and take off your glasses after a hard days work --you don't want to see this too clearly! You could fit 40 connectors on the back of a mid sized receiver. 

The Bad:
No high definition support.
No Audio.
Easy to accidently unplug.

The Ugly:
These are becomming extinct! Don't take away our analog connections!!!



composite video cable
dumpster dived Composite Video Cables


VGA, RGB, RGB/HV

vga connector

VGA - RGB - RGB/HV Cables and Connections

- This could be RGBHV, or a "VGA" (HD15) varient (SVGA, XGA, WXGA, etc) connection. This is used on computer video cards, Projectors and some old HDTV's and Set topBoxes.

The Good:
One connection.
Thumb screw based locking connector.
Can be very high definition.

The Bad:
Not very well supported anymore.
Easily broken by trying to plug it in upside down.

The Ugly:
Most HDTVs with this connector accept RGB rather than Component video so they require a transcoder/converter in order to connect them to a component video source. 
Tiny little pins jammed into a small connector means small little coax cables which are hard to build and even harder to build well. 



vga, svga cable

Buy some really good or cheap VGA Cables
?






HDCP :

"High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection"
See here for the official HDCP site.
See the wikipedia HDCP page.
Some may call it "Hollywood Dunces Create Problems" or "Have Disc Can't Play" but without it you will never get to have copy protected Discs of lovely high definition video or high resolution audio on those disks. Encyption keys are stored on every device that supports HDCP. The source, display and in-between devices communicate and authenticate each others keys so that they can set up a secure link before the content is allowed to be transmitted and recieved. The connections used are all digital; DVI-D, HDMI and Displayport. Keys can be revoked, so if a device is determined to be "illegal" in the eyes of the powers that be, it could theoretically stop working with other devices! Most HDMI and DVI connection problems are either HDCP or length related.








Audio Connections:

HDMI





HDMI has high Definition Digital Video and Digital Audio. Different versions offer different levels of support for Audio and Video Signals, but all versions are capable of ATSC video standard resolutions, 8-channel, 192kHz, uncompressed digital audio and the DVD related compressed formats (Dolby Digital and DTS)
Starting with version 1.2 supports SACD. With version 1.3 supports new lossless digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.

The Good:
Supports just about any digital audio format you could want, but this also depends entirely on the associated equipment.
One connection! Audio Return channel lets you send back audio to the reciever from your TV! Neato!
SACD DSD audio support for capable devices.
Can support TrueHD and DTS-HD 7.1 PCM lossless audio to receivers capable of handling it, and will support bitstream for Receivers capable of decoding the new audio formats.

The Bad:
Audio format support is dependant on the equipment.
Support for any audio features at all seem to be completely optional.
Stupid frigging connector that gets loose, cockeyed or falls out easily.

The Ugly:

Some Receivers do not even support HDMI audio even though they have HDMI connectors.
Many confusing levels of Audio support over HDMI - See AVS Forums Future proof Receiver discussion thread
Many HDCP issues effect both video and audio.
Most A/V Receivers now have full HDMI decoding support of new Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD but there are a great many HDMI "equipped" receivers in the field with various levels of support.


hdmi cable

Buy shiny new HDMI Cables
!


Stereo Analog Audio

analog stereo mono connections

Stereo Analog Audio connections use red and White color coded "RCA" connections. These support stereo and often mono analog audio.

The Good
:
Pretty simple and we are used to it.
Can support virtually any level of sound quality. 
Simple color coding.
It's on everything! Even if it's not, then there's a mini plug connection that will connect to it with a simple cable or adapter. It's like chocolate -- it's easy to get and always makes you happy! 

The Bad:
No surround sound - unless you use your receiver with that wonderful "Disco Hall" sound processing algorythm.

The Ugly:

That wonderful "Disco Hall" sound processing algorythm.



stereo lr cable

Buy totally awesome and cool Stereo Cables
!


Digital Audio

digital audio connections

Digital Audio connections, Coax on left, Toslink Optical on the right. Digital Coax uses a single orange color coded "RCA" connection. These support "AC3" Dolby Digital (5.1, etc.), DTS, S/PDIF, etc.

The Good:
Easy, one cable connection for 5.1 multiple, discrete, surround sound channels.
Sounds pretty great (depending on equipment)
Pretty much completly cable agnostic, provided the cable is working properly.

The Bad:

Optical cables have length restrictions unless they are "special" such as glass fiber. 
They never used to put enough of these connections on a receiver! 

The Ugly:

No SACD, DVD-A or the new Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD high resolution sound formats. Listen to a great recording on one of these formats on a nice system and then listen without. Maybe not ugly, but quite surely something is "lacking".



digital audio coax cable
digital audio optical toslink cable


examine:
Coax Digital Audio Cables

Optical Toslink Digital Audio Cables


Analog 5.1 (6.1, 7.1, etc) Multi Channel Inputs for Surround sound

analog surround sound connections

Analog 5.1 (6.1, 7.1, etc) Multi Channel Cables

The color coded "RCA" connectors are still red and White, designating "analog" but insted of "L" and "R", you have "C" (center), "FR" (front right), "FL" (front left), "SL" (surround left), "SR" (surround right), and "SW" (subwoofer). For 6.1 you get a rear center and with 7.1 you get really-no-really-rear left and rights as well. Surround sound analog connections on computer sound cards use "mini" 3.5mm stereo phone plug connections instead of RCA's since they are smaller.

The Good:

If you don't have digital connections you can still have discrete channel (Dolby digital/DTS) surround sound.
Can be used with SACD, DVD-A, HD DVD players and Blu Ray players to get SACD, DVD-A, TrueHD and DTS-HD into the receiver even if it does not have HDMI inputs capable of handling it. Sounds as good as anything if the Source and Receiver are of rather nice quality.

The Bad:

Problems with "Bass Management" (subwoofer levels) are common. Most receivers don't "do" bass management on the multichannel analog audio inputs. The Source should handle this in any case, so the receiver does not have to convert the signal to digital for processing and then back again for amplification.

The Ugly:

Many sources and receivers have poor quality digital to audio (DAC) or analog to digital (ADC) converters. Even many with high resolution audio format support.



multi channel audio cable

experience Multi Channel Audio Cables





HD DVD and Blu Ray - Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Audio Support (2007)


The new HD Audio formats - Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD offer very high resolution Audio that can sound quite spectacular. The tricky part at this time is getting the sound from the player into the Receiver/Processor. In fact, some Blu Ray and HD DVD players offer only limited support, even though they are the only devices capable at this time of decoding these Audio formats. Receivers and Processors have been announced and should start appearing in the summer of '07, but there are real reasons that the players can be a better choice for decoding. The AVS forum thread "5.1/7.1 PCM, HDMI, and DSP - An Explaination of the Future-Proof receiver " is a great resource for the latest information on this topic and we suggest checking out any receiver by searching this discussion for any information on a particular Receiver before buying.

The Problem? Receivers and Processors currently available do not know how to process the high resolution formats, so you are stuck with using the Dolby Digital or DTS soundtrack which is also provided on the disc *or* you can output the soundtrack via 5.1 (or 7.1) multichannel analog outputs from the player to the Receivers multichannel inputs *or* you can output the audio in PCM digital audio via HDMI to an HDMI equipped Receiver that can handle HDMI audio. Some of us don't care about 7.1, we just want 5.1, and some of us don't care if the Receiver can actually process the PCM audio as long as it can play it back, and some of us don't care if the Receiver does Bass management properly, etc, but those are all things you need to decide about and investigate before making a purchase. Got a headache yet?

Dolby TrueHD
(link to Dolby website)

DTS-HD
(link to DTS website)




HDMI


You can get TrueHD or DTS-HD from the player to the receiver as uncompressed PCM over an HDMI 1.1 or above connection. This means the Player and Receiver need to have HDMI 1.1 or above.

If you Want to use the Receiver as the decoder, you will need a Receiver capable of decoding the formats and both receiver and player must support HDMI 1.3 and you would use the "Bitstream" output option.
This will use the "DAC's" on the Receiver to convert the digital audio into analog, so if you feel you have better quality DACs on the Receiver, this is best. If you have no choice, like with the PS3 which has no multi channel outputs, you must use this method.


analog surround sound connections

Analog 5.1 (6.1, 7.1, etc) Multi Channel Inputs for Surround sound
.

Let the Receiver do the decoding and digital to analog conversion and connect the multichannel outputs of the receiver to the multi channel ins on the receiver.
This will use the DAC's on the player, so if you feel the player has better DACs, then this is best.




What do I need to actually see High Definition Video on my HDTV?


1) You will not actually "have" HDTV unless you are receiving it from either your Cable TV provider, your Satellite provider, over the air via antenna, Blu Ray or HD DVD player. Not all Cable or Satellite boxes output HD to your TV. Check with your provider!

2) Use the right cable to get the HD signal to your TV. S-Video and Composite video do not support HD. You must use Component video, HDMI or DVI for HD. It is often a good idea to use an analog Component video connection along with a digital DVI/HDMI connection in case the digital connection fails due to HDCP incompatibility or other issues.

3) Check the settings for the output of your cable box, satellite box, ATSC tuner, HD DVDplayerorBlu Ray player. HD is either 720p, 1080i or 1080p. 480p and 480i are not HD!

4) Do you have a home theater system? Does it have a digital audio input? If so, you should make sure to use a SPDIF RCA cable or Toslink optical cable from the Cable or Satellite TV box to the Surround sound Receiver. Make sure to set up the Receiver to use the digital audio from the input you connect to. It is a good idea to also run analog audio cables to the receiver as well, in case some stations do not put out a digital signal, or the digital connection fails. For the new, high resolution audio formats, please see the audio connections section.

5) You won't be actually viewing HD unless you actually tune to an HD channel! Your Cable or Satellite Box only will have a limited number of actual HD channels. With a DVD, HD DVD or BluRay player - you will not be seeing real High Definition Video coming from a DVD Disc. "Upconverted" is not high definition, it is standard definition that is upconverted.





Should I get a new Receiver to upconvert my Component Video/Composite Video/S-Video?


Well, since most receivers will do a worse job of this than your HDTV, it's really up to you. Do you want convenience or signal quality. People tend to think that anything will do a certain job as well as anything else. Well, hold on there, sparky. Just because a Receiver can "upconvert" one type of video to another does not mean at all, that it can do it as well as your TV can or some expensive video scaler can! It may be convenient, but it is very often similar to junk food. Of course, many TV's stink at this too. If that is the case, why not?





The Truth about Speaker Cables?

What we think we know about speaker cables and what the debates are about them.

Speaker Cables are probably the topic most over-debated topic in the Audio Kingdom

So why would we stick our necks out inviting "flames" by both the true believers and skeptics? Uh, cause we're sick of people asking maybe?

1) Wire Gauge - Using too high a gauge (remember with wire gauge "high" means "scrawnier") is bad.

Why?

Wastes power - excess resistance is converted to heat (not very green of you)

Sounds worse (if you go too far) - This is certainly Speaker/Amp/Length dependant - smaller, less current hungry speakers can get by with less. Shorter wires can get by with less. (wire gauge is debated by both true believers and skeptics)

2) Capacitance?

Capacitance is not a factor normally at normal distances with most equipment.

Too high capacitance can cause stability problems with some rare amp/speaker combinations. (Capacitance is debated by some, but generally because of confusion about analog line level capacitance issues)

3) Inductance?

Inductance can possibly effect the signal in a non-linear fashion in the audio frequency spectrum (effecting the high frequency response) with some combinations of cable, amp and speakers. Actual Audibility is questionable. (inductance is debated by both true believers and skeptics)

4) Dielectric? - Better lasts longer*. A better dielectric can also effect capacitance and inductance values. While the dielectric should not have an audible effect in the audible spectrum itself, it can have an effect at very high frequencies (well above signal frequencies) and can have an effect on longevity of cables maintaining ideal characteristics due to oxidation and dielectric degradation over time. Basically, PVC is not generally as long lasting, PE and teflon will last longer, but cost more. *Quality of manufacturing is the key here - a poorly made, (loosely adhered on copper) teflon cable will not last as long as a well made PVC, etc. (there are extreme debates by both true believers and skeptics over dielectrics)

5) Conductor - Copper is fine for speaker cables, "Oxygen free" is often overrated especially with poor dielectrics - oxygen free, but not for long. Silver or silver plated is a hotly debated topic but not likely to be a factor at this frequency range. Stranded or solid? Solid has more conductivity per gauge but is inflexible and easier to damage. (conductors are hotly debated by both true believers and skeptics)

6) Cable Geometry - Cable geometry will effect both capacitance and inductance of the cable. Some geometries will give low capacitance and high inductance while others will have low inductance and high capacitance. It is hard to make a cable with low capacitance and low inductance. Unless you have a situation with amp/speaker combination that requires low capacitance, a lower inductance cable could be considered preferable. Cable geometry and dielectric both have effects here, but the frequency range must be taken into account. Audibility is highly in question in most situations. Cable Geometry also effects noise rejection of all types. Twisted pairs, quad twists or other braided geometries may cancel out some noise and can be preferable to non twisted cables. (cable geometry is hotly debated by both true believers and skeptics)

7) Connectors - Good, solid connectors properly attached will last longer and be less problematic. Connector choice is amp and speaker dependant. Bananas are very easy to use. Spades have higher contact surface for the best possible current flow. Pins have low contcat area so less current flow is possible. With bare wire, the connections quality is variable. Sometimes the best connector is none. Usually not. The best way to pick a connector is by its overall durability and projected longevity.

Crimped vs Soldered - Properly crimped is normally superior to soldering, depending on type of crimp and materials involved. Crimped or soldered superiority is most often dependant on the quality of the crimp or solder job.

(connectors are only slightly debated by both true believers and skeptics, except possible sound quality debates)

Conclusion

A well made speaker cable will last for many years. The best cable for you depends on your needs and price considerations. Connectors are a matter of convenience and longevity. With good cable and connectors you can truely plug and play them for the foreseeable future. Most people will be perfectly justified in getting some sufficient guage zip cord or something similar, especially if they change their wire fairly often.


Speaker cable redux


While there is quite a bit of anectdotal evidence for hearing the difference in Loudspeaker cables, most scientific double blind A/B testing has not had positive results for the audibility of speaker cable differences. There have been papers presented to the AES (Audio Engineering Society) and reviews on various websites and magazines using more or less plausible methodologies for testing with generally firm results that while differences can be measured, they are of a very small scale in comparison to other system, component and auditory sensitivity factors and are, very likely inaudible, or possibly very barely audible to some very, very acute listeners. I'd like to say I'm one, but I've checked this out a bit. Everything from around 14-15KHz and up for me is "sensed" rather than heard as a "tone". High frequencies are more for your brains computation abilities for "location" and "surroundings" than for musical sensibilities like tone and harmonics, even when harmonics travel in this range - the brain probably mates them up well with the same location lower frequencies, but in areas of "air" or blank space, the high frequencies that are sensed, but not heard as tones are probably used in a more"bat like" way for location and surrounding objects information queues.

So, what the hell am I getting at? Sorry, first I must digress (as usual).

Measured effects of LCR components (Inductance/Capacitance/Resistence) as well as phase, frequency response and distortion from speaker cables is very low once put into a scale of dB (decibels) or % (weighted or unweighted) so much so that it is hard to beleive in any typical listening test that would reliably result in positive heard difference results. On theotherhand, making sureyourbrain is getting all of those cueues (clues?) about directionality and space is a goodthing, andprobably necessarry for the ultimate audio expereince of yoursystem

OK, for a really nice amp and speaker connection, spending a little bit more for a low inductance speaker cable is worth it depending on the price, your equipment, and your "well healedness" factor. Yes, I'd spend $xx.xx for a cable to acheive "x" kind of thing. If you don't beleive in the whole "air" and "space" descriptive analysis of speakers and such, and listen to mp3's or low rez music, or have a somewhat crappy system, zip cord is better. If you like the "air" and "space" thing, then get some cables that can be flatter at 20KHz or more.

Here's an example article from AudioExpress.com

___________________________________________________________



Video and
Audio Connections:



Coax "F"
Connections:




(Cable
TV / Satellite / Antenna/ FIOS)


These
connections use a single cable ( RG6) to transport both audio and
video that is "MODULATED". You musthave a TV tuner, a SatelliteReceiver, a cable TV receiver or ATSC tuner to "tune in" a specific
frequency (channel) and decode the audio and video signals.


*click to see -> 
RG6 Cables

*Denotes links to our products


DVD connections:

If you have HDMI -- use it!
DVD Audio Connections
 (non-HDMI)



Use
The "Bitstream/PCM" Digital connections on the right if
you have a surround sound receiver. Use either the Coax or Toslink
connection. Use the "2CH" analog stereo connection on the
left to connect to a TV or stereo system.

Bitstream - The Receiver will decode the digital audio signal sent from the Player undecoded.

PCM -
The Player decodes the digital audio and transmits it to the receiver which converts it to analog.

Note: Yes, this is confusing.


Example - your old receiver does not support some new format that the player supports.

Set the Player to output PCM and the Receiver will usually understand what to do with it. If you send bitstream, the Receiver will not be able to decode it and will flip you off.

If both are capable of decoding the format, let the better quality one do it. This is also the approach you want to use for analog to digital or digital to analog conversion.



*clicky linky text -> Coax Digital Cables
*link to Toslink Cables

*Denotes links to our products


DVD Video Connections:

(non HDMI)


Use HDMI if you have it, or the "Y Pb Pr" (green, blue and red) Component Video connection
if your Television supports this connection. Use the S-Video connector
as the next best if you can or the Yellow "Composite" connection
if that is all you can use.

The "Select" Switch selects between "Progressive"
and "Interlaced". This is actually a tricky setting. The best thing to do is test it both ways. If the DVD player sucks at deinterlacing (set to "p") it will have more artifacts with this setting. If the TV has crappy deinterlacing then the "i" setting will look worse. Most Calibration Discs, or the"HQV" Disk in particular will be very good for checking this.

 



Component Video

(notice the Red, Green and Blue color coding rings on the cable above)
Use the Component Video connection if you have more than one Component video capable source, and you want to use the Receiver as a Component video switcher. If you have only one Component Video source, skip the receiver and connect the source directly to your Television or projector. Some Receivers will even convert this to HDMI for you. This is not always the best choice since the TV itself may do this better. It will save you from running lots of cables tothe TV, which can be a big deal with a Plasma or LCD mounted on a wall.

example 
Component Video Cables



S-Video



Use your Receiver to switch between S-Video Signals if your Television has only a single S-Video connection and you require more. If your Television has a number 
of Video inputs, it is better to go direct and not add extra cabling. Many new Receivers have "up conversion" capabilities, to Component Video or even to HDMI. The quality of the upconversion is very much a mixed bag, and often the TV will do a superior job, of course that does mean running more connections to your TV.

*S-Video Cables


Composite Video Connections




Use your Receiver to switch between Composite Video Signals if your Television has only a single Composite video connection. If your Television has a number of Video inputs, it is better to go direct and not add extra cabling.
See the above S-Video section for some info on Receivers with upconversion.

* Video Cables




Surround  Receiver Audio Connections



You will almost certainly need to use a combination of the analog (red and white color coded connections on the left) and the Digital connections on the right to connect all of your Home Theater/Stereo system devices to your Surround sound Receiver. This Receiver, like many has two Digital Audio inputs. One Coaxial and one Toslink. The second Toslink connector is for output. Use your DVD for one Digital input and either Digital Satellite Receiver, Digital Cable box, or CD player for the other. Which one uses Coax and which one uses Toslink depends on the capabilities of the devices you have to connect. There is usually no sound difference. Use the analog connections for devices with no Digital output.





Surround
Sound Receiver Subwoofer Connection




Use the Receivers Sub woofer "RCA" connector "Pre Out" (pre-amplifier) output to connect an amplified subwoofer. If your Subwoofer has no built-in amplification, use the Receivers Subwoofer Speaker connection if it has one (really rare) or a seperate amplifier. Almost any fairly new subwoofer is a "powered" subwoofer. A subwoofer cable is just a standard audio cable, nothing special. You may want to make sure it's well shielded if it's going to run around your AC powerstrip or a long distance. 

*
Subwoofer Cables



Sub Woofer
Connections



If possible use the single "RCA" Connector Connection to
the above Receivers "Pre Out" Sub Woofer connection. This will use the Sub Woofers built in amplifier for best results. Using the "Speaker level" inputs requires some care, since this usually involves connecting it in "parallel" with other speakers, and therefore generally reduces the impedance of these connections putting more of a strain on your receivers amplifier.

*Subwoofer Cables





Television (TV/HDTV) Connections

Commonly called "Coax" or "RF" or "F" Connections:



The "Coax" or "F" connector inputs on your TV are for connecting an antenna, Cable TV, FIOS or Satellite Receiver. These connections carry modulated audio and video on the same cable. They can have HD capable tuners or satellite or digital cable capable or whatever. You may at some point need to know. You need to look at your manuals for Cable TV or Satellite TV receivers and the Television if you have questions about how to use these. You will need
to look at your Television manual for instructions on how to "auto scan" for channels. RG6 cable is the current standard cable for these connections, using the oddly named "F" connector.



F Cables

F connector RG6 cable

* F Connector RG6 Cables





Television (TV/HDTV)
 (non-HDMI)
If you have HDMI connections on your TV use them for all of the High Definition connections you can.
then move on to Component Video/ Audio Connections



Most older HDTV's and some ones have Component Video inputs as seen to the left. The top three "RCA" connectors (green, blue and red color coded) are for Component video. These should be connected directly to your DVD player, Satellite receiver or Cable TV box if they have component video outputs, or to your Surround sound receiver if you are using it as a component video switcher. The bottom two "RCA" (white and red) color coded connectors are for
analog stereo audio connections. Generally few Televisions have Digital audio inputs, although they are becoming common on some TV's with built-in ATSC HD tuners. Normally, if you have a surround sound receiver you will not want to connect audio to the television since your surround sound system will handle all of the audio rather than the television. If you have no surround sound system, and are not using a stereo Hi-Fi system for your audio, then you would use these audio connections.

* Component Cables
* Audio Cables





Television (TV/HDTV), S-Video and Audio inputs




Use the S-Video connections seen on the left if possible, rather than the yellow color coded Video connections if the device you are connecting has these connectors. Use the white and red audio connections (L and R) for connecting devices with these outputs only if you are using the televisions speakers and are not connecting the device to a Surround Sound system.

*
S-Video Cables






Television (TV/HDTV)


Audio and Composite Video Outputs



Surprisingly you will usually need to use your Televisions Audio and possibly Video outputs even if you have a Surround Sound System. The Video output connector (Yellow color coded "RCA" Composite video) often
connects to the VCR. The Stereo audio (red and white color coded "RCA" connectors) are often needed to connect to your surround Sound Receivers "TV" audio input if your cable TV box does not have its stereo output connected to the receivers audio input. You can fix this by connecting your Cable TV boxes analog stereo audio output connection to your surround sound receiver. If you are using an antenna for "regular" OTA (over the air) Television reception, you
will need to use this connection for the audio to get to your receiver.

*
Audio Cables
*
AV Cables






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