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Cables - Figuring Out Your Home Theater System Installation

Nov 8th 2012 at 11:35 PM

You're thrilled to have that new HDTV and Hi-Definition DVD player. For many, the excitement of purchase dims when they arrive home and see the multitude of cords and multi-colored jacks, knowing that they must be correctly connected in order to make your Home Theater system function properly. No doubt hooking up your Home Theater system can be a challenge, especially if you don't know which cables will give you the best quality.

Almost all of the new HDTVs found in today's market have multiple connections on the back of each unit. These are some of the connections you might see on the back of your new HDTV.

Analog coaxial RF Connection: This is a "legacy" connection found on all older TVs. It is the poorest quality TV connection. This is a connection that transports both an audio and a video signal in a purely analog format.

Composite Video: This is the yellow jack that is located on the back of your TV, and it passes Analog video only. This single cable has both Chrominance and Luminance portions of a video signal and can pass up to 480 interlaced lines of resolution.

S-Video: This is a small 4-pin jack that is located on the rear of your television. It is an upgrade in terms of image quality on your television because S-Video separates the Chrominance and Luminance portions of a video signal, which increases the quality of your video image. S-Video is a connection that sends an analog signal with resolution of up to 480 interlaced lines of resolution.

Component Video: The red, blue, and green RCA jacks on the back on your TV make up this connection. The signal for this does not have Audio, and it is an Analog only signal. The Luminance and 2 colors are separated in this connection by component video, which results in true High Definition image quality. Component Video connections allow 1080 progressive lines of resolution (1080p/FullHD) to be passed.

DVI: Digital Video Interface has a true digital video connection, but no audio. This type of connection was the Hi-Def standard until recently and provides up to 1080 progressive lines of resolution.

High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI): This connection allows a solo connection between your auxiliary equipment and HDTV. It is a fully digital Audio and Video connection. Almost all new HDTV's provide this connection.

In order to help you get the most out of your new HDTV, consider the following scenarios.

1) In this scenario you want to hook-up a brand new HDTV with a new Blu-Ray DVD player. A single HDMI cable is all that is needed to connect these devices. This will maximize the quality of sound and video passing between the Blu-ray and the HDTV. Also, this is the only cable required to connect these two components, excluding power plugs.

2) For this example you want to connect a brand new HDTV, a new Blu-ray DVD player, and a full surround sound system. The best way to connect these three devices, provided the Surround A/V Receiver has HDMI input/output capability, is to use a short HDMI cable from the Blu-ray to the A/V Receiver and run a longer HDMI cable from the A/V Receiver's output to the HDTV. This allows the receiver to switch the HDMI connections and is especially useful if your new HDTV only has one HDMI jack and you have multiple pieces of equipment with HDMI jacks that you want to connect. It will also make it possible for the A/V Receiver to use the digital Audio track from the Blu-ray player in order to give you mind-blowing surround sound when playing your new Blu-ray DVDs.

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