Hints for Connecting your Home Theatre.

Many times when I visit customers’ homes, my first 30 minutes or so are spent reviewing and re-connecting. A perfect example is a client recently worked with who had connected audio jacks from his DVD and Cable box to his amplifier, then connected a composite video cable to his screen.  The complaint was that he had no surround and his video was below that quality that he had expected from the television.

There are really two issues with this situation.

  1. Composite video cables (the yellow RCA cable) offers the lowest resolution, therefore a mediocre picture. If you are using even a standard definition TV, if your screen has component inputs for video, the picture quality will be much better. If your screen is HD, again component cables or HDMI cables are in order.  Today’s receivers offer all types of both video and audio effects, but to experience them at their best (or worst depending on your perspective) digital cables must be used. Digital audio cables are divided into 2 categories – Optical (toslink) or COAX which has RCA type connections.
  2. For best video results, if you have a video receiver, both audio and video cables should go first to the receiver, then a line fron the video output(s) of your A/V receiver to the television. Why, your receiver has much better video processing capabilities than your screen. That is one of the things that make your A/V receiver expensive. Let it do its’ job.

Usually, the manual included with the receiver will offer all the needed info, but if it doesn’t, go back to the retailer.

Connectivity is also a concern. If you are using a DVD player and cable box, you can go with component cables for video and either Optical (toslink) or COAX cables for audio rather than HDMI. HDMI are more convenient, are essential for Blueray and PS3 but have been known to create issues on some systems.

Scaling can be a problem as well.  When you change from Cable to DVD or VHS do you have to change settings on your television? This is often an issue. Many receivers can switch through the various video settings with no issue, but they must be what is referred to as an “Up scaling” design. This means you can switch directly from VHS which is usually lowest video quality to Component or HDMI which are higher resolution video.

A few issues covered, more can come if you wish. Thanks for reading