Getting Television Signals into Your Home Theater
5 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Connecting a Home Theater
Television signals come into your home theater system from a cable TV service, a DSS satellite dish, or an antenna for broadcast TV (or in some cases, from a combination of these devices).
Regardless of the system, an RG6 coaxial cable connects these TV sources into your system:
If you use an antenna for non-HDTV over-the-air broadcast TV (or for nondigital cable without a converter box), this connection is usually simple. Just connect the coaxial cable coming out of your wall outlet to the Antenna/Cable In input on the back of your display. (Note: Your cable company may have installed a similar RG59 cable instead of an RG6 cable; if you’re running your own cable, you should use RG6.) If you have a PVR or VCR, run the cable coming out of the wall to it first, and then to the inputs on the back of your TV.
If you have digital cable, an analog cable with a converter, or a DSS dish, or if you’re picking up over-the-air broadcast HDTV signals, you need to run the RG6 cable to the appropriate set-top box, DSS receiver, or HDTV tuner. These devices are connected through your A/V receiver, just like any other source device. You can use the receiver to send the video from these sources to your VCR for recording (if it’s allowed).
If you’re using broadcast HDTV and you have a true HDTV (with an integrated tuner), connect the coaxial cable directly to the back of your display.
If your display is digital cable-ready and can use a CableCARD, you can connect the coaxial cable from your cable TV feed directly into your TV and forgo the cable set-top box. This is convenient but means that you won’t be able to access some digital cable features, such as video-on-demand (VoD) or the onscreen program guide.
If you have digital cable, you may want to route your cable signal through the PVR or VCR before you connect it to your set-top box. Many digital cable systems transmit a number of standard analog channels that your PVR or VCR can tune in to. Routing this cable through the PVR/VCR lets you record those analog channels while your set-top box is tuned to a different channel (analog or digital) for simultaneous viewing.