How to Connect the A/V Receiver to the Video Display

4 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Connecting a Home Theater

C after you’ve connected your source devices to the A/V receiver or controller. To connect the receiver to your video display, you must use one or more video cables and a set of analog audio interconnects.

The type and number of cables you use depends on the other devices you have in your home theater. Keep the following points in mind when connecting the A/V receiver to the video display:

  • Use a set of analog audio cables between the receiver and the display if you want to use the display's built-in speakers. This may seem to be a bit of cabling overkill. After all, you already have a surround-sound audio system connected to the receiver. There may be occasions, however, when you want to turn on the TV quickly (such as for sports updates) without powering up the entire surround-sound system.

    If you’re using an HDMI connection between the receiver and display, you might be able to skip the step of adding an analog audio connection to the display. HDMI cables can also carry digital audio. You can skip the analog connection, however, only if your receiver is connected only to HDMI sources (not common, but becoming more likely if you’re going all HD) or if the receiver has an upconversion feature that takes non-HDMI sources and sends them to the display over the HDMI connection.

  • A step you won’t want to skip is connecting the receiver to your display with video cables. This can be a somewhat tricky proposition — the first step you need to take here is to understand whether your receiver has any upconversion capabilities. Many receivers these days will upconvert composite and S-video sources (such as non-HDTV cable boxes and VCRs) so that their signals can be sent to your display over component video cables. A growing number of receivers will even upconvert composite, S-video, and component video signals to HDMI.

    If your receiver can upconvert, you can simply connect the receiver’s video outputs to the inputs on your display by using component video or HDMI cables (depending, of course, on which kind of upconversion — component or HDMI — your receiver offers).

    If your receiver doesn’t handle upconversion, you need to have one set of video cables for each kind of input you make into the receiver. So, for example, if you have a VCR connected via composite video, a game console connected via S-video, and a DVD player connected via component video, you need to have one of each of these types of connections running out from your receiver to the display.

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The Essentials of Connecting a Home Theater

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