Connecting Your Game Console or Home Theater PC - dummies

Connecting Your Game Console or Home Theater PC

By Danny Briere, Pat Hurley

Most A/V receivers don’t have provisions for connecting game consoles or a Home Theater PC (HTPC). Although game consoles and HTPC devices are too new to have been incorporated into most receiver designs, you can still easily get these devices hooked into your surround-sound system and display.

Here are some key points to keep in mind for these types of connections:

  • HTPCs and game consoles have analog and digital audio connections, just like other source devices. They have composite, S-video, and (in many cases) component video outputs. Your receiver doesn’t care whether these signals come from a DVD player or an HTPC. Neither does your display.

  • Connect these devices just as you connect any of your other source devices. Keep the same rules in mind: Use digital audio connections, if you can, and use the highest-quality video connection system that the device supports.

    You probably won’t find any inputs on the back of your receiver marked HTPC or Xbox. So find an unused set of inputs and use them.

If you have a fancy touch-screen remote control, you may be able to program the remote to use the name of the device you’re using. So even if the HTPC is connected to the VCR2 input on your receiver, you can make the remote button say “HTPC.” If your receiver has assignable inputs, you may also be able to change the labels that show up on the front panel of the receiver and the TV’s onscreen display — customizing them to match what you’ve plugged in to a specific input.