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Receiver: Basic Hook Up

That last page was a real shockwave of information, wasn't it? Understandable. Now I'll give you an example of a fully connected setup to teach you how to hook up a 5.1 receiver.

Home Theater Components: TV, DVD, Receiver, Speakers, and Set-Top Box

For this example, I'll use my own home theater setup. This is what I have connected:

- 50" High-Definition Sony Rear Projection LCD TV
- Panasonic DVD/VCR combo unit
- Harman Kardon AVR-635 Receiver
- Comcast High-Definition Cable Box with HDMI
- 5.1 Polk Audio Speakers including Powered Subwoofer

Home Theater Layout

I have a pretty standard sized room, rectangular in shape. I sit about 12 feet from the TV.

My rear speakers rest on opposite ends of a table directly behind where I sit. My front speakers are on opposite ends of a table holding my TV and components. They are very close to my television. Optimally, I'd like to have them farther out to the sides. My subwoofer sits on a hardwood floor directly left of the table holding my television. Nothing is blocking the subwoofer. All my speakers are within close to ear level (the front speakers are about a foot lower, and the center channel rests on top of my TV).

My receiver, DVD player, and cable box are in a cabinet at the bottom of the piece of furniture holding my TV. There is easy access to the cabling and open ventilation. This way nothing gets dangerously hot.

Home Theater Cables: HDMI, Speaker Wire, Digital Coax/Fiber Optic

Now let's see what hooks it all together.

- The TV uses an HDMI cable with an HDMI-to-DVI adapter. The TV only has DVI, and the box is HDMI.
- The TV also uses an RCA cable for audio from the cable box (red and white). This goes to the RCA inputs next to the DVI input.
- The DVD player runs a fiber optic cable and component cables to the receiver's OPT 1 and COMPV 1.
- The cable box outputs a fiber optic cable to the receiver's OPT 2.
- The receiver runs a subwoofer cable from the sub pre-out to a Y-adapter on the back of my subwoofer using its Line-In ports.
- My speakers plug in normally using the receiver's bind posts with 14-guage speaker wire.

And that's it. There's really not that much to it. All you would have to do now is set the receiver to use COMPV 1 with OPT 1 (refer to receiver user manual for configuring digital inputs). Everything else just "works". Depending on your DVD player, you may need to set it to use the digital output, but most modern players work automatically. With this setup, I can listen to my TV speakers for normal TV use, or I can mute the volume and turn on the surround sound (selecting OPT 2) to listen to TV. What I can't do is listen to a DVD with my TV speakers. I'd need to run composite cables from the DVD player to the TV matching the component inputs I used for the DVD player.

Note>> You may have heard of audio/video switching. This is something you could do to make turning on your home theater and switching between different audio/video sources as easy as possible. In my case, I'd have to connect my cable box's component video to a component video input on the receiver (since it doesn't have HDMI or DVI) and then run component cable back out to the TV. This way, you don't need to select the "Source" or "Video" on your TV; you just leave it on the one coming from your receiver, and you select DVD, TV, etc. on your receiver to determine what you want to watch. Most receivers support this.

The basis for A/V switching is having absolutely everything plugged into your receiver and then just run a video cable to the TV. Now all audio and video is controlled by the receiver.

Didn't understand some of the terms used above?
Check our our Home Theater Glossary to lookup some of the words you haven't seen before or don't fully understand. Its a great way to familiarize yourself with home theater connections and will help you make better buying and configuring decisions.
Crystal clear like this little LCD's image, our Forums can help answer your questions. Users and administrators alike will be quick to respond.
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Enjoy Your Home Theater - Get it Hooked Up with!