How Do I Hook Up... my Blu-Ray player or PS3? Newsletter Signup
Decmber 6th, 2009 by Joe Chianese Page 1 Page 2

Using HDMI and Fiber Optical Cables for a Blu-Ray Player

Now we move on to some more advanced options for connecting your Blu-Ray Disc player or PS3. Again, this How-To doesn't involve receivers or anything else except for a Blu-ray player or PS3 and a television. For those connections, check out How To Hook Up a Receiver.

Digital Audio Connections for Blu-Ray

Blu-Ray players will come standard with at least one input of either (or both) of two separate digital audio connections.

They are: fiber optic and digital coaxial.

Fiber optic audio is all digital, allowing for the highest quality surround sound audio A flat, square connector that opens inward to the unit is known as fiber optic. As seen here, this connector has a hinged door that pushes in when a cable is connected. Sometimes there is no door. You will usually notice a bright red light coming from the inside of an open fiber optic connection.

Note: this is the connection you will need to use on a PS3 if necessary (HDMI can carry audio and video itself)

Fiber optic is an all digital connection. There is no left or right channel; just one cable that can pass-through mono, stereo, and surround sound (5.1, 6.1, 7.1 and beyond). It is in fact the only way you will get surround sound from a Blu-Ray player or PS3 when connecting to a surround sound receiver (digital coaxial works, too - see below, just not for PS3).

You'll also need to make sure your TV actually has a fiber optic input, which if it is HD, it almost certainly has it (if not, its got digital coaxial). Most new, high definition TVs have either fiber optic or digital coaxial available.

Digital coax provides the same quality and 5.1 surround sound as fiber optic cables, but it is in a more familiar RCA connector type cablingIf you don't have fiber optic (or maybe you have both), than you may have digital coaxial. It looks exactly the same as red, white, or yellow composite output. It will be marked "Digital" or "Coaxial" or "Digital Coaxial". It is usually black or orange in color but this can vary. Digital coaxial is nearly identical to fiber optic. There is no practical difference between the two cables (both are all digital and can pass through mono, stereo, and full surround sound). Stick to Fiber Optic when possible as it is more common, but test your HDMI out first - it can almost certainly pass through audio and video (some devices will vary).

The only other audio-only output you may have would be 6 channel direct. This is only used for connecting to a receiver and is beyond the scope of this How-To. If you'd like to learn more about it, check out How To Hook Up a Receiver.

HDMI and DVI: Digital, High Definition Video

Now on to HDMI and DVI. You may have heard of these connections as of late. They are the all-digital video inputs capable of high definition content up to 1080p.

HDMI is especially useful because it can transfer both audio and video in one cable (if both devices support this - not all do; check device manuals to ensure compatibility).

HDMI can provide high definition video and 5.1 surround sound in one small cable A very compact connection, HDMI can transfer both audio and video in full high definition and surround sound. This is great in regards to both quality and less cable clutter. Keep in mind that not all components support audio being carried through HDMI cables so you'll have to check it out for yourself.

Here's a shot of the back of a Blu-Ray player's outputs:

The back of a Blu-Ray Disc Player showing HDMI, Fiber Optic, and other Outputs

This really shows you how nice it is to be able to utilize HDMI. You'd just need HDMI and a power cable! Simple, right? Stick to HDMI and, if you have to, fiber optic as well (seen here as "Digital In").

Another all-digital cable, DVI is capable of high definition video, but it 
 can't carry audio. Its also a very wide connector A DVI output is quickly becoming old news because of HDMI. Nevertheless, you might have this available to you, especially on some of the older Blu-Ray players. Its best to buy a TV and a Blu-Ray player that have HDMI. You can't pass audio through a DVI connection, and not all Blu-Ray players play all content through DVI due to copyright protections.

And that's it. There's no other outputs you need to be concerned with for the basic hookup of your Blu-Ray disc player or PS3.

More Home Theater How-To Articles!

- How to Hook up Surround Sound
- Hook up a Receiver
- Running Speaker Wire
- Home Theater in a Box

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.
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