Home Theater Set Up and Home Theater Connections

If you are taking on the task of home theater set up it can look really confusing. Never fear. Things are not as complicated as they seem.

The best advice I can give with home theater set up is that you start thinking like your electrical components. If you don’t learn to do this- eventually you will just end up calling the a Theater Equipment Company and have to pay them every time you have a problem. When I say think like your components- I don’t mean literally.

Home Theater connections in any home theater or stereo system does basically only one thing- accept the signal coming in, and send a new signal back out. That’s all there is to it!

When you think about it like this it is much easier to figure out what is going on and how it needs to be installed. Don’t think you are unable to do this… YOU CAN!

No matter what home theater component you are using the signal must flow from one component to the next. So it helps to understand what each component actually does. This simple home theater guide will help you figure your own connection challenges.

DVD and Blue-Ray Players: Home Theater Help

DVD Players decode both digital audio and digital video from a disc simultaneously.

1. They send either digital audio out or analog audio out.

2. They send a picture signal out as well. The DVD player can be connected to a TV and Sound system in a variety of ways.

For example some systems will use the HDMI output to get both sound and video to the receiver or processor.

Other systems may use the digital audio output and utilize HDMI for video only.

We suggest you read your manuals to understand what is best for each of your specific components.

Generally speaking when you pick an output type it is best to stick with it throughout your system if possible.

3. HDMI connections can carry both audio and video on one cable making this the cleanest approach.

There has been much debate about the digital audio signal carried on these cables though.

Some feel it is best to still use a separate dedicated digital cable. Then use the HDMI only for video.

4. Some of the new receivers and pre-pro’s have HDMI switching. If your system uses HDMI and HDMI switching you will have a fairly simple hookup procedure.

5. In some cases it would be beneficial to use a video output such as HDMI combined with the digital audio output on the DVD player. If this is the route you choose- simply run audio on a separate cable to the receiver or pre-pro in addition to the video cable of your choice.

Connect the HDMI cable to “DVD” for example then connect the digital cable also to the “DVD” input of its kind. There may be multiple input types for each home theater installation.

Receivers and PreAmp Processors used in Home Theater Set Up:

Home Theater Receivers and Pre-Pro’s take the signal from the DVD or Blue-Ray player and decode the audio bit-stream.

The audio signal will be taken from the HDMI cable being sent from the DVD player.

These HDMI outputs make home theater set up very easy.

Home Theater reciever picture

If using an HDMI cable the audio signal is separated form the video signal and the video signal is then sent on to the HDTV or display.

All audio processing is performed inside the receiver or pre-pro.

1. A receiver is basically a surround processor and amplifier built into one chassis.

In the case of a receiver bass management, surround sound information, and signal processing functions are performed prior to being sent to the digital to analog converters within the unit.

After digital to analog conversion takes place the volume control is applied and then sent to each individual amplifier for each channel being used by that recording.

If the DVD was recorded in 5.1 surround or 7.1 surround output signals will be carried to those amplifiers within the receiver. The signal is then sent to each individual loudspeaker in the surround sound system.

2. If you are using a surround processor or surround preamplifier:

This unit will perform all of the functions listed in number 1 except it will not provide amplification to the signal.

Separate amplifiers will be necessary. Building a system this way has it’s advantages.

Higher quality amps can be used than what is available with a receiver.

Cables will run between the pre-amp and the separate amplifiers where power will be applied then sent to each individual speaker.

Home Setup Theater – Switching HDMI, Digital, etc:

The switcher inside the receiver or pre-pro will simply send the video signal on to the display or TV set.

The Home Theater reciever will process the audio at the same time. Just remember to keep all like kind switching in order, DVD outputs should go to DVD inputs, etc.

If you mix this up the receiver may try to process an audio input from the wrong component.

Which means you may get signal from another unit like your satellite box while trying to watch a DVD.

It is unlikely that you will ruin anything, you just will not hear what is on the disc you are watching.

Looking for help with home theater set up and positioning your speakers? Click this link to go tohome theater set up and speaker positioning.

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Best Home Theater Speakers

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