Now that you know what components and connections to use for your High Definition System you need to know how to properly connect everything to your home theater system . This is a very crucial part of the process because a wrong connection can cause you a problem that you may mistake as a flaw in the component itself. Connecting HD components to a TV or home theater system is not as complicated as many people think. Inputs can look intimidating but are actually very easy to figure out once you know what they are used for. There are so many different options you can choose in order to connect HD components and I obviously can't go over all of them, that would take forever. To make things easier I will go over the most commonly used approach which is through a home theater system consisting of a TV , Receiver and whatever components you are connecting to the receiver. If you are hooking components straight into your TV without a home theater system simply cut out the steps that involve the receiver and go straight to the TV. Set Up Your Home Theater System First Before you start connecting all of your components to your receiver or TV, make sure you have the basics down first. Set up all your speakers in the position you want them, connect them to the receiver , make sure your TV is plugged in and get all your components arranged in your cabinet or stand and plug them all in. Make sure again that all of your components and cables are the correct ones for your system. Once you have the basics down everything from here on out should be fairly easy. Connect your Receiver to Your TV Connect your HDMI Cables and/or Component Video Cables from the HDMI and Component Video Outputs on your Reciever to the proper Inputs on your TV. This is very important, the signal must be passed from your component to the receiver and then to the TV or you won't have a picture. Connecting with HDMI This is probably the easiest connection you will ever have to make since it only involves one cable. There are many different components that are HDMI compatible: Blu-Ray Disc Players , HD DVD Players, DVD Players and Cable/Sattelite Boxes just to name a few. An HDMI connection requires a single plug-in from your component to your receiver or TV. If you are hooking up a Blu-Ray Disc Player or similar component, simply connect the HDMI cable from the output on your Blu-Ray to one of the HDMI inputs on your receiver. If you are connecting a high definition cable box/satellite receiver you will need to connect your cable wire from the wall to the input jack on your cable/satellite box, then connect the HDMI cable from the output on your cable/satellite box to an HDMI input on your TV or receiver. The TV or Receiver will usually have an HDMI input designated for Cable/Satellite use. Connecting with HDMI is quite a simple process and should work no problem considering you connected your receiver to your TV like I talked about in the step above. Don't celebrate just yet though, you might not be totally done. Most components and some receivers require you to go to the systems menu and change the connection type manually to a component video or HDMI connection depending on what it is connected with. Make sure that you check to see if your components require you to do this. If you don't you may see a picture in a purple hazy color or no picture at all until you change the settings. Connecting with Component Video Although there are a few more connections you have to make, component video is not very hard to connect. Lets say you decide to connect your cable/satellite box and an Up-Conversion DVD player with component video. The cable/satellite box will be almost the same as the HDMI setup but with a few more connections. First connect the Component Video cable from your cable/satellite box to your receiver (make sure you match up the red, green and blue cables with the proper inputs). Then make sure that you also make an audio connection. Hopefully you inspected your cable/satellite box to see what kinds of audio connections that it has. If you have a digital audio connection I suggest using a Fiber Optic Cable or a Digital Coax Cable because they carry a cleaner digital signal, but if they aren't available Analog Audio works just fine. You only have to make one connection with audio cables, which means you dont have to go from the receiver to the TV with audio. A Few Things To Remember If you don't get a picture right away don't panic, you may have to manually switch your component to the video mode you want it in like Component or HDMI. Consult your owners manual. Not everything will be broadcast in HD, there are certain channels that your cable or satellite service will provide in High Definition but the rest will just be standard. You need a High Definition Cable/Satellite box to receive a high definition signal, regular digital cable will not broadcast high def. You should now be ready to enjoy your High Definition Home Entertainment System. High Definition will give you a viewing experience like no other if you set it up correctly. If you have purchased any components or cables from us, our technical support team will be glad to assist you in your installation free of charge, call them at 1-866-224-6171.
Remember the days when the only connections available on TV's were stereo audio and composite video (the red, white and yellow inputs) and it only took about a minute to hook up components? Well those days are over and things have gotten a little more complex. For those of you who have never owned a high def or flat panel TV , you might be a little intimidated by the back panel the first time you look at it. High Definition TV's these days can have over 10 inputs with many different kinds of connections available. A person who isn't used to dealing with home theater systems will probably have no clue what to do with them or what they are even for, and even some tech savvy people might get confused. The cable guy isn't necessarily your best option either. Some know exactly what their doing while others could take the easy way out just to get the job done. Hopefully I can explain what these inputs are used for and which cables you should consider when connecting components to your new HDTV in order to get the best possible picture and sound. There are a lot of people out there who think that anything connected to a High Definition Television will play in High Definition. This couldn't be farther from the truth, just because your TV can show an HD picture doesn't mean that it will. Now don't go throwing your new TV in the trash-because the TV is not the problem. Before you spend a lot of money on components for your TV you need to make sure that they are able to produce a High Definition signal. You also need to make sure that any components you currently own are capable of handling High Definition if you are planning to use them for High Definition viewing. Older components like VCR's will not handle HD because the technology was not available when they were produced. Having the wrong components can cause you a lot of wasted time and frustration in the HD process. A component is probably HD compatible if somewhere on the box it says: HD Compatible HDMI Capable of 720p, 1080i or 1080p Resolutions SimplayHD The next thing to keep in mind is that not all high definition televisions are created equal. You need to look at the specifications of an HDTV before you buy it. Some HDTV's can not accept every High Definition resolution available. If the TV you are buying only has a native resolution of 720p, you may not get to see images in 1080i and won't see them in 1080p because the TV simply can't do it. If I were in the market for a new HDTV, I would buy one that gave me the option of using every connection and resolution available for High Definition so I could use it in any way I wanted. This is a big investment, don't sell yourself short by getting a cheaper TV that limits your options. High Definition Connections Probably one of the most overlooked parts of the HD process is the connections. You need to have the right cables in order to pass a High Definition signal from one component to the next. There are 3 types of video cable that will carry a high definition signal: Component Video Cables (720p/1080i) HDMI to DVI Cables (720p/1080i) HDMI Cables (720p/1080i/1080p) These are the only three cables that will give you a high definition signal! To figure out which ones you can use for your system, you need to check what connections are available on both your HDTV and your components. For example Blu-Ray Disc or HD DVD players require HDMI cables for full 1080p but also have component connections, regular DVD players can come with both component video connections, HDMI connections or both. A few more things to consider before making expensive High Definition purchases The Right Connections - Be sure that the home theater receiver, HDTV and components you are connecting have the connections that you need for High Definition. After you are sure of your connections, get the cables that are compatible with them. Number of HD Connections - Make sure that you know how many High Definition connections your TV and/or receiver have. Most HDTV's and receivers have only two HDMI inputs. If you only have 2 HDMI inputs, pick which two devices you want to run on HDMI and use Component Video for the rest. Look for the SimplayHD Logo - When looking for High Def components, we suggest looking for products that contain the Simplay HD logo on them. This assures you that the product is compatible with all fromats of HDMI and has been regulated by Simplay Labs the leader in HD testing. Monster HDMI cables and Yamaha Receivers are examples of Simplay HD certified products. Get Enough Cables - If you are going to run components from a home theater receiver to your HDTV, make sure you get an extra HDMI and/or Component Video Cable for the receiver's output to the TV. Example: If you are hooking up a Blu-Ray Disc Player and a High Def cable box with HDMI, you will need 3 HDMI cables. One for the Blu-Ray to the receiver, one for the cable box to the receiver and one for the receivers output to the HDTV. Keep it in the Family - Consider buying the same kinds of cable. Example: don't buy one expensive HDMI cable for the cable box to the receiver and one cheap one from the receiver to the TV. This is not a must but can help save you from compatibility problems. Don't Forget About Sound - If you are going with component video or HDMI to DVI cables you will also need audio cables to get sound. HDMI cables carry both video and audio in one cable. NOTE: Some receivers will not repeat the audio signal through HDMI, if you are getting no sound but are getting a picture this is probably the case . We suggest using a fiber optic audio or digital coaxial connection if available, but analog audio will work just fine if not, it just won't be as good as a digital connection. This is a lot to take in but if you do your research and plan out exactly what you will need, this whole process will be a lot easier. If you have any questions or want suggestions from us, post a reply to this article and we will try to answer your questions as best we can. Part II of this article will involve the actual connection of your High Definition components to your home theater system and which connections will maximize your HD experience.