How to get the most out of your HDTV Part 2: Connecting Your HD System

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.

44 comments on “How to get the most out of your HDTV Part 2: Connecting Your HD System

  1. John Turner on said:

    Recently purchased an LG37lc7d and when connecting to my Bose Lifestyle 12 I do not get surround sound on th HD channels. Surround works fine on on all other channels. My book on the Bose system says to connect Bose receiver speaker jacks to the TV fixed audio output jacks. There’s nothing in my LG book indicating it has Fixed audio output jacks. Thanks

    John Turner

  2. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    The Lifestyle 12 is an old system and was not built for Digital Sound because there are no digital inputs. I am guessing that you are using analog audio cables to get the sound from your cable box (and if you aren’t you should probably try it). This is not an ideal setup for HD because digital sound is better than analog but it should still work if you use analog audio even though it won’t be as good.

    Bose has come out with some great technology recently that is HDMI capable and fully supports all High Definition programming and digital surround sound audio. If you want a true HD experience I suggest you take a look at the some of the new Bose Home Theater Systems so you can get a High Def picture and Digital Audio.

  3. I recently bought a HDTV and an optical audio wire to run from the HD cable box to my Bose 3-2-1 system. The tips of the optical wire are the same shape as the ports on the cable box and the Bose but I can’t seem to get them in all the way. Are there different size wire tips or I am doing something wrong? Thanks.

  4. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    Fiber Optic Audio cables are universal and for the most part every fiber optic audio cable should fit every fiber optic audio port. I think I might know what you are doing, most fiber optic cables have a tip protector on the ends of the cable. It is usually a little clear cap that simply pulls off, you might have left those on which is why they won’t fit into the ports.

  5. Raymond Edwards on said:

    I am not getting the audio on my system. The remote is between 85-100 before I get good clear audio on my cable box setting. I am working with these three main components, of course my Bose 321, a Scientific Atlanta HD cable box, and my Sharp 42″ Aquos.

    I ran my HDMI cable from my cable box to one of my imputs on the TV, I ran my digital optical cable from my cable box to my Bose 321, and ran digital audio cables (red & white) to the tv. The volume on the TV is turned down to 0, and I am using the cablebox volume on my remote.

    I am using component cables for the video and getting great pictures, but the audio seems like it should be of better quality.

    Any ideas on what I am doing wrong?

  6. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    Two suggestions for you: 1) See if increasing the volume on your cable box (not your TV or 321) will do anything. 2) Try switching your cable box’s sound to a fixed audio output.

  7. Anna Blair on said:

    I’ve been driving myself crazy trying to hook up our new HDTV (Panasonic 50″) and our Bose 3-2-1 GSX theater system with our also new Direct TV satelite system, plus a Sony DVD! My son in law said to use S-video cables instead of component cables, but Bose said component cables were better. Bose system’s DVD player turned out to not be HD, so I hooked up the HD Sony DVD player to the Bose system. What is the best cable for digital audio and HD video? I asked Bose for a schematic to hook it all up and they said “to consult the manuals of all the components…which is contradictory in some cases.
    I have too many cables behind the TV! Help!

  8. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    The video is easy, use component for both. S-Video will not pass a high definition signal (720p, 1080i or 1080p) so your HD-DVD player would basically be a regular DVD player without component video. You should also use component video on your Satellite box whether it is capable of High Definition or not. Component is the best analog video connection you can have, better than both composite and S-video.

    You need to check the audio connections on the back of both of your systems. The 321 will allow you to connect one device with an optical connection and up to 3 devices with coaxial. These are both digital signals and will give you digital sound which is the best. If neither have a coaxial connection then you will have to pick one to use with the optical and use analog (red and white inputs) with the other component. But if you can use a digital sound connection for a better experience.

  9. I need to connect my HD TV to my DirecTV convertor and need the cable. My coonection to the DirecTV converter is a HDMI connection and the Mitsubishi TV connection is a HDTV Control (female connection with 8 pin holes on top and 7 pins holes on the bottom)connection.
    Where can I buy the cable to connect my system?

  10. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    We sell a wide variety of HDMI cables that will work with your setup. Follow this link to browse through them.

  11. when hooking up with hdmi cables do i need to run seperate audio cables? I have a hdtv and receiver and cable box that all are hdmi connected. I have picture but no sound

  12. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    While HDMI cables will carry a digital video and digital audio signal, many receivers were not made to repeat the audio signal. More than likely your receiver can’t pass audio through HDMI so you will have to run a separate audio cable from your cable box to your receiver (in the appropriate input of course). I would suggest using digital optical or digital coax (depending on what is available to you) for sound because either one will produce a similar digital signal to the HDMI cable. I have provided these links to our digital coaxial and digital optical pages if you are interested in buying.

  13. I have a similar question as Raymond above. My new 321 as great sound through CD and Radio, but the DVD and definately not the TV reaches the quality I think it should. One guy at Best Buy said to connect the optical cable from the tv to the receiver and the other said it’s the HD Scientif Atlanta cable receiver to the 321. Which one is it? I assume I remove the other audio cables? I want to optimize ever I can.

  14. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    Either way will work, but going from the fixed audio out on the TV requires you to make a connection from the cable box to the TV and then from the TV back to the 321. If you connect straight from the box you only have to make one connection so I suggest doing it that way. If you use optical cable, you will have to go to the 321′s menu and select the CBL/SAT input as the optical source. If you use digital coax (which your cable box may or may not have) you just need to plug it in to the CBL/SAT input. The digital coax input is the one located directly underneath the red and white analog audio inputs on the back of your 321. It is a single input that is black on your 321 but usually is orange on components like a cable box. It will be just as good as optical, it really depends on your preference as to which one you are going to use. Whichever one you use, you don’t need any additional connections, so you don’t have to keep the other audio cable coming from your cable box plugged in.

  15. RONALD ("RON") BOURQUE on said:

    My wife and I live in a small (1150 sq ft) house (new). The place that I had to locate my HDTV (2007 SAMSUNG-32″) is about 50-60 feet from where I had to locate the audio components! I would like to set up surround sound, etc, but I would have to rout the cables through the attic and down to the HDTV (no basement) and visa versa. Should I even attempt this? If so what would be your suggestions? Thanks for your advice….”RON”

  16. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    This setup can be done but unfortunately it will be costly because of the distance you have to go. Fortunately for you we are one of the only sites on the web that does custom length Monster cables depending on what kind you need. We also stock long lengths of HDMI cable.

    Here is what I suggest you do: Since you have a newer HDTV you more than likely have HDMI inputs. I suggest using HDMI for video because it will give you the best High Definition picture possible. If this is too costly for you then the best alternative is component video because it can also do high definition and is the next best choice under HDMI. Unfortunately we cannot do custom length HDMI cables, however we have a 50 foot and a 75 foot HDMI cable in stock (I assume that you will probably need the 75 foot which runs $700). I know that sounds a little pricey but it is one of the few HDMI cables out there that can hold a signal over that long of length. Don’t be fooled into buying a cheap HDMI cable for hundreds less only to find that it doesn’t work properly or doesn’t work at all when you connect it.

    Like I mentioned earlier this is not your only option, you can also use component video to connect to your TV, the quality will still be good (but not as good as HDMI) and it will cost you probably around $200 less at that length. Those are the two cables I suggest for video purposes. If you are going to get a surround sound system, I will assume that you are not going to be running audio cables to the TV though we can do custom length audio cables also.

    I am also not sure if your components are somewhere that can be reached by remote or if they are hidden away but I imagine you don’t want to have to aim the remote in another part of the room to reach them. If you want to eliminate this problem I suggest you get an infrared repeater system that will allow you to aim a remote at a single sensor for all your components. For this you will need a sensor, cat-5 cable that is the right length for your system, a system hub and an ir flasher for every component you have.

    I will recap what I have suggested to you and give you links to the product pages of each product. If you want to do a custom length look for it underneath the Buy Now Button on the product page.
    1) Video: Either HDMI 75 foot or Component Video (Custom length)
    2) Audio (if necessary): Digital Coaxial Custom Length (better) or Analog Audio Custom Length (good)
    3) Niles IR Sensor (Wall Mount or Surface Mount), Cat-5 Cable, IR Hub and One IR Flasher for each component you have.

    Here is a link to another article explaining How to Set Up an IR Repeater System if you are interested in getting one.

  17. My Sony 42″ LCD is mounted on a half-wall in the middle of our living room. We have a pre-installed cable tube running from that half wall back, through the floor, to the corner where all the audio and visual equipment is located. Here’s the issue. Rather than run lots of cables through the tube in the floor/walls, I’d like
    to have a switch on the corner shelf, that selects from either the Comcast Cable box, or from the Sony DVD player, and send the signal through one cable, either HDMI or component. So far, the only switches I’ve seen are as big as the Comcast digital box itself. Have you seen a small switch for HDMI cables? For Component cables?


  18. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    You are in luck. We just got Monster Cable’s new HDMI switcher a few weeks ago. It is considerably smaller than a cable box and will give you an excellent HD signal. Here is a link to the product page. We don’t have anything like this for component video.

  19. When I hooked up my DVD player(not HD) to my new 50 inch Panasonic TV using component cables, the picture was a purple/pink color when playing a DVD. What causes this? Do I need different cables? Thanks.

  20. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    I don’t know what kind of DVD player you have but I think I know what your problem is. You need to look on the DVD players settings or menu to see if you have to manually switch the output to component video. Many DVD players have this, it could also be a switch on the back of your DVD player but again I don’t know what kind you have so I couldn’t tell you where it is. You need to do some exploring to try and find something that allows you to switch your output to component video. The reason it is showing a pink picture is that it thinks you still are connected with composite or S-video. If you can’t read the screen when its pink, connect with composite video just so you can see, switch your output on the menu to component video then turn it off and connect with component video. Hope this works out for you.

  21. I would like to connect my TV about 35′ from the receiver with an HDMI cable. Will I loose signal quality by connecting it so far.

  22. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    You wont loose signal quality if you use the right cable. Many people believe that all HDMI cables are the same because they all pass a digital signal. That is not true, I will tell you right now that if you go the cheap route there is no way you will get a quality signal or possibly any signal at all with that far of a distance. Distance is probably the most important factor in HDMI signal quality so you need to choose a good cable. Monster Cable makes the best HDMI cables in the industry and can easily pass a 35 foot signal. They also make HDMI cables specific to in-wall installations which I imagine is what you will be doing at that distance. For you I would suggest the Monster MC 1000 HDMI cable for a few reasons. First of all it is CL2 rated which means it is able to be run in wall. Second it is guaranteed for life to pass the highest possible HDMI bandwidth so you will never have to switch it out when technology changes. Is it more expensive than other 35 foot HDMI cables, yes but its quality and performance is unmatched. We do sell it in 35 feet, here is a link to the Monster MC1000 HDMI cable product page if you are interested.

  23. ShirleyThomas on said:

    First I have to say this is a great site. Thanks for explaining all these stuff. But I have some questions. If u can, please help me out. I have a Sony 52″ xbr5( it has 2 HDMI input and 1 HDMI output),Harmon Kardon cp 65 ( has 2 HDMI input and 1 HDMI output), Sony BDP S500 Blue Ray player (1 HDMI output) and a Fios HD Cable Box(1 HDMI output). Can I hook my bule ray player and my cable box directely to TV’s HDMI input and then TV’s HDMI output to Harmon Kardon reciever’s HDMI input? I am so confused now. Pls help me….

  24. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    I think where you are getting confused is your receiver. You probably think that you need two HDMI outputs for the two inputs but that is not the case. When you have two HDMI sources plugged into the inputs, your Receiver will send the TV the one that is in use over the HDMI output and shut the other one off until you decide to use that particular input and vice versa. Here is how you should connect your system, connect your Blu-Ray and your Fios Cable Box to the inputs on your Harmon Kardon Receiver. Once you have done that plug one end of an HDMI cable into the receivers output and the other to your TVs HDMI input and your done. Like I said earlier you only need the one connection from the receiver to the TV to use both the Blu Ray and Cable Boxes signals. Hope this helped. If you need additional HDMI cables here is a link to our HDMI cables section.

  25. Brian on said:

    I recently purchased an acoustimass 16 series II system. Bose advises not to hook the speakers up directly to the receiver, rather to terminate through the acoustimass. I plan on buying a high end receiver from Denon on Yamaha. Should I hook the speakers up directly to my receiver or go through the acoustimass? I have already run my heavy gauge in-wall Monster speaker wire and I didn’t know the acoustimass doesn’t have a left and right terminal connection for the speaker wire. How can I solve this problem? Thanks for your help.

  26. Your Electronic Warehouse on said:

    With the Bose Acoustimass 16 system you will need to run the wires through the Acoustimass module. I would not recommend running them straight to the receiver. To hook up your monster wire you can use one of our Bose speaker wire adapters.

  27. I have a Pioneer PDP-5010FD HDTV, a HDTV cable box, a PS3 and Bose GSX series III. Is it possible to run all my HDMIs to the TV and use the optical out to the Bose system?

  28. Carl H. on said:

    I am upgrading to HD and want to do it right. but I’m new to this and have a couple questions. I just bought a Bose 321 GS II and am getting the 720p Sony Bravia next week. I also have the xbox 360 pro and intend to get the Sony Blu-ray. I noticed my Bose system does not have HDMI inputs. I know HDMI is supposed to carry both audio and video, but can I run HDMI directly to my TV for the best video and separate coaxial connections for digital sound directly from my components to my Bose system? Or is there a better way to connect so that all my components have the best possible picture and sound? Also, is there a huge difference in HDMI cables if run a short distance?

    Thanks so much for your time,

  29. Hi, I just purchased a converter from DishNetwork. How do I hook it up to my TV and my satellite dish?

  30. Rob Huget on said:

    I have a Harmon Kardon receiver AVR146 Playstation 3 and HDTV. I have two HDMI cables but I know the Harmon won’t transmit audio. Would you explain in what order they should be hooked up and where the audio cable should go? Thanks.

  31. Richard McCarney on said:

    Hi, I have a brand new 46” Sony LCD. I am basic cable, but is my picture going to be better once the switchover is done June 12th? DO NOT want to upgrade and pay cable company another $20 a month for expanded and HD converter box. Also, what is best way to hookup a Blu-ray player to my system? Sony 46”, Panasonic SA-HE9 100X5 A/V receiver, two optical inputs, no HDMIs. Thank you.

  32. Barbara Banaszewski on said:

    Hi, We have a 52″ Sony Bravia HD LCD hooked up to a HD converter box using component. I am considering purchasing a home theater system but do not know how to hook up speakers in order to also be able to hear TV programs through them. Can you help?

    Thank you.

  33. Wyo Carey on said:

    I have 65″ Panasonic plasma with Bose V30 and DishNetwork 612 HD/DVR. I have the dish receiver connected to V30 using HDMI and optical audio cables. I have V30 connected to TV with HDMI cable. Question: when jumping ahead on DVR to skip through commercials, the TV stutters, turns black, hiccups a few times, then straightens itself out. Does this about every 2nd/3rd press of the jump forward button and also the back button. Any help?

  34. Electronics Guru on said:


    The V30 serves as a pass-through device in this setup, so it’s probably an issue with your DVR or HDTV. The first idea that comes to mind is the large amount of information that has to be processed when using a DVR in FF or RW mode, especially if doing so live; recorded content usually skips forward and backwards much smoother.

    Unlike a regular stream of information, when you change channels or fast forward you’re interrupting the normal flow. I would say that there is either an issue with speed and/or processing of the signal on the DVR and satellite side of the setup or the HDTV is not liking the signal so it goes blank momentarily.

  35. Purchased a LG 50PK540 TV this week. Hooked up my 3-2-1 Bose system to it and I have no surround sound. The radio works fine but does not work the sound of the TV. My connectors are yellow for video I assume and red and white ends for audio. Any suggestions on what is wrong?

  36. Electronics Guru on said:


    I checked out your TV online and it looks like it has no RCA output — just “A/V in.”

    Are you getting any sound from the TV or just not surround sound? Keep in mind that the 3-2-1 is a stereo system, so the surround effects are simulated and vary according to the input source, system configuration and room setup.

    HDTVs such as yours typically output audio via optical cable, but even more common is to have sound run directly to your 3-2-1 with the TV just as the display. What video/audio sources are you running to your TV? Can you run them through your 3-2-1 or split the audio and video signals so video goes to your TV and audio to the 3-2-1?

    As always I recommend calling in and talking with one of our specialists. 1-866-224-6171 gets you any one of our guys who has lots of experience with installation and troubleshooting.

  37. Gilles Messier on said:

    Can the Bose Cinemate Series II digital home theatre speaker system be connected directly to the Explorer HD terminal via the optical cable or does it need to be connected directly to the TV audio output?
    The Explorer terminal is already connected to the TV via video component cable (Y, Pb, Pr) and audio cable (Red and White).

    The above question refers to listening a television program. But if I listen to a film via the DVD connected to the TV via a HDMI cable will I need another audio connection between the DVD player and the Cinemate system?

    Thank you.

  38. Electronics Guru on said:

    Gilles Messier:

    I’m assuming the “Explorer terminal” is the Canadian equivalent of a cable box/DVR here in the US. The Cinemate systems are designed to be connected directly to your TV, either to the optical out or stereo outs. The speakers will then play whatever sound is associated with the video content on the screen.

    If you have the Cinemate connected to the TV with the TV audio out set to the corresponding output jack, then it won’t matter what source is coming in to the TV. That’s because the TV processes and routes all incoming signals and transmits a single audio output source. Keep in mind that if your Cinemate is connected via optical cable, the stereo jacks are typically turned off. Likewise, the optical out is the best choice for audio.

    Thus, the best system configuration would be the Explorer terminal connected to the TV via HDMI, with the Cinemate being connected to the TV via optical cable. This would ensure optimum quality from start to finish.

  39. Rolando D. Toccafondi on said:

    I have an HD Panasonic Viera and didn’t have any trouble for four years until I hooked up the HDMI cables this year. Before this year I had HD through 7 or so cables that the FIOS technician hooked up to my tv and my HD cable box. Beautiful picture with them. Then I hooked up the tv, PS3 and other equipment with HDMI cables after Christmas. I then started to get blank picture episodes two or three times an evening for up to 3 seconds each time. After the blank picture episodes I was having I reinstalled the cables and the blank episodes stopped. I have since rehooked up the HDMI cables again and the blank episodes have resumed. No one can tell me why this occurs.

  40. Electronics Guru on said:

    Rolando D. Toccafondi (39):

    What kind of “cables” were connected? I’m assuming component? I can say that in general people with FIOS + HDMI have many problems with signal drops compared to FIOS + component. There are several reasons, all of which are highly technical. HDMI is the superior choice for audio and video performance, the specs just don’t lie…but in real-world setups sometimes other cabling choices provide a decent experience without the headache and expense.

    A few things to check: have you updated the software on your components? are the cables “high speed” or better? are they seated correctly (plugged in tight)? turn on the TV last; if you switch sources a short blank is actually not that uncommon.

  41. DEBBIE on said:


  42. Julie Fisher on said:

    I just bought the 55 inch Samsung 6500 LED TV. It came with a Samsung DVD player/home theater system, HT-C5500. I have a cable box and the Bose 321 system. Can this all be hooked up together and if so how. Thanks.

  43. Electronics Guru on said:

    Julie Fisher:

    From my quick search the HT-C5500 is a full surround system with Blu-ray player. If that’s true then the Bose 321 is out-classed. Your new TV will be hooked up to the HDMI out on the HT-C5500, with the cable box and Blu-ray player running into the HT-C5500 with HDMI if there are available ports. If not use component video cables and fiber optic or digital coax for sound.

    I’m a big fan of Bose but I’m not sure why you would even need the Bose, especially considering the connectivity of the HT-C5500 and its full surround sound.

  44. Electronics Guru on said:


    I can’t troubleshoot your situation until I have the details of your system. For the best level of service I recommend calling 1-866-224-6171 to talk with our customer service reps. They can walk you through the connections to make sure everything is right.

    A few things to check:

    1. If you are running component video cables you have to have an audio source, such as fiber optic, connected between the cable box and v25. Using an HDMI cable will pass audio and video with one cable (if available).

    2. Make sure the audio and video sources are the same. In other words, make sure the video in/out are the same number, like “video 1″ or “TV”, if they’re different the systems can’t pull from different ports.

    3. Make sure the system isn’t muted. The Bose systems have a “mute all” button.

    4. If the audio is run from the TV out to the Bose, make sure the TV is set to send audio. Just because there’s a connection doesn’t mean the devices know what to do.

    Finally, who hooked up your system? Did it ever work right? I would suggest contacting the person/company who hooked it up and have them fix it, or show you how to make things work.

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