Home Theater Connection Photo Gallery

01
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Composite Video Connector

Composite Video Cable and Connector
Composite Video Cable and Connector. Robert Silva

If you are confused by all the different connectors needed to set-up your home theater system, then check out this useful photo gallery and explanation of common home theater connectors.

A Composite Video Connection is a connection in which both the Color and B/W portions of the video signal are transferred together. The actual physical connection is referred to as an RCA video connection and is usually Yellow at the tips.

Compare Prices for RCA Composite Video Cables at Amazon.com

02
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S-Video Connector

S-Video Connection and Cable Example
S-Video Connection and Cable Example. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

An S-Video connection is an analog video connection in which the B/W and Color portions of the signal are transferred separately. The signal is then recombined by the Television or video recording device at the receiving end. The result is less color bleeding and more defined edges than with a standard analog composite video connection.

S-video is being phased out as a connection option on most TVs and home theater receivers and is no longer found as a connection option on Blu-ray Disc players.

Compare Prices for S-Video Cables at Amazon.com

03
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Component Video Connectors

Component Video Cables and Connection
Photo of Component Video Cables and Connection. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

A Component Video Connection is a video connection in which the separate color and B/W elements of the signal are transferred via separate cables from a source, such as a DVD player, to a video display device, such as a Television or Video Projector. This connection is represented by three RCA cables -- that have Red, Green, and Blue connection tips.

Also, on a TV, DVD player or other device, these connections, although most commonly labeled "component" may also carry the additional designations of Y,Pb,Pr or Y,Cb,Cr.

Important Note: As of January 1, 2011, all Blu-ray Disc players made and sold going forward will not be able to pass high-definition video signals (720p, 1080i, or 1080p) via component video connections. This is referred to as the "Analog Sunset" (not be confused with the previous DTV Transition from analog to digital TV broadcasting). For more details, refer to my article: Component Video Analog Sunset.

Compare Prices for Component Video Cables at Amazon.com

04
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HDMI Connector and Cable

HDMI Cable and Connection.
Photo of an HDMI Cable and Connection. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. To transfer the digital video signal from a source to a TV, the source must convert the signal from digital to analog, this results in some information loss. However, an HDMI connection can transfer a digital video source signal (such as from a DVD player) digitally, without conversion to analog. This results in a pure transfer of all of Interface. To transfer the digital video signal from a source to a TV, the source must convert the signal from digital to analog, this results in some information loss. However, an HDMI connection can transfer a digital video source signal (such as from a DVD player) digitally, without conversion to analog. This results in a pure transfer of all of video information from the digital video source to an HDMI or DVI (via a connection adapter) equipped TV. In addition, HDMI connectors can transfer both video and audio signals.

For more details on HDMI and how it is implemented, check out my reference article: HDMI Facts.

Compare Prices for HDMI cables at Amazon.com

05
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DVI Connector

Photo of a DVI Cable and Connection
DVI Cable and Connection. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. A DVI interface connection can transfer a digital video signal from a source component (such as from a DVI-equipped DVD player, cable, or satellite box) directly to a video display that also has a DVI connection, without conversion to analog. This can result in a better quality image from both standard and high definition video signals.

Since the introduction of HDMI for home theater audio video connectivity, DVI is mostly relegated to the PC environment.

However, you may still encounter cases where older DVD players and TVs have DVI connections, rather than HDMI, or you may have an older TV that includes both DVI and HDMI connection options.

However, unlike HDMI, DVI only passes Video signals. If using DVI when connecting to a TV, you must also make a separate audio connection to your TV.

In cases where you have a TV that only has a DVI connection, but need to connect HDMI source devices to that TV, you can (in most cases) use a DVI-to-HDMI connection adapter.

Compare Prices for DVI Cables at Amazon.com

Compare Prices for DVI to HDMI Adapters and Cables at Amazon.com

06
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Digital Coaxial Audio Connector

Photo of a Digital Coaxial Audio Cable and Connection
Digital Coaxial Audio Cable and Connection. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

A digital coaxial audio connection is a wired connection that is used for transferring digital audio signals (such as PCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS) from a source device, such as CD or DVD player and an AV receiver or Surround Sound Preamp/Processor. Digital Coaxial Audio Connections use RCA-style connection plugs.

Compare Prices for Digital Coaxial Cables at Amazon.com

07
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Digital Optical Audio Connector AKA TOSLINK

Digital Optical Audio Cable and Connection
Photo of a Digital Optical Audio Cable and Connection. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

A digital optical connection is a fiber-optic connection that is used for transferring digital audio signals (such as PCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS) from a source device, such as CD or DVD player and an AV receiver or Surround Sound Preamp/Processor. This connection is also referred to as a TOSLINK connection.

Compare Prices for Digital Optical Cables at Amazon.com

08
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Analog Stereo Audio Cables

A photo of Stereo Audio Cables and Connections.
Stereo Audio Cables and Connections. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Analog Stereos cables, also know as RCA cables, transfer Left and Right stereo signals from components, such as a CD player, Cassette Deck, VCR, and other devices to a stereo or surround sound amplifier or receiver. Red is designated for the Right Channel and White is designated for the Left Channel. These colors will correspond to the colors of the receiving end analog stereo connectors on an amplifier or receiver.

Compare Prices for RCA Audio Cables at Amazon.com

09
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RF Coaxial Cable - Push-On

Photo of a Push-on Type RF Coaxial Cable
RF Coaxial Cable - Push On. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The RF Coaxial Cable connection is used for transferring television signals (audio and video) originating from an antenna or cable box to a Television. In addition, VCRs can also utilize this connection for both receiving and transferring television signals and for watching VHS tapes. The type of RF Coaxial Connection pictured here is the Push-on type.

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10
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RF Coaxial Cable - Screw-on

Photo of Screw-on Type RF Coaxial Cable
RF Coaxial Cable - Screw-on Type. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The RF Coaxial Cable connection is used for transferring television signals (audio and video) originating from an antenna or cable box to a Television. In addition, VCRs can also utilize this connection for both receiving and transferring television signals and for watching VHS tapes. The type of RF Coaxial Connection pictured here is the Screw-on type.

Compare Prices for RF Coaxial Cables at Amazon.com

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VGA PC Monitor Connection

A photo example of a VGA PC Monitor Connection
A photo example of a VGA PC Monitor Connection. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Many High Definition Televisions, especially LCD and Plasma Flat Panel sets, can do double duty as both a Television and a Computer Monitor. As a result, you may notice a VGA monitor input option on the rear panel of your television. Pictured above is a VGA cable as well as the connector as it appears on a television.

Compare Prices for VGA Cables and Adapters at Amazon.com

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Ethernet (LAN - Local Area Network) Connection

Ethernet (LAN - Local Area Network) Connection
Photo example of an Ethernet (LAN - Local Area Network) Connection. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

A connection that is becoming more common in home theater is the Ethernet or LAN connection. This connection can allow integration of a Blu-ray Disc Play, TV, or even Home Theater Receiver into a home network via a router (referred to as a Local Area Network) which, in turn, provides access to the Internet.

Depending on the capabilities of the connected device (TV, Blu-ray Disc Player, Home Theater Receiver), and ethernet connection can provide access to firmware updates, audio, video, and still image content stored on a PC, online audio/video streaming from services such as Netflix, Pandora, and more. Also, in the case of Blu-ray Disc players, Ethernet provides access to online BD-Live content associated with specific Blu-ray Discs.

Note: Ethernet cables come in a variety of colors.

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SCART Connection

SCART Cable and Connection
Synidcat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorecepteurs et Televiseurs SCART Cable and Connection (Also known as EuroSCART). Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Also known as ​EuroSCART, Euroconnector, and, in France - Peritel

The SCART Connection is a common type of audio/video cable used throughout Europe and UK for connecting DVD players, VCRs, and other components to Televisions.

The SCART connector has 21 pins, with each pin (or groups of pins) assigned to pass either an analog video or analog audio signal. SCART connections can be configured to pass Composite, S-Video or Interlaced (Y, Cb, Cr) Component and RGB analog video signals and conventional stereo audio.

SCART Connectors cannot pass progressive scan or digital video or digtial audio signals.

Originating in France, with the full name of "Synidcat des Constructeurs d'Appareils Radiorecepteurs et Televiseurs" , the SCART connector was universally adopted in Europe as a single cable solution for the connection of audio/video components and Televisions.

Check out prices for Scart Cables and Adapters at Amazon.com.

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DV Connection, also known as iLink, Firewire, and IEEE1394

Photo of a DV Connection, also known as iLink, Firewire, and IEEE1394
DV Connection, AKA iLink, Firewire, and IEEE1394. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

DV connections are used in Home Theater in the following ways:

1. For connecting miniDV and Digital8 camcorders to DVD recorders records to enable digital transfer of audio and video from miniDV or Digital8 recordings to DVD.

2. For transferring multi-channel audio signals, such as DVD-Audio and SACD, from a DVD player to an AV Receiver. This connection option is only available on a few high-end DVD players and AV Receivers.

3. For transferring HDTV signals from an HD Set-top Box, Cable, or Satellite Box to a Television or D-VHS VCR. This option is not widely used. Transfer of HDTV signals between components is more commonly done with HDMI, DVI, or HD-Component Video Connections.

Compare Prices for DV (iLink, Firewire, IEEE1394) Connections at Amazon.com

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HDTV Rear Panel Connections

Photo of HDTV Rear Panel Connections
HDTV Rear Panel Connections. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at the rear connection panel connections that you may find on an HDTV.

On the top, from left to right, there are connections for HDMI/DVI, including a set of analog stereo audio inputs, and a VGA monitor input for use with a PC.

On the top right is the RF Coaxial Cable/Antenna Connection. Just below the RF connection are headphone and analog stereo audio outputs.

On the bottom left there are two sets of HD-Component inputs, paired with analog stereo audio inputs.

On the bottom right side are a service port, plus two sets of analog stereo audio and composite video inputs.

There is also an S-video input option just to the right of one of the composite video inputs.

As you can see, the HDTV example shown here has a variety of both standard and HD input options. However, not all HDTVs will have all of these connections. For example, S-video connections are now extremely rare, and some TVs may not allow the connection to both the composite and component video inputs at the same time.

On the other hand, an increasing number of HDTVs also include a USB and/or Ethernet port.

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HDTV Cable Connections

Photo of HDTV Cables and Connections
HDTV Cables and Connections. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at the rear connection panel of a typical HDTV, as well as the connection cable examples.

On the top, from left to right, there are connections for HDMI/DVI (HDMI Connector Pictured), including a set of analog stereo audio inputs (Red and White), and a VGA monitor input for use with a PC.

On the top right is the RF Coaxial Cable/Antenna Connection. Just below the RF connection are headphone and analog stereo audio outputs (Red and White).

On the bottom left, there are two sets of HD-Component inputs (Red, Green, and Blue), paired with analog stereo audio inputs (Red and White).

On the bottom right side are a service port, plus two sets of analog stereo audio (Red and White) and composite video inputs (Yellow).

There is also an S-video input option just to the right of one of the composite video inputs.

As you can see, an HDTV has a variety of both standard and HD input options. However, not all the connections shown in this example are present on all HDTVs. Connections such as S-video and component are becoming rare, but other connections (not shown here) such as USB and Ethernet, are becoming more common.

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Typical Home Theater Video Projector Rear Panel Connections

Typical Home Theater Video Projector Rear Panel Connections
Typical Home Theater Video Projector Rear Panel Connections. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Video projectors are quickly becoming an affordable home theater option for average consumers. However, what are all those connections and what do they do? Above is a photo of typical connections you will find on a video projector, with an explanation below.

Keep in mind that the specific layout of connections may vary from brand to brand and model to model, and you may also have additional connections or duplicate connections not pictured here.

On this projector example, starting from the far left is the AC power connector where the supplied AC power cord plugs in.

Moving right there are several connectors. Starting near the top is an HDMI input. The HDMI input allows digital transfer of video from a DVD player or other source component with either an HDMI output or a DVI-HDCP output via a connection adapter.

Just to the right of the HDMI input is a VGA-PC Monitor input. This input allows you to connect a PC or Laptop and use the projector to display your images.

Just below the HDMI input is a Serial Port for external control, and other possible functions, and a USB port. Not all projectors will have these inputs.

Moving further right, on the bottom center of the rear panel, is a 12V trigger connection that allows certain types of wired remote functions.

Moving to the right side of the rear panel of the video projector, and beginning towards the top, we find the Component video inputs. The Component video input consists of Green, Blue, and Red connectors.

Just below the Green Component video connection is the S-Video input. Lastly, just below, and slightly to the right, of the S-video connector is the yellow connection which is the Composite, or standard analog video input. Your source components, such as a DVD player or AV Receiver will have one or more of these type connections. Match the correct connection of your source component to the same type of connection on the video projector.

One thing you will notice is the absence of any type of audio connection. With very few exceptions, video projectors do not have provisions for audio. Even though HDMI has the ability to pass audio as well as video, this function is not used on video projectors. It is the intention for the consumer to use an external home theater system, stereo system, or amplifier to provide the audio functions.

For more information on Video Projectors, check out my reference article: Before You Buy a Video Projector and my Top Picks for Video Projectors.

18
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Home Theater Receiver - Entry Level - Rear Panel Connections

Photo of rear panel connections you might find on an entry level home theater receiver.
Entry Level Home Theater Receive Rear Panel Connections - Onkyo Example. Photo © Onkyo USA

These are types of Audio/Video input/output connections that commonly found on an Entry Level Home Theater Receiver.

In this example, starting from left to right, are the Digital Audio Coaxial and Optical Inputs.

Moving just to the right of the Digital Audio Inputs are three sets of Component Video Inputs and one set of Component Video Outputs. Each input consists of a Red, Green, and Blue Connection. These inputs can accommodate DVD players and other devices that have component video connection options. In addition, the Component Video Output can relay the signal to a TV with a Component Video Input.

Below the Component Video connections are the Stereo Analog connections for a CD player and Audio Tape Deck (or CD Recorder).

Moving right, at the very top, are AM and FM Radio Antenna Connections.

Below the radio antenna connections, there are a host of analog audio and video connections. Here you can plug in your VCR, DVD player, video game, or other device. In addition, there is a Video Monitor output that can relay the incoming video signals to a TV or monitor. Both Composite and S-Video connection options are offered.

In addition, a set of 5.1 channel analog inputs are featured to accommodate DVD players that feature SACD and/or DVD-Audio playback.

Also, this example features both video inputs/outputs than can accept either a VCR, DVD Recorder/VCR combo, or a standalone DVD recorder. Most higher-end receivers will have two set of input/output loops that can accommodate both. If you have a separate DVD Recorder and VCR, look for a Receiver that has two VCR connection loops; this will make cross-dubbing easier.

Next, there are the Speaker Connection Terminals. On most receivers, all the terminals are red (Positive) and black (Negative). Also, this receiver has seven sets of terminals, as it is a 7.1 Channel receiver. Also note an extra set of terminals for connecting a "B" set of front speakers. The "B" speakers can also be placed in another room.

Just below the speaker terminals is the Subwoofer Pre-Out. This supplies a signal to a Powered Subwoofer. Powered Subwoofers have their own built-in amplifiers. The receiver simply supplies a line signal that must be amplified by the Powered Subwoofer.

Two types of connections that are not illustrated in this example, but are becoming more common on higher-end Home Theater Receivers, are DVI and HDMI input/output connections. If you have an upscaling DVD player, HD-Cable or Satellite Box, check to see they utilize these type of connections. If so, consider a Home Theater with those connections.

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Home Theater Receiver - High End - Rear Panel Connections

Home Theater Receiver - High End - Rear Panel Connections - Pioneer VSX-82TXS Example
High End Home Theater Receiver Connections - Pioneer VSX-82TXS Example Home Theater Receiver - High End - Rear Panel Connections - Pioneer VSX-82TXS Example. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

These are the types of input/output connections that are commonly found on a High-End Home Theater Receiver. NOTE: Actual layout depends on brand/model of Receiver and not all connections are featured on all home theater receivers. Some examples of connections that are being phased out on many home theater receivers are illustrated and discussed in my article: Four Home Theater A/V Connections That Are Disappearing.

Starting on the far left of the above photo, are the Digital Audio Coaxial and Optical Inputs.

Below the Digital Audio Coaxial Inputs is an XM Satellite Radio Tuner/Antenna input.

Moving right, are three HDMI input connectors and one HDMI output for connecting DVD, Blu-ray Disc, HD-DVD, HD-Cable or Satellite boxes that have high definition/upscaling capability. The HDMI output connects to an HDTV. HDMI also passes both video and audio signals.

Moving right, and to the top, are three connectors for external remote control sensors used in multi-room installations. Below these are 12-volt triggers which allow hardwired on/off functions with other components.

Moving down, there is a Composite Video Monitor Output for a second location.

Continuing down, are three Component Video Inputs and one set of Component Video Outputs. Each input consists of a Red, Green, and Blue Connection. These inputs accommodate DVD players, and other devices The Component Video Output connects to a TV with a Component Video Input.

Continuing right, are S-Video and Composite video, and analog audio inputs/outputs that can accept a VCR, DVD Recorder/VCR combo, or a standalone DVD recorder. Many receivers will have two sets of input/output loops. If you have a separate DVD Recorder and VCR, look for a Receiver that has two VCR connection loops; this will make cross-dubbing easier. Also in this connection group are the main S-Video and Composite video monitor outputs. AM/FM radio antenna connections are at the top of this section.

Moving further right, at the top, are two sets of analog audio-only inputs. The top set is for an Audio Turntable. Below are audio connections for a CD player, and audio tape deck input and output connections. Moving further down is a set of 7.1 channel analog inputs for DVD players that feature SACD and/or DVD-Audio playback.

Moving right, and to the top, is a set of 7.1 Channel Preamp Output connections. Also included: a Subwoofer line output, for a Powered Subwoofer.

Moving down is an iPod connection, which allows an iPod to be connected to the receiver using a special cable or dock. Below this is an RS232 port for connecting the receiver to a PC for advanced control functions that are commonly used in custom installations.

Next, there are the Speaker Connection Terminals. These terminals are red (Positive) and black (Negative). This receiver has seven sets of terminals, as it is a 7.1 Channel receiver.

Above the Surround Back speaker terminals is a Convenience Switched AC Outlet.

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Powered Subwoofer - Connections and Controls

Photo example of a connections and controls that you might find on a powered subwoofer.
Photo example of a connections and controls that you might find on a powered subwoofer. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

The photo on this page illustrates the types of connections on a typical powered subwoofer. The subwoofer used for this illustration is a Klipsch Synergy Sub10.

Starting with upper left of the rear panel of the Subwoofer, you will see the master power switch. This switch should always be on.

Looking directly below the power switch, in the bottom left corner is the power cable that connects the Subwoofer to a standard three prong electrical outlet.

Moving along the bottom of the rear panel, towards the center point, you will notice a series of connections. These connections are used when a normal line-level subwoofer connection is not available. These connections enable the user to connect the standard speaker outputs from a receiver or amplifier to the subwoofer. Then using the high-level output connections on the Subwoofer, the user can connect the subwoofer to a set of main speakers. Using the low-pass adjustment on the Subwoofer, the user can determine what frequencies the Subwoofer will use and what frequencies the Subwoofer will pass onto the main speakers.

Just to the right of the high-level outputs on the Subwoofer, towards the bottom right of the rear panel, is where the standard RCA line level inputs are. These inputs are where you connect the subwoofer output on your home theater receiver. You can either connect from single LFE (Low-Frequency Effects) output (usually just labeled Subwoofer Out or Subwoofer Pre-out on a Receiver) or a stereo preamp output.

Moving up the right side of the rear panel of the Subwoofer, you encounter two switches. The Auto/On switch sets the Subwoofer up to automatically activate when it senses a low-frequency signal. If you can also opt for turning the sub on manually.

Above the auto-on switch is ​the phase switch. This enables the user to match the in/out motion of the subwoofer speaker to the in/out motion of the rest of the speakers. This will result in better bass performance.

Moving up again, you will notice two dials. The bottom dial is the Low-pass adjustment. This allows the user to set which frequencies will be passed to the subwoofer and what point frequencies will be set to move on the main or satellite speakers.

Lastly, on the top right of the rear panel is the Gain control. This sets the volume of the subwoofer in relation to the other speakers. However, if your receiver also has a subwoofer level adjustment, it is best to set the gain control on the subwoofer itself to maximum or almost to maximum and then control the actual volume balance between the subwoofer and the rest of the speakers using the subwoofer level control of your receiver.

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DVD Player Rear Panel Connections featuring HDMI output

Pioneer DV-490V-S DVD Player - Rear Panel
Types of connections on a DVD player with 720p/1080i/1080p upscaling capability Pioneer DV-490V-S DVD Player - Rear Panel Connections. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Illustrated are the types of Audio and Video output connections found on DVD players with an HDMI output. Your DVD player connections may vary.

In this example, starting from left to right, is the HDMI connection, which can be found on some Upscaling DVD players. Another type of connection that is substituted for HDMI is a DVI connection. The HDMI connection has the ability to transfer video in pure digital form to an HDMI equipped HDTV. In addition, the HDMI connection passes both Audio and Video. This means on TV's with HDMI connections, you only need one cable to pass both audio and video to the television.

To the right of the HDMI connection Digital Coaxial Audio Connection. Many DVD players feature both a Digital Coaxial and Digital Optical audio connection. This DVD player only features one of them. If this is the case, you need to check that digital output connection that is on your DVD player is also available on your AV receiver.

Next, there are three types of video output connections offered: Just below the Digital Coaxial Audio output is the S-Video output. The Component Video outputs are to ​the right of the S-Video output. This output consists of Red, Green, and Blue connectors. These connectors plug into the same type of connectors on a TV, Video Projector, or AV receiver. The yellow connection is the Composite or standard analog video output.

Finally, on the far right, is the analog stereo audio output connections, one for the left channel and one for ​the right channel. This connection is useful for those that do not have a home theater or only have a television with stereo audio inputs.

It must be noted that the one type of connection that a DVD Player does not have is an RF antenna/cable output connection. This means that if you want to use a DVD Player with an older Television that cannot accommodate any of the audio or video connections shown above, you must purchase an additional device, called an RF Modulator, that can convert the Standard Audio and Video output from the DVD player to an RF Signal, that can be passed to the antenna/cable connection on an older television.

Check out my current Top Picks for Standard and Upscaling DVD Players

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Typical DVD Recorder Rear Panel Connections

LG RC897T DVD Recorder VCR Combo - Rear View
LG RC897T DVD Recorder VCR Combo - Rear View. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Illustrated are the types of Audio/Video input/output connections that can be found on a typical DVD Recorder. Your Recorder may have additional connections.

In this example, on the far left of the back panel, is the RF Loop connection. The RF input allows the connection of an antenna, cable, or satellite box to the DVD recorder to allow recording of TV programs via the DVD recorder's built-in tuner. However, the RF output connection is usually a pass-through connection only. In other words, you must have the DVD recorder connected to your TV via the Component, S-Video, or Composite Video output connections to view a DVD. If your TV does not have these connections, you may have to use an RF Modulator to view your recorded DVDs.

Just the right is an IR transmitter cable input connection.

Continuing to move righ are the Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial Audio Outputs. These are the connections you need to connect the DVD recorder to your AV receiver to access Dolby Digital and/or DTS surround sound. Either connection can be used, depending on what type of digital audio connection you have on your AV Receiver.

From left to right, on the top row, is the Component Video Output, consisting of Green, Blue, and Red connectors. These plug into the same type of connectors on a TV, Video Projector, or AV receiver.

Just below the Component Video outputs are the standard the S-video and AV Outputs. The Red and White connectors are analog stereo connections. If you have a receiver that does not have a digital audio connection, the analog stereo connections can be used to access the audio signal from the DVD recorder when playing back DVDs.

You can use either the Composite, S-Video, or Component Video Connections to access the video playback signal from the DVD recorder. Component is the best option, S-Video second, and then Composite.

Moving further right, are the Audio and Video Input Connections, which is comprised of the Red and White Stereo Audio connections, as well as a choice of either Composite or S-Video. Some DVD recorders have more than one set of these connections. Most DVD recorders also have an additional set of connections on the Front Panel, for easier access for Camcorders. Most DVD recorders also have a DV-Input mounted on the front panel as well. The DV-Input is not pictured here.

Also, check out my DVD Recorder FAQs and DVD Recorder Top Picks.

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Blu-ray Disc Player Rear Panel Connections

Photo example of a connections and controls that you might find on a Blu-ray Disc player.
Photo example of a connections and controls that you might find on a Blu-ray Disc player. Photo © Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Here is a look at connections that you may find on a Blu-ray Disc player. Keep in mind that not all of these connections are provided on all Blu-ray Disc players and the connections that are provided are not necessarily arranged as they are shown in this photo example. Also, as of 2013, it is required that all analog video connections be removed from new Blu-ray Disc players and, in many cases, although not required, some manufacturers are also opting to remove analog audio connections as well.

Before you purchase a Blu-ray Disc player, take note of the connections that are available on your TV and/or Home Theater Receiver, so that you are best able to match the Blu-ray Disc player with your system.

Starting on the left side of the photo example provided here are 5.1/7.1 Channel analog outputs, which are included mostly on higher-end players. These connections provide access to internal Dolby (TrueHD, Digital) and DTS (HD Master Audio, Core) surround sound decoders and multi-channel uncompressed PCM audio output of the Blu-ray disc player shown here. This is useful when you have a home theater receiver that does not have digital optical/coaxial or HDMI audio input access, but can accommodate either 5.1 or 7.1 channel analog audio input signals.

In addition, just to the right of the 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio outputs are a set of dedicated 2 channel stereo audio outputs. This is provided not only for those that do not have surround sound capable home theater receivers but for those that prefer a 2-channel audio output option when playing standard music CDs. Some players provide dedicated Digital-to-Analog converters for this output option. However, it must be noted that in some cases the two-channel analog outputs may be combined with the 5.1/7.1 channel analog outputs - in other words, you would use the front left/right outputs of the 5.1/7.1 channel connections for two-channel analog audio playback.

Moving to the right of the analog audio output connections are both a Digital Coaxial and Digital Optical audio connections. Some Blu-ray Disc players have both of these connections, and others may only offer one of them. Either connection can be used, depending on your receiver. However, if your receiver has 5.1/7.1 channel analog inputs or HDMI audio access, that is preferred.

Next are two analog video output options. The yellow connection is the Composite or standard analog video output. The other output option shown is Component Video output. This output consists of Red, Green, and Blue connectors. These connectors plug into the same type of connectors on a TV, Video Projector, or AV receiver.

You should not use the composite video output if you have an HDTV as it will only output video in standard 480i resolution. Also, while component video connections may output up to 1080i resolution for Blu-ray disc playback (see exceptions), they can only output up to 480p for DVDs. The HDMI output connection is required for viewing Blu-ray in 1080p and standard DVDs in upscaled 720p/1080i or 1080p.

Next is the Ethernet (LAN) port. This allows connection to a high-speed internet router for access Profile 2.0 (BD-Live) content associated with some Blu-ray Discs, internet streaming content from services, such as Netflix, as well as allowing direct download of firmware updates.

Moving further right is a USB port, which allows the connection of a USB flash drive, and, in some cases allows for connection of an external hard drive, iPod with audio, photo, or video files, or external USB WiFi adapter - refer to your own Blu-ray Disc player's user manual for details.

Next is the HDMI connection. Of all the connections shown up to this point, the HDMI connection is one that included on all Blu-ray Disc players.

HDMI allows you to access the 720p, 1080i, 1080p upscaled images from standard commercial DVDs. In addition, the HDMI connection passes both Audio and Video (both 2D and 3D depending on the player). This means on TVs with HDMI connections, you only need one cable to pass both audio and video to the television, or through an HDMI receiver with both HDMI video and audio accessibility. If your TV has a DVI-HDCP input instead of HDMI, you can use an HDMI to DVI Adapter cable to connect the Blu-ray Disc player to the DVI-equipped HDTV, however, DVI only passes video, a second connection for audio is needed.

It also important to note that some 3D Blu-ray Disc players may have two HDMI outputs. For more on this, read my article: Connecting a 3D Blu-ray Disc Player with Two HDMI Outs to a Non-3D Home Theater Receiver.

One final connection option (shown in the photo example above) that is available on a select number of Blu-ray Disc players is the inclusion of one, or two HDMI inputs. For an additional photo and detailed explanation on why a Blu-ray Disc might have an HDMI input option, refer to my article: Why Do Some Blu-ray Disc Players Have HDMI Inputs?

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HDMI Switcher

Monoprice Blackbird 4K Pro 3x1 HDMI® Switcher
Monoprice Blackbird 4K Pro 3x1 HDMI® Switcher. Images provided by Monoprice

Pictured above is a 4-Input/1 Output HDMI Switcher. If you have an HDTV that only has one HDMI connection, you will need an HDMI Switcher in order to connect multiple components with HDMI outputs to your HDTV. Source components that have HDMI outputs include Upscaling DVD Players, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD Players, HD Cable Boxes, and HD-Satellite Boxes. In addition, newer game systems may also have HDMI outputs that can connect to an HDTV.

Setting up an HDMI Switcher is fairly straightforward: Just plug the HDMI output connection from your source component to one of the input jacks on the switcher, and then plug the Switcher's HDMI output to the HDMI input on an HDTV.

Compare Prices on HDMI Switchers at Amazon.com as well as my current HDMI Switcher Top Picks.

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RF Modulator

RCA Compact RF Modulator (CRF907R)
RCA Compact RF Modulator (CRF907R). Image courtesy of Amazon.com

Pictured above is an RF Modulator. If you have an older Television that only has a cable/antenna connection, you will need an RF Modulator in order to connect a DVD player or DVD recorder to the Television.

The function of an RF modulator is simple. The RF modulator converts the video (and/or audio) output of a DVD player (or camcorder or video game) into a channel 3/4 signal that is compatible with a TV's cable or antenna input.

There are many RF modulators available, but all function in a similar fashion. The main feature of an RF modulator is that makes it perfectly suited for use with DVD is the capacity for it to accept the standard audio/video outputs of a DVD player and the cable input (even passed through a VCR) simultaneously.

Setting up an RF modulator is fairly straightforward:

First: Plug your Cable TV/VCR output into the Cable input connection of the RF modulator and the DVD player into the RF modulator's AV (Red, White, and Yellow OR Red, White, and S-Video) inputs.

Second: Connect a standard RF cable from the RF modulator to your TV.

Third: Select either the channel 3 or 4 output on the back of the RF modulator.

Fourth: Turn the TV on and the RF modulator will automatically detect your cable input for the TV. When you want to watch your DVD player, just put the TV on channel 3 or 4, turn the DVD player on and the RF modulator will automatically detect the DVD player and will display your movie. When you turn the DVD player off, the RF Modulator should revert back to normal TV viewing.

For a visual presentation of also the above procedures, also check out my Step-By-Step on connecting and using an RF Modulator.

Compare Prices on RF Modulators at Amazon.com

 

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