Home Theater Connection Photo Gallery

Learn what different progressive audio video cables look like

If you're confused by all the connectors needed to set up your home theater system, this useful photo gallery explains standard home theater connectors.

Composite Video Connector

composite video connection is a connection in which both the color and black-and-white portions of the video signal transfer together. The actual physical connection is referred to as an RCA video connection and is usually yellow at the tips.

Composite Video Cable and Connector

S-Video Connector

An S-video connection is an analog video connection in which the color and black-and-white portions of the signal transfer separately. The television or video recording device recombines the signal at the receiving end.

The result is less color bleeding and more defined edges than with a standard analog composite video connection.

S-Video Connection and Cable Example

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

Component Video Connectors

A component video connection is a video connection in which the color and black-and-white elements of the signal are transferred by separate cables from a source, such as a DVD player, to a video display device, such as a TV or video projector. Three RCA cables that have red, green, and blue connection tips represent this connection.

Component Video Cables and Connection

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

As of January 1, 2011, all Blu-ray players made and sold going forward will not pass high-definition video signals (720p, 1080i, or 1080p) using 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).

HDMI Connector and Cable

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. The source must convert the signal from digital to analog to transfer the digital video signal to a TV, resulting in some information loss.

HDMI Cable and Connection.

An HDMI connection can transmit a digital video source signal (such as from a DVD player) digitally, without conversion to analog. This results in a pure transfer of all video information from the digital video source to an HDMI or DVI (using a connection adapter) equipped TV.

HDMI connectors can transfer both video and audio signals.

DVI Connector

DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. A DVI 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 with a DVI connection, without conversion analog. The result is a better quality image from standard and high definition video signals.

DVI Cable and Connection

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

Still, you might encounter cases where older DVD players and TVs have DVI connections rather than HDMI. Or, you may have an older TV that includes DVI and HDMI connection options.

Unlike HDMI, DVI only passes video signals. When using DVI to connect to a TV, you must make a separate audio connection to the TV.

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

Digital Coaxial Audio Connector

A digital coaxial audio connection is a wired connection that transfers digital audio signals (such as PCMDolby Digital, and DTS) from a source device, such as a CD or DVD player, and an AV receiver or surround sound preamp/processor. Digital coaxial audio connections use RCA-style connection plugs.

Digital Coaxial Audio Cable and Connection

Digital Optical Audio Connector AKA TOSLINK

A digital optical connection is a fiber-optic connection used for transferring digital audio signals (such as PCM, Dolby Digital, and DTS) from a source device, such as a CD or DVD player, and an AV receiver or surround sound preamp/processor. This connection is also called a TOSLINK connection.

Digital Optical Audio Cable and Connection

Analog Stereo Audio Cables

Analog stereos cables, also known 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.

Stereo Audio Cables and Connections.

Red is designated for the right channel, and white is designated for the left channel. These colors correspond to the receiving end analog stereo connectors' colors on an amplifier or receiver.

RF Coaxial Cable: Push-On Type

The RF coaxial cable connection transfers television signals (audio and video) originating from an antenna or cable box to a TV. VCRs can also use this connection for receiving and transmitting television signals and for watching VHS tapes. The type of RF Coaxial Connection pictured below is the push-on type.

Push-on Type RF Coaxial Cable

RF Coaxial Cable: Screw-On Type

The RF coaxial cable connection transfers television signals (audio and video) originating from an antenna or cable box to a TV. VCRs can also use this connection for receiving and transmitting TV signals and for watching VHS tapes. The type of RF coaxial connection pictured below is the screw-on type.

Screw-on Type RF Coaxial Cable

VGA PC Monitor Connection

Many high definition TVs, especially LCD and plasma flat-panel sets, do double duty as both a TV and a computer monitor. As a result, you may notice a VGA monitor input option on the rear panel of your TV. Pictured below are a VGA cable and the connector as it appears on television.

VGA PC Monitor Connection

Ethernet (Local Area Network) Connection

A connection that is becoming common in home theater is the Ethernet or LAN connection. This connection allows the integration of a Blu-ray Disc player, TV, or home theater receiver into a home network using a router (referred to as a local area network). The router, in turn, provides access to the internet.

Ethernet (LAN - Local Area Network) Connection

Depending on the capabilities of the connected device, an Ethernet connection can provide access to firmware updates, audio, video, and still image content stored on a PC, as well as online audio and 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.

Ethernet cables come in a variety of colors.

SCART Connection

Also known as EuroSCART, Euroconnector, and, in France, Peritel, the SCART connection is a common type of audio/video cable used throughout Europe and the UK to connect DVD players, VCRs, and other components to televisions.

SCART Cable and Connection

The SCART connector has 21 pins. Each pin (or groups of pins) is 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 digital audio signals.

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

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

DV connections are used in home theater in the following ways:

  • For connecting MiniDV and Digital8 camcorders to DVD recorders to enable the digital transfer of audio and video from MiniDV or Digital8 recordings to DVD.
  • For transferring multi-channel audio signals, such as DVD-Audio and SACD, from a DVD player to an AV receiver. This option is rare and only available on a few high-end DVD players and AV receivers that are no longer available.
  • 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 commonly done with HDMI, DVI, or HD-component video connections.
DV Connection, also known as iLink, Firewire, and IEEE1394

HDTV Rear Panel Connections

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 upper-right is the RF coaxial cable/antenna connection.
  • Below the RF connection are headphone and analog stereo audio outputs.
  • There are two sets of HD-component inputs on the lower-left, paired with analog stereo audio inputs.
  • On the lower-right side is a service port, plus two sets of analog stereo audio and composite video inputs.
  • There is also an S-video input option to the right of one of the composite video inputs.
HDTV Rear Panel Connections

The HDTV example shown above has various standard and HD input options. However, not all HDTVs have all these connections. For instance, S-video connections are now scarce, and some TVs may not allow the connection to the composite and component video inputs simultaneously.

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

HDTV Cable Connections

Here is a look at the rear connection panel of a typical HDTV and the connection cable examples.

  • On the top, from left to right, 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 upper-right is the RF coaxial cable/antenna connection.
  • Below the RF connection are headphone and analog stereo audio outputs (red and white).
  • On the lower-left, there are two sets of HD-component inputs (red, green, and blue), paired with analog stereo audio inputs (red and white).
  • The lower-right side has a service port, two sets of analog stereo audio (red and white), and composite video inputs (yellow).
  • There is an S-video input option to the right of one of the composite video inputs.
Photo of HDTV Cables and Connections

An HDTV has a variety of 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. Still, other connections (not shown here), such as USB and Ethernet, are becoming more common.

Typical Home Theater Video Projector Rear Panel Connections

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

The specific layout of connections may vary from brand to brand and model to model. You might also see 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.
  • To the right are several connectors. Starting near the top is an HDMI input. The HDMI input allows the digital transfer of video from a DVD player or other source component with either an HDMI output or a DVI-HDCP output using a connection adapter.
  • 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 images.
  • A serial port for external control and other possible functions and a USB port are below the HDMI input. Not all projectors will have these inputs.
Typical Home Theater Video Projector Rear Panel Connections