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help! dvd hookup (1 Viewer)

jeff cr

Mar 2, 2002
okay, here is my dilemna. my ht system has been working great for some time now and i just purchased a new dvd player( never had one up until now). presently i have the audio stuff going through my a/v receiver but the video stuff does not go through the receiver at all. now, i see you can hook up the dvd player audio portion to the receiver either with an optical cable or a coax cable. Which is better?. the video signal im confused on. do i just take a cable with rca ends and connect one end to the dvd and the other end to my video in jack on the tv set. i'm confused on all these connections. i see that just a 3 wire cable with rca ends come with the dvd player but i don't think these will work the best. thanks for the help.

Selden Ball

Second Unit
Mar 1, 2001
Real Name

If your TV can accept S-video (a special 4pin cable -- they should be available at local a/v stores), that should produce a better picture than using a single (yellow) coax connection.

If your TV and DVD player both have component video (three separate video connections), that can produce the best picture. You need to use separate coax cables, however (usually color coded red, green and blue), not the three cheap video+audio cables (usually color coded yellow, red and white) that normally come with a/v equipment.

Connecting the player's video output directly to your TV can provide a better quality picture than running the signal through your receiver. However, if you have several different video sources, running them all through the receiver can make it easier to select the right audio and video combinations. Any signal degredation usually is not noticable.

Using either the optical or coax digital audio connection will be fine. Coax is cheaper and somewhat more rugged. The audible difference between the two is subtle enough that people argue about it all the time. It varies depending on the A/V equipment you use.

You might want to get one of the home theater calibration DVDs (e.g. "Avia Guide to Home Theater" or "Video Essentials"). They'll help you set things up right and get the best out of your equipment. They're available online (e.g. at Amazon) or often for rent at local video stores.

I hope this helps a little.

Vince Maskeeper

Senior HTF Member
Jan 18, 1999
Okay I'll take a shot.
For video with DVD, there is usually 3 options (outlined from worst to best):
1) Composite cables. This is just the simple yellow RCA type connector (as you described in your post). You can get video simply by connecting an RCA cable from the DVD player to your Set-- but this is the lowest quality video available.
2) Svideo. A special multipin type connnector for video. This is a better connection than the Composite type. You have to make sure your TV offers an input for this type, but if it does it is a big improvement over the above.
3) Component. This is the same connector type as the compsite (a RCA type connector)- but it is a set of THREE RCA connectors for just video instead of just a single connector. This type of input is actually only offered on newer TV sets, so your TV might not offer this input (you should check the manual to be sure. It is usually called a component input, but also it can be labelled Y/Pb/Pr or "Colorstream").
Now in terms of audio, there are 3 connection types:
1) Analog audio. Using the 2 analog RCA connections (the red and white jacks on the dvd player). This is just like the audio connections you see on VCRs or CD players --- If your receiver offers a digital input, you should ignore these analog red/white jacks as the digital connection will be the way to go.
2) Digtial Coax. It uses the same connector type as the analog connetion mentioned above (A RCA connection)- but this one is a simgle line that carries digital audio. If your receiver offers this digital input type, this would be what I would use.
3) Digital Optical. Again- another type of digital connection- using a special cable type with its own connector (kind of square on the ends). There is no real serious advantage of using Optical or Coax for digital connections (the signal will be the same)-- so check your receiver to see which type of digital inputs it has available for you-- and that will dictate which type you should use
You can use the 3 wire cable with rca ends, however [as you imagined] this will give you the worst quality video and the lowest quality audio (analog 2 channel audio only) available.
Chances are your TV might not have component video inputs, these are the ones which require 3 RCA connections for just video (but double check you TV or the manual to make sure). If it doesn't have component-- Your best bet will be to see if your TV offers a Svideo input, and using that to connect from the DVD to the TV.
Then figure out which digital input the Receiver offers, and use that connection from the DVD to the receiver.
PS: As your number of video devices grows, you might consider using the receiver to route all the video signals to your TV. That way you don't have to cycle the video inputs on the TV and the audio inputs on the receiver to switch what you want to watch-- instead when you use the receiver to route all your video- you can leave the TV on one input and only have to switch the receiver which will handle both the audio and video for you.
You might want to look over the PRIMER link in my signature, especially the first few items in the hardware section- as much of this material is discussed there!

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