Help with Home Theatre Selection


Dec 30, 2006
Real Name
I am looking for a home theatre for my parents. They want something simple and inexpensive, but it needs to meet certain criteria. I am getting a bit frustrated as we purchased a sony system today that the sales person said would meet our needs and it turned out to be completely useless.

We have a 40" Bravia mounted on the wall. All wiring is behind the TV. There are currently 5 cables running from the back of the TV through the wall and into a high definition digital cable box. 3 for component video and 2 for left and right audio.

We would like to install surround sound for use with the cable box and a DVD player, but would really like to avoid running additional wiring through the wall.

I assumed (yeah, I know) that I could just get a receiver that would have component video in, to which I could attach the cable box, and component video out, which I could run to the TV. If such a thing exists, I am having a horrible time finding it. I have come across some stuff from Harmon Kardon, but the cost is around 1000 dollars. We were hoping to spend less than half that.

Does anyone have any ideas? I am beginning to think we will need to run audio seperately from video, which makes things a little more complicated with the remotes, especially for my 86 year old grandmother. Any help is very much appreciated.


Stunt Coordinator
Jun 17, 2006
Real Name
Nick Gallegos
There's a LOT of receivers on the market that have component video switching for well under $1,000.

I'm not sure what kind of budget you want to stay within, but check out Denon, Yamaha and Onkyo. I believe they all have sub-$500 models that will do HD-bandwidth component video switching and analog video upcoversion. For example, the Denon AVR-1707 has 3-in/1-out switching with 100 MHz bandwidth with analog video upconversion (for older components that use s-video or composite) for $449.

The existing wiring in the wall is fine, save for perhaps an HDMI cable that you might want to consider running for next-generation video devices. You would only have to use the existing analog audio cable in the wall if you want to be able to use the TV's internal speakers from time to time. Otherwise, you can leave it alone.

Here's how I'd connect everything, assuming all the sound gets handled by the receiver itself:

- Attach the in-wall component video cable going into the TV to the new receiver's component video "Monitor Out" jacks.

- Run component video from the DVD player and HD cable box into the appropriate component video "Input" jacks on the back of the receiver.

- Run digital audio from the DVD player and HD cable box (optical or coaxial; they both sound about the same) into the appropriate digital audio "Input" jacks on the back of the receiver.

- Next (on most new receivers), you'll have to assign the component video and digital audio input jacks to the appropriate source inputs in the receiver's on-screen setup menu. For example, "Component-1" and "Optical-1" to the "TV" input; "Component-2" and "Optical-2" to the "DVD" input.

If you do decide that you want to also use your TV's internal speakers from time to time, you'll want to run analog audio cables from both source components (cable and DVD) into the receiver and then connect the in-wall analog audio cable into an audio output on the back of the receiver (a tape output usually works fine for this).

Hope that helps. Happy New Year!

- Nick

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