Total Newbie, Which Cables Will I Need?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave_Mu, Dec 6, 2002.

  1. Dave_Mu

    Dave_Mu Extra

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    I finally got the go-ahead from the wife to set up a home theater... and she is actually excited about it. I've got a little over 2000.00 total to spend, so it will be a modest setup compared to most I read about here, but it is a start.

    I've read and read here and I think I'm going with the following...

    Samsung 32" HDTV
    Pioneer VSX-D811S
    Panasonic DVD-RP82
    JBL NSP1 II Set
    Sony SA-WM40

    I have DirecTV and a PlayStation 2 that will come along for the ride... I admit, I still like to play video games.


    Keep in mind, I am a total newbie to this... so I need some help. What cables do I need to hook all this stuff up? If you can recommend any budget brands of cables that will do a good job please don't hesitate to let me know that as well.

    Thanks
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Dave. Welcome to HTF! [​IMG]
    I strongly suggest you pick a saturday morning to do all this. Get your electronics installed, take measurements and then go to the store for cables. (Yes, I know you want to buy them in advance, but... it's better to have them all installed first to get the correct lengths.)
    You can buy in advance some speaker wire, wire labels and a surge-supressing power strip.
    Cable Concepts
    We are going to put the speaker wires down low, pull the power cords to one side and let the interconnects hang loosly down the middle. This makes 3 separate bundles. You can bundle the wires with velcro strips or split-loom tubing, but dont try to make tight bundles. It's not good for the cables or your signals. Loose, but tidy is what you are after.
    Rack Layout
    - Put the receiver on the bottom shelf. You dont touch it normally (you use the remote). This allows those heavy speaker wires to flow out onto the floor without obscuring the other devices.
    - Above the receiver put the CATV/DSS box's. (Once again, you dont normally touch these.)
    - On the top shelves put the DVD player, VCR, and the PS2. You want these up higher to you can interact with them without bending over. Leave a shelf open under the PS2 to shove the controllers.
    - Go to Radio Shack and get a $3 set of wire labels with the white writeable surface and clear plastic tape in one.
    - Look at the back of your equipment and attach a 2 wire lables to each power cord. Put one where it goes into the box, and another right above the plug. Write a letter "A" on both ends of the first cord, then write "B" on the next, and continue on until all the cords are labeled.
    - Look at the back of your equipment and note where most of the power cords come out. (left or right) On this side of your rack, install a surge-protected power strip. Plug each device in and gently route/fold the power cords in big loops to that they all go to this side. Buy some velcro "tie straps" from the hardware store or Radio Shack and use this to loosly bundle the cords. Double-sided velcro from the fabric store is another cheap/easy way to do this. Radio Shack also sells "Split Loom Tubing" for cables for a few bucks more. Do not use the plastic Zip Ties or bread-wrapper twist-ties. These will both dig into the power cords over time.
    Once you get the units layed out, now you can measure for the lengths of cables you need.
    Where to buy Speaker Wire
    Plan to use 12 ga speaker wire everywhere. Places like www.partsexpress.com will sell you spools in verious lengths. Get some rough measurements and order enough 12 even to the back. (Yes, you need THICKER wire for the rears, not thinner). Plan to run 3 sets of speaker wire to the rears because that receiver can handle the rear-center speaker. (The wire will be cheap compared to your labor.)
    Where to buy Cables
    You have some choices. Best Buy and other places sell the AR Pro Series of cables which have a good reputation for a very budget price. Radio Shack has some nice "Mega Cable" bundles that have things like SVideo + L/R audio, or SVideo + optical in a single bundle. This will really help reduce cable clutter.
    How to run the video
    There are 3 types of video connections you can make. Your receiver will NOT convert one to the other. They are:
    Composite: Single RCA cable, usually colored yellow: baseline video quality
    SVideo: Single-looking cable with funny 'keyboard' connector: 20% better picture than Composite
    Component: 3 RCA cables in a bundle: 25% better video quality
    You have a mix of devices to hook up. All of them provide SVideo, and only one offers a component feed. Here is my advice:
     
  3. Dave_Mu

    Dave_Mu Extra

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    Bob, I cannot begin to thank you enough! I am going to copy this thread and save it for future reference.

    I'm going to plan on using a whole weekend to get everything set up properly...

    While I have your attention, can I pick your brain one more time? Can you recommend a fairly affordable remote that I can set up to operate everything with some level of ease?
     
  4. Eduardo

    Eduardo Agent

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    If you have the time you may want to look into CAT cables or any of it sister cable companies. They are high quality cables (audio and video) for a reasonable price.
    www.catcables.com
     
  5. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    HERE are some AV surge protectors to give you an idea, as opposed to OfficeMax or OfficeDepot type of strips.
    Partsexpress.com is a good source for TrippLite ISOBAR6DBS.
    If one has cabletv or satellite dish coax cable coming into the system, it's best to run the cable thru a surge protector too.
    bill
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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  7. Dave_Mu

    Dave_Mu Extra

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    Thanks for the info! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
     

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