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Using an older tv with limited inputs to build (1 Viewer)

Brad Newton

Second Unit
Aug 14, 2001
a home theater system........

I have an older 36" RCA tv that I don't want to replace just yet. I do want to build a home theater using it. The problem is that it only has 2 inputs (rca/s-video). Presently, I have the dvd player hooked up via s-video, the vcr hooked up via rca cords & the dish/ota antenna via rf cable.

What is the best way these components into a home theater setup?

Also, I want to be able to hear the audio from the tv speakers or the av receiver when watching the local channels. Will I have to do this through the vcr or is there another way? I think that this tv has some type of variable/fixed outputs.

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

Senior HTF Member
Aug 5, 1999
Corpus Christi, TX
Real Name

The easiest way is to use a home theater receiver and connect all components to it. Then you only need one video feed to the television. Whichever component you want to watch, select it from the receiver’s input choices, and the picture is automatically sent to the TV.


Wayne A. Pflughaupt

Ted Lee

Senior HTF Member
May 8, 2001
check section three of this thread:
HTF Primer
some good info on hookups, etc.
i run my system the way wayne describes above. everything goes to my receiver, then one video cable goes from the receiver to my tv.
works perfectly. the only issue you may want to consider is signal degredation. some say by adding the receiver, it's another jump the signal has to make.
i personally haven't noticed any problems doing it this way. but ymmv.

Vince Maskeeper

Senior HTF Member
Jan 18, 1999

Like others have suggested- the common solution to your problem is to use the AV receiver to act as a video switcher. By running all the lines to the receiver, and then sending video on to the set... you can switch the video at the receiver and use a single input on the TV.

However- this doesn't address your problem of "wanting to be able to hear the audio from the tv speakers"- as if you configure this as above- then audio will only be supplied to your receiver and the TV speakers become moot. I personally don't like using the TV speakers, and never really understand why others like using them.

One solution would be to run the cable feed from the wall into the VCR and then out of the VCR into the RF jack on the TV. Run the RCA audio and video output cables from the VCR to the receiver. By doing this- you have configured your system so that:

1) When using the VCR as the tuner for cable TV- the audio will be routed to the receiver so you can use the HT speakers (and can get video to the TV from the receiver's connecton to the TV)... and the RF signal has been sent from the VCR to the TV set as well, so you can turn off the HT speakers and use the TV audio by simply tuning it to channel 3/4.

2) If you turn off the VCR, you can use the TV as the tuner for the cable system- this will supply audio only to the TV speakers, bypassing the HT system entirely. If your TV has a fixed audio output- you could also route this to the receiver and choose between ht speaker and tv speakers-- but you could accomplish the same using the vcr, so I don't know if I'd bother.

BY doing the above, you'd have the option to get audio from either source, and would still be able to route all your video through the receiver and thus only use one input on your TV.

I personally would just opt to run the cable into the VCR and tune with it- route all audio and video through the receiver and usethe HT system exclusively for audio.


Steve Berger

Supporting Actor
Sep 8, 2001
Most receivers will have a spare pair of audio outputs you can tap for sending to the TV. Tape out, DAT out, MD out, etc. You could even use VCR2 audio and video outputs instead of TV monitor out as long as the receiver doesn't generate it's own On-Screen-Display. The only problem with doing this is that most Digital Decoders will not mix full audio to L and R on 5.1 soundtracks (missing center channel very noticeable) and usually will output nothing L/R on DTS. You might get around that but it gets tricky.Some of the newer sets even give you the option of using the TV speaker as your center channel.

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