Now that your cable box is hooked up, here’s how to connect all that other stuff to your TV:
Hooking up a DVD or Blu-Ray player is similar to connecting a cable box, except you may have fewer choices of outputs. On high end DVD and Blu-Ray players, you’ll have HDMI, but on all the rest, you’ll have Component, S-video, and Composite. Again, use the highest quality you have available. You may have to modify your choices depending on how many of each type input you have available on your TV.
If your TV is old or small, you might not have any input other than the antenna input. You can still hook up a DVD player to one of these, using an adapter known as an RF Modulator. These cost about 20 to 30 dollars and convert the signal into something a TV tuner can use. You plug the video and audio cables from the DVD player’s output into the input jacks on the RF modulator, and run a standard piece of TV coax from the modulator to the TV. See figure 3. The modulator has a switch on it labeled channel, and the choices are typically channel 3 or 4. Make sure that the TV is tuned to the same channel as the modulator to watch DVDs.
VCRs and other video devices hook up much the same way. Many TVs also have a place to hook up your computer with a standard monitor cable, and some computers have HDMI or DVI outputs that better TVs can accept. Remember to run a cable for the PC’s audio. (Not usually needed in the case of HDMI.)
In all cases, remember the name of the input you used, so you’ll know which one to switch to when you want to watch that source.
If you have a DVD recorder, and you want to record programs off the air, life just got a little more complicated. If you have to go through a cable or satellite box, the box will have to be tuned to the correct channel ahead of time, and you must have the output of the box connected to the input(s) of the recorder, and the recorder set to the correct channel or input. In this case, you must connect the cable(s) that would otherwise go to the TV to the recorder’s input, and connect the recorder’s output to the TV’s input. If you do not have a cable or satellite box, the cable from the wall would go directly into the corresponding in from cable/antenna jack on the recorder.
Some recorders have small devices on the end of a wire that will go in front of a cable or satellite box, and after some setup, will change the channel on the box automatically, using your remote control codes.
Not all possible combinations of components can be covered here; these are only the most common. Many owner’s manuals have a variety of diagrams to help you as well.
Next time: The Home Theater System
This post has been adapted from my new book, “Deciphering the 21st Century,” Available now! Click here to read all about it.
I’d love to hear your comments!