And It Comes Out Here Dealing with a receiver's outputs is much easier than dealing with its inputs because there are a lot fewer of them.
Video outputs Every receiver has composite- and S-video outputs that go to your TV, and all but a few entry-level models have a component-video output, too. Some receivers even convert all of their composite- and S-video input signals to component video so you can use the same output for all those A/V sources. And some receivers have a DVI or HDMI video output. If your TV can accept a DVI or HDMI output from your DVD player or other source but your receiver can't, connect the component directly to the TV. (The same goes if your receiver lacks component-video jacks.)
Recording loops Every receiver has at least one set of analog RCA-jack inputs and outputs that you can use for a hard-disk recorder, a CD recorder, a VCR, or even a cassette deck. And almost all receivers these days also have a digital audio output for a CD recorder or other digital component.
Multiroom facilities Many receivers can send audio and video to a second room or "zone" with independent source selection and volume control. The outputs, which you connect to the components in the second room, are usually analog audio with composite- or S-video. Some receivers also offer a multiroom A-Bus connection, which uses a Category-5 (Ethernet-type) cable to connect to an A-Bus remote component like a wall-mounted keypad controller/amplifier. Your receiver might also have connections for a multiroom remote-control system or an RS-232 port for an external system controller, but these connections are often made by a professional installer.
Wired for Sound Naturally, you need to hook up the receiver to your speakers and subwoofer. Run speaker cable from the terminals for the main channels - left, center, and right front and left and right surround - to the corresponding speakers. If you have a 6.1- or 7.1-channel receiver and speaker system, connect the back surround speaker(s) that go behind your listening spot the same way. Most speaker terminals use a screw-on connector that can accept bare wire and usually some combination of spade lugs, banana plugs, pin plugs, or all three. You'll also need to run a cable with RCA plugs at both ends from the receiver's subwoofer output to the sub's line-level or LFE input - unless you're using speaker-level connections for the sub, in which case you run the cables for the front left/right speakers to the subwoofer and then to those speakers.
Make sure the speaker connections are in phase - that is, connect each speaker's red (+) terminal to the corresponding red terminal on the receiver, and do the same for the black (-) connections. Speaker cable is usually color-coded, and the plastic shielding on ordinary 14-gauge zip cord (which also works fine and is a lot cheaper) will be ridged on one side to help you keep the connections sorted out. If you don't match phase in your speaker connections, bass will sound thin and overall the sound won't be as good as it could be.
Some receivers, speakers, and cables follow the Consumer Electronics Association's color coding for connections, which assigns a different color to each channel's "+" terminal (see "Connector Color Coding"). Tip : If your cables don't have this color coding, create a tag out of masking tape at the receiver end of each cable and then write on the tag which speaker the cable goes to. This will save you a lot of headaches if you ever have to move your gear around.
Now, double check your connections. Even the most experienced installation pros can goof, which is why they always double-check their work. In particular, make sure there are no stray strands of speaker wire that might short circuit to another speaker terminal.
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