Video and Audio Center Blog



Thursday, July 30, 2015

KEEP YOUR HOME THEATER CABLES UNDER CONTROL


Everyone knows that they have to consider just what kind of TV they want in their home will it be a 1080p HDTV or a 4K UHD. And what about size, how BIG will it be? The same goes for the Blu-ray player that will be supplying video from disc or perhaps subbing with smart TV features for streaming video or playing music. But what about the cables that need to connect between the TV and the Blu-ray player or DVD player? Or the cable box or satellite receiver that brings in broadcast and cable networks?

Good Cables Versus Bad

Where once multiple connectors for both video and audio were commonplace, now the HDMI cable rules supreme for video and, because it does this too, for audio as well. So making sure that the best quality HDMI possible is used for these connection is a must. That means brand names, because unknown HDMI cables that might have come for free or are lying around might not have the transmission speed that the video/audio signal needs to provide the best results. And getting good results doesnt mean spending hundreds of dollars for these cables, like it did in the early days either. But it does mean that you get what you pay for, and being price conscious is easy, since getting the proper length of HDMI cable will help to avoid unnecessary costs as well as insure a good connection. And while HDMI cables are prevalent, in a normal home theater there will be other cables as well, for example, S-Video and RCA type audio cables going to/from legacy devices such as a VCR player. These are found mostly populating an A/V receiver, which will of course have HDMI cables attached to them for sending audio to the home theater speakers. So just as with HDMI, its important to get quality cables for audio. This is especially true of these analogue cables as they are more likely to exhibit noise and interference if they are inexpensive (meaning poor materials poorly constructed).
Checking the Connection

Everyone knows that if a battery connection gets all crusty the battery wont be able to transfer power correctly. The same can happen if the connections to your home theater are shoddy. Since the HDMI cable (the bulk of all cables used in a home theater today) holds itself in place through friction, its important to make sure that theres no strain pulling on it that could cause it to loosen or fall out. Thats the easy part. Whats a bit harder is to first make sure that the HDMI connectors on both the cable itself and where its going to be inserted are clean and free of dust and/or detriment. A few wisps of a feather duster will keep the dust from gathering on an A/V receivers top, or the tops of speakers, but what about the connectors on the back of the receiver? Or the back of a Blu-ray player or TV? These can all benefit from a bit of dusting maintenance before the cables are inserted (that includes optical cables for audio too). Want to make sure theres no dust that could cause issues? Then take a Q-tip and lightly circle any connector that looks like it could use some gunk removed before inserting a cable (but dont insert the Q-tip into any connector since the cotton could come loose). And if the connectors cant be easily seen due to how theyve been placed, try a penlight or flashlight so youre not working in the dark. 

Placement of Cables

Most people have televisions set against the wall or mounted to the wall whether theyve done it themselves or had it done by an installation service, for example, Just One Touch. In either case, theres going to be cables going from the TV to the various devices that supply it with a picture. These cables dont get in the way of anyone and can be tucked behind the cabinet the TV is on or hidden inside a runner going up the wall (if non-invasive means are in use), but what about speaker wires (which are also cables of a sort) that have to trail from the AV receiver or from the TV and go throughout the room if theres a surround sound system. The wires need to reach the left/right surround speakers and whats important here is to keep any weight from impacting on these cables. There are a number of ways to do this: either will have to go under the rug (difficult to do by oneself) or they will have to be on top of the carpet but placed under a runner so people/pets wont trip on them or trample them or the cables will have to wind its way across the walls. Of course speaker placement in the ceiling will avoid all this but thats definitely a shout-out for a professional installer because of structural needs, electrical wiring avoidance and city codes.

The attractive quality of a big screen TV or a set of surround speakers may catch the eye, but its the cables that affect just how good the picture and sound that will be seen and heard will be. Take care of the cables and they will do their job and you can concentrate on whats important: enjoying your home theater.


2 comments:

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