With so many entertainment devices on the market, it can be difficult to know how to hook up home stereo and video equipment. Organization is crucial when hooking up home entertainment systems, and so is having a lot of patience. A partner is recommended if you have a lot of connections to make; sometimes it helps to have someone hold a flashlight while you are making a hard-to-reach connection.
To hook up home stereo and video equipment, you will need:
- Audio and video components
- Audio and video cables
- User manuals
- A flashlight
- Browse your equipment manuals and keep them handy. You might not need them for a simple DVD-player-to-TV connection, but for complex home theater setups with video games, computers, video projectors, iPods and more in the mix, you will need your manuals to keep everything organized and for troubleshooting. If you have a lot of gear, it can sometimes help to sketch out a wiring diagram so you have a map to follow and don’t waste time having to reconnect things over and over.
- Turn down the volume on your home audio equipment. You can damage speakers, and your ears, if you hook up gear while your volume is turned up. Those low frequency pops and buzzes are harmful and annoying. So turn the volume down on your amp or receiver. Better yet, turn everything off and keep it unplugged from the power outlet so you don’t accidentally fry yourself.
- Match colors. RCA cables, which are the ones that come with 99% of all home stereo and video equipment, are almost always color-coded. So hook the red RCA-tipped output on your device into the red RCA input on your receiver, amp or TV. Do the same with the white RCA-tipped cable, and the yellow one if applicable. Component video cables are usually red, green and blue; again, all you have to do is match the colors from the output of one device to the input of your receiving unit. Speaker wires follow the same rules.
- Try to keep it consistent. Use logic if you have a lot of home stereo and video components you are connecting to your receiver. Hook up the DVD player to the input labeled “DVD” on the receiver, not “Video Game 1,” for example. Sometimes you have no logical match and have to use another input, like connecting your Wii to an input labelled “SAT” or similar. In that case, put a little sticker on the Wii labeled “SAT” so you don’t have to check ten input sources every time you want to play.
- Test your home entertainment setup. If you have the power off, turn everything on, with your amp or receiver being turned on last. Make sure the volume is at a decent level on all home stereo and video equipment, and check to make sure everything works. Common errors include switching colors on the cables, not having connected a cable at all, not having the volume turned up or having the wrong input source selected on the receiver.
- Keep your cables tidy. Once everything is tested and working, use zip ties, tape or rubber bands to keep your home stereo and video cables tidy and out of reach of pets, children or clumsy feet.