Using Home Theater Cables

When you're ready to start hooking up your home entertainment electronics, you want to have the appropriate home theater cables at hand. These cables are necessary to help you connect all your audio equipment, video devices, and television or monitor so they work in sync.

There are various types of cables, connectors, and adapters. Some are compatible across a broad range of applications, while others are unique to specific applications.

Types of Video Cables

As technology has advanced through the years, so have the ports and connectors for the video cables used to get input or output from one device to another.

The most common cables for 'video in' and 'video out' include:

  • RCA
  • HDMI
  • S-Video
  • RF (F-type)

Many other types exist, but these cables are the most widely used by professionals and home theater enthusiasts alike. The RCA cable is excellent to have when you need to hook up a DVD player to a TV. The HDMI cable is one of the most common, as it provides a connection for both audio and video for high-definition media. If you have an older TV at home, an S-Video cable should be familiar, as these were often in use for video input. The RF, or F-type, cable is also usable for video input, and it was a popular coaxial cable choice for older TVs.


Types of Audio Cables

You have a lot of choice when it comes to audio cables, too. Just as there are RCA cables for video, there are RCA cables for audio, and these are essentially the same. You may notice a difference in color of the connectors, which is helpful to make sure you're hooking everything up properly. Speaker wire will then allow you to connect your speakers to your A/V receivers, amplifiers and more.

Most people have switched from analog to digital, and the cables have changed, as well. Optical digital cable -- also known as TOSLINK and fiber-optic -- is commonly in use for transmitting high-bandwidth audio signals. Some people prefer to use digital coaxial, though, which also carries digital audio signals.


Home Theater Cable Accessories

You can have all the cables mentioned above and more, but you still may need to invest in different connectors and adapters to make sure everything in your home theater system is working as intended. For example, cable accessories such as cable testers, amplifiers, and splitters are for the serious home theater buff that needs a variety of add-ons to make sure the latest piece of equipment plays well with all the other electronics.

Keeping home theater cables and accessories stockpiled means having your equipment set up as soon as you open the box and plug everything in. Shop B&H Photo and Video's assortment of cables, connectors, and adapters to get the right ones for your entertainment hub.