Home Theater Cables

Written by Serena Berger
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A home theater usually consists of a television, speakers, DVD player, maybe a VCR or DVR, and a receiver. Home theater cables are often overlooked because most components include very basic cables for free with purchase. These composite cables split audio into two channels--left and right--to produce stereo sound and transmit video along a separate cable. These are a step up from coaxial cables, which send the audio and video signals along the same cable. There are, however, better cables available for those who want the absolute best picture and sound out of their home theater systems.

Video Cables for Your Home Theater

For video, two other options are available: S-Video and component cables. S-Video works by separating the chrominance (the color information) and luminance (the brightness information) parts of the signal so that they can be individually processed. Some televisions are now made with front and side S-Video and composite inputs, allowing easy access to a high quality connection.

Component cables further refine the video signal by splitting the chrominance into two parts. Component connections are common on DVD players and HD-ready televisions, since they do the best job of transmitting the digital signal. No matter what type of video cable you purchase for your home theater system, you should look for copper or silver conductors and two layers of shielding to maintain the strength of the signal.

To transfer the audio signal to your speakers, you should consider using optical cables. These transmit digital audio signals by using pulses of light rather than an electric current. As a result, electrical interference will exhibit almost no effect on the signal transfer.

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