Home Theater Cables
Update: February 15, 2013

Guide to Home Theater Cables
Audio and Video Cables, Speaker Wires and AV Connectors

Helping you make the most out of your AV system

Are you confused by the myriad of AV cable options? What about the different versions of HDMI cables and connectors? Should you opt for HDMI or component video - is digital always better? What about speaker wires - what should you use for the best results?

And there is more; directly related with the issue of audio and video cable choice is cable quality: Is there the need to replace those 'free' home theater cables that come with your gear? Do you need to spend a lot of money on what are supposed to be 'quality' AV cables? Will these make a difference in system performance?

The reality is that to many planning a system installation, AV interconnects represent nothing more than an incomprehensible interconnected mess!

Help is on the way... We are presenting a series of home theater guides that discuss the different AV cables and connectors; we then end up with a few easy-to-follow but important cable connection tips to help you make the most out of your system.

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AV Cables: Linking your Home Theater System Components

No AV home entertainment setup is complete — no matter how simple it is — without the use of appropriate home theater cables and speaker wires to connect everything together. The problem for many is that AV cables have become quite a bit complicated.

Just take the latest HDTVs: While the first color TVs came with nothing more than a TV antenna input on their back panel, today's HDTVs come loaded with all sort of AV connections.

These range from the traditional composite and component video inputs, to the latest flavors of HDMI, USB and digital audio supporting multiple-channel sound. The same holds true for any home theater system component, whether that being a top-of-the-range AV receiver, Blu-ray player, or an inexpensive video player. Luckily, most home theater components come equipped with the necessary cables to hook up your system and get it running in no time at all. Still, many in the audio/video industry would tell you that if you want to get the best in system performance, you have to replace the 'free' AV interconnects that come with your gear; their argument is mainly one of of a cable quality issue. But then...

What constitutes good quality home theater cables? Is there a way to make the most of your existing AV cables that come with your gear? Will replacing these cables really make any significant difference in the overall performance of your gear?

Sales talk by AV cable vendors regarding cable quality would often complicate matters more rather than help those in the market choosing the best cables for their needs. 'Top' cable vendors tend simply to justify the expensive price tag of their supposedly superior cables, yet they often fail to explain why say a 10-foot HDMI cable is selling for $50 when an almost identical 10-foot HDMI cable from another brand sells for just $5! The truth is that what most cable venders would not tell you is that buying good quality cables does not necessarily imply expensive AV cables.

Do not get us wrong... There is a price to pay for a quality AV interconnects; and if you are after the best performance, there are instances where investing in a quality cable is important especially as cable length increases. But this state of affairs by the cable vending industry only enhances the confusion surrounding the subject while making cable selection more difficult for the uninformed.

Add the vast selection of available options from the never ending list of suppliers, and your home theater cable selection process can turn out to be a totally frustrating experience.

Unfortunately, one cannot afford to make the wrong choice when buying good quality cables; quality home theater interconnects can turn out to be expensive and may amount to a good portion of any home theater budget. In addition, irrespective of this cable quality issue, choosing the right AV interconnects can make a whole world of difference in system performance.

To help you in your selection process, we are featuring a series of articles designed to provide the required information in choosing the right video and audio cables for your home theater system. The information includes details of the various AV interconnects, speaker wire and connectors, as well as easy-to-follow cable connection 'tips' to get the best results from your equipment.

A complete index of articles appearing under this section together with the relevant details, appears at the end of this page.

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Home Theater Cables Section Index

Cable Anatomy - Understanding Cable BasicsAV Cables - An Intro to Cable Anatomy
Home theater cables basics; do silver-coated conductors make a real difference in system performance?

Quality, Cable Length, and Performance Implications
How do cable quality and cable length impact system performance?

Audio Cables - A Complete GuideAudio Cables Explained
A guide to analog and digital home theater audio cables and interconnects

Video Cables Basics
An introductory guide to analog and digital video interconnects

DVI Cables Guide
The different flavors of DVI cables can be difficult to grasp; this needs no longer be the case; our DVI Cable Guide explains it all!HDMI Cables and Connectors Guide

HDMI Cables Guide
There is still a lot of confusion surrounding HDMI and its many different versions. This guide explains all you need to know about HDMI cables, with the first part discussing the basics and the different versions while the second part discussing the different HDMI cable-types and HDMI connectors.

Extending HDMI Cables - Copper or Fiber?

Extending HDMI Cables: Copper, Wireless or Fiber?
Unlike their analog counterparts, DVI and HDMI cable lengths are very much limited by the nature of the interconnect itself. Discover available options to extend an HD video connection beyond the practical distances supported by these digital interconnects.

Wireless HDMI Technology and available solutions
Understanding the different wireless technologies and picking the best wireless HDMI systems presently available on the market.

RGB & Component Video, or DVI & HDMI - Which is Better?
Is digital always better? Discussing the use of RGB and component video interconnects versus DVI and HDMIGuide to Speakers Wires and Connectors

The Definitive Guide to Speaker Wires & Connectors
Selecting home theater speaker wires — speaker wire gauge and wire quality — and speaker connectors

Speaker Connectors GuideWould the use of expensive oxygen-free copper and silver wire make a difference in speaker performance? Is it better to invest in quality gold-plated speaker connectors than in expensive exotic speaker cables?

AV Cables Connection Tips
Easy-to-follow tips to get the best results out of your home theater cables and interconnects.

A Word of Advice

Purchasing Quality Home Theater Cables: Keep in mind that good quality cables need not necessarily be expensive especially at the shorter lengths, yet it is always recommended to purchase high quality home theater cables from a reputable supplier. This is the only way to ensure you get all the quality you are paying for.

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