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I'm going to follow up my previous reply with one more, covering the cabling from A/V receiver to TV.

Basic A/V receivers will typically have a pair of Monitor video output ports -- one for composite video and one for S-Video. So when you've connected all the video outs from your DVD player, VCR, Sattelite / Cable box, standalone TiVo unit, PlayStation 2, etc. to the receiver, you'll run a single cable of each type (composite and S-Video) from the receiver's monitor out to an input on your TV. This assumes you're using a mix of video connections from your components. If you're able to connect everything using only S-Video, then you just need an S-Video connection from receiver to TV.

As noted in my earlier reply, some TVs let you connect multiple video connector types to a single input, and the TV is smart enough to figure out which one is active. If you can do this, it's the best solution because your TV can stay on one input.

Older high-end receivers, and many of the never mid-line models, also have Component Video inputs and a corresponding Component Monitor out. If you're using component cables for your DVD player, HD cable / sattelite box, XBox 360, etc., and you have one of these better receivers, then run the component cables from the components to the receiver and use the receiver's monitor out to connect to the TV. If you don't have a receiver with component inputs (or it has component inputs but no component monitor output) then you'll need to connect each component source's video output directly to the TV, while connecting the audio output to the receiver. It makes it a little more complex to get everything set up to watch a DVD or whatever, but it's worth it for the better picture.

The absolute latest A/V receivers are finally being equipped with HDMI inputs and outputs, although the low-end models and a fair number of mid-line ones haven't gotten this improvement yet. Use 'em if you've got 'em, especially since some HD-capable DVD players will only output a 1080p signal over an HDMI connection; component video output on these players will only go out at 1080i or even (on some really stingy models) standard-def 480p.

Now we come to video up-conversion. You've heard of up-converting DVD players and other devices that will take a low-def or mid-range HD signal and upconvert it to 720p or 1080i / 1080p? This is not the same thing.

Some A/V receivers can take a composite video signal input and up-convert it to output over S-Video. Better receivers (and this includes a good number of current, mid-line models) go a step further and allow to send all video out over component cables, even if the source material was composite video). The advantage of the latter receivers is you get to consolidate your video output to a single set of cables connected to your TV, ensuring just one input is used on the TV. It typically also improves the video quality on your TV, since the receiver will do some cleanup of the video signal during the up-conversion process. If you haven't bought a receiver yet, look for one with this feature and take advantage of it.


- Joe -
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