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Connecting Home Theater Components

written by: Larry M. Lynch•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/11/2011

The award-winning film "Avatar" along with additional 3D releases recently has sparked explosive interest and growth in home theaters. Here is a basic primer on home theater components and how they interconnect.

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    The Growth of Home Theater

    The growth of home theater has erupted like the volcano under Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland that spewed ash across Europe for weeks, disrupting the travel plans of hundreds of thousands of people. It’s official, with the introduction and stunning success of such 3D, high definition blockbusters as Director James Cameron’s film “Avatar", there is now a true revolution in progress with home theater.

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    HDMI Components

    800px-HDMI connector High Definition Multimedia Interface, or more commonly designated as HDMI, is a connection which can conduct both high definition audio and high definition, 1080 pixel resolution video signals through one cable. A home theater console may have multiple HDMI connection ports available which will allow users to add such devices as blu-ray and DVD players, game consoles and DVRs or digital video recorders. HDMI cables also directly connect to camcorders, PCs and laptop computers for added versatility. The four types of HDMI connectors are designated type A with 19 pins (pictured) and type B with 29 pins which are (HDMI 1.0 compatible). The 19 pin type C (HDMI 1.3 compatible) connector is a mini-plug designed to support portable digital devices, and the 19 pin type D (HDMI 1.4 compatible) is another small-sized connector which has functions similar to a USB connector plug. There is usually one HDMI connection between the computer or projector and the TV or monitor.

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    USB Universal Serial Bus

    USB TypeA Plug USB, or Universal Serial Bus is another connection component essential to home theater operation. This common connector is used to provide an electronic pathway between a digital device and a host or controller like a PC or laptop computer. USB connectors are also used to transmit power to and from some home theater components. There may often be a USB connection between a computer or projector and the monitor or other device. USB is also the connector type used on flash drives. Read Making the Most Out of an LCD TV USB Interface to learn more.

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    VGA Video Graphics Array

    300px-SVGA port VGA, or video graphics array (analog) connector with a 15 pin arrangement (DE-15 or HD-15) exists on most home theater consoles or monitors and laptop computers as a means to output video signals. So even if your PC or laptop computer does not come equipped with super VGA (SVGA) or HDMI output ports you’ll almost certainly have one or more VGA ports which connect into your computer’s central processing unit or CPU. That is, of course, unless the Flintstones fabricated your PC in Bedrock, in which case you’d be out of luck. But that’s not really going to happen though, so don’t worry. VGA connectors also allow connection to projectors, LCD flat-screen and plasma TV monitors.

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    Connecting Home Theater Components

    The process of connecting home theater components is not typically an overwhelmingly complex one. Each of the connectors is unique in its size and type and will fit easily into the port designed to receive it. A picture diagram is included with each and every home theater component allowing even the most technologically-challenged users to assemble their home theater components quickly simply with a minimum of pain and suffering, if indeed, any at all. Almost all home theater components simply plug-in to their respective ports and interfaces with virtually no “force" required. If your home theater system supplier does not install your home theater components for you, it frequently can be done by you following simple-to-read diagrams supplied with the components.