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Setting up an HDMI System

Connecting HDMI equipment is easy. The number of cables you’ll need, as well as their type and length, will be determined by the complexity of your home theater system and the distance between the components. Here are a few common configurations:

Basic Home Theater—Connect Directly to Your TV
Home Theater with AV Receiver
Selecting the Right Cable
Longer Cable Runs
Tips from the Pros
Case Studies

Basic Home Theater—Connect Directly to Your TV

The simplest way to configure your home theater is to plug all your devices directly into the TV, as shown here:

To switch from one HDMI source to another (for instance, from your cable box to the Blu-ray player) simply use the TV’s remote control.

If you have more source devices than available input ports on your TV or if you need flexibility to add and remove mobile devices quickly, you can purchase a stand-alone HDMI switch.

Home Theater with AV Receiver

In systems that include an AV receiver, source devices are typically routed through the AV receiver to the TV, as shown here:

In this type of system, switching between HDMI source devices is controlled by the AV receiver’s input selector controls.

TIP: If your TV has a port labeled “ARC,” it supports the Audio Return Channel. This can be used to route audio from your TV to an HDMI-enabled sound bar or other audio gear.


Selecting the Right Cable

Cable length - Always round up when estimating connection distances. It’s better to have a bit too much cable than to come up short.

Cable Type - If you plan to enjoy 1080p content (i.e., Blu-ray Discs) or any advanced display technologies (3D, 4K, Deep Color, 120Hz refresh rates, etc.), a High Speed HDMI Cable is recommended. For 1080i or 720p signals (most cable, broadcast, and satellite HD signals), a Standard HDMI Cable is recommended. For more information about HDMI cable types, see here. (Link is http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/finding_right_cable.aspx).

Longer Cable Runs

In complex home theater set-ups, such as multi-room environments, components can be placed relatively far from each other. There are several technologies available for these installations:

25 to 100 feet - If you need to send a 1080p signal more than 25 feet, or a 1080i signal more than 49 feet, active electronics will help boost the HDMI signal to compensate. You can purchase either a stand-alone booster box or an active cable, where the circuitry is embedded in the connectors themselves. Both types require an external power source.


Tips from the Pros

  • Make sure you are buying genuine HDMI products from Licensed Adopters or HDMI Associates.
        If you have any doubts, contact HDMI.
  • HDMI ports on your equipment are always "female,"
  • The connector plugs on the cables are always "male."
  • If you need to run cable through walls, ceilings, or floors, a 7/8" drill hole will accommodate most HDMI connectors.
  • Don’t staple directly to walls or studs; use cable cleats instead.
  • As with any electronics cable, don’t tug or manhandle the cable, or twist the connectors.

Case Studies

Digital HD Breaks out of its Shell: Using HDMI to Bring the Home Theater to the Whole House

Whole Home Audio and Video Switching Using HDMI