How to Hook Up a Flat Screen TV

By James Clark

A flat-screen TV requires two basic hookups to operate: an Audio/Video connection and electricity. Modern flat-screen sets are plug-and-play components that need only to be attached to a programming signal, such as cable service or satellite, for immediate enjoyment. Adding a Surround Sound receiver brings multichannel audio for a home theater experience. The connections take only a few minutes with standard cables.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat screen TV
  • AV cables
  • Programming source (cable or satellite receiver box or antenna)
  • AV receiver (optional)

Step 1

Check the back of the TV and the programming source to determine the best connection to use. A high-definition TV with HDMI ports will deliver the best quality digital audio and video, but the programming source must also be equipped for HDMI. The six-sided HDMI jack contains 19 holes for receiving digital picture and sound data. If HDMI is available on both components, go to step 2. If not, skip to step 3.

Step 2

Insert the plug on an HDMI cable into an HDMI IN port on the back of the flat-screen TV and connect the other end to the HDMI OUT port on the programming source or an AV receiver. Insert the plug straight into the jack with the wider end turned upward.

Step 3

Connect RGB component video cables to the TV's red, green and blue "Video In" jacks and insert the plugs on the other end of the cables into the RGB "Video Out" jacks on the programming source, such as a satellite receiver.

Step 4

Attach audio cables to the TV's "Audio In" jacks, using the white plug for the left-channel audio connection and the red plug for the right.

Step 5

Plug the other end of the cables into the "Audio Out" jacks on the programming source.

Step 6

Connect the power cords to a surge protector and plug the surge protector into a wall outlet.

Tips & Warnings

  • Press the "Input" button on the TV to access the HDMI port or AV jacks connecting the flat-screen to the programming source. TVs are usually equipped with three to four sets of inputs for connecting different devices, such as a DVD player or gaming system.
  • Unplug all equipment from the electricity source while connecting AV components.