How to Set Up Your Receiver

By Jeff Grundy

The receiver is the heart of your home audio or entertainment system. It not only controls the volume for your system but also routes sound to your speakers and, on some systems, routes video signals between multiple players and televisions. If you are like many people, you probably have a few devices you want to connect to a receiver to output sound or video between those components. Making sense of all the port labels and knowing where to plug in cables might seem confusing at first; however, if you take the time to familiarize yourself with the various ports and cables, setting up your receiver is a relatively simple task.

Things You'll Need

  • Surge protector strip (optional but recommended)
  • RCA audio cables (with red and white or red and black connectors)
  • RCA video cable (yellow connector)
  • 3.5mm-to-RCA cable
  • DVI cables
  • HDMI cables
  • Speaker wire (12, 14 or 16 gauge recommended)
  • RG-6 cables

Step 1

Determine which components you want to connect to your audio-video receiver. Usually, you’ll need to connect a DVD player and a television to the receiver at a minimum. If you want to connect a VCR, gaming console or second DVD player, you’ll need additional cables for those hookups. Most devices support the use of RCA cables for connecting to a TV or audio-video receiver. However, if the device has a DVI or HDMI port, and your receiver supports those connections, you should use them to obtain better video quality than a standard RCA connection provides. If you want to connect your computer, iPod or portable MP3 player to the receiver, you can do so in most cases using a 3.5mm-to-RCA adapter cable.

Step 2

Connect the satellite speakers to the back of the receiver. Match the labels on the wires from the speakers with those on the back of the receiver. For instance, connect the “Front Left” and “Front Right” speaker wires to the ports with corresponding labels on the receiver. Plug the subwoofer wire into the port labeled “Sub” or “Subwoofer.”

Step 3

Connect an RCA, DVI or HDMI cable to the rear of your television, plugging it into the port labeled “Video In,” “Video 1” or “Video Input 1.” Connect the other end of the cable to the port on the back of the A/V receiver labeled “Video Out” or “TV 1 Out.” If you have a second TV that you want to use with the receiver, connect it to the “TV2 Out” or “Video 2 Out” port.

Step 4

Plug a DVD, HDMI or RCA video cable into the “Video Out” port on the back of your DVD player. Connect the other end of the cable to the “DVD Video In,” “Video 1 In” or “Source 1 In” port on the back of the receiver. If using an HDMI cable, you don’t need to run an audio cable from the DVD player to the receiver; however, if you use a DVI or RCA port, connect a red and white audio cable set to the “Audio Out” port on the back of the DVD player and the “DVD Audio In” or “Audio 1 In” port on the receiver.

Step 5

Connect a VCR (if you have one) to the “Video 2 In” and “Audio 2 In” ports on the receiver. If you want to connect a gaming console to the receiver, connect it to the “Video 3 In” or “Auxiliary” port on the back of the receiver.

Step 6

Connect the RCA end of a 3.5mm-to-RCA adapter cable to the back of the receiver if you want to play music from a PC, iPod or MP3 player over your home-audio speakers. Plug the smaller, 3.5 mm end of the cable into the “Audio Out” or “Headphone Out” port on your computer or portable player.

Step 7

Connect the RG-6 cable leading from your cable TV box to the “Cable In” or “Cable TV In” port on the back of the receiver. Connect a second RG-6 cable to the “Cable Out” or “Cable TV Out” port, and then connect it to the “Antenna” or “Cable In” port on the back of your TV.

Step 8

Plug the AC power cord for your receiver into a surge-protected outlet or power strip. Install the batteries for the receiver remote control. Power on the receiver and player devices you want to use.

Step 9

Press the appropriate source button on the remote control and begin watching TV or listening to audio from the selected source player.