Your RCA Home Theater system is designed to provide years of enjoyment watching movies in surround sound and listening to music. But if something goes wrong, there are strategies to troubleshoot your system and save on a repair bill.
Check your connections
Make sure the power cord is plugged in.
Check the wire connections between your front left, right and center-channel speakers and the RCA receiver, and then do the same for the rear channel speakers and the dedicated cable from your powered subwoofer to the receiver. Make sure there are no breaks or kinks in the speaker wire that may have caused a short.
Next, you'll want to make sure all the connections on the back of the RCA receiver are secure. Check the audio/video jacks for every component plugged into the system, including DVD or Blu-ray players, tape deck, CD player or gaming console.
If you are getting sound from one channel but not another, trying adjusting the balance and surround sound controls to restore audio. If this doesn't work, one of the 4-5 discreet amplifiers in your receiver might be blown. That's a job for an electronics technician.
Isolate the troublesome component
Test each piece of equipment. Cue up a CD in the CD player and verify whether it will play. Do the same with the DVD or Blu-ray player and all other components connected to your system. Also check the TV connection and verify that the video input for the TV is set to the right selection on the RCA receiver that came with your home theater system. Sometimes, just switching from Video 2 back to Video 1 (the default jack on most home theaters) can instantly restore picture and sound.
Also make sure the components are plugged into the corresponding jacks on the RCA receiver. A CD player mistakenly plugged into the tape deck jacks on the receiver is not going to produce sound when you select CD on the system's remote control or front panel.
Clean the components
Use cleaning products available at electronics stores to clean each piece of equipment. Run a laser lens cleaner through the DVD or Blu-ray machine. Do the same for the CD player using a disc cleaner specific to audio equipment. Demagnetize and clean the heads on the tape deck. Use a tape cleaner on your VCR, if you have one, to remove blurred or snowy images.
If the system is no longer in warranty, you can remove the cabinet cover from each component with a screwdriver and visually check for obvious internal problems such as loose or broken wires, or a cracked circuit board. These might not be problems that most consumers can fix on their own without extensive knowledge of electronics, but you will at least be able to explain the problem to a technician and save time if you choose to have the equipment repaired.