Believe it or not a lot of people have this question. We’re going to do our very best to answer it in a concise yet complete way. But before we get started please know, it’s a broad question and different people have different objectives when asking how to hook up TV.

That said… we thought a pretty good place to start is to take a look at the backside connection panel on a fairly typically flat panel television of today and describe what each connection does.

Take a look at this picture. We added numbers to the picture, circled numbers 1 – 8. Below the picture we provide a brief description of the connection points on the TV, by number, and how you might want to use that connection point. Throughout this article we link to other articles so if you want or need more information or maybe a photo of what something looks like you can quickly research that topic too.

TV Inputs and Outputs, unraveling what may seem complex.

Although not in all cases… most TVs have both inputs and output connection points on the back and/or side of the TV. And in even a few cases, based on the manufacturer make and model of TV, some of these connection points can be programmed by you, the user, to do something different. For example, an audio input can be programmed by you to be an audio output. But that’s getting way ahead of what we are trying to accomplish in this article. The goal of this article is to help as many people as possible with the more common ways of how to hook up a tv. We have to begin with the Inputs and Outputs. An input is a connection point on the TV where a signal comes from a source outside the TV. A source can be practically anything such as: Over the Air Antenna, Cable TV set-top box, Satellite TV set-top box, Telephone company TV Set-top box, DVD player, BluRay DVD player, Gaming console (XBOX, PS3, Wii) etc. Without some source of a signal all we’d see when we turn our TV on is either a snowy or blank picture. Now the output(s) on a TV on the other hand generally are there, if at all, to pass a source signal back out of the TV so you can connect some other piece of electronic. Just one example of why someone would want to do this is if they want to listen to maybe a sporting event on speakers in many rooms of the home they’d connect to the audio outputs on the back of the TV. So when you are hooking up a TV its important to make sure that you use the correct connection cable and the correct Input. We are listing them numerically in an unusual order on purpose:

# 8  INPUT – GOOD – This is the COMPOSITE video input. This connection cable reproduces the lowest quality video image possible. You would use the Yellow, Red, and White RCA cable in this input. Once you’ve made this connection from your source equipment, assuming that’s what you’ve decided to do, in order to view it on your TV you must select AV1 (as its labeled in the photo example) from your TV remote.

# 7  INPUT – BETTER – This is called the COMPONENT video input. It’s also known as the RGB or also as:RED, BLUE, GREEN. Although this reproduces a very high quality video image it is an analog signal and therefore not the absolute best method for hooking up a TV. This connection method “does” reproduce a High Definition TV signal however.

# 4 INPUT – THE BEST – This is called HDMI. It reproduces the best digital High Definition video and audio signal of all the connection cabling methods to date. No other cable displays a better video image then HDMI. If you were to use this connection cable in order to view the content you’d want to select, using your TV remote, either HDMI 1, HDMI2 or HDMI 3, as the source input on your TV

# 2 OUTPUT – Digital Audio Out, Toslink. This output allows for an audio signal, a digitally formatted audio signal to be pass through and out of the TV to another device. This connection is not required to hook up a TV.

# 3 INPUT – PC Computer. Not all TVs have this connection point but if you want to connect a computer to a TV having this connection point you’d use a VGA video cable and the stereo audio and naturally, when you want to view this content on the TV you need to select, in this example, PC as the source input using your TV remote. We’ve found that connecting a PC in the Living/Great room setting typically isn’t too useful because the screen is often unreadable (too small)

# 1 OUTPUT – This is a analog RCA audio out. It allows for most all sources of audio signals to pass through the TV out to another device. It’s not required to hook up a TV.

# 6 OUTPUT – Left out on purpose. Not required to Hook up a TV

# 5 INPUT – This is an “F” connector. Its for connecting a Coaxial Cable. This passes both video and audio. You would use this connection for an Over the Air Antenna or in cases where you do not have TV service requiring a Set-top box. In some cases it will allow limited, unscrambled High Definition content to be viewed. If you don’t have a set-top box this connection would be required to view broadcast TV service. If your making this connection for the first time, using the TV remote, you need to press the MENU button and locate the command that makes your television SCAN FOR CHANNELS.

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