Satellite TV Connections

RFconnectors_th.jpgOver-the-air (OTA) broadcast television may be making a comeback with major networks now sending HDTV signals capable of being picked up by the humble rooftop antenna. But subscriber TV services from cable and satellite providers are here to stay. No other option will give the viewer so many programming choices and specialty networks than digital cableTV or satellite TV. These digital services can send near-DVD quality audio and video directly to your living room. But to decode these digital signals you'll need a set top box or STB called a satellite receiver, digital cableTV box or digital terminal. Digital cableTV and satellite receivers behave in much the same way; extracting and processing digital and analogue audio and video from a single coaxial cable run and sending it to your home theater system. In this article we'll examine satellite and analogue/digital cableTV systems to demonstrate how they can be easily integrated into your home theater.

Standard (Non-Digital) CableTV Box

The days when a cableTV box offered only a coaxial/RF output to a TV that had to be tuned to channel 3 are long past. But in case some of us still have one of these dinosaurs around, don't despair. These analogue cable boxes are easy to integrate and can provide two-channel audio that your receiver can process any number of ways to give you surround sound.../../../images/compositevideoconnectors.gif Newer analogue cable boxes offer separate RCA jacks for two-channel stereo output and composite or even s-video outputs to make integration into your home theater system a snap. These audio/video output jacks connect directly to your home theater receiver for video and two-channel audio. You'll need two (2)coaxial/RF cables and a pair of stereo RCA cables with an extra RCA cable for composite video (or an s-video cable if you have those connections available on your receiver and television.)

CableTV/satellite outlet & coaxial/RF cable

Composite video connector and s-video cable

Step by Step: Connecting a Cable Box (RF Input/Output Only)

../../../images/svideocables.jpg Old fashioned analogue cableTV box use only a coaxial/RF (cable) input and output. This creates a challenge for integration into your home theater system. You must use another piece of equipment such as a stereo TV or VCR to separate audio and video for use with your home theater receiver. You'll need two (2) coaxial/RF cables, a stereo pair of RCA cables, a composite or s-video cable (preferred if s-video is available), and either a stereo TV or VCR.

  1. Using one of the coaxial/RF cables, connect the wall jack to the coaxial/RF input of your cableTV box.
  2. Connect your cableTV box's coaxial/RF output to either the TV or the VCR's coaxial/RF input.
  3. For Home Theater Receivers (audio): Using the RCA cables connect (the TV or VCR's) left and right audio output to one of the home theater receiver's stereo inputs.
  4. For Home Theater Receivers (video): If you have a video output, connect the video cable to the receiver's corresponding video input as in the diagram shown (click to enlarge). Then connect the receiver's video output to your television.
Note: If you desire audio output from your TV when the receiver is powered down, we recommend connecting your cable TV/satellite box's RF output to the RF input of your TV.

[analogueRCAcables1]Step by Step: Connect a Digital CableTV Box or Satellite Receiver

The next-generation cableTV/satellite boxes added the ability to automatically send audio and video signals to a dedicated home theater receiver. Some even added digital audio ouputs (mostly for satellite boxes). This guide deals with composite and s-video conenctions. If you want to use component video connections, skip down to the Digital HD CableTV/satellite box wiring guide below.

  1. Using a coaxial/RF cable, connect the wall jack to the coaxial/RF input of your cableTV or satellite box.
  2. Connect your audio and video (composite or s-video) output jacks directly to available inputs on your home theater receiver.
  3. For VCR Recording: Connect a pair of RCA analog audio cables and one composite/s-video video cable from an unused output of your receiver to the respective inputs of your VCR.

Digital Cable and Satellite TV with HDTV

Today's digital satellite and cable TV signals are carried on standard coaxial cable. While the physical cable itself looks no different than analogue cable there is considerable difference in the signal's bandwidth. Digital cableTV and satellite TV can carry many more channels with HDTV resolutions and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround.

The back of the Motorola DCT6200 digital cable box

You'll connect digital cableTV and satellite TV in the same way when it comes from the wall. A coaxial/RF cable line is connected from a jack on your wall to a device similar to the Motorola DCT6200 digital cableTV box shown above. This digital cableTV box has all the same features as an equivalent satellite receiver, complete with video outputs for HDTV and S/PDIF digital audio output for 5.1 channel surround. There should be no difference when hooking up a satellite box vs. a cableTV box.


Connections on the digital cable box include the input coaxial/RF jacks like you'll find on a standard analogue cable box. Typically, you can also still send the coaxial/RF output from the box to your VCR for recording programs, though the newest models came with on-board Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). You'll want to check the product manual to ensure that you understand the particular features, quirks, or requirements of your brand/model. The rest of the connectors provide audio and video directly to your home theater receiver.

[componentsvideocomposite] [DigitalCableVCRNEW]
Nyrius 5.8GHz 4 Channel Wireless Video & Audio Sender Transmitter & Receiver with IR Remote Extender for Streaming Cable, Satellite, DVD to TV Wirelessly (NY-GS10)
Home Theater (Nyrius)
  • Easily stream your satellite/cable, DVDs, gaming console and more to any TV wirelessly
  • Transmit audio and video seamlessly from one room to another without the hassle of installing messy cables
  • Powerful long range 5.8GHz signal up to 225ft line of sight
  • Change channels, pause your movie - control your device from another room with the remote extender
  • 4 selectable channels to avoid interference with other wireless devices
Uniko Pacific Trading BoostWaves BW35W 35' High Definition HDTV White Coaxial Cable, Low Loss
Speakers (Uniko Pacific Trading)
  • BoostWaves High Quality 35ft Rg6 Cable - Low Loss
  • Three Year Warranty
  • Supports the 75 Ohm components. Hdtv Satellite FM vhf uhf
  • Solid construction with water-proof capability. Made by Unique Imports. BoostWaves TM
DIRECTV DIRECTV CCK-W Wireless Cinema Connection Kit (DCAW1R1-01)
Speakers (DIRECTV)
  • More recent version of the DIRECTV Wireless Cinema Connection Kit
  • Easily access TV Apps on HD DVR at any time
  • Instant Access to DIRECTV Cinema offering over 6 shows and movies
  • Stream YouTube videos to the TV using Smart Search
  • Use the DIRECTV iPad App to turn any iPad into the ultimate DIRECTV Remote Control
Logitech Logitech Multimedia Speakers Z213 (2.1 Stereo Speakers with Subwoofer)
Personal Computer (Logitech)
  • Down-firing subwoofer with adjustable bass control knob: Turn up the bass to add a deeper, richer low end to your music, movies and games
  • 14W peak power (7W RMS): Enjoy all your audio entertainment in loud, clear stereo sound
  • Convenient handheld control pod: Easily power on the speakers, adjust volume and plug in your headset for private listening
  • Compact satellite speakers: Inclined design directs great sound to your ears without sacrificing valuable desk space
  • Plug-and-play setup: Simple wired connection to audio devices with 3.5mm output (Windows and Mac computers, smartphones, tablets, MP3 players)
FOWOD RG6 TV White Coaxial Cable, 100 Feet, with F-Male Connectors, Double Shielded, High Performance, Indoor and Outdoor Use, for Terrestrial, Cable and Satellite Television, Lifetime Warranty
Speakers (ELETA)
  • APPLICATIONS - Connect Televisions, Cable Modems, Satellite Receivers, Off-Air Antennas and all other F-Female equipped devices
  • DOUBLE SHIELDED - High Quality Double Shield, Waterproof, suitable for Indoor and Outdoor Use
  • CONNECTORS - Nickel plated F-type connectors
  • QUALITY INSPECTED PRODUCT - Our products have been inspected by a reputable third party inspection company. Each product has been checked, bent and put under a durability...