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PC Advisor's 10-step guide to digital HDTV

Get the most from your digital home

PC Advisor's comprehensive HDTV guide will show you how to set up your high-definition TV, from getting the best possible picture to making the right connections. Here's what to do once you get that brand new HDTV home.

Put it all together

Once your TV is mounted and your video sources are properly sorted out, it's time to connect everything. If you've done your homework on your peripherals, you have a list of HD and SD sources, and you know what cables you need to hook them up.

For all of your high-definition peripherals, you should be using HDMI cables - or perhaps DVI with an HDMI converter, in the case of older components. If you plan to keep some standard-definition sources, such as a standard DVD player or SD video camera, connect them via S-Video or component ports if possible.

These are of higher quality than RCA, or composite, jacks, and your HDTV will up-convert them to its native resolution. Don't be suckered into buying an expensive HDMI cable at the store when you buy your television. It won't work any better than any HDMI cable from any reputable company. Buy your cables online and save big.

Remember, this is digital: you need only to move the bits reliably from one place to another - not give them back massages.

HDMI musical chairs

If you have more HDMI sources than you have HDMI ports on your new TV (which is quite likely), the simplest solution is to add an external HDMI switcher box.

Be sure to buy a box that has HMDI 1.3 ports, the latest standard. Some models switch automatically between active sources, and you don't have to bring an extra remote control into the picture. Plug always-on sources like your DVR and your cable box directly into your TV.

HDTV 2There are few things you can't hook up to the Marantz SR8002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver, which includes four HDMI 1.3 inputs and an array of other connection options

Another way to perform HDMI switching is with an audio/video (A/V) receiver. If you also need a receiver to power your new surround-sound speaker system, an A/V receiver may be a good choice.

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