Help with different cable types. PS: I think we need and Audio/Video Section

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by G5Unit, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. G5Unit macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
    I just got a nice home theater system (YAMAHA YHT-360) with the HTR-5835 and I am still confused about the types of cables.

    This is what I think I know:

    Composite Video: Can output around 640 by 480 or 480i
    S-Video: Can output 1024 by 768
    Component Video: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
    HDMI Video: Same as Component, maybe a little better, it can also carry an audio signal like 5.1 Dolby Digital

    R & L: Stereo Sound 2.0
    Coaxial: Can Carry 5.1 signal like Dolby Digital and DTS
    Optical: Same as Coaxial only less quality loss

    VGA: Up-to 2048 by 1560 or something analog signal
    DVI: Up to 1920 by 1200 digital signal

    I also got a Dell 2405fpw and I have watched a DVD on it via my PowerMac G5 and an optical Digital Connection.

    Would it be better to buy a DVD player with component out and watch DVD's on that? Right now via my computer the darks don't look too great, kinda green and pixelated.

    Do I just have to calibrate the color on my screen? I have an X800XT and I'm guessing that's good enough to watch a DVD.

    And will component be replaced by HDMI very soon? I wouldn't want to to be outdated right away.

    My component cable that I bought to plug my receiver to my monitor is an acoustics research cable and same with the optical one. Are they good quality compared to others? I haven't really gotten a chance to use them yet except with a 40 dollar Deawoo DVD player. The quality sucked, I hope it was the player and not the Cable.

    And many people here have said they use S-Video for Tivo and their DVD players. Since DVD's are only 720 by 480, with a DVD playing through S-Video look and different than Component?
    My family also plans to upgrade to an HD Cable service soon and we have cox. I have some kind of Cable coming out of the wall here under my desk. It looks like a piece of s**t but I can get regular channels from it. Is that where I will eventually get HD channels from?

    I would plug in the HD receiver to my AV receiver via component and also a Digital Optical cable too. I presume that the Cox receivers have digital optical outputs in the back?

    And since my AV receiver doesn't have S-Video and my monitor does, I have this 2 year old switch box that I bought a walmart for like 40 bucks, or 20 I don't remember. I has S-Video, but I'm afraid that the quality will suck going through such a cheap box.

    My Science Teacher told me that gold plated cables are better conductors of electricity, so they produce better sound. Is this true? Will I even notice a huge difference?

    What is really the best company to buy cables from when you compare performance per dollar? The Audio cable I have is their Pro II Series and the Component Cables are their regular ones. So far everyone sounds good but I can still return them and get others.

    Is my PowerMac also giving me the best sound for my DVD's?

    My Optical Audio cable seems to be bent downward a little. Does this affect quality? I don't want it to brake.

    Ok, even more questions. My Home Theater System came with an unPowered Sub and I have been meaning to buy Powered one. Where can I find a good, yet cheap Sub. I was told by the guy at Best Buy that they start at around $200.

    I have a fairly small room about 12 by 10(yes small for a surround sound system) so I don't know what kinda power I need. My current sub isn't really what I wanted, I need more bass.

    The speaker cables that it came with are also not the best. They keep on braking(it's like 24 little tiny copperish wires that keep falling off) and I think I wont get as much power to the speaker as I wanted.

    So where can I get better wires that wont brake all the time?

    The receiver I got is also XM ready. Is it worth it? I love music but I hate 102.7 KISS FM cause of all the stupid rap. I like classic rock and cold-play and postal service type stuff. All I would need to do is buy the antenna and I'm ready plus the service. But I have been told that Sirus is better. What is? Is the quality really good?

    And when I get my Xbox 360 I want to use all this stuff with it. But I saw my friends cables that came with his and they seemed pretty cheesy. Would the Monster Cable ones be better?

    Now with all of these HD DVD players coming out I want one that will match my Black YAMAHA receiver. Which one would everyone recommend? Would getting the one that that will work with the 360 be more efficient?

    My receiver also only have 1 coaxial input and 2 optical. My computer's hooked up through one of the optical, then the 360 will be in the other. Does coaxial sound just as good if that were to be used for a future DVD player? Or should I just ditch watching DVD's on my computer and hook it up-to my receiver with a regular L & R cable?

    Even more questions. Will Dolby Digital 5.1 be outdated soon then be un supported in the near future? Or is it here to stay for at least a few more years?

    These are just some of the questions I needed to get off my chest. I know this seems like a lot, but I plan to use this for the next 10 years.
  2. ieani macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2006
    the states for now

    Id highly recommend going over to the home theater forums and posting some of these there as well. They know a lot more about this stuff then I do. Ive only been into it not even two years.
  3. G5Unit thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
    I went over to the AVS forums but nobodies even said anything yet:mad:
  4. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    Watching your DVD from the PM to the Dell monitor is the best configuration. Only the HDMI is said to have better quality than the DVI cable, but that difference is only minimal and its more in the data processing than in the actual cable. The only thing is, as you mentioned
    [QUOTE="G5Unit]DVD's are only 720 by 480[/QUOTE] so, you are trying to watch a 720x480 movie on a 1920x1200 screen. so the pixels have to be stretched out to fit and thus there is a slight reduction in the quality. Some hardware based video processors for HD monitors (read very expensive equipment) can reduce the distortion by expanding a non-HD movie to an HD monitor but even those arent the best. the best will be a true 1080i HD DVD combined with your current set up. and who knows when we will be able to get all HD DVDs (and will the format be HD-DVD or Blue-Ray?!)

    1080p of course is the best of all but hardly anything these days actually supports it. Even most HD monitors that claim to be 1080i are just 720p that are capable of processing a 1080i (ie lowering a 1080i signal to a 720p signal)

    look up all this stuff on wikipedia a great place to learn!

    Yes, HDMI and DVI are both better than component video (even digital component) so those are current technologies better than component, so i guess you could say its already out of date.

    here is what you need to do. go price a bunch of Monster Cables for your system (monster cable is one of the most successful cable companies and one of the most expensive, and highest quality) then send me the money and i will buy you cables that are good enough. Most any cable will work for your needs. the cheaper the better. the high end or expensive cables are WAY OVER engineered and could probably shield against interference if you were standing 5 feet from the biggest TV/Radio broadcast tower you could find. the only reason anyone needs any of these super cables is if they want show off to their friends how much money they can spend!

    Yes, you will get HD channels from the same cable. read above why the cable will not matter, you will be fine with whatever cable is there. the company will probably come in and put a 'digital end' on it, but thats just a price of crap and a waste of money but they require it. HD isnt really worth it right now. not many TV shows are actually broadcast in HD yet. And those that are are mostly also available over the normal air broadcasting system. there are some extra channels like ESPN HD or something like that that you can pay extra for to get HD, but basically another way for the cable company to get your money.

    most likely. the HD set top boxes i have seen have optical audio out, but i have not seen Cox brand ones.

    this is true. gold is a better conductor of electricity. but if your whole cable isn't made out of gold then what is the point in having gold tips? also whatever you plug into will most likely not be gold so again what is the point? i did notice the advantage of gold plugs and receivers (the part you plug into) on my friend's dad's stereo system. he has a $30xxx record player with an $8000 ruby needle and $10xxx 6 foot tall speakers each run by 3 multi-thousand dollar amps. and on a system like that, yes, the gold makes a difference but that is b/c every connector component is made of gold (solid gold, not gold plated) i have bought gold plated for my stereo system before (because it was on sale at radio shack and actually cheaper than the normal cables at the time) and i could tell no difference.

    as i mentioned above, the biggest name in the industry is Monster Cable, but unless you have a $10xxx + stereo then it really doesnt matter. i have built my own cables and the only time that sounded bad was when i did not properly shield a connector b/c I just wanted to see if it worked. once it worked i shielded it and it sounded much better!

    depends on the speakers you are using. if you have speakers with optical in then use the optical out on the PM you have a pretty good set up.

    optical cables can break easily! so be careful! but usually when they are broken there will be no sound at all.


    there is a difference b/w quality and quantity. a high quality sub (read well designed) can have a lower power and sound better than a higher power lower quality sub. so take whatever amount of money you can spend, and go to whatever store you want and listen to all of the speakers in that price range. you should notice a difference in quality. go for the ones that sound the most clear (usually in a large open store this is hard, but the ones that sound the best here will fill up your room the most!)

    as much as i have said about buying cheap cables being ok, this is a little different. if the cable falls apart, then its a little toooo cheap. im sure you can find replacement cable that will not fall apart!

    Radio Shack, best buy, wherever. just dont let them sell you the monster cables or the gold tipped cables!

    why not an iPod then dl $14 a month worth of music instead of subscribing? XM is better than sirus, simply because it has a larger market share and will likely outlast sirus. XM also has a larger selection of stations. sound quality isn't that good right now (sounds like a very low bit rate mp3 that skips now and then) but the technology has the ability to sound a lot better and likely will improve as more people subscribe (another reason to go for XM with a larger user base b/c they will likely have the money to upgrade their systems sooner and have improved sound quality)

    so you have heard of monster cable. . .read what i said above!

    just dont buy one from walmart. and the 360 one is supposed to be a rip off, it is supposed to cost a lot more than buying a separate system.

    the movie industry is fighting over HD-DVD and Blue-Ray. . . wait till that settles down to get an HD specific DVD player. until then use your mac.

    there was once a time when mono was the only sound available. last time i checked you can still play mono on any stereo system. so i doubt 5.1 will ever disappear. just might not be used by everyone.
  5. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    One main point to consider about HDMI is that it support audio and video over one cable, and generally also supports HDCP (The HD DRM standard)which will probably crop up more and more over then next few years and if your devices don't support it they will just get a degraded 480p signal.

  6. G5Unit thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2005
    I'm calling the cops
  7. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    At 24 ft each they seem a bit long for your 12x10 room, no? You don't want to coil up the wire (extra inductance) or add length (extra resistance) if you can avoid it.


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