Total n00b to Apple TV and HDTV Hookups

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by LincolnsiPod, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. LincolnsiPod macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    Yes I finally joined the 21st century (or rather my parents will) by getting an Apple TV, and a new HDTV, with actual HDMI ports! I heard about these things too! :D

    I'm trying to think of how this will be set up, as they have a set top box from Verizon FIOS, a DVD Player and a VCR. The HDTV has two HDMI ports and a composite, so initially I'm thinking one HDMI for the set top box, one HDMI for the Verizon Cable Box, and the composite for the DVD Player and VCR, using a switch to alternate back and forth as needed.

    For others with a similar setup, does this sound right? I've never had to hook up an HDTV before (and an Apple TV to boot) so...
  2. Rushli0n macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    That setup doesn't sound overly complicated. You'll just need to switch inputs to view the 3 different devices (assuming your DVD/VHS is one device).

    Next step would be to add a surround sound system. Then it gets interesting. :D

    Oh and I'm not sure how FiOS works, but you'll need to make sure you have an HD package/set top box to get the HD channels. The Apple TV content should be fine, but don't just assume because you have an HD set and HDMI cables that it will automatically make your cable look better without upgrading your package.

    My experience with DirecTV and Comcast has proven that users aren't always aware that you need to have the correct cable package and set top boxes in order to view HD.
  3. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    Thanks for the tip, they have the HDTV package so no worries there. The tricky thing is the VCR in my view, because it's not a DVD/VCR combo, (the DVD player is a separate unit). Yep, we're some old timey people here. :D

    That's why I'll probably have to get a switch to connect those two so my parents can switch back and forth between the VCR and DVD as they need it. Although, I'm wondering if they connected the VCR directly to the Verizon set top box. If that's the case maybe getting it all hooked up won't be as problematic as I thought.

    They live in a small apartment, so no need for surround sound speakers yet, (THANK GOD)
  4. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    All depends on how you want to set it up. I'd use a receiver to handle switching.

    DVD player could probably be routed through the VCR if the VCR has inputs. Downside is that the VCR would have to be on to watch DVD's.

    There's always more than one way to skin a cat.
  5. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    True, I'm going to look at their current setup and see if I can reproduce it as closely as possible as the least path of resistance (with the Apple TV being another addition)
  6. photoj2754 macrumors 6502


    Oct 10, 2013

    Check out this fairly inexpensive 3xHDMI switch from Monoprice (18.00)
    You can plug your cable box and Apple TV into it (also the DVD player if it's HDMI, if not use component cable if the display has that connection, composite as a last resort) then run a single HDMI cable from the switch to the display. You can use the switch remote to change inputs. This way you have one or two free HDMI inputs, again depending on your DVD player's connection (one on the switch and one on the display) available for future devices. For the VCR if the Verizon box has a coax output you need to run a coax cable from the box to the VCR then connect it to the composite input on the display. You can play tapes this way and record but will only be able to record SD channels, not HD channels. You didn't say if the Verizon box had a DVR in it.
  7. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    Thanks, I'll have to check out the DVD Player, it's newer but may not be new enough to have an HDMI port. If it does, the HDMI switch should work out well.
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    If you aren't going to be using a receiver I'd recommend buying a TV with the adequate amount of ports.

    I have the latest and greatest LCD TV from 3-4 years ago and it has 4 hmdi inputs and that TV is cheaper then dirt these days (Samsung 6 series).

    There will be a day when you will want to plug some other hdmi device into it and you'll be crawling behind the TV every day. Been there done that, huge pita.
  9. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    Forgot to mention that the Verizon box doesn't have DVR. Hence the reason for the VCR, parents refuse to pay more for the DVR convenience. Old timeys!

    I got a great 32 inch with 2 HDMI ports, RF and a composite connection. More HDMI ports just don't seem needed for now as long as they're happy with the current DVD and VCR players, and I could always get a switch as needed. I imagine once they moved to a bigger place the same TV can be relegated to the bedroom, at which point I get them a 60 inch for another Christmas day for the living room. And an XBox :D
  10. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    Just had a chance to inspect the hookups, the DVD player has component, the VCR composite. I have two HDMI ports and one shared component/composite.

    As it stands now, I can hook up the Apple TV to one HDMI, the cable box to the other HDMI, and the DVD Player to the component port. I have to decide how to hook up the VCR. Obviously using a switch to connect the DVD and VCR should work, but I can't seem to find a combo composite and component switch. The switches I see on sale are either all composite or all component, but not both. Unless the component can also function as a composite connection?

    Also wondering if I could simply split the cables so both the VCR and DVD connect to the same port on the HDTV (just have to make sure one is off when using the other, I think...)
  11. priitv8 macrumors 68040

    Jan 13, 2011
    Some VCR-s even have a pass-through connection so that you can connect your sat- or cable-box to that input for the purpose of unattended recording. Eg the Sony VCR I have, allows to config this input specifically as SAT/CBL input. When VCR is off, it passes this device through to the TV. When you switch VCR on, it will send it's own picture to the TV.
    Check your VCR, it might provide something similar.
  12. LincolnsiPod thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2009
    Thanks for the tip! As an update I noted a component switch is the best choice (split cables deteriorate the quality) so if I have to connect the VCR directly I'll use that type of switch. Think I got all the details I need now.
  13. ekiro macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2013
    Just return it and tell them it didn't work right. I did that before and that was good enough for them.
  14. photoj2754, Oct 28, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013

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