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Cables, Wires and Connections FAQs

Q: Is it worth it to buy those really expensive cables?
A: What ever is the weakest link in your home theater, that is what is going to limit the quality of your system. So cheap cables on high-end equipment means you wasted money on your high-end equipment. High-end cables on low-end equipment, just means that when you upgrade your equipment, your cables are already up to par. Match the quality of the cables to your equipment. For more information see our article on cabling.
Q: I have a SACD player but I'm not getting the full effect in playback.
A: Currently, you must connect the player with the appropriate cables to your receivers 5.1 surround sound connections. The decoder is in your player, so once decoded, each channel needs to be carried separately to your receiver.
Q: I have an HDTV but I'm not getting as good of a picture as I expected.
A: Well, regular broadcast may actually look worse because the larger picture shows all the flaws. However, if you aren't getting the results you expected for HD broadcasts, then the problem may be that you aren't using component, DVI or HDMI cables for the connection to the TV. These are the only cables that will carry and HD signal.
Q: How long are the longest cables I can use?
A: The longer the cable the greater the signal loss and the greater the amount of interference picked up. So the rule of thumb is keep the cables as short as possible, although allow some slack for access to the rear panel. Higher quality cables can mitigate some of the problems with longer cables. Three feet is ideal, while six feet is fine too. If you need to run 15 feet or more, think about rearranging your equipment or invest in high quality cables. Toslink optical cables are virtually impervious to interference, so length is not a limiting factor.

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