TV Wiring Connections Explained
Once a new TV is brought home, the hard task of connecting the TV wires to a signal source has to be done. The signal sources are usually the cable TV or DTH (direct to home) Satellite Television Box or STB (set top box), Media Player or DVD player, or other movie storage or streaming devices.
It is important to use good quality cables to connect a TV. The picture on the TV will be only as good as the TV signal feed quality into the TV. Most of the wiring connections for the TV are usually at the back of the TV, though latest TVs have TV wiring connectors on the side of the TV facing outwards. A flat screen TV with side connections is easier to connect when it is wall mounted.
On this page we have the following topics regarding connections to the TV. Please click on any of the items in the following list to take you directly to that topic
- Different types of TV connections
- Connecting TV with HDMI cable
- What is HDMI?
- Does HDMI cable quality matter
- How long can an HDMI cable be
- Laptop connections to TV explained
- How to connect laptop to a TV wirelessly
- Hooking up a TV Videos showing how TV cable connections are made
The wiring connections at the back of the TV will look something like the picture below.
Different types of TV connections
Modern TVs have HDMI connections which are the best way to connect TV to any source. HDMI connects both the Video and Audio sources and is the best connection possible between any device and the TV.
The next best connection for Video is the component cables which has three ports for the Red, Green and Blue video signals. And then the next best connection for Video is 'S-Video' which is a single cable with just one plug but it has separate connections for the RGB color components. Lastly you have the composite connection for Video, which is the least preferred connection for Video. Newer TVs coming to the market now does not provide for the Composite Video signal.
Connecting TV with HDMI cable
HDMIstands for "High-Definition Multimedia Interface" and is the best connection available so far for TV signals. A single HDMI cable connection will carry both the digital video signals and the digital sound signals and only a single wire connection is all that is required to connect high quality digital signals. A picture of the two ends of a HDMI cable is shown here.
What is HDMI connection cable?
The picture here shows what an HDMI connector cable looks like. To quote from the HDMI Website Knowledge Base
What is HDMI?
"HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the industry-leading technology and de-facto standard connecting high-definition (HD) equipment, from HDTVs and personal computers to cameras, camcorders, tablets, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, smart phones, and just about any other device capable of sending or receiving an HD signal.
Over 1,200 of the largest consumer electronics, PC and mobile device manufacturers are HDMI Adopters and over 1B HDMI-enabled devices will ship in 2012.
By delivering crystal-clear, all-digital audio and video via a single cable, HDMI technology dramatically simplifies cabling and helps provide consumers with the highest-quality HD experience. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel, 192kHz, uncompressed digital audio and all currently-available compressed formats, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements."
HDMI cables newest standard is HDMI 2.0 and prior to that HDMI 1.4. Older HDMI cables standard of 1.3 works fine with most equipments but for 4k Ultra HD TV you must use an HDMI 1.4 cable or higher.
Does HDMI cable quality matter
One of the good things about HDMI cables is that you do not need to buy expensive HDMI cable. A cheap HDMI cable which will output a clear picture on to the TV screen is as good as the most expensive HDMI cables. This is because the HDMI signals are so arranged that if you get a good picture on the TV then that cable is as good as any.
No improvement can take place with more expensive HDMI cables. HDMI signals are so designed that it is either a 'go' or a 'no go', that is you either get a picture on the TV of the highest possible quality or you get no picture, only a grainy screen.
Remember that the above holds good for each category of HDMI cables. That is a cheap HDMI 1.3 cable is as good as the most expensive HDMI 1.3 cable as long as it can produce a picture on the TV. An HDMI 1.4 cable will be of better quality than the HDMI 1.3 cable.
How long can an HDMI cable be
As to the question of how long can an HDMI cable be, the answer is that, for longer HDMI cables, the quality of the copper conductors in the cable determines how long the HDMI cable can be.
However long the HDMI cable, if you get a clear picture in the TV at the other end of the cable, then the HDMI cable is good enough, as good as the most expensive HDMI cable. Normal cheap HDMI cables can handle 9 to 12 feet (3 to 4 meters) without problems. For longer connections a better quality HDMI cable will help, but the better solution is to have an HDMI signal booster which can relay HDMI signals through much longer HDMI cables.
Laptop connections to TV explained
By connecting a laptop to a TV, you are actually making your TV a smart TV, because you can do everything that a smart TV can do, but much more efficiently since you have the laptop keyboard and mouse pad.
There are several ways to connect a laptop to a TV, the easiest being if your laptop and TV have HDMI connections. Connecting a laptop to a TV with HDMI cable is the easiest laptop TV connector, since just one cable is all that is necessary. For laptops not having HDMI connectors it is possible to connect the laptop to the TV HDMI port by using the USB port of the laptop and using a USB to HDMI adaptor. The USB to HDMI adaptor converts the USB port to a HDMI out port on the laptop.
If HDMI ports are not available on the TV, then the best way to connect a laptop to the TV to make it a smart TV, is by using the VGA port on the laptop and TV to connect a VGA cable. The VGA cable only sends the video picture to the TV. For sound to be transferred from the laptop to the TV, you need to connect the headphone port of the laptop to the audio-in port of the TV. Special cables with a headphone jack at one end and stereo dual RCA male plugs at the other end are easily available to transfer sound from laptop to the TV.
How to connect laptop to a TV wirelessly
It is possible to connect the laptop to the TV wirelessly through Wifi if you have a smart TV with Wifi.
Otherwise Wireless adaptors are available to connect to the HDMI ports of both the laptop and the TV. The quality of the picture and sound on the TV from a wirelessly connected laptop suffers a lot from signal loss. The laptop to TV wireless adaptors is expensive and the picture transmitted is not the best of quality. Best to connect laptop to TV with an HDMI cable. Long HDMI cables are available, so distance from laptop to TV should not be a problem to connect the TV to the laptop.
If one, laptop or TV, does not have an HDMI connection, then adaptors are available to convert old connections to HDMI type.
How to hook up a TV, how to make TV cable connections
Please find here two videos to show how to hook up a TV with all the various TV connections and cables.