I am helping a neighbor pull wire and pre-set up for a HT System, in his new addition which will be getting sheet rocked this weekend. He is not really up on the whole 5.1-HT thing, hence he enlisted my help. I pulled all the wire for the speakers, but my question lies with the TV. He is set on Plasma because of location restrictions. The TV will be wall mounted above the fireplace and his componenets will be on a shelf to the right about 6 feet away. What are the cables that I need to run from behind the TV to the area where the receiver will be. My thought was 2 sets of component cables (1 for HDTV Comcast Setop Box, one for DVD?). Basic RCA (yellow) for VCR?. I think he does NOT want to set up via "video switching". I believe he will be buying the Plasma from Costco, and he wants an internal tuner and speakers. I really appreciate your help!!
Your cable plan sounds about right if the HDTV has two sets of component input. Some only has one. Your neighbor should also be aware the low end 42" plasma Costco sells is not a real HDTV but rather EDTV. It does not have enough pixels to show true HDTV programs from the cable box. While he may or may not feels the extra pixels worth the extra cost but he should at least check the spec and compare before he buys.
The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to run a good video setup (the best on the receiver) to the plasma and then just run all your components to the receiver. This way you do not have to spend hundreds on long component cables, and you leave yourself ready for upgrades (shold something new come out it would be more difficult to run hidden wires). So I'd go short component from dvd to receiver (with optical or digital audio) and then long component to the plasma from the receiver. Now if he gets a good plasma that can show HDTV and it has a DVI input, than run a DVI from cable box to plasma, if not than you should just run component from cable box to receiver. That way everything goes through the receiver. This is, however, contigent upon the fact that your neighbor has at least a decent receiver (though I recommend a great one!). Also run the VCR through the receiver (audio and video). This is how I would set it up because in the future, adding some new component means simply connecting to your receiver vs. running a new wire through the wall...plus it saves you expense in cords (under the assumption you wont need a new receiver). Good Luck!
He is set on Plasma because of location restrictions ... . The TV will be wall mounted above the fireplace
... and is this fireplace gonna be active with roaring fires? If so, I don't think a plasma display is appropriate for that situation. He'd be much better off with a front projector and a screen mounted above said fireplace.
... I think he does NOT want to set up via "video switching".
Another dumb decision from someone who's "not really UP on 5.1/HT" IMO. Has he given any sort of valid (or otherwise) reason for this POV? In his situation (assuming that he adamantly insists on a plasma) it only makes good sense to setup with video switching being handled by an A/V receiver. There's no good reason to run separate wires from each signal source to the display, and would be difficult to make them anything less than ugly besides. Talk him out of this nonsense - please.
I believe he will be buying the Plasma from Costco, and he wants an internal tuner and speakers. I really appreciate your help!!
Buying from Costco is a good idea ... insisting on a built-in tuner and speakers is nothing but dumb! Especially the built-in speakers.
You've taken on quite a task Dawg ... good luck.
I plan to live forever ..... so far, so good!
Shouldn't you also run s-video or composite? He wants to hook up a VCR, which I doubt has component outputs. I didn't think most receivers have the ability to input one type of connection (e.g. s-video) and output another (e.g. component). Is that correct? I know my receiver (Kenwood VR) will not do this.