If you have enough video inputs on your TV, you will always have a cleaner video signal by avoiding adding extra components in the signal path. Conceptually, video switching can be helpful if you don't like having to separately change your TV to the right input *and* your receiver. I.e., you just click "DVD" on the A/V receiver instead of clicking "DVD" on your receiver and then selecting SVIDEO1 on your television. I use a theta casablanca to switch video as well as audio and do find it easier.
Come to think of it, however, if I remember right, AV receivers don't "switch" or convert s-video to composite (single RCA), so you will need both connections from your receiver to your TV and may have to do a little TV adjustment anyway as you go from s-video sources to composite sources. (This is where the Philips pronto comes in handy). I don't think there are many devices, if any, that switch component video and can't think of why you would want to do that anyway.
Optical cable is used to send 5.1 or more channels of sound, not for picture. Atleast that I have seen before. Typical video transfer cables are composite (RCA), S-video, and component (Red,Green, and Blue Cables). A better connection would be directly to the TV from the source. Component is the best choice for connection of video at this point in time. The less components in the chain, the better off you are. I don't own a surround reciever, but I believe the reason for the multiple video inputs on the back of the reciever are in case your TV doesn't support multiple inputs. Hope this helps.
Hi. Don't worry it's not a dumb question at all, actually you can do it either way.
The easier, less costly method would be to hook all your AV cables into the Denon and run only one video cable from your Denon to the TV. If all your components have S-video outs and your Denon video switches internally in S-video than you might not lose any noticeable video quality. You'll save on video cables this way too. My pre/pro will only switch in all RCA or all S-video, but not a mix of them, so everything I own has S-video outs that run into my pre/pro, and I run a single S-video cable to my TV.
However, there are many people that are more disciminating about video quality and will run individual video cables - S-video or component - from their sources directly to the monitor. If you have expensive equipment or can see a difference and have the budget by all means do it. If you only have one video cable on hand, try hooking up a component like your PSX2, DirecTV or DVD directly to the TV, and then through the Denon and see if you discern any difference in quality. Hopefully you won't and will be able to get by with only the one cable.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!. And remember, there are no dumb questions here, only an occasional goofy answer.
Ooops, I didn't address your last question regarding optical, coax and RCA. I'm assuming you're talking about audio only here. The optical and coax inputs are for audio and video sources that themselves have digital outputs, such as your DVD player and DirecTV receiver. Does the PSX2 have one also?
The optical and coax inputs on your Denon mean that it has an internal digital to analogue converter that will take the digital audio signal from your source and convert it for Dolby Digital or DTS playback. There are many people who favor using the optical [Toslink], but I happen to be one of those that like to use the coax with RCA termination. With either of these methods you only need to run one audio cable from your source to the Denon. The other method, and I don't favor this, is to utilize the internal D/A converter in the source and run multiple RCAs to the Denon, meaning the output from the source will have already been converted and will be analogue in nature before it gets to the Denon.
I hope this helps. I'm sure others will add to this discussion.
Thanks for the answers I really appreciate it! In fact I got more of an understanding from your responses than from at least 10 visits to Sound Advise and Best Buy while purchasing my TV and stereo equipment.
I was talking about optical for sound only. I gather that optical was the best, coax next and then RCA but that is from the people making the connectors and I didn't know if it was because the optical was the most expensive or if it was because it was more practical. For video I use the component cables for the psx2 (it does have optical out) to the TV and plan on using the component cables for the direct TV as soon as I get a HDTV receiver and there are enough channels in HDTV to make it worthwhile, otherwise I use s video connections. I guess I will rum directly to the TV as I only have three components so far. The DVD goes to the CD plugs on the amp and the PSX2 is going to the other DVD on the amp. I will then run component cables from the DirectTV to the component #1 and the psx2 to component#2. I guess I’ll have to get a component switch box because I only have 2 of the inputs on the TV or I could use a S-video line foe either the DVD or the PSX2. Is there much difference between the three separate component cables as opposed S video hookup? To tell the truth I can’t see any difference so far. But have heard its much better? I’m not sure I understand what was referred to as video switching or why I would need to adjust the TV when using a RCA connection and then using an s-video connection so if Edesilva reads this post could you please explain that? Also, what is a Phillips pronto and a theta casablanca? Thanks again for all your help. Charlie
Glad we could help Sailinfla. What Edesilva may be referring to is the difference between composite and S-video in that S-video separates the color and picture detail into two different carriers whereas composite does not. I have noticed a big difference in picture quality in certain applications between these two methods. The S-video was brighter and more detailed, while the compsoite signal was darker and plugged up in the shadows. But, the difference between component video and S-video seems to be much narrower as you've found.
As for which is better, optical or coax for your digital audio? Well, although I built a home theater system before I built a 2-channel music system, music reproduction has displaced HT as my true passion. And it seems audiophiles almost always choose a coax digital connection over an optical one with the exception of when using a CD changer because often times optical is the only offering with these units. I know that Bel Canto Designs promotes the use of optical cables when using a DVD player as a CD tranport when hooked into their DAC1.1, but I've heard many owners of the DAC, which I am, mostly prefer the results when using a coax cable.
But this really all comes down to personal taste. If you can, I'd suggest you borrow both types and compare them.
I just retired a Denon AVP-8000 preamp and used its internal switching with S-video cables as a convenience. On my EAD preamp I replaced the optical connection with a good coaxial cable and it sounds much better.
Entech (Monster) makes a neat little product (Director AV4.1) for S-video (which can be adapted to component) but I just got the JVC JX-S777. It does S-video and composite matching as well as having component and digital I/O. I wanted something where I could record from Direct TV to TIVO, then to a VCR if I liked the program. Still playing with it.
The audio RCA connection should go to the receiver so it can amplify the sound and do home theater for you. When I tried to connect Direct TV to the TV but run the audio thru the preamp there was a slight but noticeable delay in the audio.
My post may have been a bit confusing, but its kind of irrelevant if you aren't going to use anything but component video and s-video. The canonical line is that component (R, G & B RCA connectors) is the best video link, so it makes sense, if you have component outputs on DVD and SAT to run them directly into your TV. (I haven't seen any A/V receivers that actually "switch" component video). A/V receivers that have both s-video and composite video (single Y RCA) typically don't convert between transmission formats, so if you have s-video going from your A/V receiver to your TV and composite video only from your sources to your receiver, you won't see anything.
So, if you have both s-video and composite sources, you need to run both s-video and composite to your TV from the A/V receiver. A lot of TVs have "auto-sense" that detects which inputs have incoming signals and automatically switch to that input. On some other TVs, however, you may have to manually switch from the composite input to the s-video input--hence playing with the TV remote in addition to the receiver remote. You know, the "TV/VCR" button on your TV remote.
The Casablanca is basically an A/V preamp made by Theta Digital. Even though its state of the art/high end/quarter inch aluminum plate gear, it still doesn't switch component video. So, for example, I run the component outputs of my DVD directly into the TV. Since my TV is an XBR with god only knows how many outputs, I have to switch the TV to "video 5" when watching DVDs, and switch the Casablanca to the DVD input to get the sound. This is where my Pronto comes in. Its a programmable touchscreen remote control where you can create graphic screens and associate macros with buttons. So, the "DVD" button on my Pronto switches the TV to VID5 and the Casablanca to "DVD". One button only. Means I only have one remote on my coffee table and the other eight in drawer in my study.
The Denon 5803 "converts" all video signals (svhs and composite) to component out. It is the only one I have seen that does this.
I am trying to dig out a whitepaper on how it actually achieves this though......