Home theater cabling question

Hello all,
I have been working on setting up a dedicated HT system and I am looking for help in the area of cable configuration. I have searched the discussion boards for the best way to connect all of my HT gear and have not had any luck answering my question. This is what I am working with at the time: Digital cable box (piece of sh$t if you ask me Comcast) with composite outs which are connected to a Replay DVR through the composite in. S-video and optical out from Replay DVR into S-video and optical in on AVR. DVD player S-video and optical outs into S-video and optical in on AVR. For analog CD composite outs to composite in on AVR. AVR to TV using monitor S-video and composite (Red/White) outs to TV.

Although the sound and picture is very nice I am always looking for better. On the Replay and DVDP I have the option of using component out going to component in on AVR. Is this worth it since I will have to downgrade the signal to S-video out to my monitor?

In the very near future (2 months) I will going to plasma so my options on the monitor will change.

Any suggestions on cable configurations and input on the component cable question would be greatly appreciated. I am very happy with the Zu Cables I am using so advice on brand of cable is not needed.
Thanks again
Component always gives the best picture (unless you have DVI or HDMI), but if your monitor doesn't support it, I wouldn't bother upgrading to it. I don't think you will see any benefit by having the AVR convert the signal from component to s-video.

When you get your new plasma definitely hook up the component from the DVD player to the monitor. If you only have one device that outputs component video, there is no need to go through the AVR if you don't need to use it for video switching. You'd be (a) buying an extra cable and (b) risking a signal downgrade.

But it seems that the cable box is the weak link in your set-up. The video quality while you are watching cable will never be better than the composite signal coming out of the box. The Replay doesn't up-convert/up-sample the signal, it trans-converts it.

I'd call the cable company and see if you couldn't get a newer box with an S-video out, unless you will be going the high-def route when you get your plasma.
Then you could use the AVR for component switching, just make sure your AVR model supports the high bandwidth required for high-def.
Another thought.

Your new plasma will have DVI input(s). Getting a DVD with DVI output (very inexpensive, even now) will upgrade that viewing source by an order of magnitude by being 100% digital with no conversion. The DVI input on your plazma will make your AVR obsolesent and eventually obsolete.

The advantages of a 100% digital path from source to screen are simply to great to ignore in a system that looks to the future.

I would therefore minimize my cash outlay on analog components and cables with the anticipation of converting in the near future to straight digital.
customht, couldn't the cable tv signal still be composite at the source? like with some laserdisc players (whose analog picture is still stored as composite information, regardless if there is an svideo output) if the comb filter in the display device is better than the one in the cable box, you'd still be better off feeding a composite signal to the plasma then letting the comb filter in the cable box do it. The plasma (unless it's a costco cheapie) would likely have a better comb filter than any cable box, no?

But I see he is using a DVR to output, but same idea, no?

Ditto with the DVR. If it has excellent filters or trancoders, then upchanging to svid or component would be worthwhile, else I'd like the plasma do it. Do we know if the DVR stores video information is composite or or is the luma and chroma separate like with a DVD player? If so, you might be downsampling by using composite or svid out. If it composite you'd be filtering and transcoding which may not may not be a good idea.

Just another armchair quaterback here (with enough knowledge {barely} to be dangerous!).
For a nominal charge I suspect Comcast will provide you with a High Definition box that provides more options. Mine has S-VHS, component and DVI outputs.
Without question the DVI is stunning, and if you're getting a plasma I assume it will have DVI. Even non-hi def movie channel look great through my 51 inch Ultravision.
Everything - box, dvd, svhs goes direct to TV even though I have a decent AV pre (Sunfire Cinema3)with good video, I don't let it get in the way of the picture information, so it's direct from the box, etc to the tube (no DVI in the sunfire anyway). I use the audio outs for the preamp, but see that you have a lot of stuff in the way between your box and the TV. I refer not to do that.
Make sure your new TV's got lots of inputs, and that you can directly access and don't have to scroll through the inputs.
Best of Luck