At the risk of sounding rude, first, try the owners manuals. They usually have hook up guides for typical systems. Robert Hartley has a book called something like "Guide to High-end Audio" which provides a glossary and lots of info. If you have specific questions, first try using the search feature on the forums archive on this site, and then post a question if you can't find an answer.
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Sorry to hear of the problems. I can understand where your husband could run into problems as surround sound with a full compliment of source components ( TV, VCR, DVD, Satellite / Cable box, Tuner, tape deck, etc...) with multiple channels of amplification can become one hell of a wiring nightmare. So many different inputs ( sometimes multiple jacks for each device ) and multiple outputs can make for one helluva confusing rats' nest of wiring.
This specific book "might" be of help. I have not read this one, but it is written by the Editor of "The Absolute Sound" aka Robert Harley and Tomlinson Holman of THX fame. I don't know how "technical" it gets or how helpful it will be for your specific installation, but Harley tries to keep things pretty simple in his other two channel "stereo" based book. Best wishes, good luck and welcome to the "club".... Sean
Home Theater For Everyone: A Practical Guide to Today's Home Entertainment Systems