My Home Theatre | Part Five: Component Setup

For the final set up of all the components, I had been waiting for the repair of my Onkyo receiver. In the meantime I set up the theatre with an older receiver that did not have HDMI connections. That means I could not connect the receiver to the projector. I had to connect the HDMI cable directly to the DVD player. To watch TV, I had to switch the cable over to the tuner box. The Wii, which we also use to stream movies on Netflix, was connected to the PJ with a long composite cable, rendering a picture that varies from acceptable to wretched.

So as soon as the receiver arrived, nearly everything needed to be disconnected and then reconnected with the Onkyo in place.

Speakers: I had already made my own short cables with banana plugs on the ends (see how in Part Four). I  plugged them into the respective jacks on the back of the receiver and into the jacks on the speaker wall plate.

A separate wall plate is connected to the ceiling speakers in our study, adjacent to the family room. When Zone 2 is selected on the receiver, I can send any input (radio, downstairs PC, TV, etc. ) to those speakers. Zone 2 uses the two extra channels (the rear speakers: the difference between 7.1 and 5.1 surround) when not being used for watching a movie with 7.1 surround sound (which is most of the time).

HDMI Cable

Components: Everything connects to the the receiver, and the receiver sends the sound to the speakers, and sends the picture to the projector via one HDMI cable.
DVD player:
Connected to the receiver via a HDMI cable. HDMI carries both a hi-def picture, and multichannel sound when present.
TV/Cable Tuner:
Connected to the receiver via a HDMI cable. The tuner may receive either cable TV or an over-the-air DTV signal from an antenna, via a coaxial cable.

Wii Cable: Component + Stereo RCA

Wii Game Console: Connected to the receiver via Component (red/blue/green) for picture and stereo RCA (red/white) for audio. The top of the center speaker was the perfect location for the Wii sensor bar.

Downstairs PC: Our music is stored on the hard drive of the PC in our living room. The PC is connected to a stereo receiver, which in turn is connected to a distribution box that can send stereo audio to multiple pairs of speakers. One pair is in the living room ceiling. Future pairs will be set up on our front porch and and back deck. I also wired a connection to a wall  plate (see the Zone 2 wall plate) to connect the PC audio to our AV receiver (via stereo RCA cables). That way we can listen to our music in the family room and the study.

Universal Remote: I love this thing.  I have a Logitech Harmony 880. It plugs into the USB on your PC, learns commands from any of your devices it has in its online database, and if it doesn’t have your device, it learns the commands when you point your device’s remote control at the 880. It has a screen that displays customizable activities, for example, “Watch A DVD.” When I select that, it turns on the projector, the receiver and the DVD player: voila. Setup involved uploading all my device commands, setting up the activities and testing it out after the components were set up. The only remotes it could not replace are the Wii remotes, because they use a radio frequency different from the others.

Receiver Setup: The Onkyo SR-TX875 is a pretty sophisticated piece of gear, and the setup took hours. I won’t bore you with the details (or is it too late for that?). One I would mention: calibrating the speakers was easy, because it comes with the Audyssey MultEQ XT calibration system. It features a mic that you plug into the receiver and place in the various listening positions. At each position the receiver emits a sound through each speaker in turn. The mic picks up the sound from each speaker and automatically adjusts the volume for that speaker. Very cool.

Projector Setup: I had already done this when I got it back in December. Frankly there wasn’t much to do after I got it mounted on the ceiling, except turn it on, aim it and focus it. It is an awesome projector. If I were so inclined, I could do my own calibration, but it doesn’t need it. I leave it on the THX color mode most of the time, and in Economy mode to conserve lamp life. It looks fantastic: incredible color and detail, no visible pixels, deep, dark, detailed blacks — it really is like a movie theatre picture.

Our home theatre is complete. We have enjoyed it in its finished form for several weeks now and we love it. I hope this has been interesting or helpful. If you have any questions, please leave them in a comment.

February 2011

Part One: Design

Part Two: Budget & Choosing Products

Part Three: In-wall Installation

Part Four: Room Installation


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4 thoughts on “My Home Theatre | Part Five: Component Setup

  1. Can you tell me the exact model/type of the wall mount you used? I have the same speakers and I find hard to choose what wall mount I should use for my front and side sepakers.
    Thanks

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