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Buying Guides: Cables & Installation

Audio cables buying guide
by Ralph Graves

Home audio cable buying guide, includes stereo RCA, coaxial digital, stereo minijack, optical digital (toslink), and XLR cables.

HDMI cables buying guide
by Steve Kindig

Choosing the right HDMI cables can be tricky. We'll explain the different versions of HDMI, and we'll offer solutions to some common HDMI hookup problems.

Speaker wire guide
by Steve Kindig

Most home speakers don't come with wire. What gauge (thickness) do you need? Is there a special kind of wire for in-wall installation? How many feet of wire will you need to buy? What kind of connectors are best? We'll help you choose the right kind of speaker wire for your home audio system.

Power line surges and lightning strikes can damage or destroy your precious audio/video gear. Learn how to select the best power protection for you.

In this article, we'll show you how to locate the TV transmitters serving your area. Then we'll look at the different types of antennas and help you choose. If you live within a few miles of the local transmitters, a small indoor antenna should work well. If not, you'll need an outdoor antenna.

First, we show you how to build a fairly simple 2- or 3-room audio system using one receiver. Want sound in more than three rooms? It can get complicated, so you may want to consult an experienced system designer. To give you an idea of what's involved, we'll look at a typical 3-zone, 5-room system.

There are many types of connections you may encounter when setting up your new A/V system. Find out what it all means!

DAC buying guide
by Kramer Crane

A DAC (digital-to-analog converter) transforms digital files or streams into music. Learn how to choose the DAC that best meets your needs.

How to build an exceptional, immersive, audiophile-quality sound system for music and movies by choosing an individual preamplifier/processor and one or more stand-alone power amplifiers.

TV wall mount buying guide
by Steve Kindig

Which kind of wall mount should you buy for your flat-panel TV? Do you want to be able to tilt or swivel your TV? Is your TV going to be mounted above your fireplace or in a corner? Learn about the different types: fixed mount, tilt mount, full-motion, mantel mount, and ceiling mount.

Are you designing a high-end in-wall or in-ceiling home theater system? This article highlights some of the best custom-install speakers. Learn how to build an elite home theater without any footprint.

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