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As stereo sound, RGB picture and widescreen signal is the best possible combination for digital television viewing, it is vital to use a SCART lead between any set-top box and the main television.
The composite video picture with stereo sound is the best combination for a VHS video recorder. If your set-top box has two SCART sockets, it is likely that the one marked TV will carry RGB picture information and the other will not.
If your television has more than one SCART input, you may need to choose a special one (marked RGB) if you want to use RGB from the SCART cable.
On most set-top boxes it is possible to turn the RGB output on and off. This can be used to test the RGB input function on the television ? the picture quality appears blurred when it is disabled.
If have a DVD player, rather than a VHS recorder, you can attach this to the set-top boxes second SCART connector. The signal from the set-top box will normally be overridden by the DVD player when it is on, usually in high-quality RGB.
Some very cheap SCART cables do not have all the pins connected. They may not provide RGB and widescreen picture signals. SCART cables are normally no more than three metres in length.
The UHF lead is a lead that you would traditionally associate with television signals. They can carry:
up to 45 (but normally only five) analogue television channels
You can't avoid these cables if you are going to use Freeview, as these cables are the only ones that you can use to distribute Freeview signals around the house.
Where you have an integrated digital television (an idTV) you just need to get the signal from the aerial to the television with one of these cables.
If you are using a Freeview set-top box, you will need to get the signal from the aerial to the set-top box using this aerial lead, but for best results connect the TV to the box with a SCART cable.
You can also use a UHF lead to connect a set-top box to a television somewhere in the house. Your set-top box will require a RF (radio frequency) modulator. Note that "RF passthough" is another way of saying there is no modulator. You will be able to "tune" the second television into the picture showing on the set-top box.
Some boxes (all Sky boxes) have the ability to connect a remote control receiver to the second TV end of the interconnecting cable, so you can change channels.
The set-top boxes, whilst providing a reasonable quality picture to the second TV, will always provide only mono sound via a UHF lead.
The step-change in picture quality obtained by switching to RGB on a SCART is far greater than any obtained though spending any more on a gold-plated SCART cable.
Satellite or cable TV cable
These cables are usually very stiff, and have a very basic screw connector on the end. Usually they will provide an unbroken link to the satellitedish. At the dish end they plug into the device on the end of the arm, the LNB.
Don't try to disconnect these cables when the set-top box is on. Usually there is a small voltage that will cause dangerous sparks.
If the cable connects to a satellite dish, there is not much you can do with the cable. Each receiver in the set-top box needs it's own wire to the LNB. With a personal video recorder (such as Sky+), or a multi-room installations there are two cables to the four-output LNB on the dish. If you want more rooms, each will require it's own cable.
If the cable is providing cable TV, then it is possible to use inexpensive "Y connectors" to link the incoming signal to various set-top boxes, cable modems, or - via an adaptor - directly to the back of a TV.
Composite video cable
This is the most simple and basic video connection you can get. It carries:
a single picture from a set-top box
The picture will be in colour, and of comparable quality to a analogue broadcast station. However, there is no sound. For that reason this cable is often found joined to a stereo audio cable.
These signals are quite robust and can be carried for many metres. Often modern television sets have a single yellow photo input on their front input panel.
You also use an identical cable to carry digital stereo (SPDIF) sound.
Stereo audio cable
These cables carry the left and right channels of sound on two joined cables. They are usually required when a SCART cable is not being used, as the SCART cable already carries stereo sound.
If you are connecting your set-top box to an external stereo system, a separate stereo audio is used.
There is no real practicable limit to the length of these cables, but excessive length will degrade the quality of the signal.
The S-video standard is not well supported by most UK digital TV boxes, and very few have a S-video socket. If you need one for a particular analogue camcorder, use it, but avoid S-video with digital television. If you are using what appears to be a monochrome picture from a SCART lead, it will certainly by an incomplete S-Video signal and you should change to the RGB input.
This is the cable you will use to connect a computer to a old style monitor, and some modern LCD screen too. Most modern LCD TVs will have a VGA input too.
If you want to connect a set-top box to a LCD monitor, you can buy a conversion box from around 60. However this will not result in a better picture than using an existing SCART socket if there is one.
The only way to get higher than normal television resolution is to use a VGA in conjunction with a personal computer or modern games console.
If you want to get the very best out of a television or monitor use a digital video interconnect (DVI) cable.
This will be the only way for most televisions and monitors to receive high-definition pictures from a computer, and some set-top boxes.
If you can use either a VGA cable or a DVI cable, choose the DVI option.
If you want to get the very best out of a television use a HDMI cable.
This will be the only way for most televisions to receive high-definition pictures from set-top boxes.
Your comments are always welcome. Please use the form below to add your thoughts or questions to this page. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
Cyril Taylor Friday 11 June 2010 5:59PM
Thanks for your quick responce.
I have tried your suggestion but cannot get the 5.1 Audio to transfer, I only get the picture.
I have another(SPDIF)lead and a splitter comming in the post
Will get back to you when I've tried yet another wiring system.
Hi. I have a Panasonic TV with 2 scarts and HDMI, Panasonic DVD recorder with 2 scarts and HDMI. I just purchased a Ferguson Freesat with 2 scarts and HDMI. My question is how to connect it all up in order to watch/record the HD channels? Any help is much appreciated. Regards. Hermy
I have just purchased a LG HD tv along with a LG surround sound system & Sky+ hd. They are all HDMI'd into the tv along with an opti cable. My problem is that when I try to play DVD I get sound off the DVD but picture from sky unless I change the input on the tv. can anyone help with a connection diagram
Today I purchased a Virgin V + HD box, my TV PanasonicTX-32LXD50 is an HD model about 5 years old. The new box works very well, but the connection to the TV is still thru the SCARTcable, is it possible to purchase an adaptor or a converte Scart lead and would this make the pictore even better?.
Hi Brian. Sorry to be so thick- just bought an HD 1080 tv, but with only Nicam Stereo. Is it true that no matter how I connect this up to my Sky HD box (with HD subscription) I won't be able to get stereo because Nicam is only available in analogue? Have been told that using a scart connection as well as the HDMI cable would give a stereo output. A bit annoyed if I have to make do with mono sound to go with perfect HD picture!
Does anyone know if you can run a HDMI cable and a scart lead from a Virgin Plus HD box at the same time. I want the HDMI cable to go from the top box to the TV and the scart to go from the top box to another box to feed to other TV's in the house?
Hi Brian. Can't get 2nd tv in bedroom to change channe. Magic eye is definitey ok, and cabing is spot on. Coud it be the spitter, which was professionay fitted, and worked perfecty unti i changed tvs.? (by the way, the 12th etter of the aphabet isnt working on my keyboard.Sorry.
I have just moved to a very rural area where there is no signal for either my television, digital radio or mobile phone. I have a satellitedish attached to the outside and my neighbour tells me that I will have to buy a Skybox to be able to watch television (She is a Sky subscriber) but I wold prefer not to use Sky. Would a Free-Sat box be my solution? If so, how would I connect it to the dish?
Hi, I have an LG 42LF770 LCD TV with Freesat, an LG Freeview + DVD Recorder/Player with HDD and a Toshiba Video Recorder/Player.
Please can you tell me how to connect the DVD recorder and the Video to the television so that I can record Freesat stations on either device and to watch DVD’s and tapes through the television?
I have a TV, sky+ digibox and dvd player. I have bought a 2 to 1 scart lead. he scart connections are marked 'In', 'Out' and 'In/Out'. THe sky is working but can't get DVD player to work. What scart connection should connect to which device?
I have just bought a Panasonic dvd recorder
with built in freesat. the problem is that
when we are watching tv and a timed recording activates we lose the tv programme and all we can see is the recording how do we get back to the tv programme please?
I still don't understand ,sorry. As I said I have a 'scart to 2 scart lead' and need to know of the 3 connectors on the lead, which one should connect to what. The whole purpose of this lead was to avoid running to scarts to the TV.
Hi I have freeview, sky, video, boxes and of course tv all with twin carts, HOW do I connect all four to record sky, and to view both freeview and sky (not at the same time)I would be very greatful for a diagram or othe data kind Regards vivian jones
I've connected my TV, dvd Recorder and freeviewbox as per the instructions in the manual. I've changed the AV1(TV)signal on the dvd recorder to RGB so that my DVD's have a better picturequality, but this has detoriated the picture quality when viewing freeview. I've seen that I can attach the Fview to the AV1 channel on my TV I tried this but when I switched to AV1 the picture was stretched diagonally across the screen. What can I do to stop this?
Have just bought a Panasonic TXL37S20B TV and Panasonic combined VCR/DVD recorder.
I connected them up to my Sky Standardbox; everything works EXCEPT recording from Sky, the on screen message shows 'No Signal'. Am able to record from Freeview.
Any help would be most welcome!
Val Young- Please ensure you have connected a Scart lead from the Skybox to either AV1/2 of the recorder. Generally, Av1 allows signals into and out of the unit. Av2 is usually an input only. Refer to the combi's instruction manual.