Home Theater Network

Welcome to Home Theater Network!

A HOME THEATER NETWORK HTN consists of HOME automation, home THEATER and home NETWORK systems. Connecting a Home Theater Network can be confusing. Cables seem to go everywhere with different types of inputs/outputs such as HDMI, DVI, digital coaxial, fiber optic, USB, firewire, S-Video, component, VGA, etc. Several connection diagrams are provided below to make connecting Home Theater Networks easier. Clicking on the equipment in the connection diagram accesses "what to look for" and "how to connect" information. Also, our ultimate connection diagram shows how to connect every home theater network device currently known.

Home Theater Connection Diagram

A typical home theater includes an HDTV, surround sound speakers, cable box, media boxes, game consoles, and a DVD or Blu-ray player. HDMI connections now make connecting home theaters easier since high definition video and audio signals are included in one cable. The receiver has also made connecting devices easier as it acts as the main connection point for all home theater devices, decodes different audio and video formats, and provides audio signals to the surround sound speakers. Any questions can be posted and answered on our HTN Connections and Setup Forum.

Home Network Connection Diagram

Home networks begin with a cable or DSL modem, which connect to the internet via cable or phone lines. The cable/DSL modem then connects to the "WAN" port on a wireless router. Networkable devices such as computers, game consoles, media boxes, and Blu-ray players can then directly be wired to the router with Ethernet cables. An access point or switch can be used if more ports are needed or if rooms father away have lots of network connections. Wireless access is not as reliable or fast as wired connections, but they are convenient for mobile devices and rooms without Ethernet connections.

Home Automation Connection Diagram

Smartphone or tablet apps such as AutoHTN can be used to control a home away from home. Home automation signals travel through the internet to a home automation controller, which then sends a signal to a specific device. The signal can travel either wirelessly (Z-wave) or through powerlines (Insteon). Home automation devices include lights, thermostats, cameras, windows, sensors and more.

Front Projector Connection Diagram

Connecting a front projector in a home theater is similar to connecting an HDTV in a home theater. A receiver is used as the main connection point for audio/video devices such as cable boxes, Blu-ray players, and media boxes. Front projectors don't have built-in speakers like HDTVs, so a receiver sends audio signals to surround sound speakers. Today, most front projectors come with HDMI inputs. The digital video signals HDMI uses allow longer cable lengths and less distortion than analog cables such as VGA or component.

Bedroom Connection Diagram

Bedroom TV connections are typically minimal, consisting of a HDTV and cable/satellite box. It is not recommended to use the TV's built-in speakers as they are usually low quality. A small budget receiver can provide audio signals to bookshelf or wall mounting speakers. If no receiver is used, then devices such as Blu-ray players or media boxes can be connected straight to the HDTV.

Ultimate Connection Diagram

Ever wonder what it would take to connect every home theater, home network, and home automation device together into one system? The ultimate connection diagram below shows the challenge of wiring a complete home theater network. The diagram is organized by rooms beginning with and centered around the home theater room (Zone 1).

Key devices on which to focus include the receiver, media box, router, and home automation controller. The receiver connects all the audio/video devices together and allows users to easily switch between the devices. The receiver also processes the different audio/video formats and acts as an amplifier sending audio signals to surround sound speakers. Additionally, a receiver can be used to sends audio/video to different zones. For example, the main receiver in the home theater room (Zone 1) distributes audio and video to the master bedroom (Zone 2) and to the living room (Zone 3).

The wireless router is the main gateway to the internet for the whole home theater network. It also controls all data flow and security between networked devices such as computers, tablets, media boxes, game consoles, laptops, and cameras. Switches and access points can be used to extend a wireless network.

The media box cordinates many critical functions including streaming video from the internet, storing data, playing DVDs or Blu-rays, talking to others through video chat, playing games, listening to internet radio, interacting with others during TV shows, and using popular apps. An ideal place to store data, the media box streams data to computing devices throughout a home such as computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

The last device is the home automation controller which plays a key role in receiving and sending home automation commands throughout a home theater network. Commands are sent from a smartphone or tablet which can be located anywhere there is internet access. The home automation controller lets users control their home away from home.

Home Theater Network Tips

  1. Home Theater Networks are no longer just for the wealthy. Prices have dropped substantially over the past few years to make quality HDTVs, wireless routers, receivers with distributed audio , computers, speakers, and other HTN equipment affordable.
  2. See the video, audio, and data connections sections for detailed information on which cables carry the highest quality signals.
  3. Cable adaptors such as a DVI to HDMI or S-Video cable adaptor can be used to connect different types of cables together.
  4. An HDTV can be used for video/audio switching if there is no receiver. The audio output from the HDTV can also be connected to a a stereo for a higher quality sound.
  5. It is recommend to use Ethernet wires whenever possible to network HTN equipment. Ethernet wires are more dependable and secure then its wireless or powerline networking counterparts. Use wireless or powerline networking when running wires is not feasible.
  6. When remodeling, think about running some audio, video, or data cables. For example, cables can be run on the floor behind baseboards if baseboards are removed during any flooring remodeling.
  7. Keep audio, video and data cables away from power cables. The AC frequency from a power cable can induce noise onto audio, video, or data cables if they are placed close together.
  8. The distributed video from the receiver in the family room (Zone 1) to the TV in the master bedroom (Zone 2) can be useful in situations such as wanting to finish a movie in bed that was started in the family room.
  9. Standard DVDs can be upscaled to high definition resolution. The video quality won’t be at the same level as Blu–ray, but it will beat standard definition video. See the upscaling section for more information.
  10. It is possible to get HD broadcasts through Over-The-Air (OTA) signals instead of using a cable or satellite box. This method requires an antenna, and either an external tuner or a built-in tuner inside the HDTV. An antenna to a HD capture card inside your HTPC in order to create your own DVR.
  11. It is possible to control a receiver through software on a computer. The receiver would have to be connected with a USB, Ethernet, or serial cable depending on the manufacturer
  12. If the receiver has enough HDMI inputs, then a HDMI switcher won’t be necessary. Be aware that some HDMI equipped cable boxes and DVD players are having trouble passing their signals through receivers. The issues are due to HDCP encryption standards and some software settings not allowing the use of HDMI repeaters.
  13. Networking appliances are gaining popularity, but the choices are still limited. Look for networking appliance which use common networking standards, and don't force buyers to purchase all the appliances from a single manufacture.
  14. Even though most of the signals are low voltage and have specific interconnects, always be careful when connecting home theater network equipment and note that hometheaternetwork.com and its partners are not liable for any damages. Make sure to read the manufacturer's instructions.
  15. Check how the cable lines are connected in a house and if the cable is used for "cable" for TV or broadband purposes. Older houses designed in the pre-internet days could be wired incorrectly, which could slow down internet speeds and effect video quality. The cable modem should be connected as close as possible to the main "cable" input to the house. To increase performance:
    1. Reduce the number of splitters.
    2. RG-6 cables should be used over RG-59.
    3. Connectors should not be corroded.
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