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Installing a Home


Getting the Most You Can Out of
Your Movie Viewing Experience

Dr. Alfred Boysen
Professor of English
English 279 – Technical Communications I


Greg Zimmerman
February 20, 2008
A working definition of a home theater could be stated as a television and video equipment
designed to reproduce in the home the experience of being in a movie theater. The purpose of these
instructions is to inform you how to build and assemble an entire home theater system, or at the very least
help you understand and contract the process to a qualified builder. These instructions will provide
categorized information pertaining to each component of a home theater along with photographs the help
you along the way. In most all of higher end homes built today, there is a dedicated entertainment room or
theater in the home plans. This will help you increase the value of your home should you ever decide to
sell, and provide enjoyment for your entire family for many years. These instructions will assume that the
reader has some basic knowledge of stereo equipment and will research on their own for specific
components to purchase for their home theater.

1.1 Background
The instructions will be separated into 3 parts consisting of Components, Installation/Placement of
Those Components, and Mistakes to Avoid. Building a home theater does require a good amount of reading
and research in the part selection process. These instructions will not cover the home theater component
selection, but will go over all the basic theater components needed for a theater to be operational and how
these components are installed. Being familiar with basic home theater components will provide you with
more than enough knowledge base to perform these steps with whatever home theater brands you choose.

As with any other type of electronic device, there are different manufacturers and different qualities of
components. However, the basic concepts are followed by all manufacturers, so this set of instructions will
apply to all manufacturers, no matter your brand choice. Figure 1 below is a picture of a typical base model
home theater. Be sure to read through this entire instruction manual before proceeding to install any

Figure 1: Typical Home Theater Setup
1.2 Equipment and Tools
Building and installing a home theater requires the use of a large amount of equipment and tools. Most
importantly, there are all of the basic components in home theater systems that are needed in order to have
a complete theater. These components will be described in greater detail later on, but will be listed here for
reference. Below you will find a list for the tools/equipment you will need and a list of all home theater
components that will be needed for this project.

Tools Purpose
Wire Stripper/Cutter Strip speaker wires
Coaxial Cable Stripper/Crimper Strip/crimp coaxial cable
Cat-5 Cable Stripper/Crimper Strip/crimp Cat-5 cable
Battery Drill (Prefer DeWalt 7.2V) Mount brackets, etc. to wall
Phillips & Flathead Screwdrivers Mounting/adjustment work
Stud Finder Locating studs behind walls to mount brackets to
Labeler Label outlet boxes for organization
Optional Tools (for Pre-construction) Purpose
16 oz. Claw Hammer Mounting wire boxes to studs
Corded Drill Boring holes in 2x4’s to run cables through
1 ½” Auger Drill Bit Boring holes in 2x4’s to run cables through
Wire Cutter Cut wires in walls
Cable Tester Test cables for continuity after installation
PVC Conduit Heater Bend conduit to fit around corners
Electrical Tape Bundle wires together
Permanent Marker Mark and identify cables

Components Needed
TV or projector w/ screen
DVD Player/Blu-Ray Disc Player
Cable Box/Satellite Receiver
Left, Center, Right
Rears (Satellites)
Left and Right Back Speakers (Optional)
Universal Remote
All Required Cables & Ends
Surge/Power Protector
Optional (for Pre-construction)
Single/Double/Triple-gang data outlet boxes to be mounted on studs in pre-determined spots
Associated wall plates and inserts to go with outlet boxes
Cable staples used to secure cables to studs
1 ¼” PVC Conduit
PVC Cleaner and PVC Glue

1.3 Preparation
There are certain precautions that need to be taken before beginning to install and build a home theater.

• Research all of the necessary parts that are listed above so that you have a basic understanding of
their use and operation
• Follow all instructions and safety precautions that are packaged with the parts you purchase
• Verify that all work you do is done neatly and correctly

2.1 Planning

Proper placement of the speakers in your home theater room is essential. It is much easier to install
your audio/video cables in the correct areas during the construction phase of your home theater room. It is
much easier to make any changes you would like to while your project is still be conceived on paper than
while you are painting the walls. This is why it is important to have a specific plan ready to go before you
start building.

1. Obtain a copy of the blueprint that illustrates the room to be used as your home theater from your
contractor or builder.
a. Be sure to include on the blueprint anything inside the walls that could obstruct or make
difficult pulling cables by or through. Things to include could be heating, ventilation, and
air conditioning (HVAC) ducts, water pipes, etc.
b. Also include all electrical outlet locations. This way you will know where your television
and receiver could possibly be placed when planning your theater room.
2. Place all speaker hookup locations as close as possible to the measurements in Figure 2.
a. To use this method, first you have to decide where to place your television and receiver,
then your seating area accordingly. This is because all of the angles used are in reference
to your seating area.
i. Using the blueprints you obtained, place your television and receiver within a
few feet of an electrical outlet location. This is so that the surge protector that
protects all of your components will be able to reach the outlet. In addition, if
you use an entertainment center, you will be able to run the power cords behind
it and they will not be seen.
ii. Ideally, your seating should be as close as possible to 2 times the height of the
television away. This provides the proper viewing distance for all viewers. For
example, a 48” television should be viewed from 8 feet away.
iii. After you have chosen your seating location, use Figure 2 to mark on the bare
studs of the wall where you will place your speaker cable outlet locations. All
angles use the center of the television as the 0° point. An exception to this is the
subwoofer. These can be placed in many locations and be functional. A popular
location is to place it in the corner of the room facing the wall, so the sound will
reflect around the entire room. If this is not
possible, the location in Figure 2 is a very
suitable location for this component.
b. This method of placing the speaker outlets
around the room using reference angles ensures
that while viewing the television, the volumes of
the speakers will not overpower one another but
will compliment each other.
c. Allow for upgrading. Place outlets for
multiple subwoofers and also for the Left
and Right Back Speakers (Lb and Rb in
Figure 2). This way, even if you start with
a 5.1 surround sound system, you can
always upgrade to a 7.1 or 7.2 surround
sound system without much work. A
second subwoofer outlet could easily be
placed on the opposite side of the
television at the same angle as the first subwoofer.
Figure 2: Speaker Layout and Measurements
2.2 Pre-Construction

This is easily the most laborious part of the entire project. If you feel that this task is too difficult for
you, or that you don’t have the technical expertise to perform the following tasks, this can be performed by
most contractors or by home theater specialists. If you choose to perform these tasks on your own, the tools
listed above in Section 1.2 will be sufficient to complete all jobs. All that is needed is to follow the
subsequent steps.

1. Using a 16 oz Claw Hammer, mount a single-gang outlet box at every speaker outlet location and
television/projector location that you have marked on the studs. At the location you have
determined to have the receiver, mount two triple gang boxes in the same manner that you have
mounted all the other boxes.
a. Mount these boxes at the same height above the floor as the electrical outlet boxes have
been or will be mounted. This is to give the wall plates a look of uniformity when
finished. When wall plates are at different heights on the same wall, it is easy to see and
looks very unprofessional. The easiest way to prevent this is to mark a mounting point for
all outlet boxes on the studs they are to be mounted with a cut piece of 2x4 to ensure they
are all mounted at the same height.
2. With a corded drill and a 1 ½” auger bit, drill a hole through the center of the studs in a path from
the outlet box at the receiver location to all speaker outlet and television outlet locations.
a. These holes should be drilled at approximately 8-12” above the top of the speaker outlet
boxes. Under no circumstance can your speaker and data cables run any closer than 12
inches away parallel to any power cables running to electrical outlets. This can cause
buzzing, static, and other interference to come through the sound in your speaker setup.
Your speaker and data cables can cross power cables perpendicular without any
problems, however. If running your speaker cables at the distance of 12” above the
speaker outlets brings them within 1 foot of any power cables in the wall, you can run
them below the speaker outlets instead, or any other spot that keeps them away from the
power cables.
3. An optional, albeit expensive option is to install conduit running from every speaker outlet box
back to the receiver outlet box. This is to make it easier to upgrade your cables should it ever
become necessary for you to do so.
a. This is performed easiest by using plastic, or PVC conduit. Using your conduit heater,
heat the pipe so that you can fit it inside the studs and bend it to attach it to each speaker
box running to the receiver outlet box. This will allow you to easily install and upgrade
cables if needed.
i. Be sure that you are in a well ventilated area while performing the conduit
bending and fitting procedures. Fumes from heated PVC, as well as from PVC
glue and cleaner can be toxic and detrimental to your health. Take all
precautions necessary to prevent any harm to yourself or others.

2.3 Cable Installation

It is very important that all cables are properly installed. Follow all subsequent instructions carefully to
ensure that all components are installed and work correctly. Figure 3 shows a professional wiring
technician performing a cable installation.

1. Each speaker outlet box should have one Category-5e data cable, one optical fiber cable, and at
least one 4-wire speaker cable at its location. From the receiver outlet box, thread the cables
through all of the holes in the studs to each speaker outlet box until you have done this for each
speaker outlet box. For your television/projector location, run three coaxial cables, one HDMI
cable, one Category-5e data cable and one optical fiber cable from the receiver outlet box to the
television/projector outlet box. Because the length of cable will differ depending on the size of the
room, do not cut the cables until you have fed them the entire way to each speaker outlet box. This
will ensure that all cables will be long enough to be connected to the wall plates.
a. As you are performing this task, bundle all cables going to each outlet box together at the
receiver outlet box location and mark them. This will make it much easier in the end to
identify all of your cables and determine where they’re going.
b. You must be careful while pulling the cables through the walls to not nick or tear the
insulation of the cables. For Cat-5e, coaxial, HDMI and speaker cables, this can seriously
diminish their signal transmitting
capability. A fiber optic cable’s
signal transmitting capability will
be completely ruined if its
insulation is nicked, or if the
cable is kinked severely enough.
c. Optional (for installations with
conduit) – For each speaker,
feed the cables mentioned above
in Step 1 into each conduit
routed to the speakers. Be sure to
bundle them and identify them
before moving on to the next

Figure 3: Technician performing a cable installation
2.4 Cable Connections

Connections that are made at the end of the cables are an extremely important part of the installation
process. If done incorrectly, bad cable connections can cause static and clipping in the speakers and
imprecise pictures on your television or projector. The first component of this process is to strip the
audio/video wires and cables accordingly. This will take the insulation off of the copper conductor
underneath so that it can transfer its signal to the connectors.

1. Depending on the size and type of cable or wire, you will use a certain type of wire/cable stripper.
Before you start stripping any cables or wires, be absolutely sure that nothing is accidentally
connected to any power sources.
a. In the case of speaker cables, you will use a
standard wire stripper to remove the sheathing that
encases the wires first. Then, use the stripper once
again to remove the insulation from the wires.
Speaker cable will vary in size, but will normally
be a #14 Stranded AWG (American Wire Gauge).
To strip this size wire, use either a #14 Stranded or
#12 Solid AWG strippers. To strip the insulation
off, take the stripper, and place the wire in the correct Figure 4: Stripped Speaker Cable
size stripping hole approximately ¼” away from the end. Clamp down on the insulation,
and pull it off of the wire. Figure 4 at the right shows approximately what a stripped
speaker wire will look like.
b. At the audio/video outlet box located where your
television or projector will go there will be 3
coaxial cables, 1 HDMI cable with ends already
attached, one Category-5e data cable and one
optical fiber cable. Depending on which medium
you are using, you will make use of either the
HDMI cable or the 3 coaxial cables as component
video cables. If you are employing the component
cables, you will start by stripping the coaxial cables
with a coaxial stripper. In Figure 5 you can see what coaxial cable will look like when
stripped. Figure 5: Stripped Coaxial Cable
c. If you are going to use the HDMI cable, the ends will be
on the cable when you buy it, and all that will be
necessary is to plug the cable into the back of the
HDMI wall plate, shown below in Figure 8. A
typical HDMI cable is shown in Figure 6 to the
2. The next phase is to install connectors on the ends of
your cables after they have been stripped. If you are
using the HDMI cables, you can disregard this step and
move on to the next. However, if you are using the
three coaxial cables for your component cables, pay
attention to this step carefully. A bad connection can
cause static and interference on your television set. All that is needed for this step is the coaxial
stripping and Figure 6: Typical HDMI Cable Ends crimping tool and the connector for the
end of the cable, called an “F-connector”.
Simply take the F-connector and slide it
over the end of the coaxial cable. Using
the crimping tool, crimp down the
connector until the handle is pressed down
the entire way. Repeat with the next two
coaxial cables so that all three are done in
this manner. Figure 7 shows a stripped
length of coaxial cable on top and an F-
connector fitted to the cable on the
3. Connecting the cables to the wall plates is
a very simple process. If you are using
HDMI cables for your home theater, all
that is needed is to plug the HDMI plug
Figure 7: Stripped Coax(top) & F-connector(bottom) into a
wall plate shown as in Figure 8. For your speaker cables,
you will just push the stripped portion of the speaker wire
into the back of the wall plate, where it will be crimped
down. For your video connections, the F-connectors have
threads on the inside of them, which when tightened down
will pull the copper conductor tight to connect with the
metal in the coaxial wall plate insert. After all of the cables
have been connected to their respective wall plates, all that
is left of this step is to screw the wall plates to the outlet
boxes securely. Figure 8 shows the screws on the wall plates
as being a Phillips head screw, however they are normally a flat head screw so that they are in line
with more other wall Figure 8: HDMI wall plate plate manufacturers.

2.5 Component Selection

1. The first and most important component in any home theater is the viewing system, which will be
referred to from now on as a television or projector. The sizing of the television is a very important
part of the selection process. If a television is too large for the theater room, the pixels will be
visible to the viewer, and negate the idea of owning a high definition television. As stated earlier in
2.1 Planning section 2.a.ii, your seating area should be as close as possible to 2 times the size of
the television or viewing surface away. This needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a
TV, for the reason that if too large a television is chosen, it will ruin the viewing experience. With
the rapid advancement of today’s home theater and entertainment technology, buying high
definition, or HD, capable components is a must. A high definition television is a system that has
twice the standard number of scanning lines per frame and therefore produces pictures with
greater detail than the older standard definition televisions. HD televisions and projectors are
commonly referred to as having “1080p” definition by most people.
a. A flat screen television is the most common choice made by most all consumers lately.
One reason is that these TVs can be mounted on a wall, taking more clutter out of a
theater room. They can also be mounted in a shallow recess built into a wall so that the
front of the television sits flush with the wall. A flat screen television has two distinct
types, known as plasma screen and liquid crystal display or LCD televisions.
i. Plasma screen televisions have a display in which plasma gas pixels glow when
excited by electrodes. They are the more expensive option of the two television
choices, but have great benefits to come along with the price. This new
technology utilizes a unique display panel that alleviates the need for a cathode
ray type picture tube. A major benefit of the plasma display is that it has been
sized to accommodate new HDTV 16:9 aspect ratios. They also tend to have
much deeper blacks and better contrast ratios than LCD televisions.
ii. LCD or Liquid Crystal Displays are
designed for front or rear projection
in conjunction with a screen similar
to those required for slide or movie
presentations. These devices include
a projection lamp, an adjustable
focal-length lens, and a special solid
state panel that allow the video image
to pass through the lens and
illuminate the screen. LCD units are
bright enough to allow for screen
sizes in the 80" to 100" diagonal
ranges. When making the choice to Figure 9: Philips Flat Screen Television
utilize any front projection device, it's important to note that a dark room must
be maintained to achieve a proper black level, or the black hues will appear
more gray-like. The screen to projector relationship is variable within ranges
specified by the manufacturer, thus allowing for flexibility in placement.
b. Projectors can project high definition just as
well and television sets anymore. The only
real difference is that projectors are mounted
on the ceiling or high up on the wall at the
back of the room, so that it can project a
large image onto a projection screen at the
front of the theater room. One caveat is to Figure 10: Typical Home Theater Projector
make sure that you purchase a projector that is bright enough to put a quality image in
front of the audience. There are two quantities to measure brightness, those being
Candlepower and Lumens. It is hard to compare the two, and different manufacturers use
one or the other, making it hard to compare projectors, so the best way is to see a
particular model perform in person.
2. A home theater receiver can be considered the control
center of a home theater system. Figure 11 to the
right shows a Harmon/Kardon AVR-146 home theater
receiver, which is a very good choice for an entry
level component. This model has a retail value of
approximately of $700, but you can easily pay up to
$5000 for a top model from Harmon/Kardon. Figure 11: Harmon-Kardon AVR-146 This
German company is known for having attractive, capable and well thought out designs that
perform with the best at a fraction of the price. Receivers generally consist of a tuner for regular
and/or satellite radio, a preamp and an amplifier. Today’s home entertainment systems are likely to
include a variety of sources and formats, and to make the most of them they need to work together.
A receiver can make this cooperation between components much easier.
a. Most home theater receivers will include a tuner for AM/FM radio, and in some cases,
HD (High Definition Radio), XM or Sirius Satellite Radio, and/or Internet Radio. This is
mostly an add-on feature just for the sake of add-on features to sell more components, but
still worth mentioning. With the future of radio going more towards satellite radio or
internet radio, it is advisable to purchase a model with one of these features if you do
listen to a large amount of radio.
b. An essential function of every receiver is a preamp that controls which audio and/or
video source is selected, such as your DVD player, VCR, CD player, iPod, etc. The
preamp processes the incoming stereo/surround sound signals, and distributes audio to
the channels and subwoofer output circuits. Video from your components (such as a DVD
player) are routed to a video output. Any receiver you purchase should have at least two
HDMI inputs, and one, if not two HDMI outputs, in case you want to send a signal to
more than one television. Figure 12 below shows that the Harmon/Kardon AVR-146 has
2 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output.
c. Another major part of every receiver is the amplifier. Most all home theater receivers
have a built in multi channel amplifier that is 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 channels which sends the
surround sound signals and power to the speakers. When a receiver has a 5.1 multi
channel amplifier that means that it has 5 speaker outlets and one subwoofer outlet. All
receivers that have a multi channel amp should at least have a 5.1 surround sound channel
output, but most all will now have a 7.1 or 7.2 channel output. Figure 12 below shows the
back panel of the Harmon/Kardon AVR-146 Muli-Channel Home Theater Receiver. You
can see there are connecting points for a 5.1 surround sound system on this receiver.

Figure 12: Back Panel of Harmon/Kardon AVR-146 Home Theater Receiver
3. A very nice, albeit optional component is a central media storage device. A central media storage
device is essentially a large hard drive that you can store all your media on and retrieve from
anywhere in the house if your home is wired for it. If a Category-5e Ethernet cable is run from
your home network router and your receiver has this capability, you can now watch any movie that
you store on the central network media storage device that you purchase. These are marketed by
most all computer manufacturers such as Dell and Hewlett Packard.
4. One of the most basic
components of a home theater is
a DVD player. A DVD player is
an electronic device that decodes
and plays DVD-Video media
stored on an optical disc. The
disc is similar in shape and size
to an audio Compact Disc and
contains a vast amount of
information on a single disc. Figure 13: Front & Back Panels of Harmon/Kardon DVD-48
When used for motion pictures, the disc often contains an entire movie in several languages and
several screen aspect ratios. DVDs contain digitally encoded information that requires a special
player to decode. Major benefits of DVDs include superior audio/video performance, instant
access to "chapters" within the movie, and an increasingly vast library of titles. Now, the market is
starting to move away from DVD players toward new technology called Blu-Ray discs and Blu-
Ray players. Whether you choose to purchase a DVD or Blu-Ray player, it will be connected to
your receiver as an input. To connect these components together, you will need to use either an
HDMI cable or components cables with an optical cable. Figure 13 above shows the front and
back of the Harmon/Kardon model DVD-48. Looking at the back panel, you can see the HDMI,
optical cable and component cable outputs.
5. The most obvious parts of a surround sound home theater system are the speakers. In a surround
sound system setup, you will have at least a 5.1 speaker setup. The first number in 5.1 refers to the
number of mid and high range speakers, and the
second number after the decimal refers to the
number of low range speakers, or subwoofers.
a. Every home theater system requires a
left, center, and right loudspeaker.
These are sometimes referred to as
LCRs. The left and right speakers
shown colored red in Figure 14 are
situated at the far left and right of the
projection screen (or beside the TV or
rear projection set), while the center
channel speaker shown colored red in
Figure 15 is situated in the center of the screen (or on top of the TV or rear
Figure 14: Left and Right Channel Speakers projection set). Although it is now possible
for movie producers to pan audio
effects, music, and dialogue to any of
the speakers independently, the left and
right speakers normally play back
effects and music, while the center
channel's purpose is primarily dialogue.
With Dolby Digital playback systems it
is also important that each of the three
front speakers are identical models or
share the same tonal response so the
tones coming from the speakers sound
Figure 15: Center Channel Speaker
b. Rear speakers in a home theater
surround system are normally located
behind the listener and are designed to
create the illusion that you are
acoustically in the middle of the action
that is present on your video screen.
The placement of these speakers is
critical for achieving proper balance and
seamless transitions between front and
back "panning" of sounds. In most
systems only two speakers are required,
shown in red in Figure 16; however, Figure 16: Left & Right Satellite Rear Speakers
with Dolby Digital surround sound formats the frequency response and tonal quality of
the rear speakers should match that of the LCR speakers in your system. You can add
another set of rear speakers to your system, labeled SBL and SBR on the far right side of
Figure 16. These are not necessary, but will give you more sound quality and 2 more
speakers making it a 7.1 or 7.2 surround sound system.
c. Sub-woofers are special loudspeakers
that reproduce audio frequencies that
are usually below 120 Hertz.
Approximately 80% of the power
required to reproduce sounds like
explosions are in the frequency bands
below 120 Hz. By utilizing a
dedicated sub-woofer you are able to
increase the performance of your
audio system in several ways. Since
many sub-woofers include an integral
power amplifier, and allow you to remove the low frequency
content from the left and right speakers, the A/V receiver or
amplification system will now have more power available
for the left and right speakers. Sub-woofers are available in
many sizes and power ranges so they should be
Figure 17: Possible Subwoofer Locations selected according
to your room size and sound pressure level (SPL)
requirements. Figure 17 above shows a few possible
locations for your subwoofer(s). Other possible locations
include placing your subwoofer pointed into the corner of
your room so that the sound can reflect around the entire
d. Not all speakers need to be an unappealing black box sitting
on the floor either. Companies such as SpeakerCraft make
many custom style speakers that can be “hidden” around
your room so they are inconspicuous, yet perform just as
well as all other speakers. Many homes are moving toward this choice, as they do not
want the speakers in their theater room or anywhere else in the house to take up room or
be noticeable. SpeakerCraft produces an entire line of speakers that will mount into the
wall so their face is flush when completed. The also produce a line of motorized speakers
that come out of the wall in use. Figure 18 shows one of the Figure 18: TIME Speaker
speakers, named TIME speakers, or “Theater In Motion Experience”. When your sound
system is turned on, these speakers will come out of the wall, and when not in use, will
retract back into the wall or ceiling, where you can paint or cover the bottom of the
speaker in any way you please so that it will blend into the surroundings.
6. Seating for your home theater is one of the
most overlooked areas when people construct
a theater. If you and your family or guests are
not comfortable while using this room, no one
is having any fun. A fail safe option is to opt
for large, overstuffed leather furniture. Most
people will generally be comfortable while
sitting on this furniture. However, the larger
more custom home theater jobs are moving
more towards custom movie theater chair or
movie style seating now. These chairs give you
Figure 19: Custom Movie Theater Seating
Setup the experience of being in the movie
theater with more comfortable seats, better cup
holders, somewhere to put your bag of popcorn, and no annoying woman talking behind you for
the entire film. Figure 19 above shows a basic custom setup of home movie theater seating.
7. Although not necessary whatsoever, so homeowners are taking
home theaters to the extreme. To a lesser extent, some
homeowners today have installed a system described by many
installers and technicians as “distributed audio”. Basically
what they’re describing is a central music server that
distributes audio and video if desired to all rooms in your
home. One installer friendly version is the MODE system by
SpeakerCraft. Shown in Figure 20, it is an attractive system,
but it is still suggested that the system be installed by a
qualified professional. The wiring for this type of project can
become quite confusing if the installer does not have any previous experience with the system.
These types of systems can distribute all types of media through an entire home, as long as the
central distribution unit is connected to the source you want to send. These sources can be
anything from a radio tuner to your central media server so you can send movies to every room of
your house. Figure 20 shows the MODE, or Music On Demand Experience, control panel in black.
These are priced around approximately $500 per panel, not including any hardware to connect all
the components, so it is advisable to have a professional do the installation so Figure 20:
MODE Control Panel damage to all components is minimized.

2.6 Component Connection

1. To connect your television, all you will need is an HDMI cable or set of component cables,
depending on which conductor you have decided to use. If you have installed your system to use
the HDMI cables, the outlet box behind the television will have a plate that resembles Figure 8,
which you will plug one end of the cable into. The other end will be plugged into the back of the
2. Connecting the receiver can be a time consuming process if the cables were not labeled when
connected to the wall plate and if the wall plate was not labeled when installed according to the
Pre-construction instructions previously. If the wall plate was labeled correctly, this will be a pain
free process.
a. To connect the television to the receiver, again using the HDMI cable or set of component
cables and connect the receiver to the correct connection on the wall plate behind the
b. Since the DVD player is in the same location at the receiver, this connect will be quick
and easy. An 18 inch cable will be the longest you should need here, and you may even
be able to use a 12 inch cable.
i. If you are using the HDMI cables, just connect the cable to the HDMI output as
shown in Figure 13 to an HDMI input on the back panel of the receiver such as
those shown on Figure 12.
ii. To connect these two components using a
combination of component cables and an optical sound
cable, connect the component cable to the correct
outputs and then to a Component Video In input on the
back panel of the receiver. You need to make sure
that you use the correctly colored end of each
conductor with the correct output terminal when
connecting these or your Figure 21: Component Ends picture will not look
correct. Figure 21 shows a set of component cable ends. Notice that all three
ends are different colors, which correspond to the three colored terminals that
are on all component cable inputs and outputs. To connect your optical sound
cable, just plug one end into the Optical Out terminal such as the one shown in
Figure 13 and the other end to one of the Optical In terminals such as those
shown on the back of the
receiver panel shown in
Figure 12.
c. To connect the receiver to all of the speakers, all which is required on the receiver end is
to connect with speaker wire the correct outlets on the back panel of the receiver to the
correctly labeled terminals on the Figure 22: Enlarged View of Back Panel of AVR-146
wall plate behind the receiver. Figure 22 is an enlarged view of the speaker terminal
connections on the back panel of the Harmon/Kardon AVR-146. As you can see, you
connect a positive and a negative conductor to each speaker terminal. In the lower left
corner of Figure 22, you can see a different terminal than the rest, which is for the
subwoofer. This utilizes an RCA-type connector, which just pushes onto the terminal and
connects to the screw terminals just at the others do.
3. Connecting the speakers at all locations is a quite simple process. All that is required is to connect
speaker wire from each speaker to its respective wall plate. The one thing to remember is to keep
the positive and neutral conductors going to their respective terminals.

Mistakes to Avoid
1. Choose your home theater room wisely. Ideally, choose a room that has no windows for two
reasons. First, and the most obvious, is light control. Even with heavy drapes or light-blocking
window treatments, it's inevitable that you'll have to deal with some light penetrating your theater
sanctuary. Second, it reduces noise. Pick the room with the fewest windows, or consider
converting your basement.
2. Sample the speakers before you buy them. This sounds like a no-brainer, but too often customers
rush into buying the first set of speakers they see. Without the best sound quality you can afford,
your home theater won't be worth much. After spending so much money on all that equipment,
you don't want to find yourself watching a program with tinny sound. Take DVDs and CDs with
you to the store and take your time listening to all of your options. If you go to more than one
store, take the same audio and visual aids with you for a fair comparison.
3. If you are not familiar with these installation techniques, spend the extra money for expert
installation. It's not the time to become thrifty and do it yourself. If you don't have experience with
electronics, pay the installation team the store recommends so that your new home theater can
provide maximum enjoyment.
4. Read the instruction manuals. If you insist on installing your home theater components on your
own, take the time to review all the instruction manuals provided. You may think you can put it all
together by yourself based on common sense, but you'll undoubtedly miss something. There will
also be features you can't take advantage of because you don't know about them.
5. Resist the size temptation. One of the most common mistakes customers make is to buy the
biggest television, thinking it will provide the most enjoyment. Not so. Follow guidelines
regarding the ratio of the size of the television to the size of the room. You don't want to find
yourself sitting on top of a 60" wide-screen TV and not able to see the picture clearly.
These instructions have covered the necessary steps to install a surround sound home theater
system. This consisted of the following steps:

1. Introduction
a. Background
b. Equipment and Tools
c. Preparation
2. Procedure
a. Planning
b. Pre-construction
c. Cable Installation
d. Cable Connections
e. Component Selection
f. Component Connection
3. Mistakes to Avoid

By following these procedures, someone with a basic understanding of home theaters and home
wiring can install their own surround sound home theater system. If these instructions are followed closely,
the installation process will go very smoothly. Remember that if you are not comfortable working with
electrical wiring, it is a good idea to leave this installation to the professionals. When all is done, you will
be able to sit back and enjoy your home theater while having the same experience you can have at the
movie theaters.