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How DVD Players Work

        Tech | Video

Connecting the DVD Player

Connecting a DVD player to your stereo receiver (or television, if you don't have a receiver) involves making two basic connections: audio and video.


The first connection to make is for the audio portion of the signal. There will be several options depending on the receiver you have.

  • The best choice (if available) is either to use an optical (also called Tos-link) or coaxial (RCA) digital connection. These two choices are equal in quality. In order to use either of these, you will need to have both an output on the DVD player, and an input on the receiver. Only receivers with built-in Dolby Digital decoders will have this type of input.
  • If your receiver does not have a built-in Dolby Digital or DTS decoder, but is "Dolby Digital ready," look for the 5.1-channel Dolby or 5.1-channel DTS. This connection involves six cables, corresponding to different speaker channels: left front, center front, right front, left rear, right rear and subwoofer.
  • The last option to connect the two components is with analog RCA outputs. This is a two-cable connection, with one cable delivering the left speaker sound, and the other cable delivering the right. This connection will deliver only stereo sound, but it may be your only option if you are hooking up directly to a television, or if you have an old receiver with only two channels.

Now let's take a look at the video connection.

  • The best quality choice is to use component connection. This connection consists of three cables: color-labeled red, blue and green. The quality is superb. However, these connections only exist on extremely high-end receivers and television sets.
  • The next option is s-video. One cable connects the DVD player to the receiver in this setup.
  • The last option, similar to the audio setup, is to use the analog RCA video output, usually color-labeled yellow on both ends. This will deliver the lowest quality, but will suffice for most older, analog televisions.

For more information about DVD players and DVD technology, see the links on the next page.