What's the best way to connect up a sound bar in a home theater?
The answer depends on the kind of sound bar you have.
Stereo sound bars If you're just connecting components for stereo sound, use the red and white stereo RCA jacks. Many sound bars even include a stereo cable in the box. This makes it easy to connect the sound bar to your TV's stereo output for better television sound. If your TV doesn't have audio outputs, you can also use the outputs on your DVD player, cable box, satellite receiver, or other gear.
Virtual surround sound models Sound bars with virtual surround sound generally offer digital audio inputs. This connection will deliver the best, most detailed sound and most convincing surround effects from DVD players and other components with digital audio outputs. Most virtual surround sound models offer one or more types of digital audio connections, including HDMI, as well as optical and coaxial digital audio.
Passive sound bars Hooking up a passive sound bar to your receiver is also very straightforward — it basically connects just like any other speaker. These sound bars include positive and negative terminals for each of the audio channels they play — five for virtual surround models, three for LCR models (the other two channels connect to separate surround speakers). You'll just need to connect each pair of terminals to the corresponding outputs on your receiver. Speaker wire is usually included.
Powered subwoofers Connecting a powered sub is simple. Sound bars with built-in amplifiers give you a dedicated subwoofer output. You'll just need to run a cable from the sound bar to the subwoofer. We recommend using a subwoofer cable instead of regular audio patch cables when making this connection since it's specifically designed to carry low bass frequencies. You won't need to make this connection if you choose a system that includes a wireless subwoofer, but you will still need to plug the sub into a wall outlet.