photo courtesy of Cox


If Santa brought you a new HDTV today we offer advice on how to get a great high definition picture. First thing you need to do is get the TV into the right place in one piece. Check out our article  here.

The Biggest Issue 

To see high definition images you must connect the HDTV using high definition capable cable(s)  to a high definition source. The best way to do this is with a High-Speed HDMI cable (right  photo) which provides the best video and audio via a single digital connection. If you did not buy one to connect a high definition cable box or HD satellite box to your HDTV there is a “work around” called a  component video connection. Unlike HDMI, component video signal cables have three RCA type connectors on each end of the cable for the video. While some source boxes come with this cable (if you have one it will have a red, blue and green RCA plugs on each end of the cable as pictured on the left). If not don’t panic,  we have another temporary  “work around” after the jump.


There is a way to use  a standard definition analog video/audio cable and a stereo audio cable to pass the HD signal and audio from the source to the TV as a temporary fix until you obtain an HDMI cable.

Many folks have one or more of these analog cables laying around  or possibly being used to connect a DVD player to another TV. The standard definition AV analog cable has  three connectors. The connectors are yellow, red and white (photo on right side). Using this cable will let you see the HD video from your source box. You will still need a stereo RCA cable to get the audio. It is pictured below on the left.

To get the HD video from the cable box to the TV you will see the connectors marked component video on the back of the HDTV and your cable or satellite box. If there is more than one on the HDTV use the one labeled component video 1.

There are three colored RCA type jacks on the back of the TV and HD source box , a green one labeled “Y” a blue labeled Pb and a red labeled Pr. Connect the yellow ends of the cable to the green “Y” jacks, the red ends to the Pr jacks and the remaining plug (it will either be white or black) to the blue colored Pb jacks. The “Y” cable carries all the high definition detail in black and white know as “luminance” while the Pr and Pb supply the color information.

 Next to or below the component TV jacks on the source box and TV are the component video’s associated left and right audio jacks. Use a stereo RCA cable (pictured left) to make the connection. Plug the red connector at one end of the cable to the jack labeled right or R audio on the same component input on the TV.  Connect the other end of the cable to the matching connector on the source box. The second one (it will either be black or white a ) connects to the jacks labeled left or L audio.

Get the TV’s remote control and select the component video input. If the TV has more than one use the one labeled Component Video 1.

Now make sure your source box is powered on and playing a channel or disc and you should be seeing a picture. Tune a cable/satellite  box to a high definition channel and you should be seeing an HD picture.

Picture Adjustments

Check out our Setting Up Your New HDTV article here.


Other Problems

If you have another issue with a new TV call the customer service department. Here is a list of the major TV brands’ customer service numbers. We note the ones that are open on Christmas day and their hours of operation. It is a good idea to write down the model and serial number of your TV before calling. It can be found on the back of the TV.

Samsung-Open Christmas 24 hours 1-800-Samsung

Sony Open Christmas 8 am-9pm Eastern Time 1-239-768-7604

Vizio– Closed Christmas day. reopens 7:00 am Mountain Time Monday, 1-877-698-4946

Sharp-Closed Christmas day reopens 7:00 am Central Time Monday 1-800-237-4277

Panasonic-Closed Christmas day reopens 9:00 am Monday 1-800-211-7262

Toshiba-Closed Christmas day reopens 8:00 am Monday 1-800-631-3811


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