Columbia ISA
Audio – Video

Digital cable and HD converter cable TV STB hookup connections
How do I hookup my TV to digital cable?


Digital Cable - Explanation of cable connections

Why do I want digital cable?

If you want HDTV (High-Definition TV) or digital music channels or gigabytes of hard disk space for recording hours and hours of TV shows or more choices than ever before in viewing programming, you'll want to get digital cable. Motorola and Scientific Atlanta make many of the digital cable boxes offered to consumers when they sign up for digital cable service with their local cable TV service providers.

Cable TV Set-Top-Box Manufacturers

  • Motorola Broadband
  • Scientific-Atlanta
  • Pace
  • Pioneer
  • Sony
  • Samsung
  • Other Manufacturers

Motorola DCT6200 - Digital Consumer Terminal Set Top Box

Digital cable converter boxes come in several types from basic to high-end, with hard disk digital video recorders (DVR) and high-definition (HD) picture resolution. HD usually has a little higher monthly cost than the basic service. To take full advantage of all the capabilities, you need to understand how to connect all your gear. 

Digital cable comes in to your home on a coaxial cable which plugs in to the "Cable In" jack on the back of the converter box. The converter box de-scrambles the signal and makes available digital and analog video along with digital and analog audio. 

There are output jacks on the back of the converter box for analog stereo audio and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Video output includes analog composite, S-Video and component video. Many converters now have DVI and/or HDMI digital video output for your digital TV and HDTV. Some even have USB and IEEE-1394 (Firewire) ports although these could be non-functional. Some also have Ethernet ports for personal computer networking.

There are many cable connection jacks on the back of the converter box. Some may not be functional. Which connections you make will depend on what type of equipment you want to setup in your particular configuration and what connections are available. If you have a standard TV, not digital, you will connect different cables than you would for a digital TV. Newer converter boxes may have a DVI output or a HDMI output for digital and HDTV sets.

Step by step hookup:

This diagram shows video and audio cables for stereo sound and component video hookup from the cable TV converter box to a TV or A/V receiver. From left to right, you would connect a red and white stereo audio RCA cable to the red and white audio OUT jacks on the converter box and hookup the other ends of these cables to the red and white audio IN jacks on a TV or A/V receiver. White to white and red to red. 

Next, connect the three video cables, green, blue and red to the video OUT jacks (Y, Pb, Pr) on the converter box, then the other cable ends to the three component video IN jacks (Y, Pb, Pr) on your TV (or A/V receiver). Green to green, blue to blue and red to red. These five connections give you picture and sound. 

You need component video (green, blue, red) for High Definition. DVI or HDMI will also work but composite video or S-video will not. 


The back panel of the Motorola DCT6200 digital cable box



1. To TV/VCR

Coaxial output to connect to a TV or VCR

2. Cable In

Receives the incoming signal from the Cable Provider

3. Ethernet

Ethernet Port for PC Networking (may not be active)

4. Audio In R & L

Connect audio device, stereo tuner or A/V receiver (may not be active)


Coaxial Output for Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, used for surround sound

6. Video In & Out

Video In accepts input from video device, Video Out delivers video to external device (VCR)

7. Outlet

AC outlet, TV can be plugged in for power

8. IR

Enables converter to control a VCR while recording a selected program.

9. USB

(may not be active)

10. Audio Out R & L

RCA phono-type connectors used to deliver audio to a stereo receiver or TV

11. Y Pb Pr

Delivers component video to HD-ready TV monitor

12. TV Pass Card

For Future Use

13. S-Video

Delivers standard-definition video to external S-video device

14. Optical SPDIF

Output for Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, used for surround sound

15. Power Inlet

For the female end of the power cord

Motorola digital cable converter box - back panel


    Scientific Atlanta

SA8300 Scientific Atlanta digital cable box

1 Cable IN Connect coaxial cable from cable TV service provider
2 Cable OUT Coaxial cable to TV or VCR for standard TV audio and video
3 Component video OUT Connect to HDTV for video (option)
4 Digital audio OUT RCA cable to send digital audio to surround sound receiver
5 Composite video and Audio OUT standard TV video
6 Audio OUT (stereo) analog audio
7 Optical audio OUT Optical cable to send digital audio to surround sound receiver
8 S-Video OUT Connect S-Video to TV or VCR
9 HDMI Connect to HDTV for video/audio. 
May be used to connect DVI video using adaptor
10 IR Future Use
11 SATA HDD External hard disk drive connection for expanded recording capacity
12 IEEE 1394 Firewire Connect to display devices with IEEE 1394 INPUT
13 AC OUT Connect power cord from another device (TV)
14 AC Power IN Connect AC wall power cord

HDTV cable connections diagrams

High Definition video connection
Full view cable connection diagram for Motorola digital "cable TV" box.

Step by Step Hookup:  

Connecting a High Definition Digital Cable TV Box to a Home Theater Receiver and TV

  1. An RF/coaxial cable connects from the jack on the wall to the RF input on the digital cable box.
  2. Video can be connected to your home theater receiver via component video, DVI or HDMI if you like or directly to the TV.
  3. Audio is connected using S/PDIF digital and stereo analog RCA connections. Note: The reason for this is that the lower cable TV channels - even on a "digital" cable TV box, are not actually digital and will only output audio via the analog stereo RCA outputs. Connect both and most receivers will switch automatically to pick up the digital audio when it is present. If S/PDIF (digital audio) is not available then use stereo analog RCA connections alone. If you use the optical cable connection for digital audio, then you do not need the coax cable (orange) connection. If your TV is a plasma display or other display without any speakers, then you'll have to connect the stereo (red and white) audio cables to an audio receiver of some kind which can amplify the sound and drive your loudspeakers.
  4. The home theater receiver can be connected to the TV using the same video connection type used to connect the digital cable box to the home theater receiver or if you used a direct connection to the TV from the cable box then no cables are connected to the TV from the A/V receiver. 
  5. A VCR or DVD recorder can easily be added to the mix by using the coaxial/RF output on the cable box to the VCR’s (or DVD) coaxial/RF input. You can then connect the VCR’s stereo RCA outputs and video output to the receiver and switch video sources when desired using the A/V receiver.

Diagram showing DVI cable connection option to HDTV and analog audio connected to the Home Theater receiver for sound from the loudspeakers instead of the TV speakers.

Component video and DVI are both shown, but only one is required for video. 
Optical and Coax digital audio are both shown, but only one is required for surround sound.

o HDTV Basic Setup


see also: 

Audio Video Connections

Cable Connections Diagrams

Video Connections Diagrams

Cable TV, Satellite TV, OTA Tuners Receivers

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