How to Connect a Cable Box to a Receiver

by Contributor

A receiver is an electronic device designed to receive and decode cable signals. Receivers only work with digital TV channels; they will not work with analog systems. When you connect a cable box to a receiver, you can take full advantage of features offered by your cable company, such as electronic program guides and parental locks (also known as V-chips).

Connect a Cable Box to a Receiver

Step 1

Gather all your tools, parts and cables together before you start the connection process. Chances are you will need to connect several items at the same time, including your TV, audio system and TV cable receiver. Your cable box manual is likely to include a diagram of how to make the appropriate connections, so it's important that you read it before attempting any links.

Step 2

Connect the output of the cable box to the input of the receiver. If you are connecting an audio system as well, make sure the audio output cables go directly into the receiver and, from there, to the cable box. Avoid direct connections; instead, go through the receiver for all secondary connections.

Step 3

Select the correct jacks for sound and video. A newer model of receiver should offer several options, including analog TV out and DTV out. It should also offer an S-video and a service port. Depending on the type of cable box you use, one or more of the same jacks will be available there, too. When connecting both systems, make sure cables go between similar outputs.

Step 4

Use an S-video connection cable to link your TV with your cable box. S-video connection cables allow you to preserve good quality in both image and audio. Most cable boxes come with S-video connection cables, but you can get them at any electronics store. Once you have them, simply connect both ends to the right output. It'll be easy to identify, because it's usually the only round one available.

Plug the TV, cable box and receiver into an electrical outlet to make sure everything is working properly. If you are getting static or interference, you may need to tighten the connections or change the cables.


  • Unless you have previous knowledge of electronic systems, try to keep the connection simple. Trying to connect more than two systems can become tricky.

Items you will need

  • S-video connection cable
  • Cable box manual

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