Connection and setup help (possibly new purchase advice too!)


New member
Aug 10, 2019
Visit site
I have recently upgraded my TV and DVD player. I have got a Toshiba 32C3030 Widescreen television, and a Samsung DVD-HD870 DVD player. Budget restraints limited me to these options, and I had heard good reviews about them. However, I have a few questions. I have an existing, and fairly old, Panasonic home cinema system (the Panasonic SA-HT540 DVD player and 5.1 speakers). The speakers plug directly into the back of that Panasonic DVD player. However, as the new Samsung DVD player isn't part of a home cinema package, it doesn't have the same sort of speaker connections at the back as the Panasonic did. How can I connect the Panasonic speakers to the Samsung DVD player?

If this is not possible, then I would be looking at purchasing new surround sound speakers for my new setup. What speakers would you recommend, and would I need the use of a AV Receiver/amplifier? I've heard about these but have no real idea what they are or what they do. Even the words "receiver" and "amplifier" open up a massive cans of worms when searching on Google and I'm not sure whether they would help me or benefit my proposed setup. I have seen a picture of the back of a AV Receiver and there seems to be a million connections, but as far as I could tell, no SCART connection. If an AV Receiver is required, how would I connect it to my DVD player?

Does anyone recommend what AV Receiver to get, if one is required? I think a 5.1 setup would be better for the size of my room, as opposed to a 7.1.

Is there any packages where you get a receiver + speakers, as it'd be quite nice if things could match. If not, does anyone have any speakers recommendations? I'm not looking to break the bank really. Also, as the TV is a HD TV, and the DVD supports upscaling, and I'll be watching my Virgin Media HD channels quite often, would I see a benefit in a HDMI amp? Again, the difference between a receiver and an amp escapes me, so if someone could make their judgement on what it is I actually need, that'd be really good.

As you can probably tell, I'm a little confused about how I can set everything up. Any advice would be gratefully received!

My only ambitions for this setup is the ability to play DVDs with pretty good sound/display quality, and perhaps the option to turn the surround sound on at certain times when watching my Virgin Media box, for things like films, sports events, etc, and then turn it off for watching simple things like the news or whatever. I know some kit is geared towards good CD/MP3 playback or can play radio, or can connect to the home network, etc etc, but DVDs is my only aim! Additionals features would be nice as opposed to a neccessity.

For people's information - I would be looking to connect the DVD player, a Virgin Media box and possibly a PS2 to the TV. I might not bother with the PS2 - I haven't decided whether to keep it or not, but if someone could let me know a possible connection setup, I would appreciate it so much!!

Thanks in advance.

Andrew Everard

New member
May 30, 2007
Visit site
Deep breath - this could take a moment or two...

OK, simple bit first: you can't connect the speakers straight to the new Samsung as you did with the Panasonic: the Panasonic isn't just a DVD player, but has built-surround decoding to take the signal from the DVD and split it into the six channels needed for 5.1 (five plus a subwoofer) surround sound, plus amplifiers to boost the signal to a level suitable to drive those speakers. The Samsung's just a DVD player, and unfortunately the Panasonic doesn't have a suitable socket to allow you to connect your new player through the system.

So yes, you do need a new surround sound (or AV) amplifier or receiver, plus new speakers. An amplifier decodes the surround sound from sources such as DVD players, Virgin Media box and Sky HD, splits it to the five (or seven) speakers and a subwoofer, and allows you to connect multiple sources (DVD player, Sky, PS2, etc) and switch them to be played through the speakers. That's why you need all those sockets on the back of an AV amplifier.

A receiver is the same as an amplifier, but with a radio tuner built-in. It receives radio, hence the name.

I reckon your best bet is a relatively simple receiver with basic HDMI switching, such as the Sony STR-DA1200ES or the new Onkyo TX-SR605: this will allow you to connect up all the sources you want, and route sound and pictures to speakers and TV set. And although we haven't tested it yet, the new Sony STR-DG710 (read more about it here) looks like it would suit your needs very well, and for less than either the STR-DA1200ES or the Onkyo.

Yes, you'll also need to buy some new speakers - you could get away with using the main speakers from your Panasonic system but with the addition of an active subwoofer (ie one with it own amplifier built-in) in place of the passive one (driven by an amplifier inside the Panasonic unit) that's part of the current set-up, but I'd suggest a new budget package would be a great improvement.

You can find the Tannoy FX5.1 system for around £150 with minimal web-searching, while KEF's KHT 1005 is around twice the price. Both of these use tiny main speakers and an active subwoofer, and would work well with the receivers already mentioned.

Hopefully that will have given you somewhere to start - feel free to come back to me with any other questions you have...


That's very very helpful thank you!!

I will presume that neither the receiver or a speaker set will come with good enough quality speaker cable. I visited my local John Lewis recently, and they had about 6 different types of speaker cable. I was going to go off the assumption that the most expensive was the best, but then I thought I don't have a 50in TV, or a true HD DVD player, etc etc so perhaps the best isn't the best for my relatively low-end equipment.

What should I look out for when looking for cables, or do they all do a comparable job?

Also, I think I've figured out most of the connections between the different pieces of equipment. The TV will have a HDMI connection and so will the DVD player, so presumably, thats just 1 HDMI cable - that seems straight forward. I can go shopping for a cable later.

Connecting the DVD player to the receiver would appear to be a coaxial cable, although I've heard people mention optical cables too. My basic research would indicate coaxial is better, although Amazon seems to sell millions of them. Gold-plated ends seem to be what I should be looking at, going on the gold-plated vs. silver-plated SCART difference that I'm already aware of, but apart from this, is one coaxial cable the same as another?

As both the DVD and receiver are likely to have HDMI connections, would a HDMI cable between them do a better job than coaxial?

And just to complete things, I'll assume 1 end of the speaker cables go into the receiver and the other end goes into the back of the speaker, so I'll need 5 or 6 speakers cables. And the Virgin box will connect via a HDMI cable into the 2nd HDMI connection on the TV.

That all seems fine (if I'm wrong or a little confused, feel very free to correct me!).

However, I do have 1 small question remaining:

  • How can I use the speakers when just watching my Virgin Media box? The speakers will be connected to the receiver which will be connected to the DVD player, so is there a way to use the speakers without having to watch a DVD?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

I appreciate the answers so far very very much!

Also, I did have a look at the Sony receiver - the 1200ES, and it seemed good. Then I found the Sony HT-DDW790 which seemed to be a receiver with the same specifications as the 1200ES and it came with speakers, saving me a few hundred. What would you thoughts be on a package like this - do you substantially sacrifice quality by not buying separately?


Latest posts