questionshow do i connect a home theater system?

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This is a fairly complicated question with a lot of possible answers. A lot of this boils down to the A/V receiver and what it is capable of. Most receivers have multiple HDMI inputs and at least one HDMI output. Also, some receivers will upconvert other sources to HDMI, however, there may be some limitations.

If your receiver only has one HDMI input, it is probably an older model that may have a lot of limitations and you may have to do a more complicated setup.

EDIT: I just noticed that your question indicates that you may be shopping for receivers. If you are shopping for a new one, it will ALWAYS have more than one HDMI input. Are you sure you are not looking at the HDMI output? That is often just one.

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To clarify:

This is my first home theater system, and I'm looking primarily at all-in-one systems with a Blu-ray player built in.

Even among the standalone receivers I've seen, most only have one HDMI input and maybe a component input. I'm still investigating, though.

These are mid-range systems, between $300 and $500.

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@pohatu771: I'm not real familiar with All In One systems, but I am not at all surprised that they only have one HDMI input. While a good value, they are made to function pretty basically and not have a lot of flexibilty.

If you get a seperate A/V receiver instead of an All In One, it will do exactly what you want (unless it is a bottom of the line receiver). Unfortunately, your budget, specifications, etc. make that a more complicated question. It sounds like you might want to talk with someone at an electronics store to show you the possibilities. Their advice can be hit or miss, but you should be able to figure something out without too much hassle.

Also, if you do get an All In One, there are HDMI switches you can buy that will probably do what you want (include have the coax and component inputs). Some are even automatic switches. I would just hate to buy something new only to have to add an extra item (the switch) to get it to do what I want...

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I think I've decided on the Sony BDV-E780W. It's been in my Amazon wishlist for a while, and in this price range, it seems to be a pretty good option.

It has two HDMI inputs and the coax, so that just leaves out the Wii... I'm assuming I can plug that in to the TV over component, and run an optical cable from the TV to the system. Will the same work (with HDMI) next year when the Wii U takes the old system's place?

[EDIT] This was waiting to be submitted while you were posting your response.

I went to Best Buy a while ago, but the person I spoke to did a lot of repeating what I said and not much suggesting.

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The easiest way to connect everything to your system depends on if you have a TOS link output on your TV or not. If you do, then plug everything into the TV, and then run the TOSLink to your home theater reciever. That way, you only have to deal with picking the input on the TV.

Most flatscreen TV's made in the last I dunno 4 or 5 years have an optical TOSlink out, and the sony BDplayer theater thing likely has a TOSLINK in.

Doing it this way, also allows you to use each of the mentioned components without having to turn the BD player on. This is how I currently have my system set up, pending the day I can afford to get me a really sexy Yamaha or Onkyo 7.2 reciever to pump everything through.

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That was my other (and partially unwritten) thought.

Thank you both for your help.

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@pohatu771: I don't know anything about that system, but be careful to make sure it will upconvert the coax to HDMI. Otherwise, you may have to run more wires, etc.

Also, depending on your TV, the audio output may only be stereo and not surround, so you may not be able to get your Wii to have surround sound on the receiver. The receiver will be able to simulate surround, but it won't be the same. I found this out the hard way on my Samsung TV a few years ago. I tried for hours and hours to get surround from the TV and realized they did not include that feature for some reason and made it stereo out only (even though it had an optical output).