Surround Sound and video connections

Why would a surround sound system (Pioneer) only have an s-video hookup when it has a built-in DVD player? Doesn't DVD support 720p?

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Surround Sound and video connections

Without knowing the model or age of the pioneer system --can't answer all your questions-- it appears that it is a basic HTIB. DVD players output at either 480i or 480p. Check user manual -- see if the DVD player is set or can be set for "progressive scan" (480p) and 16x9 aspect ratio but without component outputs I'm not sure if connecting the Pioneer SVHS output to the HDTV SHVS input will give you 480p if the DVD is progressive scan. Give it a try.
You can connect the satellite digital audio out to the receiver digital in but since you have a HDMI connection (which I wouldn't touch because that gives you the HD picture) you'll have to mute the TV volume when using the recever.

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Is the maximum resolution of s-video cables 480i and/or 480p? What is the highest resolution for composite and component cables?

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While google can find this.

Svideo max using "standards" is 480p. BUT almost all consumer gear such as DVD would be properly 480i.

As to component, "standard" signals should top out at 1080p but again you have to read the manuals on the gear to see what each will do.

As to WHY? all the above it could be that's all the owner can afford in gear, cables and connections.

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Surround Sound and video connections

As I said, you can connect the sat digital audio out to the receiver digital in and just mute the TV sound.
Yes, you can connect the SVHS out of the DVD player to the TV for video. Again, you didn't mention it in your reply but I would look to see what the DVD player is set up for -- 16x9 progressive 480p (if it is capable) or 4x3 non HDTV non progressive (480i). The DVD setup menu should tell you.

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