HDMI confused newbie

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by jayjose01, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. jayjose01

    jayjose01 Auditioning

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    Hi all, I'm planning to put my first HTS together and been confused about some HDMI information regarding AV receivers. What are the difference between HDMI passthrough, repeater & switching? I'm looking for an AV receiver to connect together my LED TV, cable box, PS3 and my custom built HTPC. Could anyone suggest a budget friendly AV receiver (HTiB would be better)? Another question that I have is that, is it possible to just put the AV receiver on standby mode and just use the TV speakers for regular viewing/browsing, and just turn on the AV receiver if I want to have the surround sound? Any inputs, suggestion and ideas are welcome. Thanks in advance ^_^
     
  2. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Most of these terms don't have an official meanning. They have evolved into more of an understanding then anything specific and official. At first hdmi pass-through meant the same thing as hdmi switching. The receiver would only pass through the video signal and act as a switcher between the different video inputs (without applying any processing, like up-conversion from 480i to 1080P) so you wouldn't have to switch the video input on the display when changing sources. Today, pass-through is often used (in-correctly imo) to describe hdmi-standby meaning the receiver will pass through the hdmi signal when in Standby mode. I believe converting analog video to hdmi is technically referred to as transcoding but these terms are often used inter-changeably. Again, read the detailed specs of the receiver to see what it's capable of. Technically, an hdmi repeater can send and receive hdmi signals. As it pertains to receivers, an hdmi repeater can accept and process an hdmi audio signal. A receiver that is an hdmi 1.3 repeater can process and decode the Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio bitstream signals from BluRay and HD dvd players as well as accept the HD video signal. There were some hdmi 1.3 switcher/1.1 repeater receivers like the Marantz 4002. They would switch the HD video signal (Deep Color, etc) but were not able to decode the bitstream HD audio signal. They could pass through the decoded LPCM audio signal from a BluRay/HD-DVD player that had it's own internal HD audio decoders. Today, most receivers are version 1.4 repeaters but some very low end models like the Yamaha 367 are 1.4 repeaters, meaning they handle both audio and video, but it doesn't have the internal decoders for TrueHD/DTS-MA. They will only pass regular Dolby Digital and DTS audio while accepting 3D and HD video for transfer to your display. You have to read the receivers description very carefully, don't just look for the hdmi version. HDMI Standby is a Receiver that will pass the hdmi signal (audio and video) while in Standby mode (off) and are becoming more common but they often don't mention this ability in their product specs and description :huh: . People also think this is called hdmi pass-through (because it will pass through the receiver when it's off) and I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes the standard term for it. But for now, be carefull. Pass-through seems to be in transmission. It could be a video switcher or it could pass through the hdmi signal while in Standby. Again, read the receivers specs/features. Another term has been added to the confusion, Audio Return Channel, which allows an hdmi connected tv to send the audio to the receiver (via hdmi) from it's own internal tuner or dvd player (tv with built-in dvd player) so you don't need to hook up an optical cable from the tv/dvd player to the receiver to get surround sound. Most people have no need for this but they think they do. Audio Return Channel seems to get confused with HDMI Standby. It's all very confusing.
     
  3. David Willow

    David Willow Babbling Idiot
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    Hi Jay, You will need to define what "budget friendly" means to you. Also, are you looking for speakers as well (you mention HTiB as an option)? Once we know your budget, we can recommend a few good receivers that will fit your needs.
     
  4. jayjose01

    jayjose01 Auditioning

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    Thanks for all the info gene c. It clears some confusions out of my mind. I would still need more research about it. David, Yes, HTiB is an option. My budget is below $1k..somewhere around $600 is reasonable but willing to spend extra if it's worth it ^_^ Currently, I'm inclined toward the ONKYO HT-S5400 7.1 Home Theater System. Do any of you guys have any info about this specific HTiB?
     
  5. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    The 5400 is usually the first Onkyo receiver/speaker package we recommend as the 3400 has a passive subwoofer. The 5400 also has decent speakers (particulaly the front three) for an in-expensive system. But you could still put together a much better system by buying the receiver and speakers/subwoofer separately. In your price range we often recommend products from Ac4l.com http://www.accessories4less.com/index.php and Polk speakers from Newegg.com http://www.newegg.com/. Vanns.com also has great prices in their Clearance Store for customer returns and open box items. http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/clearance And of course there are many other places to find nice deals but those are the regulars.
     
  6. jayjose01

    jayjose01 Auditioning

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    Thanks gene c for the links. I was also thinking of putting together a system instead of HTiB (I do custom build computers since they are better and cheaper than off-the-shelves), but I am not well versed with speakers and sub-woofers. That being said, can anyone advise me on what to look for speakers? should I be concerned about the size of the Mid/Woofer, Tweeter, etc? Thanks
     
  7. JeremyR

    JeremyR Supporting Actor

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    It's not the size that's important.. it's how you use them... :P Sorry, it was too easy. When talking about speakers, you really need to go around and listen and find something you like. You can find a great receiver from ac4l.com. And then from there you could go with a sub like this http://www.amazon.com/BIC-America-F12-475-Watt-Subwoofer/dp/B0015A8Y5M/ref=sr_du_3_map?s=aht&ie=UTF8&qid=1312220363&sr=1-3 A receiver like this: http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/ONKTXSR508/Onkyo-TX-SR508-7.1-Channel-3-D-Ready-Home-Theater-Receiver/1.html That leaves you $600 for speakers. The speakers are a personal thing. The Polks suggested above would be a good choice. There are some nice KEF options on accessories4less.com as well, and would probably be better performers than the Polks.
     
  8. jayjose01

    jayjose01 Auditioning

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    Thank you all for all the info and suggestions ^_^ I appreciate all the inputs. As of now, I think I'm ready to look around and will be asking more questions as I encounter them ^_^ Thanks
     
  9. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Man, if we could only put together a receiver the way you put together a computer :banana: . Think of the receiver, speakers and subwoofer as three completely separate things. For the receiver, the basics are a decent amp section, enough inputs and outputs of the variety you need, room correction and the features you really need like Zone 2, internet streaming or HD radio. You need to make sure the receivers amp can handle the speakers you decide upon. Any receiver can power 6-8 ohm speakers but most are not rated for 4 ohm so remember this when auditioning speakers. Audyssey is the most popular room correction software but Pioneers MCACC and H/K's EZSet/EQ are pretty good too and I'm sure Yamaha's YAPO will get the job done or they'd never sell any of them. Features are the most important part and the most confusing. You really need to decide what you need before you buy. And yes, auditioning speakers yourself is the best way to go. They can range from very soft, almost muted, like some Energy models, to very bright like Klipsch. You need to find out what type of sound you prefer so you can make the right choice. Subwoofers are probably the most mis-understood, and neglected, part of the entire system. I'm generally clueless about them myself but I do know a really good sub starts at several hundred dollars and quickly goes up from there. But the BIC F-12 and V1220 are about the best value going in your price range. But there's so much more to it then that. Proper setup and calibration not to mention room acoustics. Other receivers to look at are the Denon 1612, Yamaha 467/567, Pioneer 820/821 and 920/921 and Fry's had the HK 1600 for $199 last weak. I think the Denon 1611/1612 and Onkyo 508/509 are probably your best options. Other speakers to consider are from Pioneer http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-FS51-LR, http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-BS41-LR, http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-BS21-LR, http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Home/Speakers/Home+Theater+Speakers/SP-C21 Also, for more info about HDMI see the official website HDMI.org. For Hometheater in generall look at crutchfield.com http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Learn/Video/Library.aspx and Aperion University (nice speakers too but maybe out of your price range) http://www.aperionaudio.com/catalog/Aperion-University,2.aspx.
     
  10. jayjose01

    jayjose01 Auditioning

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    yes, it would be great if we can put together a receiver like a computer ^_^ Another question that just popped-out on my mind is that, are these receivers works with universal remote like the logitech harmony remote? Is there a receiver that has an android app that you can download that will enable u to control the receiver through an android phone/tablet?
     
  11. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Logitsch's Harmony remotes work very well with these receivers, dvd players and BluRay players. Sorry but O don't know anything about controling them with an Android.
     

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