I've scoured the net and the forums and I'm stuck. I've been out of the home theater scene for a while (since I bought mine) and I"m trying to get up to speed to make things work. I'll be buying some equipment for my parents and setting it up. When all is said and done, it will consist of an HDTV, Receiver, Blu-Ray and DirecTV box. The quandry I have is I want to be able to watch all input components either WITH or WITHOUT the receiver on. On the surface it's easy: put each item into their own input and use the TV's audio out. THe problem I'm running into is most of the televisions only have optical out, and that doesn't have the bandwidth for the higher bandwidth audio foramts and therefore it downsamples. I started researching Audio Return, but my understanding of that is that there also needs to be on an input coming from the receiver to the TV and that would mean I'd have to pass the audio through the receiver. I haven't been able to find this out, but will audio return typically work on a random television input marked for ARC and a compatible receiver, even if it's not used for actual video play back? This will only be an issue with BluRay since from what I can tell DirecTV wont encode more than Dolby 5.1 which works fine on optical, but tHe only other alterntavie I've been able to consider is to use and HDMI HDCP splitter to output to both the TV and the Receiver. I have no specific components chosen yet, but I'm looking for a better understanding of the ARC technology and what I'd be looking at for options. Thanks in advance!