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Trying to get TOSLink into a standard receiver


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#1 of 17 oldwoodchuckb

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Posted February 15 2011 - 10:30 AM

Mt new HDTV has a million Inputs but only one output - a TOSLink fibre-optic connector. I know I can buy many devices to convert this signal to the standard RCA stereo inputs of my receiver, (Cables To Go has one for about 50 bucks) but as far as I can tell I would still have to set the output volume, by getting out of my chair and turning the volume control on the receiver ----- Or would I?


Does this TOSLink Fibre Optic output on the TV (A Panasonic Viera) Carry volume information from the TV?

I want to control the overall volume with the TV or universal remote. My receiver has no remote. So the question is - Does the TV volume control affect the TOSLink signal that reaches the receiver? If it doesn't I might as well skip the TOSlink and use outputs from the Cable DVR and various players into a cheap mixbox and skip the TOSLink altogether.


If it is possible to set the volume to a signal in this manner, I am aware that the volume set on the receiver would still be the maximum available, and am quite happy with that sort of system - I always buy headphones with inline volume controls - it is a necessity with cable tv channels that are not at all balanced - although it does seem the better the programming the lower the normal volume.


I use to be the go-to guy for connecting up strange stereo equipment, but I essentially never involved myself to deeply into recent changes. I finally gave in and bought an HD TV last fall when my 15 yeaar old Sony gave up the ghost. This is my first (and probably last) TOSLink output TV. I wish I had known about HDMI output TVs before I bought this, but I essentually bought it in a hurry - We had no set and something we liked was on Masterpiece Mysteries - or something like that. This TV will probably outlive me so I've lost my chance to find out if HDMI is the answer to Everything or just another fussy connector in a long line of them.



#2 of 17 Jason Charlton

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Posted February 15 2011 - 01:04 PM

Very few modern televisions have many OUTPUTS at all (I'm not aware of any TVs with HDMI OUTPUTS).  In fact, a typical home theater/surround sound setup uses the A/V receiver, not the TV, as the hub of the system.


All the audio and video signals from the various devices are routed to inputs on the receiver.  A single video output from the receiver is run to the TV.  In this setup, the TV is merely a monitor.


A good universal remote, like the Harmony line from Logitech make it VERY EASY to consolidate all your remotes into one device, and you use that one remote to switch audio and video at the receiver.


To answer your original question, though, the Toslink digital audio output from the TV is a fixed output.  It will not carry over the volume level set on the TV.


If you ever decide to add surround sound to your system, there are pretty decent "all-in-one" systems priced from $300-400 that offer great performance and will support future upgrades (beware anything cheaper than $300).


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#3 of 17 oldwoodchuckb

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Posted February 15 2011 - 04:30 PM

Great. This is just what I was afraid of - and a lot of the reason why I didn't buy an HDTV until my old Sony literally cooked itself. So it appears I'll have to buy one of those Home Theater receivers - another several hundred dollars for nothing I want, save for the remote. I think I'll just live with this for now. Had I known that the tv  was only useful as a monitor I would have bought a monitor. It isn't like anyone was lying - the manufacturer, the store, or the salesman - it is more like they never mentioned that unless I want to use the nasty little built in speakers and amp, I would have to buy yet more crap.


I already went through this game over the years it took for the standard televisions to gain useful outputs. I know the logic of the electronics industry. "If you bought a tv from us then we can probably sell you something else too". Instead of gaining my respect for selling good equipment they simply want to immediately sell me more stuff. I should have realized this when I read the manual and discovered that half of it was devoted to the wonderful world of purchasing the matching receiver, DVD player, Cruise Control, and Drinks Cart with Optional Stripper Pole attachment.


I appreciate your help, guys. If anyone out there knows a way to get around this without replacing perfectly good equipment I am still interested. Perhaps one of those Internet ready Blu Ray players has a way to do it - not that I really want a Blu Ray player.



#4 of 17 CB750

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Posted February 15 2011 - 05:36 PM

Do you have a cable box for your new HDTV?   Most of them have RCA  audio outputs that can be connected to the RCA audio inputs on your  receiver.   However that signal would be a line output which means your receiver will control the volume.    Does your TV have a head phone output?  Some of the smaller ones do and the TV controls the volume.


You have to realize that as good as the picture is on your new HDTV, half of the Home Theater experience is in the surround sound that comes with much of the programing  and other media sources these days.   It is possible to have a sound system in your home that will be every bit as good as those found in a movie theater.   As Jason wrote the threshold of that experience can be had starting at about $400 with the purchase of a good HTib.



#5 of 17 Jason Charlton

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Posted February 16 2011 - 01:23 AM


Originally Posted by oldwoodchuckb 

Great. This is just what I was afraid of - and a lot of the reason why I didn't buy an HDTV until my old Sony literally cooked itself. So it appears I'll have to buy one of those Home Theater receivers - another several hundred dollars for nothing I want, save for the remote. I think I'll just live with this for now. Had I known that the tv  was only useful as a monitor I would have bought a monitor. It isn't like anyone was lying - the manufacturer, the store, or the salesman - it is more like they never mentioned that unless I want to use the nasty little built in speakers and amp, I would have to buy yet more crap.


I appreciate your help, guys. If anyone out there knows a way to get around this without replacing perfectly good equipment I am still interested. Perhaps one of those Internet ready Blu Ray players has a way to do it - not that I really want a Blu Ray player.


With all due respect, Tony, I think your anger is misplaced.


Did you have your old TV hooked up to your receiver?  If so, why?  Weren't the TVs speakers good enough?


The primary goal of a TV (and the thing that it does that NO other component in a system can do) is produce a good picture.  Would you not agree that your new TV produces a picture that is superior to your old TV?  If not, then perhaps you should have shopped around some more, or maybe you need to spend some time to adjust the picture settings to improve the image.


From what you describe, you're unhappy with the audio quality of the TV, so you want to hook it up to your old receiver which does not have the appropriate inputs.  Is that the fault of the TV?  No.  You have an analog, stereo receiver that has no remote control.  Clearly, the lack of remote control is a problem for you.  Again - is that the fault of the TV?


I'd hardly call your receiver "perfectly good" when it does not allow you to do the most basic of tasks that you require.  It works, yes.  But it is by no means "perfectly good" by any definition of the term.


The root of your problem is that your receiver has no remote control.  A Blu-Ray player isn't going to magically make your TVs optical output vary with volume.


You will need to replace your receiver.  The problem is, most of the cheap, stereo receivers don't have any digital audio inputs.  In this case, you'll likely have to get a cheap surround sound receiver to get the digital inputs.  You can still hook up your speakers to it, and use it in simple stereo mode.


A search on Amazon listed a number of cheap A/V receivers starting at around $150, but you could also search craigslist or other sources to find even cheaper alternatives.  The fact that all you need is one working digital optical input and two working amplifier channels means you should find plenty of possibilities.


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#6 of 17 CB750

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Posted February 16 2011 - 07:48 AM




Originally Posted by oldwoodchuckb 

Great. This is just what I was afraid of - and a lot of the reason why I didn't buy an HDTV until my old Sony literally cooked itself. So it appears I'll have to buy one of those Home Theater receivers - another several hundred dollars for nothing I want, save for the remote. I think I'll just live with this for now. Had I known that the tv  was only useful as a monitor I would have bought a monitor. It isn't like anyone was lying - the manufacturer, the store, or the salesman - it is more like they never mentioned that unless I want to use the nasty little built in speakers and amp, I would have to buy yet more crap.


I already went through this game over the years it took for the standard televisions to gain useful outputs. I know the logic of the electronics industry. "If you bought a tv from us then we can probably sell you something else too". Instead of gaining my respect for selling good equipment they simply want to immediately sell me more stuff. I should have realized this when I read the manual and discovered that half of it was devoted to the wonderful world of purchasing the matching receiver, DVD player, Cruise Control, and Drinks Cart with Optional Stripper Pole attachment.


I appreciate your help, guys. If anyone out there knows a way to get around this without replacing perfectly good equipment I am still interested. Perhaps one of those Internet ready Blu Ray players has a way to do it - not that I really want a Blu Ray player.


Actually Tony, you waited too long to replace that old Sony TV.   My 52" Sony LCD which I purchased in January 2009 has RCA stereo analog outputs.  I had it connected to my old stereo receiver and speakers for a few weeks while I researched and searched for a new HT receiver and 5.1 speaker system.  I was able connect this to my old high end collection of stereo speakers and use the TV remote as I did in the past but the sound quality was no better than I previous had with my old CRT TV.   Adding a HT receiver and 5.1 speakers gave me a center channel and surround sound that I was missing in my old stereo rig which I moved to another room to use for music listening.


As you may have noticed the cost of flat panel TV's keep coming down from what I paid in 2009.  One of the ways company's do his it to add new features the market demands and reduce features that tend to support backwards technology.   What you are totally missing is the progress and changes that have taken place in the home entertainment industry based on what consumers want.   Folks today don't just want to ingrate a TV with a external receiver and speakers as you have done.  They also want to add all kinds of other equipment like Cable,  DVD and Blu ray players and CD players, VCR's, Game Consoles, PC's, and video cameras to name a few.   In order to do this company's have designed receivers that will act as the hub where all of this equipment is connected and communicates with each other.   This puts all of your equipment is the same general location, reduces the number of cables running to your TV, and allows to to control all of your equipment with one remove. 


#7 of 17 oldwoodchuckb

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Posted February 16 2011 - 07:55 AM

Jason, et all

Yes I did overreact a bit - in fact quite a bit, but my excuse is that I've not been exactly ecstatic about my new system. Or HD in general. I'm not really a "Home Theater" type of guy - I like to watch movies but TCM is mostly good enough for me, except they seem to have given up on closed captions lately. I stopped going to movie theaters back in the 80s when they started putting in surround sound systems. I don't like having the sound come from here there and everywhere -  I just like it to come out of the screen. The last two movies I saw in theaters were "Stop Making Sense" and "Spinal Tap" - because they were music movies. Frankly "Tap" was much better at home where I had control of the volume.


My old TV did indeed have a controllable speaker output - the headphone out. There were no control for the several types of Line Out, but the speakers in the tv were good enough for everything except the Metropolitan Opera, and certain other Music DVDs. For those I did have to set the volume by hand and then return to my chair. But that tended to be once a week, and in fact, the same volume setting worked well for most PBS broadcasts of music, while another setting worked fine for my music DVDs. It was little problem.


With the new tv the sound from the speakers is not simply bad - it is pathetic. I have several friends with HD TVs and all of them bought some sort of all-in-one Home Theater system With the TV - I never thought about it, but  this means that even people I consider to be "tin eared" found that their new HD Sony's and such were inadequate for sound reproduction. I was raised on High Fidelity. At the age of 12 I had a mono pre-amp, amp system, until I bought a stereo pre-amp and another power amp around 1960.  I realize now I should have researched this much better, but it is hard to pin down any solid information about this AV stuff. I remember when Stereo Review used to actuall6 Test not only the sound quality, but the interface and general usefulness of new components - I cancelled my subscription when it became they dropped in-house testing in favour of "Advertorial" material - promos from the manufacturers.


It just seems only logical to me that when the tv is really only a monitor with Emergency Speakers it is criminal to not have an effective way to integrate the input sources and have a single controllable output at the TV. The ONLY output on this TV and looking over the field, on every new tv I've seen is this POSLink - I had mistakenly assumed that HDMI was a two way cable. Yep I could get it all squared up with a cheap AV receiver, but it is yet another box to locate - complete with a permanent line-of-sight, and it will result in two more speaker boxes that I will have to locate near the monitor. So we are talking about a minimum of a few hundred to build a new system for the TV alone as I am not going to listen to my CDs through some Radio Shack Super-Blockbuster Home Theater system. I still will have to keep my current stereo where it is as that is where it works well. So everything gets more crowded - there will still have to be cross connections to the real stereo for the opera, and once again HDTV has simply proven to be a way to vacuum my pockets and fill my house with cool looking junque.


I think I am might try a completely different solution, however. Although there are no Outputs on the tv I can take it to the local computer store (major undertaking involving at least two friends I fear) have them install a couple Outs on it. Perhaps a Headphone jack that will also cut the built-in speaker leads ( I will never use them) and an added jack a couple powered speakers that could go under the tv. his would give me "good enough" sound - like my old Sony, and I can use the direct to the receiver jacks from the cable box and such. Then, if I'm still alive in ten years or so when my good receiver is ready for the dustbin, I'll get a proper remote controlled receiver - if I still need one.


My second thought is that I intend to do some computing using this monitor, and perhaps a bluetooth connection will do the trick. I know nothing about bluetooth, but if I could use a laptop (even a netbook) instead of a remote that would be jes'fine with me. I will admit I am lazy though - and I feel that since I'm probably representative of the energy level of the average couch potato customer base for these things, the manufacturers are probably annoying people with these half masted connectors and crippled crump. I know I have seen nothing in modern electronics that will cause me to become loyal to the brands I currently own. In fact most of them would have to bribe me to buy another product. I probably should have spent my bucks getting the old Sony repaired.



#8 of 17 CB750

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Posted February 16 2011 - 09:59 AM

Tony


You totally did not comprehend what Jason and I were try to tell you.  Your receiver is obsolete as it has no remote control.  I don't know why you are so reluctant to face that fact when a easy and rather inexpensive solution exists.   Would you be willing to spend $239 http://www.amazon.co...97893947&sr=1-2  to solve not only your current problem but provide for the future need that you mentioned in your response such as a blu ray player and PC connection for you computer.  As you wrote this is what you need to integrate all of your equipment together.   This unit would only replace your current obsolete receiver everything else that is connected to that receiver stereo speakers, CD player etc would be connected to this new receiver.    In addition you would connect your cable box to this receiver with a HDMI cable and your connect this receiver to your TV with one HDMI cable.  Your CD player would be connected with RCA jacks, and Your PC would be connected with a HDMI cable which would pass both audio and video to the receiver.

In my opinion both of your solutions are hair brained at best when a $239 solution exists.  Your current TV does not have a analog processor so if you take it computer store they will have to add an analog processor as well as the custom jacks you want installed.  How much do you think they will charge you for that? Also that custom work that would open up the guts of your TV could void your manufactures warranty.   OK so some how you figure out how to connect your PC to your TV how are you going to control the volume from your PC to your old receiver as it has no remote to control the volume.


My guess from what you wrote that you and I might around the same age.   I have been playing with audio and video equipment for over 40 years and still have some very good audio equipment as well as a motorcycle from the 1970's which I still have in my home.   However, when I decided to upgrade to a HD TV a couple of years ago I quickly found out that old stuff was not going to work as I wanted in my new HT system.  Old habits die a slow death but sometimes its time to move on. 



#9 of 17 oldwoodchuckb

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Posted February 16 2011 - 11:03 AM


This is like the story of the two golfers who are out having a great time and then get to the 11th hole which has a water hazard. At that hole there are a couple guys sitting on the bank, fishing. One golfer turns to the other and says, "Look at those two idiots, out fishing in the worst blizzard of the year!"


We are talking at cross purposes. I'm saying that my current receiver is a great piece of equipment that gives me good sound has readable buttons on the front, has a great FM tuner and has RCA connections on the back that I can use without looking - because I've owned it for 7 or 8 years and Know where everything is. It is not obsolete - It is simply NOT a Home Theater receiver. And I don't want a Home Theater receiver - I eventually will buy one when I must, but with an average of 2 or so hours of TV watching a day - I don't see this as a worthwhile expense until then . I could also buy a nice little Chinese banjo for about 300 dollars, but I don't kneed another banjo, or want another banjo, or have room for one - and I'm not going to throw out one of my good banjos to make room for a beginner's instrument.


I don't want 5 speakers, I don't need a pile of AV connections I will not use. Most of these units have 5 amps built into them  - when you can get 5 100 watt power amps for 99.95, they have cut corners somewhere.


Some people fish, some play golf, some listen to music, some watch television. I've managed to get along without a remote volume control for my tv to reciever all that time and can probably get along without one for another few years since  there doesn't seem to be any way to do that without sticking some AV receiver into the mix. I just ain't interested in going that route and have tried to explore other possibilities - even if they sound "Hair Brained". I don't want a "dual system" - that was fine when I had a tv with usable speakers, and the tv sound system was self ernclosed with the tv. I am certain that I will survive until something better comes along, but I would rather explore the possibilities with things like bluetooth than buy a Crap Receiver and a batch of Crap speakers. So I will continue to explore instead of giving in to the business needs of the disposable electronics market.


My current tv was sold as a television, but in fact it is only actually usable as a monitor. They weren't quite dishonest at the store, but they certainly avoided the real facts of the matter, not only about the sound but other rather important matters - like the joy of returning to the 1950s with an antenna, or the fact that very little programming is actually broadcast in anything other than standard definition. HDTV is simply the marketing ploy of the 2000s, We looked at a new 3d set when we bought this tv - At $3,000 it was about the samw price of an HDTV 5 years ago. My tvt and those of everyone I've talked to have been designed to NEED $300 to $800 dollars worth of Accessories. And the lower end of that range is not HiFi equipment but the equivalent of the old Suitcase sound "system' as found in every college dorm, or the Home Entertainment systems of the 50s: a 5 foot wide, faux walnut cabinet and a  little tiny amp, straight out of a suitcase system.



#10 of 17 CB750

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Posted February 16 2011 - 12:54 PM

Come on Tony


You came her seking advise and only managed to raise your blood pressure,  You really need to shed your anger.   If folks could believe everything an appliance salesman told you about HT then their would be no need for forums like this to exist.    Your TV is a TV in every sense of the word it has a tuner and can receive broadcast TV over and play it over its own internal speakers.   If you love your old TV so much you should go to a thrift store buy old tube set and move back to the 1950's.  I don't know what kind of cable you have but I have 60+ channels of HD channels on my cable system.


I also own an ride horses and us horseman have an old saying you have probably heard.   "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink"   If you had taken the time to read and understand the position you are in with your old receiver you will see you don't have any easy solutions, and being mad at the world is not going to solve anything.


I give up, you sound like a very angry person who wants to live a different era.   As much as I love my horses I know that I cannot use them as daily transportation as folks did in the 1800's.  Good luck with your old receiver and new TV.  I hope you enjoy trying to put a square pegs through a round holes.


#11 of 17 oldwoodchuckb

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Posted February 16 2011 - 05:31 PM

Come on Bill


I'm, not angry, just sort of discouraged to find that buying electronics is still a crap shoot - and I do mean Crap.


On the other hand, some of you folks all seem to be angry that I don't wish to replace a good receiver with some cheap POS from Best Buy.  I asked if there was a way around the problem and ended up getting a whole bunch of Ego from dudes who apparently don't like it when they realize they didn't understand the question. When I pointed out that I didn't want to follow your singularly obvious advice you called me Hair-brained, out of date, stubborn and finally a near psyco.


If you don't think I knew I could solve the problem with an AV receiver, you obviously have a severe reading comprehension problem.


This is the end of this forum for me, but if any of you are ever interested in learning a fretted instrument so you will have something to do instead of watching tv, come on over to the Banjo Hangout where I will give you honest advice without getting steamed or calling you names when you don't follow it - I usually understand the questions and answer them without calling your lifestyle into question.   I can also advise you on guitars and mandolin family instruments although since it is the Banjo Hangout I would prefer to do that Off List.


Music tends to have more joys than re-runs. One of those joys is gtetting out of that home womb to meet other people. People who might not hang on your every sentence, waiting for the manna to fall, but who can be fun in that pathetically out of date person-to-person way.

Ha ve fun cutting me a new one - or several. I don't care. I have left the building and will not be back.



#12 of 17 Jason Charlton

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Posted February 17 2011 - 01:10 AM

<sigh>


If only there had been SOME WAY for Tony to know that he would get home theater advice at the Home Theater Forum....


Tony,


If you are still reading, I can understand your frustration to a point.  But you still have a great deal of misunderstanding of the equipment we've been discussing and seem reluctant to hear us out or to learn the truth about the many misleading things you've heard from others.


- A home theater receiver does not require you to have 5 speakers...

- Having extra connection options is a good thing - you have already expressed some interest in expanding your system

- There do exist receivers in the $200-250 range that are of pretty decent quality

- HDTV is no "ploy" it's here to stay and the reasons why would be an interesting read.  You should check out Wikipedia to start.  I'm certain that if you were once the "go to guy" for connecting stereo gear, you understand the value and importance of learning and educating yourself about the technology in which you choose to dabble.


I'm sorry we couldn't offer you the help you wanted, but then again, perhaps you shouldn't have asked the question if you weren't willing to listen to our answers.  It sounds like you knew the answer already and were just looking to vent.


Best of luck to you.


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#13 of 17 Charles Smith

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Posted February 17 2011 - 02:04 AM

I am also of "a certain age", and had to get over this hump.  What it finally took was a breakdown of my beloved 25-year-old stereo amp.


Look at it this way, and maybe I'm just paraphrasing those who responded above:


In a sense, nothing has changed.  A new receiver serves as the hub of your system, just like your traditional stereo amp did.  You fed your various sources -- turntable, tape decks, tuner, CD player, whatever -- into it, and the amp handled all the switching between sources and powered the speakers.  And being of a previous vintage, it had no remote control, and that was the way life was and we lived with that.  Now, the AV receiver serves that same purpose, but is equipped to integrate the whole realm of video (namely, an up-to-date TV, which you now have) along with the rest, and provide the convenience of remote control over volume and every other function.  You can stay with two-channel stereo, or expand later if you want.  You're not only still in total control...you're more in control than ever before.


The new TVs, with all of their impressive-looking connections, make a poor hub.  I'm always surprised to hear when someone posts that that's what they're trying to force on themselves.  The receiver is the same hub that the amplifier always was.


Just another two cents, and hopefully a little bit of help.



#14 of 17 CB750

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Posted February 17 2011 - 04:51 AM

Charles,


Well said,  I was faced with the same learning curve, a TV makes a poor hub.    However, the removal of analog outputs from TV's is a rather recent change that has  occurred recently.  I think it was a bad move on the part of TV manufactures to not to include a RCA analog out or at least a head phone jack for folks like Tony who want to connect older analog equipment to their new TV to improve the junk speakers they all come with.   In fact  I have even added a small 2.1  PC type speaker system to a small LCD TV in my kitchen to improve the sound of the anemic speakers in that set. 


#15 of 17 chuckg

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Posted February 17 2011 - 05:43 AM

Perhaps if the OP had researched the TV/monitor first there would have been no need for this thread.  I typically spend _months_ reading, ogling, and asking questions about, things before making up my mind.  I guess I'm kinda slow and impulsive.  ha!   And, now I'm 50 so I'm old, too.


--ignore the man behind the curtain

#16 of 17 Racker

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Posted September 23 2012 - 06:09 PM

It.s been some time after the OP posted his question, but just to add my 2 cts: I'm more or less in the same boat now, as he was last year. My good old CRT TV cast its last cathode-ray about a week ago and then remained dark and silent forever after. Just between you and me: I didn't shed a single tear, as I'm always game when it comes to trying out new technologies and finding out what those can bring me. And playing with a new LED set with built in network facilities... yummie! Being able to watch photo's or play MP3's directly from my PC's harddisk over my network on my new set... Wow! I wanna I wanna!!! :yum: So I too, bought a HD LED-tv with all hooters and bells. Had it up and running w/o even a glance at the manual within half a hour. But then..... I did know I shouldn't expect too much of the built- in speakers, even when mr. Philips advertised with the word "incredible sound" as the set has a sub-woofer built in. Incredible indeed... incredible yuck! :o So I immeadiately ordered a AD (Toslink to Cinch) converter, (due to arrive today) in order to hook the new screen to to my state-of-the-art 30Y old HIFI stereoset. Only to find out in this forum, that my new TV's Toslink probably doesn't carry volume control.. :( @Tony: I'm all with you. Like the you, I'm not willing to replace a superior (yes.. superior, however old it is) stereo system for a home theater system. Such a system'll probably cost me a great pile of $$$ if I want it to have the same sound- quality as I already have. Don't watch movies, just the average detective and the eight o'clock news. And even then the lack of warmth, of depth in sound annoys me tremendously. :f I too am of the opinion that TV manufacturers should have added a cinch stereo out. Or at least have the option in set-up (wouldn't cost them a cent extra) to have the headphone output to react to volume control on the RC. Did you succeed in having the computer-shop add extra sound outputs BTW??. Now for the positive side: I AM overwhelmed by the picture- quality of my new LED set. It's great, and far better than the CRT tube I had until last week. So I will not moan very long: I'll probably settle for the inferior sound of the set when watching the news or such. And have the good old stereo hooked up to the AD converter, using that for music only... :)

#17 of 17 TheKLF99

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Posted January 29 2013 - 06:52 PM

I know this thread is over two years old now - stumbled across it 'cos I was looking for some information about the TOSLINK port on these TV's, but I thought I'd reply as I do have some knowledge of these TV's and how the audio works. TOSLINK is just the audio sent in a digital audio stream. There is no proper "volume" level sent via TOSLINK, it's the same as using RCA audio jacks except that instead of it sending the audio in a "Dolby Pro Logic" analogue encoded format it sends it in a Dolby Digital 7.1 encoded stream, and normally to use the audio from that you will need some kind of digital to analogue decoder, if someone is selling a cable on eBay that will turn TOSLINK to RCA with no decoder box don't bother buying it, it's a scam there are thousands of these so called miracle "digital to analogue" cables out there - HDMI to D-SUB, HDMI to AV, TOSLINK to RCA all of them lack one major thing - any type of digital decoder. All the person has done is wire the wires up so that it takes the digital data and sends it straight down the analogue line, and of course without any decoder in the way the receiver at the other end won't know what to do with this bunch of 1's and 0's it's receiving 'cos it's expecting analogue sound not digital. At best you'll get nothing from it, at worst you might get very loud, high pitched noises and possibly do some serious damage to your AV equipment. The best way to convert this optical data is to buy a proper AV receiver, if your not too overly fussy about the latest technology you can pick them up quite cheaply - We bought two of them a few years ago, a Sherwood and Kenwood for under £100 from Cash Convertors, both do Dolby 5.1 and sound fine for our use, and also if you get a One For All remote you can program some models to work and turn the volume down of the AV receiver instead of the TV (btw I recommend going for a genuine One For All remote - something like the One For All 6, rather than a cheap pound shop one as most pound shop remotes barely work properly and miss most TV functions, where as most One For All models work perfectly and many can be programmed to learn extra functions or download updates). If you just want the audio in RCA format if you look on the back of the TV near the RCA inputs there should be an extra two RCA sockets that say Audio Out. You can use those for standard RCA out. And finally most TV's do actually have a way of outputting everything to something else - e.g. an AV receiver. Some of the SCART sockets have an option for AV out. If you go into the setup menu there is an option - we have a Panasonic Viera too and ours is in the setup menu and it says AV2 Output. You can then change how you want to use the AV2 port on the TV, so you can send the picture and sound out through the AV2 SCART port onto something else. It's mainly useful if you had say a DVD recorder and you want to set it up so that what your watching on TV is what is being recorded, you'd plug a fully wired cable from AV2 to your DVD recorder and then set the TV AV2 to output everything back to the DVD recorder. One thing I have found though with the TOSLINK if you do think of going down that route - the Panasonic's wont send HDMI audio down the TOSLINK which I was a bit disappointed with. I thought rather than plugging up the blu-ray, sky, Xbox, Wii and DVD recorder all on separate TOSLINK/AV sockets I could just plug them all in to the TV, and then connect the TOSLINK cable from the TV straight to the AV receiver - but unfortunately no - the only audio you get is audio from Freeview :( bit of a bad design really as I don't think it would have took much to send the AV from all sockets straight to the TOSLINK socket.




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