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HDMI receiver output?


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#1 of 7 6-Speed

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Posted April 29 2011 - 04:13 AM

Hello,


So I have a bit of a newbie question. I am in the process of building a new home and would like to setup a nice, simple, home theatre system. I am having all my wiring run throught the ceilings for my speakers and have chosen to go with the Polk Audio RM6750 5.1 speaker package. The speakers will be attached to a Harman/Kardon receiver (either the AVR2600 or the AVR3600, not sure yet).

The cheaper receiver, the AVR2600 features 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. My question is, what would I connect the HDMI output to? For the inputs I plan to plug in my TV (model not yet chosen), PS3 and Blueray player. Would I run an HDMI cable from the output, back to the the TV? What else is the HDMI receiver output for?


That being said, the receiver also features 4 Component Video Inputs and 1 Component Video Output. I know these connections are quite dated, but with the three items I already mentioned that I want to plug in above, is there any reason to use these component connections? I can't imagine what I would require to plug into them.


And finally, any ideas of what else I can connect to the receiver? Like I said, I'm not looking to build a crazy expensive system (as I'm sure you can tell by my audio choices), but something that can entertain the wife and I on weekends and such.


Many thanks!



#2 of 7 Jason Charlton

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Posted April 29 2011 - 05:10 AM

Hi Adam, welcome to the forum.


To understand the difference between inputs and outputs, you need to think in terms of the flow of signals (audio and video) from their source (i.e. cable box, PS3, Blu-ray player) to their destination (video signal destination is your TV, audio signal destination is your speakers).


Audio and video signals leave their source via an output connection, and are routed into another device via an input connection.


If you didn't have the receiver in the mix, you would take the audio/video OUTPUT from your PS3 and Blu-ray player and plug them into an INPUT on the TV (the video is displayed on screen, the audio is output on the TVs speakers).


Once you add an A/V receiver and separate speakers to the picture, the A/V Receiver becomes the "hub" of your system and is responsible for switching all of your sources and routing the video signal to the TV and the audio signal to the speakers.


Therefore, you connect the OUTPUT from all of your sources to INPUTS on the receiver.  Some of your devices may support HDMI, which handles both audio and video in a single connection, but older devices that don't have HDMI connections will have to rely on component or composite connections for the video signal, and digital optical, coaxial, or analog RCA connections for the audio.


Once both the audio and video connections have been made to the A/V Receiver, the audio signal is carried to the speakers via speaker wire, and the video signal is carried from an OUTPUT on the receiver, to an INPUT on the TV.  If all of your sources are HDMI, then you only need one HDMI connection from receiver to TV, since the A/V Receiver will automatically switch the video for you when you change devices.


One caveat is that if you have a mix of component and HDMI video connections to your Receiver, not all receivers will convert the incoming component (or composite) video signal to be output via HDMI.  This feature is called "Analog to Digital Upconversion".  If your receiver does not have this feature, you will be required to run an additional, analog video connection from receiver to TV for those sources that are using analog video connections.


The only devices that are commonly utilized these days that are component video are the Nintendo Wii, and older DVD players and/or VCR combo players.


I usually suggest getting a receiver that will do this conversion for you, so you will only ever need a single HDMI cable from receiver to TV.


Based on this, you can see that you will never connect an output from your TV into an input on the receiver, unless you are using an aerial antenna and your TVs built-in tuner to get local HDTV broadcasts.


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#3 of 7 Martino

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Posted April 29 2011 - 05:15 AM

I'll give your questions a shot:


?:   Would I run an HDMI cable from the output, back to the the TV? What else is the HDMI receiver output for?


A:  Yes - the output is for the display device - in your case, a TV...the receiver also acts as an HDMI switcher - 4 inputs,1 output...so whatever component you are using gets switched to the TV, and you don't have to run extra cables from each one to your TV..



?: That being said, the receiver also features 4 Component Video Inputs and 1 Component Video Output. I know these connections are quite dated, but with the three items I already mentioned that I want to plug in above, is there any reason to use these component connections? I can't imagine what I would require to plug into them.



A:  Component outputs are for older sources that do not support HDMI. - I looked up the receivers that you mentioned, and they both list "Full 1080p up-scaling from all sources"...so you could plug in a wii through your component cables, and have the output go through HDMI to your TV as well.  For what you listed for inputs, you will not have to use them.  I also noted from your description:


"For the inputs I plan to plug in my TV (model not yet chosen), PS3 and Blueray player."


I just want to make you aware that a PS3 is also a Blueray player...in case you want to use it as such, no need to buy both...




#4 of 7 6-Speed

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Posted April 29 2011 - 05:26 AM

Wow that was a nice little write up!


But, say I am watching TV through regular cable. By the explanation given above, there is a single HDMI cable going from the OUTPUT on my receiver, to the INPUT on my TV. If I am watching a football game through a regular RG6 cable connection, there would be no surround sound from the TV signal, since the TV is only receiving an input signal from the receiver, and not putting anything out to the receiver, correct? So in theory I would need the TV to have an HDMI INPUT and an HDMI OUTPUT cable hooked up to the receiver, yes?


#5 of 7 Jason Charlton

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Posted April 29 2011 - 05:56 AM


Originally Posted by 6-Speed 

Wow that was a nice little write up!


But, say I am watching TV through regular cable. By the explanation given above, there is a single HDMI cable going from the OUTPUT on my receiver, to the INPUT on my TV. If I am watching a football game through a regular RG6 cable connection, there would be no surround sound from the TV signal, since the TV is only receiving an input signal from the receiver, and not putting anything out to the receiver, correct? So in theory I would need the TV to have an HDMI INPUT and an HDMI OUTPUT cable hooked up to the receiver, yes?


Can you describe the cable service that you're receiving?  Do you not have a set-top box?  Are you using a CableCard or other decoder/tuner in your TV for your cable service, or is this unscrambled, standard-definition programming (which, if it is, probably won't be around much longer)?


It's generally becoming less and less common to run a screw-type F-Connector directly from the wall to a TV.


To answer your question, yes, if your cable signal goes directly to your TV, then it's bypassing the receiver and you won't get digital surround sound, so you would need to route that signal back OUT of the TV and INTO the receiver.  Unfortunately, TVs aren't really designed to be the "hub" of a system and it's a mixed bag as to how much of the digital multichannel audio is preserved when passed back out from the TV.  It's possible that with the new HDMI 1.4 spec and it's "Audio Return Channel" capability, that for HDMI connected devices your digital audio would persist, but I'm not 100% certain of this, and am not sure how that would translate to the "Cable In" port on the back of the TV.


I do know that if you use the TVs "Digital optical output" for audio out from TV into a receiver, that the audio stream is almost always downmixed to 2.0 stereo, so any digital surround sound is lost in such a configuration.


As an aside, it's pretty common for folks that are new to the concept of A/V Receivers to have difficulty adjusting their perspective to one where the TV is not the hub of a system.  For most of us, once we invest in a decent receiver and speaker set, we use them all the time.  It's actually simpler to connect and operate when the receiver is turned on and used every time you watch any source.  Setting up a system where one can use the TV speakers "for regular watching" and save the surround sound for "special occasions" is actually much more complicated in virtually every respect.


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#6 of 7 6-Speed

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Posted April 29 2011 - 07:15 AM



Quote
"For the inputs I plan to plug in my TV (model not yet chosen), PS3 and Blueray player."


I just want to make you aware that a PS3 is also a Blueray player...in case you want to use it as such, no need to buy both...



Yeah, I know the PS3 has the Blue Ray feature, but I honestly prefer to have two seperate devices. No real reason for it, lol. I guess I like the look of two seperate boxes on my shelf


Originally Posted by Jason Charlton 



Can you describe the cable service that you're receiving?  Do you not have a set-top box?  Are you using a CableCard or other decoder/tuner in your TV for your cable service, or is this unscrambled, standard-definition programming (which, if it is, probably won't be around much longer)?


It's generally becoming less and less common to run a screw-type F-Connector directly from the wall to a TV.


To answer your question, yes, if your cable signal goes directly to your TV, then it's bypassing the receiver and you won't get digital surround sound, so you would need to route that signal back OUT of the TV and INTO the receiver.  Unfortunately, TVs aren't really designed to be the "hub" of a system and it's a mixed bag as to how much of the digital multichannel audio is preserved when passed back out from the TV.  It's possible that with the new HDMI 1.4 spec and it's "Audio Return Channel" capability, that for HDMI connected devices your digital audio would persist, but I'm not 100% certain of this, and am not sure how that would translate to the "Cable In" port on the back of the TV.


I do know that if you use the TVs "Digital optical output" for audio out from TV into a receiver, that the audio stream is almost always downmixed to 2.0 stereo, so any digital surround sound is lost in such a configuration.


As an aside, it's pretty common for folks that are new to the concept of A/V Receivers to have difficulty adjusting their perspective to one where the TV is not the hub of a system.  For most of us, once we invest in a decent receiver and speaker set, we use them all the time.  It's actually simpler to connect and operate when the receiver is turned on and used every time you watch any source.  Setting up a system where one can use the TV speakers "for regular watching" and save the surround sound for "special occasions" is actually much more complicated in virtually every respect.


Not exactly sure what route I will take with the cable TV when I move into the new place. Currently I just have a digital cable box. So an RG6 cable from the wall outlet into the cable box, followed by another RG6 cable going from the cable box into the back of the TV. I realize this is a pretty dated way of watching TV; I won't be getting a satelite or satelite box, so what are my other options? I guess if anything I can just talk to my cable company and see what they suggest.


I also currently have a generic Sharp surround sound system (I think you guys call 'em HTIBs on here), and yes, it sucks connected things to it and using it as a central hub, due to it's lack of inputs. This system is now approaching close to 10 years, so I figured a nice lil' upgrade was in order. My brother has a Harman/Kardon receiver with individually bought speakers, and yes, I can see how much easier it is to use the receiver as the hub for everything (as long as it has enough inputs!!).




#7 of 7 Jason Charlton

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Posted April 29 2011 - 07:43 AM

As long as you have an HD cable box, it SHOULD have an HDMI output - if not, contact your cable company and get a box that does.  Use HDMI from the cable box to the receiver and treat it like any other source.  IMO, this is the easiest and simplest way to go about things.


I'm not familiar with many of the cable/satellite "alternatives" out there (streaming media devices like GoogleTV, Roku, AppleTV, etc.) so if those are in your future, hopefully others more knowledgeable than I can chime in.


Yes - stepping up from the older HTiB will open your ears to whole new levels of auditory stimulation!


Good luck!


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