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HDMI vs. OPTICAL AUDIO / Connections Problem


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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   mrlewp87

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Posted March 01 2012 - 05:58 AM

I have the YAMAHA RX -V363 Amp / receiver. It has HDMI inputs, but I've never opted to use them, as it doubles the number of cables needed, and the AUDIO is my only concern. I can pick up the remote to change inputs on the TV, and the amp just passes the video signal to the HDMI output , correct ? Current problem; I've solved this in the past, but cant fix it this time for some reason. >> I wish to use an OPTICAL cable from our DISH HD Rec'r to my Yamaha amp. I've tried any and all settings in DISH, in my Yamaha, and my TV, but still cant get a surround signal to the amp. *Connections; HDMI cable from DISH HD rec'r , to new HDTV. I want the best video, and I'm aware that 720p is the best available right now. But I'm streaming sometimes now - WiFi and Netflix - AND occasional 3D. Still dont need the HDMI ? will "component" setup do for video , thus enabling me to get a surround signal via Optical line? IF - I must use component lines in order to allow the Optical to pass surround audio, then why do I often read that an audio line is needed under various setups, even though using an HDMI device connection.(<

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted March 01 2012 - 06:56 AM

Hi Wayne,


Welcome to the forum!  Sorry to hear your frustration.  I know it can be maddening trying to get the right combination of settings and cables to do such a simple task...


First of all, there should be no problem with you opting to use HDMI for video straight to your display (bypassing the receiver) and using a separate digital optical cable from your Dish Box to the receiver.  Everything that I've heard and read about the Dish hardware (I'm not a satellite subscriber, but I frequent many of the forums around here) indicates that all outputs are active all the time.  So you shouldn't need to "step down" to component video output for the digital optical output to be enabled.


For now, since the audio is the issue and you're going straight from Dish to receiver, settings within your TV won't matter.


First question: Do you get ANY sound from the receiver's speakers via the digital optical cable?  Even if it's stereo, that's something.  Also, not everything that's carried via dish is going to have digital surround sound audio.  I know you probably already know that, but just want to cover all the bases.


Since I'm not directly familiar with the audio menus of Dish boxes, can you provide more details on what audio menu options are available from within the Dish box menus?  If there's an menu that includes options like "Bitstream" or "PCM" you should be able to go with "Bitstream" as the Yamaha can decode any digital signal it receives.


On the receiver side of things, make sure the digital optical input you've connected to (it will be input 2 or 3) has the "Decoder Mode" and "DTS Decoder Prioritize Setting " both set to "Auto" (manual p.49).


Also, be sure to disable any strange "Sound Field Programs" - to listen to audio in its "native" format, the Yamaha should be set to "Straight" mode.


Hopefully this will at least get you something.


I'm also curious if you have a DVD player or some other source besides Dish?  One of the benefits to running both audio and video through the receiver is so that you have one point of switching for both, rather than switching inputs on the TV (for video) and the receiver (for audio) - but if you have only the one source, this issue, too, is moot.


Let me know if any of this helps.  If not, we'll try some other things.


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#3 of 9 OFFLINE   mrlewp87

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Posted March 03 2012 - 05:21 AM

Yes to all questions / concerns. Also , I have a DVD Recorder/ player, and a BluRay player. I've not yet connected the BluRay audio directly to the Yamaha, but to the TV via HDMI. Hoped to get the surround audio from it, and WiFi TV sources (non DISH-box) .... to the Yamaha via the optical out of the TV ! That's later, but as for now ..... same glitch with audio. I did achieve 5.1 again from the DVD recorder, using the optical connection. So that should be no problem, doing same from BluRay player if the current HDMI cable, and TV wont pass surround signal on. As for the DISH Receiver specs. (hope text format holds true) ; DISH HD REC'R - 722 ; "HDTV Setup" - not much here, my selections will be underlined; "Analog Type" for "Off Air Module" (for TV RF input?) .. .. options are; Cable, IRC, HRC, OffAir. Then "TV Type".......................................... output options from 480 thru 1080i . Last "Aspect Ration" ................................ opted of course for 16 x 9 AUDIO OUTPUT; Volume Leveling -- Disable (or *Enable) ........ Decoder -- Dolby Digital / (AND) PCM .... (or PCM only) ....... "MODE" -- Line , RF ( * >> IF I enable Volume Leveling, the "Line" option is not available! and the HELP here explains that choosing "RF" Mode compresses sound dynamics etc. and that "Line" should be used to "enjoy" Dolby Surround Stereo. Modulator Setup; This chooses the type of connection to TV1, and TV2 (using recv'r in "dual" mode, running 2 TVs. TV2 has full control of channels, and DVR controls.... but receives only SD format) Options are "AIR", "CABLE", and "OFF". TV1 is set to OFF since the HD outs - component or HDMI - are to be used, and not the cable-type RF output. ( TV2 IS set to "CABLE", and tuned to chan. 73, since it is connected via an RF cable, to the RF/ TV2 output. Audio is not an issue here,.. yet? ) I plan to attach an image of the involved Yamaha Receiver connections available. Curious that the default "DVD" input is "PCM" . My question there-- is PCM surround as good as Optical ? I've tried an optical line from the DISH box to Inputs 2 and 3, same for my DVD Recorder. Inputs can be renamed but that changes nothing audio-wise (correct ?). Regardless, I cant get back the surround signal (had once) from the DISH box , with an HDMI to the TV (video) and an optical line to the Yamaha. ALL options are set to "AUTO" for type of audio, and "Straight" is an option regardless of decoder choice , seems to me. Selecting STRAIGHT never changes the signal display from 2 ch. to 5.1, or vise versa. And when I did have 5.1 surround, I would use PRO LOGIC. I'm beginning to think that's a wrong move, tho' it doesnt answer or solve the audio issue I'm currently having. The terms DOLBY or DTS will be displayed in very small text at top of the Yamaha's display, but never in the larger size such as Straight, Pro Logic, PL II Movie, or PLII Game , etc. How did I get the 5.1 from the DVD player? (talking to myself.... ha) I disconnected the HDMI, cycled thru the various device options on the remote , as to "refresh" the DVD input I was using (NOT PCM <<)........ and there was the 5.1 signal !! Then I reconnected the HDMI , so now had the video along with the surround signal. Seem to recall doing this a couple years ago for this same issue. I thought I had tried that with the DISH box outs also, but now not sure. I'll have to retry this with the DISH, and for the BluRay player I guess, and see what happens. Should I try to reset factory defaults , or the Yamaha, or the DISH box...... or both ? Thanks !!

#4 of 9 OFFLINE   mrlewp87

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Posted March 03 2012 - 05:59 AM

Of course....... I forgot the image !!! Sorry (notes below image, also)http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/ BTW, the manual says the HDMI's handle 1080p. Would that cover BluRay....... and 3D !!?? Also hi Q audio , but dont think it does the "pass-thru" thing?

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   TheGary

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Posted March 04 2012 - 04:00 PM

HDMI is 1080, this will give you the best picture from blu-ray yes. The V363 doesn't look like it can do 3D, you will have to upgrade if you want 3D. Looking at the website, it looks like it DOES in fact have HDMI pass through, you're in luck!

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted March 05 2012 - 01:03 AM

Wayne,


The Blu-Ray 3D spec requires HDMI 1.4 compatibility in the player and display, at a minimum.  If you were to pass the video signal through the receiver, then the receiver would have to be 1.4 as well.


OK, your last post clarified a number of things.


First of all, I think the main root problem is running audio OUT from the TVs digital optical port to the optical port on the receiver.


Virtually all TVs will downmix ANY external audio (whether it's digital 5.1 or not) down to analog stereo before being output via the optical connection.  Generally, the ONLY digital audio streams that are preserved as digital when output by the TV are those signals tuned via the TVs internal tuner (or streaming).


That would explain your need to use ProLogic decoding to simulate surround sound from the stereo output via the TV.


Anyway, to try and answer your questions/comments:


"is PCM surround as good as Optical?" - Those aren't really the same thing.  PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation, and it's sort of the "lowest common denominator" for audio formats.  Essentially every channel is decoded into a basic, easy-to-process format before being sent to the receiver.  Optical refers to the connection type.  A digital optical cable can carry PCM or Dolby Digital/DTS encoded audio streams.  Optical cables cannot carry lossless Dolby HD or DTS-MA audio found on Blu-Ray.  Only HDMI Cables can carry the encoded lossless audio track.  Your receiver can decode Dolby and DTS digital audio, so you do not need to force PCM.  Leave that audio setting to "Dolby Digital/PCM".


"The terms DOLBY or DTS will be displayed in very small text at top of the Yamaha's display, but never in the larger size such as Straight, Pro Logic, PL II Movie, or PLII Game , etc." - OK, that's GOOD - when the DOLBY or DTS lights are on, that means the Receiver recognizes the encoded audio and is treating it like it should.  The large letter display on the receiver indicate the sound "mode" which should not be used to listen to 5.1 audio in its native form.  If the program audio is stereo, then you can use ProLogic to simulate 5.1 audio.  PL II is a really good way to expand stereo audio to pseudo-surround.


"but dont think it does the "pass-thru" thing?" - This could mean a couple of things, and after reading your manual I think the answer to both is "no".  First, it could refer to passing any HDMI input signals out to the TV even when the receiver is turned "off".  This way, you don't have to have the receiver on to watch TV and use the TVs internal speakers.  Your receiver does not do this (manual page 14).  Also, it can mean that your receiver can process audio that is carried via HDMI cables, and unfortunately, this is also not the case (manual page 14).


This is probably the single source of all your problems.  If you had an updated receiver that allowed audio from HDMI devices to be processed (this is pretty much the standard, now), you wouldn't have to worry about secondary connections, etc.  HDMI would always carry the best quality audio, and the receiver would know how to handle it.


I have a sneaking suspicion that things probably are configured correctly.  Removing the TV from the audio signal "chain" should ensure that any digital 5.1 audio from capable devices actually gets to the receiver as 5.1 audio.


You've got three devices capable of 5.1 audio (Dish, DVD, Blu-Ray) and thankfully, you have three digital inputs on the receiver.  If you make video connections from each device directly to the TV, and separate digital audio connections from each device directly to the receiver, you should be OK.


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#7 of 9 OFFLINE   mrlewp87

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Posted March 07 2012 - 03:59 PM

I've had some success, though not entirely sure why. I decided to use the PCM / DVD input on the Yamaha, for my DVD player/recorder. This is how it's labled, and I wanted to leave the optical lines open for other uses. I also used the optical input - DTV/CBL for my DISH receiver, as labled. I kept the direct HDMI line from the DISH box to the TV. I now have 5.1 audio from the DISH box, when available. Along with these connections, I used "Rename" in the options to restore the original names for each input. As for the optical from the TV, I wasn't surprised in not getting any 5.1 from that audio source. I just needed some audio line for when I'm streaming thru WiFi, or using an external disc, for ex., and this excludes the DISH box audio outs alltogether. I now have to deal with the BluRay player. I currently have an upgraded HDMI cable from the player to the TV- IN. I hadn't yet tried the optical out of the player to the Yamaha. I'm not happy to hear that this type cant handle a BluRay discs audio ?? So in my case, the audio from the BluRay should reach the TV via the HDMI, but I already know it wont be passed on thru the optical TV-out, to the Yamaha. The audio "should" reach the TV,... but I'm experiencing an odd glitch there. The audio occasionally goes silent, for just a couple seconds. But it's very annoying, and I'll need to deal with it soon if I want to take it back to a local dealer. This happens when playing a DVD movie. I've yet to use it's audio by some other purpose, such as WiFi or internet streaming. ( the audio is not an issue with the discs I've played so far. It doesn't happen when played in the LG DVD combo unit.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted March 08 2012 - 01:18 AM


Originally Posted by mrlewp87 

I hadn't yet tried the optical out of the player to the Yamaha. I'm not happy to hear that this type cant handle a BluRay discs audio ?? So in my case, the audio from the BluRay should reach the TV via the HDMI, but I already know it wont be passed on thru the optical TV-out, to the Yamaha.


Keep in mind, that the optical connection from player direct to receiver won't carry the lossless audio format, but it will still carry the standard 5.1 DD or DTS track that is included in ALL Blu-rays for backwards compatibility.  It won't sound any worse than DVD, but there's still room for improvement.


One more thing to do (there are a LOT of these little "things" with Blu-Ray setups) is to disable "secondary" audio from within the Blu-Ray's audio setup menu.  Secondary audio is used by the player to mix in sounds like menu clicks, or commentary tracks "on-the-fly" with the movie soundtrack.  I can't recall the specific explanation, but secondary audio has been known to cause problems, so most folks keep it turned off and only enable it if/when they really need to.


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#9 of 9 OFFLINE   mrlewp87

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Posted April 10 2012 - 07:22 AM

Sorry I've been AWOL for so long on this. I've achieved "tranquility" in regards to the BluRay, DVD recorder, and DISH box. LG DVD Recorder/ player/ VCR ............... PCM out .............. to ............ "DVD" / PCM IN of Yamaha. (using the BluRay player as primary anyway) Video ; Components Out ......to.... Yamaha DVD Components IN BluRay 3D Player .................................. Optical Digital Out ..........to ............" CD " Optical Digital IN of Yamaha ( re-labled CD as BluRay Plyr) Video ; HDMI Out...........to ............ HDMI In 2 of TV DISH Rec'vr ................................... Optical Digital Out...........to............"DTV / CBL" IN of Yamaha amp. Video ; HDMI Out...........to.............HDMI 1 of TV SeaGate Media Player ........................... RCA type AUDIO Outs......to....... "DVR" Audio INS of Yamaha. Video Comp.Outs .............to...... Video Component INS of TV (( re-tried formatting above text 3 times. Cant get it all to line up neatly as I typed it ........ ?) I realize that the HDMI 1 of the Panasonic 3D TV is the " ARC " compatible input. The Yamaha is not up to it , and I cant see a purpose for using that input for the BluRay player ?? Is there any reason to ? If this is a new post , then let me know. I was incredulous that the TV had ONLY the Optical Digital OUT !!?? Not even a headphone jack !! So there sits it's Optical Out - unused ! The NEW issue ; Is there any means of easily switching one of the Yamaha's Optical INS , between either the DISH box - or the BluRay Player, and the TV's Optical out? I'm doing a lot of streaming of TV and Movies now, and IF there is a 5.1 signal available, I'd like to hear it. I currently am just listening from the TV's speakers. They sound great , but it's not surround. I've seen every type of switch-box , but for one for Optical cables. If there isnt a solution, I hope to keep the amp ends of 2 opticals easily reachable behind the Yamaha, so that I can make the switch when streaming video. (certainly someone has attempted to join 2 optical cables somehow ....... as I am tempted to to ! ha. To create a switcher, or simply allow for quick dis-connect / connect of 2 devices , going to the Yamaha amp.)