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Beginning my home theater quest (1 Viewer)

ngarrang

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Bearded Dragon
Greetings! First post, but I've begun skimming the forum for info.
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After years of not really caring about my audio/video configuration, I have begun to enter the 21st century. The 20-yr old CRT TV is gone, replaced by a Vizio 32" HDTV. I just bought a Sony HT-DDW790 and I am loving the sound! I have an old RCA VCR and Sony DVD player that I am experimenting with for the best audio. I got the digital coaxial out to work from the DVD to the audio receiver and improvement in audio was impressive. To inaugurate the improved system, I watched Cars with my 2-yr old. I swear I could hear things in the movie that I could not hear before, and I've seen the movie nearly a hundred times now. My boy loves racin'.

I must say, this is quite the educational process. In connecting up the new Sony, it got me curious about the many a/v settings on my DVD player.

I am waiting to jump on the Blu-Ray bandwagon until the prices for players become dirt cheap (limited budget for this whole project), but I am going to get a new combo DVD/VCR unit with HDMI. HDMI-1 on the vizio is connected to the DirecTV HD receiver. And the new unit will help be save space on my limited shelf area.

I have learned already from this site that I need to put something under my subwoofer. I have a wood floor and the unit is sitting directly on it. Will an old bath mat suffice?

Here is a question I am having trouble narrowing down via searching. Will I get more accurate/better sound with my optical audio cable going from SAT -> AV than TV -> AV?

The new Sony system is now my primary way of hearing the TV. I've turned the TV speakers off.
 

ngarrang

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Bearded Dragon
Here is where my home theater system currently stands:

DirecTV HD Receiver
o HDMI OUT to Vizio (HDMI-1)

RCA VHS Recorder
o Composite A/V OUT to Vizio (AV-1)

Sony DVD Player (also plays CD Music)
o Component Video OUT to Vizio (Component-1)
o Digital Coaxial Audio OUT to Audio Receiver (DVD)

Sony PlayStation
o Composite A/V OUT to Vizio (AV-1)

Vizio 32" HDTV
o Component Audio OUT to Audio Receiver (TV)

Sony Surround Sound Receiver
o AM/FM Receiver antennae
o Subwoofer, Center and 4 Satellite Speakers

This has been fun! The new DVD/VCR will be changing this config, as will the optical audio cable.
 

Allan Jayne

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If the bath mat is quite plushy, it should work fine under the subwoofer, otherwise you may need two layers. You don't want the floor to resonate under the subwoofer causing the bass to have an uneven frequency response.

You will need to experiment to see which format (480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i) out of your regular DVD player looks best. My gut feeling is that 480i will look best. Any upconversion that the player might do will be done by the TV if the player is not (manually) set up to do it.

Video hints: Constructing a Basement Home Theater
 

Robert_J

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If this source has a digital audio out then use it as well. At least on the PS2, a lot of games have Dolby Digital surround sound.

-Robert
 

ngarrang

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Bearded Dragon
Thanks for the advice on the subwoofer padding.

I am not using an over-the-air antenna, so once the optical audio cable arrives, I will take the audio directly from the DirecTV receiver to the audio receiver.

As for the PlayStation, note I did not put a number on it. It is a PS1. I don't use it very often and my wife keeps asking to get rid of it. I am a pack rat, and thus cannot part with it. It still works! I have all of 10 games for it, they are fun games, the driving variety, which should sound awesome now.
 

ngarrang

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Okay, per the suggestion here, the DirecTV audio is going directly to the SAT audio on the Sony receiver. And since I took the audio cable from the TV to do this, I need to scavenge up another audio cable pair to output the VCR audio to the TV audio in on the Sony.
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And in 5 days when the new combo player arrives, I will re-do much of the cabling! :laugh:

This is as much fun to fiddle with as getting performance hop-ups for my truck.
 

Mark M. Smith

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In my experience I've yet to find a single game on the PS2 that has any in-game Dolby Digital audio. Even then the only game to use it that I can think of is Shadow Hearts: Covenant and it only uses DD in a few cut-scenes.

What many, but not all, PS2 games use is Dolby Pro Logic II. This provides matrixed surround sound over two channels and while I still send mine via digital optical for the best quality it's not necessary. It'll work over standard analog as long as your receiver is set to Pro Logic II mode (and if it has it, I suggest you further set it to the -X mode which is intended for games and will distribute the bass more evenly than the -C cinema mode).

In general the suggested way to set things up would be as follows:

Send all of the audio signals to the receiver. Your VCR uses composite cable only? If it has more than one output send just the audio to the receiver and just the video to the TV. If you watch all of your TV over the satellite receiver I probably wouldn't even bother hooking up an output from the TV to the receiver. I get all my TV through my TiVo and as far as audio is concerned my TV doesn't even know such a thing exists.

Depending on the capabilities of your receiver and your personal inclinations you may also want to run all of your video into your receiver as well. This is generally for convenience (in my case my receiver also tacks on an on-screen display) as well as expanding your possible inputs. Then all you need to do is run a single HDMI cable to your TV to supply it with video.

Assuming you are able (and willing) to send video and audio into your receiver it makes things pretty easy. Just think of the receiver as the new control center of your HT. As opposed to what most people are used to where the TV is the center of everything the TV is basically just a screen that shows whatever the receiver tells it to. With your satellite receiver it isn't doing any tuning and with your receiver controlling all the audio it isn't doing that either.

If you aren't doing video switching then then you'll have two branches of government so to speak. The TV is in charge of video and everything video will go to it and only video. The receiver will likewise handle all of the audio and only audio. As far as each other is concerned their opposite number might not even exist. This would mean that if you unplugged your TV and had your eyes closed you wouldn't know anything had happened. Likewise if your receiver was unplugged and you couldn't hear you wouldn't notice either. Just apply either of these two methodologies to everything you connect and it should become second-nature in no time.
 

ngarrang

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Well, as of tonight, my HT is of the two-governments style you describe. This site is ever so educational. I love it.
 

Robert_J

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I recommend a Harmony (I use the 880) remote to control everything. It's simple to set up the push of one button will change the configuration to watch which ever source you choose.

-Robert
 

ngarrang

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The Samsung DVD-VR375 is now installed. Component Video to the HDTV. Digital Coaxial Audio to the Audio Receiver. I need to pick up an HDMI cable. I now have too many extra Composite cables, but the entertainment shelf is looking a bit tidier with one less thing cluttering it up.
 

Mark M. Smith

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I'll second the Harmony. I bought a 676 used off the forum for about $70 a few years back and it was one of the best purchases I ever made. A nice mixture of hard buttons and user-assignable soft buttons. Programming codes in online takes a lot of the tedium out of it and the whole "activities" idea didn't initially hook me compared to standard punch-throughs on other universal remotes, but it works seemlessly.
 

ngarrang

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Bearded Dragon
That universal remote looks pretty cool. Could it be programmed to operate multiple devices at once? ie, When switching to DVD, it tells the TV Component mode and Audo Receiver DVD mode at the same time?
 

Robert_J

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Yes. For example, when I want to turn everything one, I usually press the activity labeled "Watch HD Tivo". That turns on the projector and sets the input to HDMI. The HDMI switch is already on and so the remote just sends the signal to put output #1 to input A. The remote turns the receiver on and sets the audio input to CDR/MD. All of this with one button push. I other activities set up on the remote and named them "Watch HR-20 DVR", "Watch Panasonic DVD Player", "Watch Cyberhome DVD Player", "Listen to CDs", "Listen to Radio" and "Listen to XM".

-Robert
 

ngarrang

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Bearded Dragon
Okay, my little home theater is done for the now. Project complete.

DirecTV Receiver
HDMI OUT to Vizio (HDMI-1)
Optical Audio OUT to Sony Receiver (Video-2)
Composite OUT to Combo DVDR/VCR (it lacks component IN)

Combo DVDR/VCR
HDMI OUT to Vizio (HDMI-2)
Digital Coax Audio OUT to Sony Receiver (DVD)

PlayStation 1
Composite OUT to Vizio (AV1)
w/ the audio cables running to the Sony Receiver (TV)

Sony Surround Sound Receiver
Happily putting out 5.1. I like the extra bass feel of Dolby PLII Movie mode. AM and FM tuning work with the included antennae. The geek in me likes to watch the receiver detect the audio mode of a particular program and inform me of which mode it is.
 

Robert_J

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Are you choosing Dolby Pro Logic over Dolby Digital? That's a step down in quality. If you like a little more bass, then up the bass on DD.

-Robert
 

ngarrang

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Bearded Dragon
I have the Sony audio receiver in A.F.D AUTO mode, but I have experimented with the other settings just to see what would it would sound like.
 

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