confused about sound that comes out of digital cable boxes?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Naddy, Feb 2, 2003.

  1. Naddy

    Naddy Extra

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    Hi all,

    My digital cable box has composite connections coming out that I connected to my a/v receiver. My question is, what type of sound is coming out of the cable box? I guess it depends on what is being broadcast by that particular station? But is it always stereo sound, is it sometimes mono, could it be 5.1 sound?

    I have heard that some digital cable boxes output dolby digital 5.1 sound? What type of connection do they use to do that, is it a digital cable connection or 5 analog audio connections?

    Any help is appreciated!
     
  2. Jeramy_K

    Jeramy_K Stunt Coordinator

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    Naddy,

    On non-digital channels you should always get stereo sound via the RCA outputs.

    On digital stations you'll usually either get Digital 2.0 or DD 5.1 depending on the station and programming. Cable boxes that output digital audio use either optical or coax.

    Hope that helps,
    -Jeramy
     
  3. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Naddy,

    What outputs does your cable box offer?
     
  4. NickT

    NickT Stunt Coordinator

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    The number one factor determining what sound that comes out of your cable box is what the source is in. If the source is in mono, like the Cartoon Network, then that's what you'll get.

    With that said, the connections on the back and internal menu settings determine what you can get. Analog channels can be mono or stereo. For best results, use the red/white connectors on the back of the box.

    Digital channels can be anything from mono to 5.1. To get Dolby digital, you need a digital audio out connector, which is usually an orange one near the RCA ones. Also, you need to check the audio menu and make sure that it is set up to output it. On my Motorola box, it has to be in "digital surround". Then, if the source is broadcasting in 5.1, my receiver picks it up. Most digital channels come in as Dolby 2.0 and I've never seen any channel besides the movie channels (HBO etc) broadcast 5.1. Note that you will get no sound from the digital connector if you are on an analog channel.
     
  5. Naddy

    Naddy Extra

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    Thanks for the help! I only have a coaxial out and then the rca composite out (which is what I'm using).

    By the way, I have AT&T digital cable, do you know if it is possible to request an upgrade on the digital cable box to one that does have a digital out?

    Thanks!
     
  6. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Naddy,

    Not sure what you mean by
     
  7. Naddy

    Naddy Extra

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    I apoligize for the confusion. The coaxial out is your regualr video cable video connection, and I have both the rca composite video out and the L/R audio out connections.
     
  8. Al Shing

    Al Shing Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds like you have a Motorola DCT-2000 box from AT&T. Those boxes were mostly ordered without the MTS decoder that would decode the MTS stereo sound from the analog channels. So, if you used only the RCA audio outputs, you would get the analog channels in mono, and the digital channels in stereo. You have to feed the RF output into your TV or VCR tuner to get the MTS signal for the analog channels decoded by the built-in decoders in those boxes. Of course, digital channels are in mono on the RF output. Later DCT-2000 boxes are supposed to have the MTS decoder as a standard feature, but my main DCT2000 didn't have one. I never tested my secondary unit to see if it has one. It has a working RF bypass, whereas the other one did not.

    The DCT-5100 does Dolby Digital 5.1, but currently it is available only to HDTV subscribers because of the limited numbers. I don't know when this will become the standard issue box, but I doubt it would be this year. Might be worth upgrading to HDTV just to get one of these boxes. I have one of these, and they are great, compared to the 2000.
     
  9. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Naddy,

    You can try talking with your cable company and see if you can't get a different box out of them (upgrading to HD would for sure do that). There should be a past thread or two detailing the adventures of some folks trying to do this--they ran into difficulties with service reps not understanding what they wanted or why they would ever want such a thing, etc., but that when they finally got through to someone who understood things technically that it could often be arranged.

    Good luck,

    Mike
     
  10. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Al S: sent you Private Mail.
     
  11. Dan Stone

    Dan Stone Stunt Coordinator

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