Digital Incompatability...?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by JohnnyVee, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. JohnnyVee

    JohnnyVee Auditioning

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Resident Geniuses:
    I am new to this forum and am thrilled to see that I might finally have arrived at a place where I can get some answers or at least enlightened guesses, which are almost as useful.
    Here's my current problem, so far unsolved:
    I have a Sherwood Newcastle A/V receiver of which I am very fond but which seems to be having a digital signal dispute with the new DBS system I had installed earlier this month (two Hughes sat receivers and a 3-pole dish).
    I am overjoyed with the video quality of DBS and generally quite satisfied with the audio quality, but my A/V receiver is shutting off the (optical) digital input of the Hughes Executive Director model sat receiver that's stacked with my HT gear after 4-5 seconds.
    I choose a program that DIRECTV's guide assures me is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1, I choose the alternate audio stream that carries the DD 5.1 data --- and, after about 4 seconds of glorious 5.1 surround, the receiver (and I'm still not sure which one, the sat receiver or the A/V receiver) shuts off the sound as if I'd hit the mute button. If I toggle the DD button in the Audio menu of the DIRECTV setup menu on and off after each shut-off, I get another 4 seconds of 5.1 and then it shuts off again. I could sit there and toggle the switch on and off 1800 times or so during a standard film broadcast, but I have better things to do with my hand tendons than this.
    The Sherwood Newcastle tech support folks say they never heard of this problem before, and nothing they suggested (unplugging the other digital input, a coax line from my JVC DVD Video/Audio player, replacing the optical cable, checking for dust, etc., in the optical jacks) solved the problem. For their part Hughes techies, after 3 or so hours on the phone having me flip through numerous setup and initialization procedures, concluded lamely that there must be some sort of incompatibility between their sat receiver and my S-N A/V receiver that is not resolvable short of re-engineering.
    SO I guess my question is this: Am I being snowed by these guys? Have you-all ever heard of such an 'incompatibility' bewtween two electronic components operating in the digital domain? And since the Sat TV sales company that got me the Hughes receivers doesn't carry any other brand, is there any workaround I might try that would restore that glorious but Sisyphean 5.1 surround sound from my DBS?
    Finally, assuming none of the above works, is there a) any sort of encoder-decoder I could plug into the line between the Hughes and my S-N that might mediate this dispute, and b) a decent-sounding newer A/V receiver under $250 with a minimum of 70W/ch that people around here like a lot?

    Thanks for yer patience, and boy am I glad I found you folks! [​IMG]

    --- Johnny Vee.
     
  2. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1998
    Messages:
    2,904
    Likes Received:
    10
    A couple questions.

    1. Is the Sherwood happy with all other 5.1 sources (DVD, for example)?

    2. Have you tried your Hughes box with any other device that takes a digital input?

    3. Do you get the same behavior if you connect the Hughes to a different digital input of your Sherwood?

    Obviously, either the Hughes quites sending its bit stream, or the Sherwood quits decoding it. How to tell which requires some component substitutions, I am afraid.

    BGL
     
  3. JohnnyVee

    JohnnyVee Auditioning

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple answers:

    1) Yes, it is, with both my PAnasonic DVD Audio/Video Player AND with a previous digital cable box that had a digital optical output.

    2) No, because I have no such device in the house that has an optical input. (If it had a digital COAX output I could try it in my Audigy 2 soundcard's SPDIF input.)

    3) Don't know because the Hughes has ONLY an optical output, not a coax one. I'm aware there are optical/coaxial adapters out there, but I fear to try them.

    My sense is that it's the the Hughes that's crapping out, because my receiver's Dolby Digital behaviour is (and has been) otherwise exemplary.

    Thanks for the swift reply, and pls keep em coming!

    --- Johnny Vee.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    47,643
    Likes Received:
    5,047
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Johnny,

    Welcome aboard!
     
  5. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 1998
    Messages:
    2,904
    Likes Received:
    10
    Johnny,

    One more thought....

    Does the Hughes give you the option to switch from Bitstream to PCM? Not sure that will tell us anything, but I would be curious if it was OK in PCM but not bitstream.

    Besides that, I am out of arrows at the moment, baring some component swapping.

    BGL
     
  6. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2001
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does your other Hughes DBS receiver have an optical out? If so, try swapping them around to see if you have the same problem with it.
     
  7. dusty

    dusty Agent

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey Johnny,
    Welcome aboard. I am having similar problems with a Sony SAT-A65 and an Onkyo TX-SR501. On some DD 5.1 broadcasts from my DBS box, no sound at all is output when in bitstream mode. I see the DD light come on in my receiver, but no sound is output. I haven't been able to find a fix. I have a Hughes DBS box that I need to try with the same channel and see if that makes a difference. I will let you know what I come up with. My receiver doesnt have any other problems with 5.1 sources. Except the Avia disc, there was no LFE output for some reason [​IMG]
     
  8. JohnnyVee

    JohnnyVee Auditioning

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    OK, here we go:

    BGL, thanks for emptying yer quiver on my behalf [​IMG] Yes, the Hughes box does have a toggle between PCM and DD modes; if I switch to PCM mode the receiver switches into Pro Logic II mode (which is actually pretty damned good, tho not the Real Thing), then if I toggle back to DD mode the same thing happens again, 4-5 seconds of DD 5.1 sound then nada [​IMG]

    Heath, my other sat receiver is a non-DD Director model and it has no digital outputs of any sort, alas, so no swap possible there [​IMG]

    Dusty, thanks for the commiseration; I was told by the Hughes tech that 'minor' incompatibilities of our sort pop up in about 10% of his calls, so take cold comfort in the fact that we are not alone out there [​IMG]

    And finally Ronald: Thanks for the welcome and the forum! You obviously take running this baby seriously, and it's good to see a little commitment from someone in charge these days [​IMG]

    --- Johnny Vee.
     
  9. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2001
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Since your setup is so new, see if the company you dealt with will swap out receivers for you. At least that way, you will know for sure that you're not just dealing with a flawed sat receiver.
     
  10. dusty

    dusty Agent

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2001
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    hardly a minor problem when us home theaterites cant watch tv on our flawlessly set up systems!! [​IMG]
     
  11. ClintS

    ClintS Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Messages:
    169
    Likes Received:
    0
    You could try a optical to digital converter. They dont cost too much around $25 at partsexpress.
     
  12. JohnnyVee

    JohnnyVee Auditioning

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here we go part deux:

    Heath,
    I already swapped around the sat receivers, a replacement for the original Hughes box. But as the retailer who sold me the package carries only Hughes boxes, I can't swap out the Hughes box for some other brand without returning the whole shebang, and frankly that's a PITA I'm just not interested in at the moment.

    Clint,
    That would be a fine idea if my Sherwood had two coax digital inputs, but alas it has only 1 of each flavor, and my DVD Audio/Video player has only a coax digital out, and it seems silly to throw converters on BOTH signal paths, wouldn't you say?

    Dusty,
    I agree!

    --- Johnny Vee.
     
  13. Heath_E

    Heath_E Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2001
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh O.K., I didn't realize you had already tried two different Hughes boxes.
     
  14. JohnnyVee

    JohnnyVee Auditioning

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well it's been about a month since I started this thread and the situation is exactly the same, alas...BUT:

    I finally found out from nagging a Sherwood-Newcastle techie with around 96 e-mails that my Hughes box is outputting its DD signal "at an amplitude that some older A/V receivers, like yours, may have trouble decoding accurately." He said that switching to another brand of Satbox wouldn't help, as all current-model DD-outputtable Satboxes send their DD output at the same or higher amplitudes (I found that hard to believe - why would you render useless hundreds of previously robust models of A/V receivers?).

    He did add, coquettishly I thought, that the current Sherwood/Newcastle line handled all current and foreseeable DD Satbox outputs just fine - to which I replied, as befits a man once scorned, "I'm sure that's what the engineers who designed your PREVIOUS line of A/V receivers thought, too." At which point, naturally, he hung up on me.

    SO...after having that and a couple other chats with A/V receiver company tech gnomes, I am forced to conclude that I will not be able to enjoy full 5.1 DD off of my satellite until I 'upgrade' my A/V receiver, a proposition I regard with fear, disappointment and nearly empty pockets. (This IS the Yuletide season, remember.) I DO love my Sherwood/Newcastle and would hate to part with it solely for this reason, but then again having a newer, possibly 6.1-channel A/V receiver might lighten the sorrow.

    Any suggestions out there for a low-price/high-value 6.1-channel A/V receiver? Minimum/maximum would be $200/$400.

    Thanks again and happy holidays to you all, may (fill in your culture's Santa Claus equivalent) be kind to you this year....

    --- Johnny Vee.
     

Share This Page