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Dolby Digital Output from TV

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Gibson187, May 6, 2010.

  1. Gibson187

    Gibson187 Auditioning

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    I have a 46" Sharp Aquos LCD TV - After looking in the manual for the tv i says that the output is dolby digital and PCm rated. Does this mean i can line in my devices and everything will come out with the dolby digital signal. I am really trying to optimize my system without trying to spend a ton of money. I am eventually going to place speaker components for a higher end HT system on my birthday list.

    THis is what i have at my disposal
    1) Bose Acoustimass 6 vSpeakers and Bass Module
    2) Sony STR De 595 Receiver
    3) KLH Bass Bite Subwoofer
    4) 5 KLH Sattellite Speakers

    Can you guys help me out?
     
  2. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    This question is asked a lot, and the standard answer is that about 90% of TVs out there will NOT pass digital surround sound information from any external sources - even if they're connected via HDMI. At best, it will be downmixed to stereo, at worst it won't be passed through at all. Only audio picked up using the TVs built-in tuner will be output as digital surround sound.

    That being, said, I figured I'd check out a Sharp manual just in case the set fell into the small range of those that do.

    You didn't mention the specific model of Sharp TV, but I downloaded a manual from one of their sets and this is what I found (from page 28 of this particular model TV):



    Of course, this is as ambiguous and un-helpful as expected. It mentions output in "Dolby Digital" form, but that does not necessarily mean 5.1. Of course it's a digital signal (it's on an optical cable, after all) but it could very well be Dolby stereo. My money would be that this set WON'T pass any digital 5.1 sound from any of your sources.

    The best way to handle digital surround sound from multiple sources is to route the audio from each source to your receiver, and let the receiver handle the switching. If you need to run video directly to the TV, then you can do that and switch video sources on the TV and audio sources on the receiver.
     
  3. Gibson187

    Gibson187 Auditioning

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    1) Is there anyway that i could test whether or not the signal is coming out of the the optical out is 5.1 - because when i play it from the tv ido hear it from all speakers.

    2) The only reason why i say this is because the receiver has one coax digital input, an optical input for video 2 and an optical input t for cdSAcd. - All i have are component video outputs for video within the receiver.

    Should i just try to sell all and start over?
     
  4. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Probably the easiest way to tell would be if your reciever has some sort of indicator light or display element that comes on when a Digital 5.1 signal is received.

    Just because you hear sound from all speakers doesn't necessarily mean it's native 5.1 - you could just be hearing Dolby ProLogic simulated surround that will produce sound from all speakers.

    If your receiver doesn't have a Dolby Digital 5.1 light, then go into the setup and make sure the audio settings for that input are set to "Direct" or something similar (whatever setting means NO simulated surround mode or signal processing whatsoever). Also make sure that your DVD player or whatever source you're listening to is set to output digital 5.1 and that the audio track of the movie you're listening to is in fact digital 5.1. If doing all of this STILL produces sound from all speakers, then it's possible you're getting digital 5.1, but it's hardly conclusive.

    As for the limited number of connections available, it would help if we knew how many and what types of devices you wanted to hook up and how they would be connected.

    Also, to reinforce from earlier - you don't HAVE to have both the audio and video going to the receiver. If the receiver doesn't handle HDMI video, then you can route the video from each source directly to the TV (using HDMI), and just run separate digital audio connections (optical or coaxial) from each source to the receiver (you have 1 coax. and 2 optical inputs available).

    Unless you're dealing with more than three sources, I don't know that you'll NEED to start over - I think there's a way you can get this work (albeit perhaps not in as straightforward a manner as is possible). Generally speaking, though, it's easier to pick out the right equipment when you know what you want to do and what other equipment you have.

    Edit: I just found an online version of your receiver's manual. Apparantly, it DOES have a "Multi-Channel Decoding Indicator" that lights up on the front panel. Either "DD Digital" or "DTS" should appear. There is also a "DD Pro Logic II" indicator which, if lit, means you're NOT getting digital 5.1.

    Also, be sure the receiver's "A.F.D" is set to "Auto", not "Dolby PL", "PLII MOV", or "PLII MUS". Auto ensures that the signal is decoded as it's encoded.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Jason:

    As far as I know, only a handful of recent Vizio models will pass multichannel audio via the digital output from anything other than their built-in tuners. I suspect that everything you found in that Samsung manual refers to that function and has nothing at all to do with outputing audio from other sources. It not may output any sound at all from other sources (some sets don't) and it is pretty much a lock that the best it does is two-channel audio as you said.

    BTW, Matt, I'd forget about incorporating the Bose into the HT. With a receiver, real subwoofer and five bookshelf speakers you don't really need it. I'd move it to some other room where "better than TV sound" would be nice.


    Regards,


    Joe
     
  6. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Joe,


    I agree with your assessment completely - but I find it particularly amusing that for as often as this question comes up (and considering the countless number of people that try using the digital out in this very same way) it seems there is next to NOTHING in any TV manual that makes the distinction (or even admits that a distinction exists) between internal and external sources.


    I suppose it's naive to think that a TV manufacturer would willingly put information about a functional limitation in the product documentation, but seeing as how far home theater systems have come in recent years, and how popular they are, you would think that some engineer somewhere would see to it that this fundamental (and nearly industry standard) would be a little more publicized...


    Sigh...
     
  7. Gibson187

    Gibson187 Auditioning

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    You guys are a real big help within this - So i have one question to ask further - one of the optical inputs is tagged for the DVD input and the other optical is the CDSACD input - will the SACD digital input pick up the DTS signal?
     
  8. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    I would think that it would and that the CD/SACD designation is more a matter of aesthetics than actual functionality. Although it is possible that the manufacturer could disable certain decoding options for certain inputs, I really think it's unlikely. Just be sure to check all options within the setup menu - if you see specific settings for that input relating to how the signal is processed, etc. just follow the same guidelines as above and hopefully it will work out.


    Good luck!
     
  9. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    As Jason stated, test it. But I have a DVD player connected to my receiver's digital CD input and it decodes DD and DTS with no problem. This is a Pioneer that is a few years old.
     
  10. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    There are dts cds you can buy (see Amazon.com), so yes, it should pick up dts signal just fine.
     
  11. CB750

    CB750 Screenwriter

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    Welcome Gibson,


    Speaking of connections I hope you realize it would be next to impossible to connect both the Bose Acoustimass 6 vSpeakers and Bass Module to the KLH sub and speakers to your Sony receiver at the same time. I cannot speak of the KLH speakers but we do see a lot of posts were folks have a used Bose Cube system at their disposal. They either got them cheep at e-bay or were passed down from someone who upgraded to a real 5.1 speaker system.


    You are going to have to choose between the Bose and KLH for now and your ears will tell you which sounds best. If for some strange reason you like the Bose better you could improve the Bose sound by adding the KLH Sub.
     
  12. Gibson187

    Gibson187 Auditioning

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    Once again - Thanks for the input - I am probably going to get another optical cable and give it a go until i get the new receiver. - I have found that the bose speakers in addition to the KLH sub sound pretty good and full for the room. I am debating upon which receiver to pick up.


    I have looked at the onkyo tx sr 508 7.1 - is there anything else that is comporable within that price range? It is 349 on amazon and i can get free 2 day shipping.
     
  13. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    The Onkyo 508 is a good choice because it has full HDMI capability and will provide great convenience in being able to hook up all your high def devices using just a single HDMI cable for each (4 HDMI inputs).


    The one potential drawback with this model Onkyo is that it does not provide "analog to digital upconversion" of video signals. What this means is that if you have older, analog devices (a VCR, non-upconverting DVD player, or a Nintendo Wii) that only have composite or component video connections (i.e. not HMDI), their video signals will not be upscaled and output via the HDMI cable to the TV. You would need to run additional video connections (one for each type) from the receiver to the TV.


    It's a minor issue, and one that only affects the convenience of switching sources. With analog to digital upconversion, you only need to change inputs on the receiver no matter which device you want to use. Without the feature, you'll have to swtich inputs on both the receiver and TV if your'e going from an HDMI source, to say a component video source.


    The next model up in the Onkyo line, the 608 does have analog to digital upconversion. This feature is usually not found on lower-teir models, but can be found on most mid-level receivers.


    If you have devices that only have analog video connectivity, it might be worthwhile to get a receiver that can upconvert.
     
  14. Gibson187

    Gibson187 Auditioning

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    Hmm. - That is a good point about the video upscaling.


    Here is what i have in terms of devices -


    1) I have my HD-DVR Cable Box - made through scientific atlanta - Does everything on cable broadcast in Stereo or do HD Channels broadcast in DTS or 5.1

    2) Play Station 3

    3) Nintendo Wii - which will just get plugged straight into the tv - I dont feel that the wii needs surround sound for its games.

    4) my old dvd player which is being phased out due to the acquisition of the ps3.


    Eventually i am thinking about getting a huge capacity cd changer for the zone 2 when i get a house -


    Also does anyone know of a good inexpensive 8" -10" subwoofer?
     
  15. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    DTS is not part of the HDTV spec, so no one broadcast using it. HD channels can broadcast in full DD 5.1 - but whether they do or not depends on the source programming. CSI on your local CBS affiliate will likely be in DD 5.1, but the local newscast or afternoon talk show might not be. (And sometimes local stations even have trouble with the digital audio feed from the network. I once had to switch to the SD version of a channel because the DD audio went out entirely. Another time a show just lost the center channel - I could hear lots of music and sound effects, but virtually no dialogue. )


    Regards,


    Joe
     
  16. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    If budget is a concern, Amazon also has last year's Onkyo 607 available for $50 less than the 608. It's not HDMI 1.4 like the 608, but it does the video upconversion.


    Oh, and just a clarification on the Wii - you could still run the audio through the receiver with the 508 and only route the video directly to the TV if you'd like.


    As far as subwoofers go, not sure what you had in mind budget-wise, but folks around here often recommend the Dayton subwoofers from parts-express.com. They have an 8" model, a 10" model and a 12" model. The 12 incher has a frequency response that reaches below 30Hz which is pretty good.
     
  17. Gibson187

    Gibson187 Auditioning

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    The Dayton fits incredibly into my budget - $95 for an 8 " sub and 131 for a 10", the KLH one that i have distorts at higher volume levels. Has anyone had any experience with these - does it provide great rumbling without distortion - also the klh doesnt have a phase setting nor a standby status that powers on when the amp powers on.


    Also are you sure the onky 607 has the upscaling? - i read the specs it doesnt seem to have that feature mentioned.
     
  18. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    According to the Onkyo website, the 607 does have analog to digital upconversion, and I also checked the manual for the 607 and page 25 states the following:



    I don't have any firsthand experience with the Dayton subwoofers, but go with the largest model that your budget will allow - the rumbling is achieved by moving air, and you need size to do that. 8" is actually quite small and can only achieve so much. How large is your room? That will have a huge impact on what you should expect from a subwoofer.
     
  19. Gibson187

    Gibson187 Auditioning

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    http://www.stamfordcornersapts.com/templates/template_jpi_c/floorplan-a2.asp?w=stamfordcorners&flplid=1


    This is the exact blueprint minus the loft because my unit isnt lofted. i


    If looking at the blue print the right most wall of the living room has the sectional flush against it with the rear surrounds wall mounted 1' above ear level angled in. - the tv is on the wall opposite that with the center channel on the stand below with the fronts on sands - i have the acoustimasss module on the left of the tv near the fire place and the sub on the right hand side. I think the 8 in one is pefect for the rooom but i may get the 10 in case i decide to upgrade them.
     
  20. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    I would definitely go with the larger sub - you can always crank it down for now, but better to have the power in reserve for when you really need it.
     

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