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DTS Audio: HDMI ARC vs. optical

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by RoyKeane, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. Message #1 of 9 Dec 16, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2017
    RoyKeane

    RoyKeane Auditioning

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    Just got a Vizio sound bar - it can connect to the TV via HDMI ARC, which is convenient. I then connected a Blu-Ray (a PS3) to the TV via HDMI, with no separate audio out connection from the PS3 (because the HDMI ARC delivers the audio to the sound bar)

    HOWEVER....in doing this, I lose the ability to output Dolby DTS from the PS3 to the sound bar - you need to use a separate optical/digital connection for that. There is surround audio, but it is not specifically DTS anymore (the bar has an LED indicator that specifies if the sound source is DTS vs. other types of signals, if that makes sense).

    SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: should I bother with the optical/digital audio connection from PS3 to sound bar just for the sake of preserving DTS, or is the audio I'm getting via HDMI ARC as good (or better)?

    In other words, am I losing anything by not getting specifically DTS audio?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    What appears to be happening here is that your audio is being converted to some format [likely LPCM 2.0] by your TV. What make and model are your TV? This will answer some questions.

    As to connecting optical to your soundbar, I wouldn't recommend it, as the bandwidth that can pass over optical is limited by the tech, meaning that any Dolby or DTS audio passing over optical will be the lossy core, as opposed to lossless audio that is available on BDs and some games.
     
  3. RoyKeane

    RoyKeane Auditioning

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    It's a panasonic Viera TC-L37U3
     
  4. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    I suspect you are losing your DTS 5.1 signal and are getting stereo LPCM as Stephen says. Most soundbars do a truly awful job of surround, so I'm not sure the difference would be noticeable either way, but I would continue to use the dedicated optical cable if it were me.
     
  5. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    One more question: does your Vizio sound bar have HDMI in and/or out?
     
  6. RoyKeane

    RoyKeane Auditioning

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    it has both an HDMI in and an HDMI ARC connection

    But, from what I understand, if you run audio via the HDMI ARC connection, it can be surround sound but it won't specifically DTS. For DTS, you have to connect the component sending the audio signal via digital optical or digital coax
     
  7. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    That doesn’t sound right to me. Does it have HDMI out as well?
     
  8. RoyKeane

    RoyKeane Auditioning

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    It has an HDMI In and an HDMI Out (which is the ARC connection)

    But here's a note from the manual about DTS:

    "Dolby Digital and DTS are only available on either the Coaxial In or Digital Optical Audio In inputs. When a Dolby Digital or DTS signal is detected, the Dolby Digital (White) / DTS (Blue) indicator LED will light up for 5 seconds before fading away."

    In other words, you can use the HDMI ARC connection to deliver audio from a device to the soundbar, but if you want to deliver DTS audio, you have to use a coax or digital optical audio connection
     
  9. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    I would still run your source in to the soundbar, then the output to the TV, as it seems that no matter which way you run it to the soundbar, the audio is getting downconverted in some way.
     
    RoyKeane likes this.

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