HDTV cable box and 5.1

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Randy Brist, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. Randy Brist

    Randy Brist Agent

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    I tried hooking up the digital coax from my new Motorola HDTV cable box (Insight Communications) to my Denon AVR-3200. I simply unplugged the current digital coax from the back of my DVD player and plugged it into the HDTV box. Nothing. The Denon's error/overload light came on. The best I could do was Dolby Pro-Logic (Analog DVD)...the Denon calls it DVD Auto. Yes, the programming from both HBO HD and Showtime HD was advertised before the movie as "available in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound where available." The installer said it's available. After cable troubleshooting and double-checking the Denon's settings, I couldn't help but think the Motorola's digital outputs (both the coax and the optical) were not functioning. When I re-connected my DVD player, the Dolby Digital light came back on and all was well. Has anyone had a similar experience? The box IS passing an analog audio signal from the cable company's info channel.


    Thanks for any ideas/suggestions. At least the picture looks fairly decent.

    RandyB
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I believe the Motorola box has a setting for digital/analog output. You have to tell the box you want it to output digital. Also, did you switch the input on the Denon from DVD to something else? If you did, the digital coax was still assigned to the DVD and was not available for the input you were using (if it's anything like my 3801).


    Try the box settings first, that's probably it.
     
  3. Randy Brist

    Randy Brist Agent

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    I have looked at the minimal setup menu on the Motorola box. I can change format and viewing (LTBX, PAN-SCAN, etc...) but I don't see anything on the menu about audio. All other info is greyed out. I don't think the full menu has been activated yet. There is no on-screen display, program menu, etc....

    I believe on the AVR-3200 I MUST use the DVD input to get Dolby Digital. The installer said it was the first time he had run into this issue, but they've only installed a handful of these boxes I guess. HE didn't act like there was any kind of box activation needed- nor did the 2 people he talked to on the phone.


    Thanks.

    RandyB
     
  4. Randy Brist

    Randy Brist Agent

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    It turns out the problem was not the Motorola HD cable box, but my Denon AVR-3200. It apparently wasn't processing the dolby digital signal from the cable box. I am not sure why since it handled the DVD's audio just fine. I purchased a Pioneer VSX-D812K just to see what would happen. I hooked up the box and waited for a 5.1 program. When it came on- the Dolby Digital logo lit up and it was 5.1. Compared to what I spent on the Denon several years back, the Pioneer was an absolute bargain. I will play for a few days and see if I like it enough to keep it.

    RandyB
     
  5. Randy Brist

    Randy Brist Agent

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    Well, The Pioneer unit went back to the store. It sounded awful when playing music. I couldn't get used to it and no amount of tweaking helped. I exchanged it for a Yamaha HTR-5660 and am much happier now. I also ended up replacing my front speakers (old Bose acoustimass-no comments please!) with Polk R30's. Big difference.

    RandyB
     
  6. ChuckS

    ChuckS Auditioning

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    Bump

    I am having a similar problem with my motorola HD box from my cable company. I have a Denon 3801 and a Mits ws65807. I can get a Digital signal via an optical cable from the DVD player, but not out of the HD box. I went into the Denon menu and turned on the digital optical input.

    The problem I found is that I do not have an option through the Mits TV to assign a digital signal to the DTV input.

    Can anyone shed some light on this problem? If you need more detailed info please let me know. Thanks in advance.

    Chuck
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    ChuckS,

    You have to turn on the digital audio out from the HD box. It is probably available from your setup menu, under "audio". If not, there is a setup menu you can access by turning the box off and hitting "Menu" on the front of the box (not available from the remote).
     
  8. John S

    John S Producer

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    It has to be some sort of PCM / Bitsream problem.

    How many digital inputs do you have on the Denon?
    Can you at least try a different one perhaps?


    Does seem way odd, but I have seen recevers get sort of locked into the mode it first detects from a device.

    Using a previously unused digital in may just solve the issue.

    Does seem dang strange though, I have never seen a true incompatibility between digital in's and out's, but I suppose there is a first time for everything.
     
  9. TrevorST

    TrevorST Stunt Coordinator

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    There is a known problem with Denon receivers and the Motorola box. No one has ever figured out (to the best of my knowledge) what the problem is but the Denon units will not play the digital signal from the Motorola output. I have a 3200 that plays every other digital signal I throw at it, but refuses to play anything from the Motorola HD box. My HK unit in the other room plays the Motorola signal just fine.
     
  10. Jeff Brooks

    Jeff Brooks Second Unit

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    I have a Motorola HD box and a Denon 1803, using the optical feed, and it works great.
     
  11. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Ditto, I have a Motorola HD box and a Denon 3803, using the coax feed, and it works great.

    Let's wait until Chuck confirms he has activated the bitstream out on the Motorola box before we say it is the receiver's fault. Most likely the box came from the cable company with bitstream inactive.
     
  12. ChuckS

    ChuckS Auditioning

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    Thanks for the input guys. What I eventually had to do was run the composit cable from the HD box right to the TV and not through the Denon. Then I just set the Mits DBS input to receive the digital optical signal. So, now I have the 1080i through the DTV input and the digital signal through the DBS input. This only results in one extra blue screen when I scroll through the TV's input selection. Everything else seems to work fine.

    The motorola did not have an option to adjust/ activate the bitstream or pcm. If I recall the only audio options through the Motorola were light, heavy or advanced. The other menu that Jeff mentioned did not have any audio options at all. Thanks again for all your input.

    Chuck
     
  13. Chad F.

    Chad F. Agent

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    I hav'nt had that problem with my Motorola box, it always puts out a DD signal which I can listen to in Dobly Pro Logic II or DD Stereo. I own a Harmon Kardon AVR230.
    The problem I have is with my remote, it only works about 4 feet away, I am going to make a new thread about it if you guys have any issues like that come and post please. This looks like a great forum and you guys seem very helpful and knowledgable...sweeeeet.
     

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