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rolling a new receiver on existing home-theater system (1 Viewer)

Gorlash

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First, I've already read other threads about what actually constitutes a valid home theater system... our system doesn't qualify... I admit it and am properly shamed. I beg y'all, *please* side-step this issue for now, so I can ask some questions about revising our existing system. I'll confess that I am what we might delicately call an experienced newbie... I've been putting together our living room entertainment system for 30 years now, but often I really don't know what I'm doing...

So we are getting ready to replace our existing receiver, which is an ancient Panasonic SA-HE100.
Our media devices are:
> Xfinity HD box (HDMI out)
> Roku box(HDMI out)
> Sony 5-disk CD
> Sony DVD/CD (S-Video out)
> Panasonic Blu-Ray (HDMI out)
> Sony Blu-Ray (currently not connected, due to lack of connections) (HDMI out)

Sound: 5.1 Polk Audio system in front, Klipsch for rear
TV: Panasonic Viera 42-inch plasma, viewed from about 10-12 feet away

The odd thing is, all of the video devices have video connected directly to the TV, and audio to the receiver... that's mainly because that old receiver has *no* HDMI inputs or outputs.
However, the new receiver *will* have these...

So my first, primary question is: I've always assumed that I would want all video outputs to go to the receiver, and I would use its switching mechanisms to select what goes to the actual TV...
That's what I do with audio... Am I correct in this? Or are there reasons that I would want to bypass the receiver for video, and go directly to the TV??

Actually, let me stop with this question, the others are far less important...

Thank you all for any advice that you can provide
 

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JohnRice

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So my first, primary question is: I've always assumed that I would want all video outputs to go to the receiver, and I would use its switching mechanisms to select what goes to the actual TV...
That's what I do with audio... Am I correct in this? Or are there reasons that I would want to bypass the receiver for video, and go directly to the TV??
That is the correct way to connect things.

BTW, I know it's common on other forums to have "requirements"for a home theater, but that's not us. You won't get that here, or if you do it will be shut down fast, so put your mind at rest.
 

JohnRice

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BTW, you'll need to retire your Sony DVD player. Is there any reason the Panasonic or Sony BR player can't take its place?

"Sound: 5.1 Polk Audio system in front, Klipsch for rear"

Would you explain what you mean by this? How are the speakers arranged?
 

Gorlash

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Interesting... The Sony DVD is very reliable... why would I need to retire it ?

As for the speakers, let me be more specific, sorry:
Front left/right: Polk Audio upright speakers (the spires in the image)
center speaker: Polk Audio
subwoofer: Polk Audio
Back left/right: Klipsch KG 1.5

The Polk Audio set came from Circuit City, back when that chain still existed... which gives you an idea how old they are... our TV is even older than that...
 

Gorlash

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That is the correct way to connect things.

BTW, I know it's common on other forums to have "requirements"for a home theater, but that's not us. You won't get that here, or if you do it will be shut down fast, so put your mind at rest.
heh... I was actually referring to a thread that I came across before I posted, but I can't find it now...
Someone had started out with a length... well... diatribe, about what a minimum system had to be, to be a "home theater", and then was complaining about people who hook up "27 inch CRT" to a stereo system and called it a home theater...

In truth, most responders disagreed, and chastised him for his elitist view, but in his later posts he wasn't having any of it!! It actually was interesting to read...

Ahhh, I found it... it's this thread:
A Beginner’s Guide to Home Theater

It was Wookie Groomer's post, about fourth post down in the thread, that I was reading - plus many of the posts which followed that.
 
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Gorlash

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BTW, if I am able to connect video devices to my receiver, that *should* carry audio as well, right?? So I won't need the separate audio cables that I currently run to the receiver...
 

JohnRice

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Interesting... The Sony DVD is very reliable... why would I need to retire it ?

As for the speakers, let me be more specific, sorry:
Front left/right: Polk Audio upright speakers (the spires in the image)
center speaker: Polk Audio
subwoofer: Polk Audio
Back left/right: Klipsch KG 1.5

The Polk Audio set came from Circuit City, back when that chain still existed... which gives you an idea how old they are... our TV is even older than that...
The Sony DVD player only has an analog output. IOW, it doesn't have an hdmi output. Your TV is digital. DVDs are digital. With only analog outputs (Composite or S-Video) the picture is converted to analog by the player, then back to digital by the TV. It all results in a big loss of image quality. Your Blu-Ray players have an hdmi output, so you should use them. Plus, S-Video connections are essentially extinct on receivers, so again, you should use the hdmi on the Blu-Ray players instead.

Now I understand the Polk speakers. You said it was a 5.1 system in the front, which wouldn't make sense, but that's 3.1, which does make sense.

My first and foremost suggestion is to get that center speaker off the bottom shelf and on the top shelf below the center of the TV.

BTW, if I am able to connect video devices to my receiver, that *should* carry audio as well, right?? So I won't need the separate audio cables that I currently run to the receiver...
An hdmi connection carries audio and video. You want all video sources to have hdmi outputs. You can use it for everything.
 

Gorlash

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The Sony DVD player only has an analog output. IOW, it doesn't have an hdmi output.
Oh!! Right, sorry, not thinking... I even noted that in my original post.
Well, that will be fine as the Panasonic BluRay plays DVDs just fine...

My first and foremost suggestion is to get that center speaker off the bottom shelf and on the top shelf below the center of the TV.
Interesting!! We will do that when we get a new receiver in, and re-cable everything...
An hdmi connection carries audio and video. You want all video sources to have hdmi outputs. You can use it for everything.
Excellent!! Thank you!!
 

kalm_traveler

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I second what John suggested 100%. In my experience going back to the late 90's when I cobbled together a 5.1 surround system in my teenage bedroom, speaker placement relative to the viewing seating is in the same ballpark as matching front left, center and right speakers as far as creating a nice enveloping sound environment.

Also agreed time to retire the old Sony DVD player for lack of HDMI. I was going to ask why you have 2 blu ray players connected in addition to the Roku (assuming you wanted one of them for apps that perhaps the other lacked?)

All in all, you certainly have many options for modern receivers that will fit into your system quite nicely all over the price range. You could even go used honestly - I just picked up a gently used Marantz SR-5010 which I believe is a 2015 model (so 6 years old) to use with a 5.1 system on my computer. Got it for $260 with the remote, had to buy a new Audyssey calibration mic for $40 but still $300 seemed like a fine price and it has plenty of HDMI inputs, Dolby Atmos support, etc if I wanted to use it in a 5.2.2 more budget-friendly home theater setup in the future.

For quality and simplicity sake I definitely agree with you that it will be easiest to run all the HDMI connections through the new receiver, and then just 1 HDMI cable out from the receiver to the TV. That way you only need to change inputs on the receiver.

If you can move the center channel up to just below the TV (centered below it), and double check placement of the other 4 speakers to try to get them roughly in ideal positions for a 5.1 surround setup I think you'll be very pleased with how it all sounds. One tip for the center speaker - if in its new home up top it isn't at ear level for your seating (might be lower), I would try to wedge something underneath it to angle where it is pointing up to your ear level - that will improve dialogue clarity and make sound panning across the front a bit smoother sounding.
 

Gorlash

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Thank you all for comments! We will definitely move the center speaker up, when we put the new system together. We won't be able to get it at milady's actual ear position, it would have to be up with the TV!! But it will be better when moved up a bit.

We also will replace the DVD player; actually, the BluRay may also play DVDs as well, which will serve us fine.
The reason for the second BluRay is that, a few years ago, milady got a set of DVDs (Blu-ray disks? I don't recall) of a Canadian program, but they were tagged for that region, and she couldn't play them on her DMP-BDT210 Blu-ray player, so she got the second player for those disks. It worked well enough, but it was very quirky, and she doesn't really care for it; I don't know if she'll even hook it up to the new receiver.

Actually, the main thing she wants to gain from the new receiver is bluetooth support for headphones... we've tried several different external bluetooth plugins for the existing receiver, and nothing ever worked very reliably. As far as she's concerned, the HDMI connectors are just an incidental plus!! Different priorities for different folks...
 

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