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Surround Sound for Cable TV (1 Viewer)


Aug 8, 2008
Real Name
Just bought a SS system, and am trying to receive audio from the TV.

We have cable service with DVR (this has a digital cable box). We have bypassed the DVD player and are trying to connect from the receiver to the cable box.

We bought the Optical cable, connected all speakers, but not all spkrs are working.

Is it possible to get this to work on Cable/TV?


Senior HTF Member
Aug 22, 2000
Real Name
Welcome to the forum. This section is for questions about speakers and subwoofers. What type/size to buy, etc. This post should be in the Source Components section since the problem lies with your cable DVR.

Since some of the speakers are working, I am assuming that the connection is correct. Most of the time, the default setting for a cable box is PCM audio (stereo). You will need to go into a setup menu and change it to Dolby Digital or "raw". This will allow full surround sound to be sent to your receiver via the optical cable.

Remember that only digital channels will have full surround sound. Analog channels may have it but it will be matrixed from 2 channel like Dolby Pro Logic. If your receiver is like mine, it will display the audio type it is receiving DPL or Dolby Digital. But DD can be 5.1, 3.1, 2.1 or 2.0 and still be correct. It will vary by program and channel.

For future questions, give us a little more detail. Manufacturer and model numbers help a lot. You question is like going to an automotive forum and saying "My car is making a clunk sound. How do I fix it?".



Supporting Actor
May 5, 1999
Santa Clara, CA
Real Name
Martin O.
You have the optical cable connected – but are not getting sound from all of the speakers.

So, a signal is getting from your box to your receiver – so you now need to debug the rest of the issues.

Going into debug mode – just follow the signal until you uncover and fix the problem – here is how I would do it.

– You have a DVR with some kind of setup, a receiver with some kind of setup, and speakers that you have connected to it.

To ensure that the speakers are indeed connected correctly (no loose wires) – the receiver should have some sort of test tone generator in it. This is used to balance all of the channels (there are separate threads on how to do that) – Go ahead and balance the speaker levels of your system – it could be that the speakers you are not hearing any sound from are just set to a very low level – and setting the sound levels is a good idea anyway.

Make sure that all of your speakers are connected correctly – ensure the sound is coming from the correct speaker in your setup – the sound generator will cycle through all of the channels (left front, center, right front, right rear, left rear, and sub)

Now – after that test – you can rule out the receiver to speaker connections.

Next – make sure the receiver itself is setup to output all of these channels – if it is not setup correctly, the above test might also point this out. This test signal will cycle through the speakers that the receiver is setup to output – so if it thinks there are no rear channels connected, it won’t send a signal there.

Now – if this test also passes – then you need to look at your cable box – there may be a setting to output DD over the optical cable for a 5.1 channel system. Since you are getting some sound – this might be OK...

One more thing it could be – even with all of the connections and setup working correctly – most sources from the cable service will not be using the rear channels very much. You may just be watching a source where there isn’t much surround info.

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