Yet even without knowing the model of receiver, I just bet Tony has not enabled the Bitstream (or Dolby Digital/DTS) output in his DVD player's audio-setup menu. This almost always is the cause of a newcomer's inability to get DD or DTS 5.1 on first try.
Worse than you assumed guys. The equipment I have, although logo'd with Dolby Digital and DTS, does not have a demodulator in either component. I bought the wrong stuff and must now buy another dvd player with 5.1 output capability (cheaper than another receiver).
Pioneer VSX-D509S A/V receiver. "A special 5.1 channel input makes the VSX-D509S fully compatible with Dolby Digital decoders and DCD players with 5.1 channel outputs."
Panasonic DVD-CV36 DVD/Video CD/CD player. "To enjoy the 5.1 channel surround sound...connect to an amplifier with built in decoder or a separate decoder-amplifier combination"
The quotations I found buried deep inside the manuals when searching for information about my hookups. I made a capital mistake by not reading the details that dealt with compatible rather than capable.
But... the Pioneer VSX-D509S has a DD/DTS decoder in it already. Just hook up the DVD player to the reciever using a digital connection (optical or digital Coaxial) and let the reciever do the decoding, then you wont need another DVD player.
Hmm, looks like Nick is right, are you sure that's the receiver model you have tony? Look on the back, does it have digital inputs? And does it have DD/DTS logos on the front? If it does, run a digital cable and you're good to go.
The receiver manual says,"A special 5.1 Channel input make s the VSX-D509S fully compatible with Dolby Digital decoders and DVD players with 5.1 channel outputs." My interpretation is that the DVD player must be capable of putting out a 5.1 signal. The DVD player manuals says,"This unit has a Dolby Digital decoder so you can play DVDs with this mark" and "This unit does not have a DTS decoder."
Either can be 5.1. The notation simply indicates a format capable of carrying 5 discrete full-range channel, plus a special channel for so-called "low frequency effects". Both DD and DTS have that capability.
The receiver manual is badly written, as most of them are, but it appears to be saying what's been indicated earlier in the thread: It needs an external decoder for 5.1 sources. Many DVD players have their own DD 5.1 decoder, and some also have their own DTS 5.1 decoder. Yours apparently doesn't have the DTS decoder, but it might have the DD decoder.
Here's an easy way to check: On the back panel of your DVD players, is their a cluster of 6 RCA connectors labeled something like "left front, right front, center, left rear, right rear, subwoofer"? If so, the unit has a built-in DD decoder. If not, it doesn't.
THe DVD player doesn't have the magic cluster; however, it does have an optical output. If I'm reading the manual right, Jack Briggs was correct in assuming I did not have the PCM/bitstream setting right. Can I still get 5.1 using an optical cable and setting PCM/Bitstream stuff right?
The DVD manual references:
PCM Down Conversion No: (factory preset) When you have connected an amplifier with audio cables. Yes: When you have connected an amplifier with an optical digital audio cable. (This is what I did).
Dolby Digital Bitsteam: (factory preset) When you have a unit with a built-in Dolby Digital decoder. PCM: When you have connected a unit that doesn't have a built-in Dolby Digital decoder.
DTS Digital Surround Off: (factory preset) When you have connected a unit that doesn't have a built-in DTS decoder Bitstream: When youhave connected a unit with a built-in DTS decoder.
Tony, do you have the 509 or the 409? According to the pictures and the manual, the 509 has digital inputs/output. Just because the manual says it HAS multi-channel analog inptus, does not mean that you MUST use them. Look at the back of the receiver to see if there are digital inputs. If you do, then with this DVD player, this is the only way to get DD.
Again, could you make SURE you know exactly what model of receiver you have? And look on the back for digital inputs, they will be orange RCA coax digital ins, and/or toslink optical digital ins. It will also carry a Dolby Digital and possibly a DTS logo on the front of your receiver. Could you look and provide this information, as I'm still confused as to whether or not your *receiver* is an older PL-only receiver, or is fully DD/DTS capable.