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Audio Return Channel problem on home theater?

by Coolgreek / August 22, 2013 6:09 PM PDT


I own a panasonic tv (et60) and a samsung home theater system (HT-F5500) that both support arc.
I have connected them properly (hdmi out of the HT on the HDMI2 port of the TV which has ARC), enabled all options (on home theater the Anynet+ is enabled ans so is the "ARC" option and on the TV the Viera link is Enabled) but i can not get any sound through the ARC.

At first i was suspicious that it may be the hdmi cable fault so i ordered a new one (high speed, 1.4 and ethernet compatible) to change it. To my surprise even with the new cable i got no result.
From both panasonic and Samsung support i did not get much help (they both say the same things about probable incompatibility of the TV/Home Theater).

Lately trying some dvd's on the HT system i say it could not access data dvd/cd that contained media files (avi, mkv and music mp3/wma) though it played dvd-video and bluray-video discs without problem (from Samsung support said it must be a "finalization" problem on the disks but i've tried plenty of them and always get the same error. Also the Viera link on the TV works as i have succesfully connectet with it to my media player and controlled using the TV-remote.

Could it be the Home theater needs service? Could it be something i have forgotten or not tried? Any help is much appreciated.

-TV panasonic ET60
-HT samsung HT-F5500 connected to TV with ARC
-Media player MEDE8ER med600x3d connected to TV through HDMI and to the HT using optical cable.

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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by Coolgreek

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Other options/connections
by Pepe7 / August 23, 2013 6:29 AM PDT

The only reason I can see you might need to use ARC at all is because you don't have a separate Cable or Satellite box for viewing TV. Is that why you are using it? Otherwise, there's no reason to use it w/ your current components. If so, turning off anynet (which has been suggested) is your first step. Turn off all the extra 'stuff' from both Panny & Sammy to see what happens. Otherwise, you could try a digital optical cable (output) from the Panasonic into the Samsung HT (input).

Regarding reading digital video files from DVD, it's quite normal for certain types of burned (and even commercial) DVDs to simply not play. Much more common when you burn various types of digital video files to a blank DVD then playback on your HT system DVD player. The end run now is to simply utilize a HTPC, or player such as a Roku or WDTV Live which does not make you deal with the inconsistent DVD specification.

You might instead copy your media files to a large USB drive or SDHC card. It seems as though your media player is quite the swiss army knife- much like my WDTV Live is, but with even more options. Nice. Specs for all who are wondering-

Connectivity options if ARC still doesn't work for you (hint: typically the components need to be the same brand for it to work well at all). Separating the audio output so you don't need ARC might be the ticket ;).

Samsung HT (HDMI out) --> (HDMI in) Pansonic HDTV
Media player (HDMI out)--> (HDMI in) Samsung HT
Panasonic HDTV (digital optical out) --> (digital optical in) Samsung HT

Let me know if it works. Otherwise, we can try something else.


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Maybe analog input from TV to the HT?
by Coolgreek / August 25, 2013 3:17 PM PDT

Thanks for the answer Pepe7...

The media player is the "swiss army knife" of my system as you understand too! But the media player does work overtime each and every day (10hours per day i would dare say) as the TV is almost entirely used to view kids show and animations stored at an external HDD (Kids alert!). For that reason i use the optical to connect it to the HT as in this way i do not need to turn off the HT at all (with the HDMI i will have to turn it on), the TV itselfs does sound well for that kind of use.
For a movie with DTS-HD sound (5.1 DD can pass through the optical) i can always use an HDMI cable (i have one ready for that use too)!
Other than that brands say "ARC", it's simple, it's smart and i want it to work as the brands say it should! Plus it messes up with all the connections in my case as it doesn't work (hint: i've read similar cases with Panasonic TV and Samsung HT at the internet but somehow they always get resolved, which i hope will happen in my case as well).

About the data cd/dvd failure it still sounds so odd! I mean i have tons of cd and dvd filled with movies/series/music (mp3) written at different pc's, many of them given to me by friends and none of them works! Older dvd players i've tried do ream them (all) just fine and i can only wonder why in this case the HT does not (it says Data Cd/Dvd when inserted but can not read it's contents). Now i need a pc (or HTPC) to read them because the bluray player doesn't do it's job well?
At samsung support they told me it must be a "finalization" problem of the cd/dvd inserted (although through "chat" i was informed HT can not read data cd/dvd -despite what the manual say- at all)!

Also, about the connectivity options: The HT does have analog sound input (red and white cable), maybe i can connect it to the TV this way (Channels broadcast is just "stereo" here anyway and for other use i always use the media player)? Will i lose "sound quality" that way?

Thanks for reading, that post was quit long! And forgive any syntax mistakes i do, trying my best (Greek is my native language).

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If you have analog options, yes- try those too
by Pepe7 / August 26, 2013 1:16 AM PDT

Although you won't get DD5.1 sound, most TV content is only broadcast in stereo anyway. In this respect analog is just fine.

About the ARC standard, it's still more marketing than substance in real world applications. IME it doesn't always work as it is supposed to, even when you end up with all supposedly ARC supporting components manufactured by the same company. I hope you have a lot of patience about it being resolved. At soon as it involves components from different firms, all bets are off for any chance of it being completely resolved. It doesn't make them any money/costs them too much money compared to what extra sales they might generate if fixed, so they (samsung support, etc.) simply will not generally put forth the time/effort to fix such issues. At least in my experience this is often the case. Maybe you will get lucky though ;).

It's important to understand that your Samsung HT component optical drive (and more importantly, built in firmware) is really not designed to work (well) with file types like a PC or Mac can usually handle. These are more recently added features vs the HT systems that used to be sold without such promises. The DVD standard has not changed- it's still unfortunately somewhat problematic(!) OTOH, with a quick software change/codec install, my PC can play back nearly everything.

Yia sou(?) <sorry, I don't remember much of my greek phrases>

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Ok, will just try analog!
by Coolgreek / August 26, 2013 3:29 PM PDT

Yia sou kai esena Happy (hello to you too) -> Don't remember phrases? No problem, just come again Silly !

Back to the problem, i will try one last time to reset all options, disconnect all cables and then just connect TV and HT to see if that helps... I am not expecting much luck on this though and if that doesn't work i'll just use the analog input from TV to the HT. Like i said broadcast here is many years behind technologically (Digital Broadcast is quite new here, covers less than 50% of Greece and where it exists it has crappy "SD" image with -just- stereo sound).
Tell you the truth i'm quite disappointed in my HT system, no ARC working, can't read data CD/DVD (haven't yet managed to read any), no Wi-Fi (it's optional though Ethernet lan connection exists), slow smart interface. At least it does sound well (especially in movies) and can upscale even DVD's to fit the Full HD TV flawlessly!

I will post news on the problem next week as i'll be out for some days.

Thanks to everyone for reading and especially @Pepe7 and @R. Proffitt (Bob) for taking the time to answer me (and explain too)!

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by mjd420nova / August 28, 2013 1:35 AM PDT

I've worked on many systems that refuse to work as advertised with the ARC option selected. Syncing sound with video takes a few extra frames to process and causes the delay. I think it was intended to give compatible devices the ability to cross control with either remote. But I've not seen a compatible combination. Denon, Altec, Yamaha and any of a dozen others don't live up to the ARC advertisements.

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by Pepe7 / August 28, 2013 1:52 AM PDT
In reply to: ARC

The Lip syncing improvement was (supposedly) part of the HDMI 1.3 standard. As I understand it though, 1.4 gave us ARC, which was intended to eliminate the extra audio cable from HDTV back to a HT audio system. My impression has always been that the remote control related aspects involved are an entirely separate animal (given the problems that already exist, forcing us to use a Harmony, etc.). See here:

The HD Guru makes some useful comments on ARC as well-


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Problem solved. Arc is now working!!!
by Coolgreek / September 2, 2013 4:51 PM PDT

Bellow i have the answer on the settings. Here i will post my testing and how i solved this case (with the help of this forum of course!!!).

I had tried 3 different HDMI cables (supposedly all of them were 1.4 capable). But i had a fourth i never tried until yesterday which was the one that my media player had in the package when i bought it (and the one that i had the TV connected to it).
Secondly for unknown reasons the ARC does not like other devices be connected to the TV (may be a TV hdmi port handling issue on my TV).
Once i did those 2 steps (i also did a factory reset on TV and HT before) the ARC finally worked. Then i reconnected the media player (using the cable i had on the HT at first) and now everything is fine! I do not know though which step solved the problem.

The HDMI cable?
The factory reset and then connection of just the HT to the TV?
Both of them?


Thanks once again to everyone for the help!!!

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ARC is always a pain.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 23, 2013 12:56 AM PDT

I never count on it working HOWEVER let's check the simple things.

Samsung tends to put ARC on HDMI 2. Also there can be issues with ARC and AnyNet so turn off anynet and see if that helps.

The Media player should be fine with just HDMI to the HT. I'd use the optical for the return from TV to HT.

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Arc is a big pain indeed!
by Coolgreek / August 25, 2013 2:51 PM PDT
In reply to: ARC is always a pain.

Thanks for the answer....
Anynet turned off did nothing unfortunately. It seems as the anynet+ is not working at all. The home theater is connected to Hdmi2 (Arc) at the TV but they (TV & HT) can not "see" each other!

About the HDMI from media player to the HT: i know about this option but as i explain to @Pepe7 bellow i prefer it to be with the optical.

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Check that HDMI cable.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 25, 2013 3:07 PM PDT

Is it shiny new and 1.4 or the latest?

As to the optical, my brother nods a lot when folk want to go that route.

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It is 1.4
by Coolgreek / August 25, 2013 3:29 PM PDT
In reply to: Check that HDMI cable.

Thanks again for the answer Bob.
All cables i've tried (iv'e tried 3 different hdmi cables) are high speed (tested with FullHD 3D content) and should work. And all do work with the HT except i can not get "ARC" to work! Plus the last cable i used specifically does (seller say) support all 1.4 features (ethernet and Arc).

Other than that both the TV and the HT (panasonic ET60 and Samsung HT-F5500) are new 2013 models and do support Arc (hdmi 1.4 ports).

Maybe i should use the "analog" input from the TV to the HT?

PS: Forgot to mention: i own the Samsung HT-F5500 home theater, but the UK model which supports ARC as the US model does not!!!

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I hear you.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 26, 2013 12:43 AM PDT
In reply to: It is 1.4

And the problem is that it is very hit and miss. I can't hear or see any difference from HDMI from source to Receiver over Optical to Receiver here but maybe I'm just an audiophilistine. I get a lot of stories from my brother that does installs for the names and I'm an electronics engineer so between the two I see a lot of what's going down the wires.

For me I'd try it with what works.

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Thanks again Bob. I will retry!
by Coolgreek / August 26, 2013 3:37 PM PDT
In reply to: I hear you.

Thanks again Bob Blush .
As i explain to @Pepe7 bellow i will try one last time (disconnect all, factory reset and only connect TV and HT). I will even try to get a new wire too in case it solves anything (however i've tried 3 hdmi cables and none of them worked? I bet the wires is not the problem here).
Wish me luck!

I'll post news next week though Sad (i'll be out for some days)...

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Problem solved. Arc is now working!!!
by Coolgreek / September 2, 2013 4:39 PM PDT

Hi everybody.
I returned as i had promised and have good news. I have managed to make the ARC connection between tv TV and the HT to finally work!
It took a lot of testing and a lot of time (in my case) but i will explain the how i did it in case everyone else have a similar problem (which i see is common enough unfortunately).

First of all the settings:
1) The HDMI-CEC must be enabled in both devices (TV & HT). In Panasonic (my TV) it's called "Viera link" and on the Samsung (my HT) it's called "Anynet +". With "Anynet +" set to off in my HT (as i was suggested) it never worked! Even now that i have managed it to work when i set Anynet to off it will disable the ARC.
2) The cables. Make sure you have cable that match the 1.4 and for safety better have more than one! Although the ARC is supposedly compatible with almost all HDMI cables it's the main reason the ARC may not be working!
3) The connections: Make sure you disconnect everything else and only have connected the TV and the HT through HDMI (at The HDMI-ARC port of you TV, in my case -and most TV's as well- it's HDMI 2 on the TV).
4) If it doesn't work right away retry. Disconnect eveything, power devices off and reconnect them using a different HDMI cable.

Thanks to everyone for reading and once again @R.Proffitt and @Pepe7 for the help!
Bellow on the expanded ansewrs i have more info for my testing!

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Glad you got it to work
by Pepe7 / September 3, 2013 3:24 AM PDT

Good tips as well Wink


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Good to read.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 3, 2013 3:27 AM PDT

Hopefully there will be less pitchforks and torches at the company doors this week.

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Glad you reached resolution (of a sort)
by mjd420nova / September 3, 2013 3:53 AM PDT

Plugging and unplugging those HDMI cables is the biggest detriment to their life. Some setups were even sensitive to what could be equated to a boot sequence. Power on devices in a specific order to insure handshaking and exclusion options that get disabled if not sensed on power up.

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