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HDMI audio vs optical audio

by FMCook / April 4, 2009 3:19 AM PDT

my receiver has HDMI but it seems to be broken. it works fine for video but I've never been able to get audio to work. I could take it to the repair shop as ONKYO suggested but that's a lot of cables to disconnect. so far I've just gotten over it and run a separate optical cable for audio. seems to work okay. I think I'm getting a full 7.1 surround signal.

so now I'm looking at BluRay. the new Samsung 3600 is a very tempting upgrade. it has HDMI, optical audio, and 7 separate RCAs. is the audio signal really the same on all three outputs? if HDMI doesn't work, should I just connect the optical and get over it? will I still get 7.1 when it the DVD is recorded with it or is the optical signal dummied down from the other two choices.

I do have another option. instead of running the HDMI through the receiver I could run it directly to the TV and then use the digital audio output from the TV to feed back to the receiver. will I lose any audio capability that way? in theory there is a convenience factor in running both video and audio through the receiver but I've got a really good universal remote so that turns out to be a non-issue as my remote can be programmed to change the input in use on the TV when I select an activity.

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Do a little research
by Pepe7 / April 4, 2009 4:41 PM PDT

Look at some of the most basic info on blu ray all over the web. The additional audio codecs is what you would be missing out on by not using HDMI.

Also, by running digital optical back from the (HD)TV, I assume you are using the built in tuner and not a cable or satellite box(?) If not, you would be missing out on the surround sound since many if not most (HD)TVs do not pass though surround sound *back* to a receiver AFAIK. It really would help if you listed the exact makes/models of all your A/V gear in question here ;).


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what about using the analog outputs?
by FMCook / April 5, 2009 9:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Do a little research

No I do have a cable box. The Receiver is an Onkyo 605. I tried running HDMI from the cable box to the receiver and from the receiver to the TV. worked fine for video. couldn't get it to work for audio. worked with ONKYO techs via email and I'm satisfied it wasn't a programming issue in the receiver. ONKYO thought there might be something wrong in my receivers HDMI board. it could also be a cable issue as my HDMI cables are ultra cheap ones I ordered on the web; however, if I run one of these cables direct from the cable box to the TV it does get audio. so I gave up and ran the video straight to the TV via HDMI and ran the audio direct from the cable box to the receiver via a digital line; although I could certainly try again.

my current DVD player is an older ONKYO without HDMI so it runs component video and digital audio. at first I ran the component video through the receiver but I decided there was no reason to do that and now it goes direct to the TV. again audio goes to the receiver with a digital line.

what prompts the question is the notion of upgrading the DVD to Blu-Ray. I'm looking at the new Samsung 3600 and wondering if I will get full surround sound if I don't figure out why my 605 isn't getting HDMI audio from the cable box. Now my 605 does have a full set of 7 RCA jacks that I'm not using at all. will I get all the codecs if I just run a full set of 7 separate wires? HDMI is more elegant but using the RCA jacks could be the simple solution and the cheapest one too if the problem is my el cheapo HDMI cables. you can buy a lot of RCA cables for the price of what they get for a single premium HDMI cable. will I lose any sound if I just forget about being fancy and drop back to a full set of analog connections?

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Hookup solution possibilities
by Pepe7 / April 5, 2009 11:12 AM PDT

Simply avoid connecting HDMI to the receiver at this point. You could run HDMI straight from the cable box to the HDTV for video only (which a lot of HT enthusiasts prefer). Do what you are currently doing running digital optical out from the cable box to the receiver to get your DD surround sound (your receiver turns DD5.1 into 7.1, btw).

I also really need to know which cable box you have (nudge, nudge) Wink

AFAIK the 605 does have multi channel analog inputs, so you could go that route with a BD player that had the correct outputs to provide you with the full monty of additional wideband audio options. OTON, it may be as simple as a communication issue between your cable box and receiver that is preventing you from hearing the audio correctly. Just a guess however.


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multi-channel inputs
by FMCook / April 5, 2009 12:52 PM PDT

so there is no downside to using the multichannel inputs other than the cable maze? I'd get just as good of audio as making the HDMI work and as good or not better than the digital? it has to be better to run the video directly to the TV instead of through the receiver.

the advantage of using the receiver is that everything goes to the TV through a single input that way but my wife never could figure out how to use the remove that came with the cable box to control the various devices that had to be switched when I had things hooked up that way so I bought a Harmony One remote. now I can program it to make all the adjustments. I figure there has to be some signal loss taking the video through the receiver so I stopped doing it.

the cable-box is a Scientific Atlanta Explorer and I have tried changing its audio settings but never could find the magic combination that would allow my 605 to receive the audio signal over the HDMI cable.

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*Which* sci atlant explorer?
by Pepe7 / April 6, 2009 1:42 AM PDT
In reply to: multi-channel inputs

Which model?? It might make a difference if I can look at box settings online in a user manual Wink


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the explorer is
by FMCook / April 6, 2009 7:50 AM PDT

the cable box is a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HDC. the audio digital output is set to HDMI rather than dolby digital and seems to have no effect as actually the current setup is using a digital cable rather than an HDMI. I've tried both settings with both types of cables.

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How about ...
by Pepe7 / April 7, 2009 1:01 AM PDT
In reply to: the explorer is

...connecting the HDMI cable again from the SA box to your receiver and going into the cable box and doing the following:

-Hit the Settings button on the remote
-Choose 'Devices' on the Quick settings menu
-Choose 'HDMI' for audio

Let me know if that works.


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help getting sound from all 6 speakers
by mgosswein / December 29, 2009 3:03 PM PST
In reply to: How about ...

I have the Scientific Atlanta 8300 cablebox hooked up to my 46 inch samsung 46a540 hdtv thru HDMI and a Samsung 5.1 ch HT-Z422 dvd home theater connected via HDMI to the HDTV. I was only able to get sound from all 6 speakers only when watching DVD's from the HT-Z422's dvd player. I was told that I needed a digital audio connection from my cable box to the HT-Z422 in order to bypass the tv sound to get to the home theater speakers in the HT-Z422 (I used a optical audio cable to handle that). I get sound now thru the HT-Z422's speakers when watching shows on Cable, but only from the front can I get sound from all 6 speakers when watching Cable TV?

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7.1 RCA multichannel
by bearvp / April 7, 2009 3:30 AM PDT
In reply to: multi-channel inputs

You would be fine connecting your Blu-ray player to your receiver with the 7.1 analog connections for sound to enjoy the DTS-MA and TrueHD codecs. Then you could just run a separate HDMI cable from the BR player to your HDTV for video.

I'm pretty surprised that your Onkyo has trouble with audio via HDMI. I assumed you tested each HDMI input to see if one of the four worked? I have a Onkyo TX-SR803 with 2 HDMI inputs and I know that to get the HDMI audio working you need to go into the setup menu and manually assign Video 1's audio to the HDMI input you want to use.

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by Pepe7 / April 7, 2009 5:23 AM PDT
In reply to: 7.1 RCA multichannel

Onkyos are pretty solid with HDCP, and most audio settings that I can think of. A real value. Now the mass produced boxes for the cable companies are another thing entirely. Either it's the buried audio setting that I've suggested, or a box swap might be in order perhaps. Good call on checking one of the other HDMI ports.


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box swap
by FMCook / April 7, 2009 6:15 AM PDT
In reply to: Indeed

good point. it could indeed be a defect in my cable box rather than a defect in my receiver. with only one device with HDMI, I really don't have a good way to test that. maybe what I should do is go ahead and buy the Blu-Ray and see what it does. if it works with HDMI, then the problem is in the cable box and I can swap it out. if it doesn't work either, I can choose between getting the ONKYO repaired and using the analog inputs and I think I'd just get the cables to use the analog multi-input jacks.

first, however, I'm going to make one last try to get the cable box to work with HDMI. I think I tried both ports and all the possible settings but it can't hurt to give it another shot.

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Similiar Hook-up Query
by grazz3 / December 31, 2009 3:29 AM PST

I have an Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver(circa 2005), that I believe decodes 5.1 and DTS audio. In fact it sounds great with DTS DVD's. Unfortunately it has no HDMI capability. I just purchased a Panasonic BR player (DMP BD60K) and plan to hook it up via HDMI to my Samsung 52LA630 LCD TV. Then run optic cable from the BR player to Onkyo receiver. Am I correct that I cannot access the true HD audio offered through the Panasonic BR player? In following the above connection scenario will I get my optimum audio? Will I have to change settings on BR/receiver? Your feed back and suggestions are appreciated.

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Fix that works
by vhendon / September 5, 2010 12:44 PM PDT
In reply to: Similiar Hook-up Query

I have a similar setup to all. The fix is to connect your optical cable from your TV to Optical in of the Onkyo Receiver. Press the "Digital button" to cyle through the choices until you arrive at Optical. Your sound should work fine. I have a 7.1 Audio. Also, ensure you run the speaker setup (using the supplied Mic) for the best listening experience.

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I had the exact same problem with the same reciever
by sid1959 / March 30, 2011 10:26 AM PDT

It took me a while to figure it out as I am not an electronics whiz ... all you have to do is switch the input and re-assign it.
I used input4 -game/tv.

Worked for me, Sid

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