Samsung LN46A650 audio dropout occurring at complete random.

I have been experiencing an audio dropout from time to time, most
recently a week ago. It happens on my home theater setup and when it
does, lasts for a good two seconds or so. Now, my setup is a little bit
involved, so please bear with me.

I am running an Asus G73JH gaming laptop through HDMI on my Samsung LN46A650 television using the television as both my monitor and speakers. Now, my television is connected via optical to the audio console of my Panasonic SA-PT960 5.1 home theater all-in-one, with wireless speakers in the rear.

Now as for the specifics of the incident, I was running a video on my laptop to play on my television. It was an .m4v video file being played in Media Player Classic 64-bit Edition. By the way, I am running Windows 7 64-bit. It may also be worth noting that I have a 3-way optical splitter,
so that could have something to do with it, but not likely in my
informed opinion.

This is my biggest lead so far; at the time
that this happened, I was using Nero burning software to burn the
same video onto a DVD that I happened to be playing in the media
player. I don't know how often or likely it is that audio dropouts can
derive from burning software, but I imagine it's quite possible when
you're playing the same video that you're burning, simultaneously.
Anyways, food for thought.

The dropout took place a few minutes into the video file and as I
mentioned earlier, it lasts a fair good seconds, more or less. This same
duration fits a similar audio dropout I encountered about a month ago,
but I had a different source running; cable box via component. (Could the problem perhaps lie with the TV itself?)

I have mentally exhausted all possibilities but as I mentioned earlier,
this problem does not happen as frequently as I would like, so I can't
really test different solutions that often. That being said, just a few
days ago I did update my television's firmware, and Samsung
televisions have been known to resolve various audio issues through
software updates. Also, I switched HDMI cables, perhaps eluding the
problem to a faulty cable. The problem hasn't happened since but if I
know my setup as well as I do, it will likely happen again.

Does anyone have some concrete insight into this nastily vague
conundrum? I apologize for how cryptic I made it out to be, but it's one
of the single most perplexing issues I've ever encountered.

Thanks for any help.

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Clarification Request
So it drops out while using the PC?

I am guessing here you didn't live through Windows 3.1 and the days you didn't dare touch the PC during a burn of MP3s would crack up if you launched Word?

Your post reads as if you didn't live through that and expected the PC to not miss a beat.

The problem is clear to me. Fixing it is unlikely until a few more generations of the PC arrive. For now try using what works like a media player. I'm using a Roku and Apple TV to avoid the old PC play issues.

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You've got a point

Oh no no, I definitely lived through those days, haha. I was always pretty careful as to not disturb the burning process, but I think I've drastically overrated today's technology. I've gotten so spoiled by my performance laptop that I guess I figured that if anything, my multi core CPU would take care of everything and allow me to multitask while using the DVD burner. Maybe tech hasn't evolved as much as I would have liked.

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Let me reverse and recant (just a little.)

My best multitasker is on some i5 based machine with Windows 7 64 bit 6GB RAM "Dell" installed and as the movie line goes ""Looking good, Billy Ray!" "Feeling good, Louis!". But I would have many reservations about calling it bullet proof to playing HD to the HDTV without expecting it to occasionally skip a beat.

-> Let me share that one thing that I find folk dismissing for odd reasons and that's the Intel Rapid Storage helper app. I note it because after running into that some dozen times last month where folk dismiss because they don't have RAID they also missed what else it does on single drives.

Your setup is far above my lowly dell but my kid has one of those 1080p 15.4 inch G somethings from Asus, quad core i7 powered and such. While it rips along nicely, I still see it lag at times.

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If I can just narrow it down...

If I can at the very least narrow the problem down to the peripheral itself, I can at least rest a little easier. As it stands, I don't even know if it's the TV causing it, the sound system, or even the computer. If I only knew where to start, I could feel a little better about this problem but I feel like the problem could derive from anywhere at this point.

As an estimated guess, what would you say is the most probable component to be causing the dropout?

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