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post #1 of 7 Old 02-21-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I am getting ready to set up a home theater in my basement, and I currently have a setup in my family room. I do not have the TV or receiver for the basement yet, and I have not purchased a TV or receiver recently. I understand the basics of home theater hookup. The two ways I know of to hook up home theater equipment (TV, DIrect TV box, receiver, and DVD for the puposes of this discussion) are:

1) Run the HDMI's from the DTV box and DVD to the TV and run a digital optical or coax to the receiver for sound (through separate surround sound speakers).
2) Run the HDMI's from the DTV box and DVD to the reciever and then run an HDMI from the receiver to the TV.

A couple of questions:

1) What are the functionality pros/cons of the above setups? I have setup number 1 running in my family room now but have previously used umber 2.

2) If I go with setup number 1, what is the best method to run audio back to the receiver? Digital optical, coax, other?

Thanks in advance for the help.
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-21-2013, 12:43 PM
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I guess it would depend on what kind of inputs/outputs the new tv and receiver will have. I have a combination of 1 and 2. My blu-ray player and AppleTV2 are connected to the receiver via High Speed HDMI. The receiver is then connected to the tv via HDMI to send the video signal only. TV reception for us is OTA only so the antenna is connected via coax to the cable/Antenna input on the tv and the audio is sent to the receiver via optical. The tv speakers are always off. That way we always get discrete 5.1 audio for television when broadcast and any audio format that is presented from the blu-ray/ATV2. If you get a tv and receiver that are both ARC capable that becomes a third possible way to connect everything but ARC has its limitations and issues at times. ARC can only send 5.1, not Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA.
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-21-2013, 02:02 PM
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The main problem with option 1 is that it may limit the audio output from the TV. Most TVs do not pass DD 5.1 from external devices, a very small number pass DTS, and none do lossless dts-MA, TrueHD, or multichannel PCM. While you list a DVD player as a component, presumably you will get Blu-ray instead. The vast majority of BDs have dts-MA tracks and you'd be limited to stereo if you run the audio through the TV. (If you really are only planning to watch DVDs and satellite TV and if you get a TV that passes DD 5.1 from HDMI inputs, then option 1 is no worse than option 2 with regard to audio.)

Stereo audio is the reason most people use their receivers as switching hubs rather than their TVs. Regardless, though, if your set has Smart TV apps or you use an off-air antenna or direct cable feed, you'll need to run a digital connection for audio from the TV to the receiver. It can be either optical or coax (both are the same) or you can use ARC over the HDMI cable feeding video from the AVR to the TV. Both devices must support ARC and have HDMI CEC engaged. Even then, ARC can be a bit flaky. In some systems, the optical or coax output supports encoded 5.1 while ARC does not. So, you need to read the manuals carefully to figure out which approach is better in your situation.

The main potential advantage of running HDMI from the devices to the TV is on the video side. That only comes into play if you need different video settings for each device. Even then, the AVR may be able to handle the video processing so that a single HDMI feed from the receiver to the TV will be OK. Most people don't see a need for different video settings and are fine with using a single HDMI connection for video.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-21-2013, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. Both components will have plenty of HDMI outputs and inputs, and I plan on keeping the TV speakers off all the time as well.

With 1 the video signals go right to the TV and the audio out to the receiver via optical or coax. With 2 the video signals go thru the receiver and then thru an HDMI to the TV. Does the HDMI carry the audio back to the receiver, or does the receiver "keep" the original audio signal directly from the DTV box while just letting the video signal pass thru? If that's the case, is the audio signal better with 2 since it's directly from the DTV box and no loss thru optical or coax? I've used both and have not noticed a quality difference, but I may be missing something I was never aware of in the first place.
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-21-2013, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIslander View Post

The main problem with option 1 is that it may limit the audio output from the TV. Most TVs do not pass DD 5.1 from external devices, a very small number pass DTS, and none do lossless dts-MA, TrueHD, or multichannel PCM. While you list a DVD player as a component, presumably you will get Blu-ray instead. The vast majority of BDs have dts-MA tracks and you'd be limited to stereo if you run the audio through the TV. (If you really are only planning to watch DVDs and satellite TV and if you get a TV that passes DD 5.1 from HDMI inputs, then option 1 is no worse than option 2 with regard to audio.)

Stereo audio is the reason most people use their receivers as switching hubs rather than their TVs. Regardless, though, if your set has Smart TV apps or you use an off-air antenna or direct cable feed, you'll need to run a digital connection for audio from the TV to the receiver. It can be either optical or coax (both are the same) or you can use ARC over the HDMI cable feeding video from the AVR to the TV. Both devices must support ARC and have HDMI CEC engaged. Even then, ARC can be a bit flaky. In some systems, the optical or coax output supports encoded 5.1 while ARC does not. So, you need to read the manuals carefully to figure out which approach is better in your situation.

The main potential advantage of running HDMI from the devices to the TV is on the video side. That only comes into play if you need different video settings for each device. Even then, the AVR may be able to handle the video processing so that a single HDMI feed from the receiver to the TV will be OK. Most people don't see a need for different video settings and are fine with using a single HDMI connection for video.

Perfect. My previous response was to Otto Pylot, but this clears things up a bit. Thanks to both of you for the help. I'm going with option 2.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-21-2013, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nintn75 View Post

Perfect. My previous response was to Otto Pylot, but this clears things up a bit. Thanks to both of you for the help. I'm going with option 2.

Option two is the better choice given your connected devices. BIslander always gives more detailed, and clearer explanations.
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-22-2013, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
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No worries. I appreciate the insight.
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