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post #1 of 37 Old 07-25-2013, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
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It was recommended to me in my installation quote to have an HDMI switch. I will be using a sound bar capable of reproducing 5.1 instead of 2.1. The plan was to run all of the sources into the switch and then one hdmi to the tv. The sound set up was recommended to run an optical cable out of the tv into the sound bar.

Would it be better or any different to have an hdmi switch with optical output and run the sound directly to the sound bar?

This is one I was lookign at;

http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-TOSlink-Digital-Coaxial-Channel/dp/B005E2XLI2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I1W6BYGP5K0GXO

If any of you are installers of equipment or if any of you have a swich with optical output, could you help me out and explain to me what I should do and if there is any real difference and if the one I am looking at is good?
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post #2 of 37 Old 07-25-2013, 06:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, here is a review from somone on amazon that bought the monoprice. It appears to be a slightly different model than the one I posted a link to above but I can't figure out what the difference is besides looks.

http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-Switcher-Toslink-Digital-Coaxial/dp/B003L14WB8/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Here is the review. I wonder if this issomething I might run into......?


(Take this review with a grain of salt, because I may have missed some tidbit of tech speak leading me to the issues described below, but I feel there needs to be a more explicit description about bitstreaming and output of HD audio. This may be more of a description issue than an actual hardware issue.)

I just got a pair of Sony MDR-DS6500 7.1 surround headphones, and realized only after the fact that my Onkyo HT-S5400 receiver does not have an optical OUT on it... only two INs. Wanting to get the best out of my headphones, I ordered the product featured here, with its Toslink OUT, thinking I could easily remedy the problem.

I concentrated on the following statement:
"Supports uncompressed LPCM audio Supports compressed DTS Digital, Dolby Digital, DTS-HD, and Dolby True HD audio"

...and seemed to have missed something in the product description about the Toslink output shutting off when an uncompressed HD audio signal is passed through it from the blu-ray player! The above statement is only for passing an audio signal through the box via HDMI. The box will not convert uncompressed HD audio to Toslink. Maybe that is assumed, but I think that should be explicitly stated.

So,
It worked great with my Xbox360 and digital cable (both of which don't push HD audio), but since I bitstream HD audio via HDMI from my blu-ray to my receiver, when the signal hits the switcher box in-between, it shuts off the optical out on the box here. I should have known better that it wouldn't convert from HD audio to something that can be passed through the optical to my headphones. Since I want my receiver to decode the HD audio, and not the blu-ray player, and didn't want to have to go back and forth through my blu-ray settings to turn bitstream on and off when switching between home theater and headphones, I returned the product.

(Side note: I finally fixed the setup, (without this switch box), by turning the "HDMI Thru" function ON in the receiver. This sends the audio signal from my blu-ray player THRU my receiver to my Panasonic TC-P42U2 TV, which DOES have an optical OUT. Here's the kicker... the receiver has to be in standby mode (OFF) for it to pass the signal to the TV, (which I somehow missed in the receiver instructions for a couple of days when troubleshooting this setup!) End of story, I don't need the switch.
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post #3 of 37 Old 07-25-2013, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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come on, can somebody please help me?
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post #4 of 37 Old 07-25-2013, 07:44 AM
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Would be interesting to see the proposed system!

I guess first question is why not a Soundbar with multiple HDMI In and if going New for the Soundbar & TV go with devices which are ARC enabled (that will deliver TV audio ‘back’ to the Soundbar via HDMI with no requirement for an Optical cable).

If the Soundbar you are considering lacks HDMI In/Out then you may want to look at a TV with an ARC enabled HDMI socket and install an ARC enabled HDMI Switch.

HDMI audio can be more complex than you expect – some Sources which are 5.1 capable may not offer 5.1 via HDMI and require you to use HDMI (for Video with Stereo audio) plus an Optical or Coaxial cable for 5.1.

Even where your Sources are 5.1 capable via HDMI many TV’s will ‘limit’ you to Video + 2.0 via HDMI as that is all the TV caters for so you then require to use Optical or Coaxial for 5.1 form each Source to your Soundbar.

Our Octava HD41-ARC is a very popular ‘Soundbar’ option which can cater for pretty much all of the above possibilities – again assuming your preferred Soundbar lacks HDMI Inputs.

http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI%20switch%204x1%20ARC%20port_pro.html

Joe

PS HD audio is a whole other discussion!

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post #5 of 37 Old 07-25-2013, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Fernand View Post

Would be interesting to see the proposed system!

I guess first question is why not a Soundbar with multiple HDMI In and if going New for the Soundbar & TV go with devices which are ARC enabled (that will deliver TV audio ‘back’ to the Soundbar via HDMI with no requirement for an Optical cable).

If the Soundbar you are considering lacks HDMI In/Out then you may want to look at a TV with an ARC enabled HDMI socket and install an ARC enabled HDMI Switch.

HDMI audio can be more complex than you expect – some Sources which are 5.1 capable may not offer 5.1 via HDMI and require you to use HDMI (for Video with Stereo audio) plus an Optical or Coaxial cable for 5.1.

Even where your Sources are 5.1 capable via HDMI many TV’s will ‘limit’ you to Video + 2.0 via HDMI as that is all the TV caters for so you then require to use Optical or Coaxial for 5.1 form each Source to your Soundbar.

Our Octava HD41-ARC is a very popular ‘Soundbar’ option which can cater for pretty much all of the above possibilities – again assuming your preferred Soundbar lacks HDMI Inputs.

http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI%20switch%204x1%20ARC%20port_pro.html

Joe

PS HD audio is a whole other discussion!

Thank you for responding! I am just waiting to get good clear information from this site before making my purchase. I want to do that within the next 2-3 days.

**Joe** Rather than retyping all of what I have considered, here is a link to the 2 bars I have considered and what my installer said about ARC. If you can spare a few mintues to read it and give me another opinion I would greatly appreciate it.


http://www.avsforum.com/t/1482690/hdmi-switch
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post #6 of 37 Old 07-25-2013, 01:43 PM
 
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I'm having a feeling of deja-vu all over again. Aren't we discussing this in another thread in this same HDMI forum?

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1482690/hdmi-switch
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post #7 of 37 Old 07-25-2013, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Well yes kind of. I started this thread regarding an HDMI switch but then it turned into the sound bar so kind of the same kind of different.
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post #8 of 37 Old 07-26-2013, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nygiant75 View Post

It was recommended to me in my installation quote to have an HDMI switch. I will be using a sound bar capable of reproducing 5.1 instead of 2.1. The plan was to run all of the sources into the switch and then one hdmi to the tv. The sound set up was recommended to run an optical cable out of the tv into the sound bar.

Would it be better or any different to have an hdmi switch with optical output and run the sound directly to the sound bar?

This is one I was lookign at;

http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-TOSlink-Digital-Coaxial-Channel/dp/B005E2XLI2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I1W6BYGP5K0GXO

If any of you are installers of equipment or if any of you have a swich with optical output, could you help me out and explain to me what I should do and if there is any real difference and if the one I am looking at is good?

I just cannot belive that a sound bar can do much with a 5.1 other then mix it down to a left right center and the sub. I have 2 of the vizio 2.1 bars in the place and they work very will. I also have a 7.1 to compare them to and about the only thing lacking is sense that something is going around may back.

One thing is to stop second guessing your installer
The switch that is posted here is a very good one but I like to use the Monoprice website and not amazon, more info they answer emails fast.
http://www.monoprice.com/Product/?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=7974&seq=1&format=1#largeimage

There are some TV's that do pass through 5.1 from all inputs to the optical output, and if yours does not the there is still a chance the ARC will work with this switch, but you still need the optical from the switch to the bar.
This switch also has a digital coax out as will the optical that can supply a digital signal to the bar, I have seen both on one bar.

If your sound bar has HDMI input and the BD lossless is something you can't live without there is this
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011306&p_id=7522&seq=1&format=2
that can be inserted between the BD and the switch with an HDMI to bar. I just don't think lossless audio will be any better then the 5.1 on a sound bar, and I just can't see a 5.1 bar doing what a real surround sound system does, plus you would still need to have a optical cable for every thing ells.
If it were me I would get a good 2.1 bar and run an optical from the set to the bar for the cleanest a simplest installation.
Have fun with it and remember figuring out what works with what is 75% of the fun with AV hobby.
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post #9 of 37 Old 07-26-2013, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

I just cannot belive that a sound bar can do much with a 5.1 other then mix it down to a left right center and the sub. I have 2 of the vizio 2.1 bars in the place and they work very will. I also have a 7.1 to compare them to and about the only thing lacking is sense that something is going around may back.

One thing is to stop second guessing your installer
The switch that is posted here is a very good one but I like to use the Monoprice website and not amazon, more info they answer emails fast.
http://www.monoprice.com/Product/?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=7974&seq=1&format=1#largeimage

There are some TV's that do pass through 5.1 from all inputs to the optical output, and if yours does not the there is still a chance the ARC will work with this switch, but you still need the optical from the switch to the bar.
This switch also has a digital coax out as will the optical that can supply a digital signal to the bar, I have seen both on one bar.

If your sound bar has HDMI input and the BD lossless is something you can't live without there is this
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011306&p_id=7522&seq=1&format=2
that can be inserted between the BD and the switch with an HDMI to bar. I just don't think lossless audio will be any better then the 5.1 on a sound bar, and I just can't see a 5.1 bar doing what a real surround sound system does, plus you would still need to have a optical cable for every thing ells.
If it were me I would get a good 2.1 bar and run an optical from the set to the bar for the cleanest a simplest installation.
Have fun with it and remember figuring out what works with what is 75% of the fun with AV hobby.

Well thank you for posting. Some good information there. I actually just hit the purchase button right before you posted for the monoprice switcher you posted above! Ha ha, I must have made at least one good decision today!

I am alomst certain that the Panasonics do not pass 5.1, most tv's don't. Someone sent me some info on some of the most recent panasonics and none of them passed 5.1, I doubt my VT60 will. You know I was going to get the JBL SB400 http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Cinema-Soundbar-Speaker-System/dp/B00AWTW480/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I6069UGQULW07

but at the last minute decided on this Polk Audio http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-Surround-Bar-9000/dp/B00AQY57AI/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I24D9ABZX0HZE4

I did that becasue I want to get the absolute most out of the sound without getting a receiver and 5 different speakers with wires. The polk description actually says this; Dolby Digital & DTS Decoding
Both optical inputs can decode and reproduce Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 program material. Many bars can decode 5.1 but can only reproduce it as 2-channel stereo. The SurroundBar 9000 IHT plays back all discrete channels as intended for optimal surround performance and fidelity.


Maybe the extra money will be worth it maybe not. Guess I can always return it and get the JBL.

So basically here is what I have decided............

Have the Directv, Apple TV, and a Blu Ray player (not purchased yet) on shelves next to the fireplace. Have the 60" VT60 Panasonic TV mounted above the mantle (only place in room where tv will fit), have the sound bar on the mantle, have the subwoofer on other side of fireplace. Run all of the sources into the HDMI swicth and than run one HDMI cable out of the switch into the tv.

Use the optical out on the bck of the HDMI switch and run the toslink cable to the optical in on the back of the soundbar. All cables including the power will be concealed by the installer. All sources and tv will be plugged into a surge protector and eventually a UPS.

How does that sound?
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post #10 of 37 Old 07-26-2013, 06:18 PM
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That sounds like it should work. I recently did an install very similar using that same HDMI switch - AppleTV and Comcast Cable box to the switch inputs, switch HDMI output to an Optoma ML500 projector and optical out to a Sonos Playbar, which then transmits to 2 Sonos Play 3's via a Sonos Bridge. Works a treat!
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post #11 of 37 Old 07-26-2013, 07:58 PM
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Looks like a winner clean and simple.
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post #12 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, just sitting here waiting for all my stuff to arrive. I think I have thought of a problem.......

I planned on running all of my sources into this HDMI switch with optical out feature. I was going to run 1 hdmi cable out of the switch to the tv (for video)and one optical out of the switch directly to my sound bar for sound.

Now the problem I just thought of.........................What if I am using the TV apps, like Amazon instant video or whatever other apps come straight fom the tv. How am I going to get sound now?
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post #13 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Keep a spare toslink cable around, unplug the one from the back of the speaker bar that's coming from the hdmi switch, then plug the spare into the optical out on the tv and then back into the bar? There has got to be a better way don't you think?
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post #14 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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The sound bar does have 2 optical in's. I guess using my Harmony remote I could set up using the tv's app as one activity and have all other sources set to be turned off. That way there wouldn't be any confusion by the sound bar or hdmi switch as to what sound to play. Does that make sense and is it possible?
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post #15 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I keep thinking of things after I post. Hopefully someone can help me out....

Here is the switch I ordered. Would have went with the Octava but needed to save a little money.

http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-TOSlink-Digital-Coaxial-Channel/dp/B005E2XLI2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I1W6BYGP5K0GXO

Would using the ARC hdmi input fix the problem I though of in Post #12?
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post #16 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 11:29 AM
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If your Soundbar has two Optical Inputs it ought to be possible.

Our HD41-ARC is ideal where your TV is ARC enabled and you only have a single Optical Input on your non-HDMI equipped Soundbar – for Sonos PLAYBAR owners we even have a mode which will stop your Source trying to Output DTS rather than DD.

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post #17 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok Joe thanks for coming to the rescue once again. So see if this sounds like it will work. I know you cannot tell me definitely so tell me if this sounds like a good plan;

Have Blu-ray, DIRECTV, AppleTV all plugged into the 4x1 switch with HDMI. Use the HDMI output (which is ARC) on the hdmi switch going to the HDMI input on the TV.

Use the optical out on the 4 x 1 HDMI switch going to optical in #1 on the sound bar.

Now for the last step, use the optical out on the TV and go to optical in #2 on the sound bar. (This is for sound using any of the apps on the TV like Amazon instant video Netflix or anything else)

In theory, does that sound like it will work?

I guess using the TV as the source ( built in apps) I just need audio out but no video cable because the TV will be on, it is it's own source.
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post #18 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 12:53 PM
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If it does what it says on the tin you should be able to do everything you require with just the Optical cable between the Switch and the Soundbar with no need for the additional Optical cable between the TV and the Soundbar!

The ‘trick’ will be getting your Sources to Output 5.1 via HDMI if the TV only supports 2.0 via HDMI – EDID management in the Switch is then required to allow you to ‘fool’ the Source into seeing a 5.1 capable device on its HDMI Output.

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post #19 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay I hear you maybe I'm confused and not reading your response properly. I plan on just using the one optical cable out of the switch into the sound bar and be able to hear sound from the DIRECTV, the Apple TV, and the Blu-ray player. I'm assuming since the switch can decode Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS It will transfer that sound to the Polk audio bar which is capable of reproducing the 5.1 channels of sound.

My concern was using the TVs internal tuner. How would the sound get from the TV to the sound bar? That's why I was assuming I would have to run a toslink cable from the optical out on the TV to the optical in # 2 on the sound bar.

Now I've gone back into the description of the HDMI switch I purchased and this is what it states;

This switch stands out from the crowd because of its support for the HDMI Audio Return Channel. This feature allows you to use your television's internal tuner and still get the audio through your main home theater sound system, without having to run separate audio lines (assuming Audio Return Channel support for your AV receiver).

Now does that mean that if the switch has the HDMI cable run from the out, which is labeled ARC, is plugged into HDMI number two on my TV that the above description will apply to my set up?
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post #20 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 01:22 PM
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ARC - if the TV supports ARC on one of its HDMI ports there is no need for the Optical cable between the TV and the Soundbar.

5.1 - if (and I don't know your TV) the TV's EDID reports support for 2.0 but not 5.1 your Switch needs to 'fool' the Source (using the Switch’s internal EDID) into Outputting 5.1 via HDMI otherwise the Source will stick to 2.0 via HDMI.

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post #21 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay Joe that clears it up some for me thank you for taking the time. How would I know if the switch can do that "trick" you are talking about?

I am getting ready to call Panasonic to see if the TV is ARC capable.
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post #22 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 01:42 PM
 
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The switch will say that it can override the EDID for 5.1-channel audio. If it doesn't talk about changing or overriding the EDID in the manual, then it likely can't do it.
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post #23 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay I just got off the phone with Panasonic and the VT 60 plasma is ARC capable.
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post #24 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay thanks for that. maybe I can go online and find the manual? I don't think it will be here for another day.

This is the switch that I ordered. Are you able to find any information on it like you explained in your post?

http://www.amazon.com/Monoprice-TOSlink-Digital-Coaxial-Channel/dp/B005E2XLI2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=EJYDESP9YZRY&coliid=I1W6BYGP5K0GXO
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post #25 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 03:08 PM
 
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This should answer your question (the short answer is a "definite maybe" if you set the switch to Mode 2). This customer review is from the Monoprice website for that switch (not amazon):


I bought this specific device because it seems to be designed to overcome a problem with HDMI switches: namely, the HDMI sink determines the type of audio signal sent from the source. In my case, the sink is a brand new Panasonic TC-P55ST30 TV, which claims to support Dolby Digital on its audio output. However, I've read in A/V forums that this typically only applies to internally generated content (i.e., from the tuner), and TVs almost never appear as anything but a stereo device over HDMI. Therefore, an ordinary HDMI switch with audio output will only send PCM audio when the HDMI output is connected to a TV, so you cannot get surround sound encodings such as Dolby Digital or DTS from such a configuration.

THIS device, however, has a set of switches on the back that, according to the manual, sets the mode of the audio output. It can be set to "auto" (Mode 1), meaning it works as other HDMI switches do, allowing the HDMI sink to determine the audio format. It can also be set to force a surround sound format such as Dolby Digital or DTS (Mode 2), or it can be set to force PCM output (Mode 3). The manual warns that in these alternative modes your audio receiver should support the selected format (note: not the HDMI sink, but the audio receiver!). I'm guessing that the mode switch is supposed to spoof the EDID so the switch looks like different types of sinks to the HDMI sources.

Problem solved, right? Not for me. I connect my Sony BDP-S480 Blu-ray player to HDMI input 1, the Panasonic TV to the HDMI output, and the coax audio output to my Sony STR-DE675 receiver which supports Dolby Digital and DTS. (In fact, when I connect the Blu-ray player's audio output directly to the receiver, I get Dolby Digital 5.1.) I set the HDMI switch to Mode 2, but all I get is 2-channel PCM at the receiver. Same for the Toslink output. No matter what mode I set, I get PCM.

So I sent Monoprice technical support a note through their website, and heard nothing within the promised 24 hours. (I eventually got a response three days later.) I started a chat session with them the next day. I chatted with two tech support agents (because the first one got disconnected), but neither one seemed to really understand how this device is supposed to override the audio mode of the HDMI sink, insisting that because my TV only supports stereo I will only ever get PCM output.

Not only does that disagree with the manual and the whole purpose of the device (why have a mode switch?), but it is demonstrably false. Just before I was set to return the switch, I received a replacement Blu-ray player, a Panasonic DMP-BDT210, and I tried the switch out with that. Sure enough, using the Panasonic as a source on the switch produced the correct surround sound at the audio output! In short, the HDMI switch works with the Panasonic player but not the Sony player. So buyers should beware that the switch may or may not work for their particular devices.

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post #26 of 37 Old 07-29-2013, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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VEEEEEEERRY interesting. Thank you for that! I guess it might be hard to tell for me since I'm just using a sound bar rather than five separate speakers.

Although I'm pretty sure there's a light on the front of the sound bar that says if it's broadcasting in Dolby Digital or stereo.
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post #27 of 37 Old 07-30-2013, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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ok just another update for those following this thread and also for all of those great people who have helped me.

Just contacted Monoprice tech support. I explained my set up and what I was wanting to do. Another synopsis of setup again below........

Panasonic VT60 plasma tv
DirecTV DVR
Apple TV
Blu Ray player (not yet purchased)
Polk Audio 9000IHT sound bar
Monoprice 4X1 HDMI switcher with toslink out and ARC support

-Plan is to have all sources plugged in to swich via HDMI's.
-Have the one HDMI out of switch into the tv
-Have toslink out of HDMI switch in to sound bar
-All power cords for all sources and tv plugged into a surge protector including coax and ethernet into surge protector

The tech at monoprice advised me that if I have the dip swiches on the back of the hdmi swich set to a specific setting (which he provided me, also in manual) that it will support ARC when using the internal tuner of the tv (like Viera apps, amazon instant video, etc) even with the toslink, and it WILL be in 5.1.

That is the latest update I have. Of course as it stands now, this is all in theory. Still waiting on tv coming commercial freight which moves like a fat lady crossing the street on a hot day, but hopefully by Friday it will be here. Maybe installation/moutning by next week sometime?
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post #28 of 37 Old 07-30-2013, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Well just got home and the HDMI switch and the sound bar were on my front porch, details to follow.
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post #29 of 37 Old 07-30-2013, 06:12 PM
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I hope that you get better long-term results than I did using a switch and a soundbar.

We are here to help you. Please help us to help you. If you provide incomplete information, at best, we can give you an incomplete response.
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post #30 of 37 Old 07-30-2013, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Can you elaborate please not sure what you mean?
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