Seeking a Way to Use HDMI Pass Through With Onkyo Receiver While Running 6 Displays - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-28-2013, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an Onkyo TX-SR308 receiver that I've had a few years. I've also had for many years a multiple display set up that I use exclusively during college football and basketball seasons. From April-August I turn all my cable boxes but 1 back in to the cable company and sit tight 'til CFB kicks up again in the fall.
Anyway, in preparation for this season I've upgraded the system exponentially. Last season I still had 2 displays that were standard def, but those have been upgraded. This year I'll be watching on the following:

Westinghouse CW46T9FW 46" LCD (HD Cable)
Panasonic TH-C42HD18 42" Plasma (OTA Antenna)
RCA 42PA30RQ 42" Plasma (HD Cable)
Mitsubishi LT40134 40" LCD (HD Cable)
Sanyo DP32648 32" LCD (HD Cable)
Emerson LC320EMX 32" LCD (Streaming or OTA Antenna)

But my question concerns the audio portion of my system. My Onkyo has only 3 digital audio inputs; 1 of which is coaxial. My HD boxes (Pace RNG110's) have only optical outputs. So in past years I've settled for having multiple analog audio sources, but I'm itching to discover a way to utilize the HDMI pass-throughs on my Onkyo receiver to allow me to enjoy 5.1 digital audio from all 6 screens.
Of course when I hook up the Onkyo using the pass through function, when I select audio from a different source, it switches the display's input source to the selected device.
Is there any way to use HDMI pass through in a way that will allow the input source on all TVs to remain static when the various audio sources are selected on the Onkyo's remote? I suppose I could buy another TV that is ARC capable, stick it in the closet, and run everything through that. I'm being facetious of course, but is there a way this can be done?

Thanks in advance, and my apologies for the long post.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-28-2013, 03:45 PM
 
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I have to think about this a bit because my first thought was no. However, I need to look at your Onkyo owners manual to see what switching can be done there with the audio.

Also for about $20 per unit (or less) you can get boxes that convert from coax to optical digital audio (or the other way). Check eBay. They are cheap and seem to last years and years.
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-28-2013, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks alk. I just switched my OTA connection over to a TV that has a coaxial output, so I now have 3 digital outputs. Only with the HDMI inputs could I get the other 3 displays switched over to digital since I only have 3 digital inputs on the Onkyo.
Any additional input would be much appreciated. Even if it's someone more in-the-know than I am simply telling me to be content with what I've got.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-28-2013, 07:31 PM
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If you are looking to get digital audio into the receiver from multiple sources, then you have a number of options but only one which I think makes sense. HDMI is not at all the most convenient as you should be taking HDMI to each of the displays directly.

Use digital optical! http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0ZX0TJ8435 - With an external switcher that handles digital optical (with remote as linked) you can use your receiver's digital optical audio input and get full 5.1 digital audio from this connection. Just change the switcher to the cable tuner which you want to listen to. Since cable TV does NOT use HD audio codecs this is 1:1 identical to the audio on the HDMI cable, and is, by far, the best way to go that I can think of at the moment for a reasonable price. Note, the item I linked was the first I found after a quick Google search.

To get digital audio into the receiver over HDMI you would not only need something which can split the HDMI to the TVs and to the receiver for audio, but you would need a device which handles EDID management and maintains the surround sound despite only being connected to a stereo audio sink (the TV). This is very pricey to accomplish, and the audio won't be one bit better than using the digital optical from the cable box.

You could go bigger with a HDMI matrix device with EDID management, or something else, but why bother?

Get an optical switch, use your receiver, call it a day.

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post #5 of 12 Old 08-29-2013, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response and insight, AV Integrated. You're quite right that the HDMI choice isn't convenient. And as you stated, I'm using using the HDMI connections for optimum video from each of the displays..
This type of unit looks like it will do exactly what I want, and has remote capabilities; definitely a requirement!
I also have a Blu-Ray and 2 other DVD players I'd like to be able to connect using toslink connectors, so this looks like just the ticket.
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-30-2013, 01:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highwaychile1967 View Post

...

But my question concerns the audio portion of my system. My Onkyo has only 3 digital audio inputs; 1 of which is coaxial. My HD boxes (Pace RNG110's) have only optical outputs. So in past years I've settled for having multiple analog audio sources, but I'm itching to discover a way to utilize the HDMI pass-throughs on my Onkyo receiver to allow me to enjoy 5.1 digital audio from all 6 screens.
Of course when I hook up the Onkyo using the pass through function, when I select audio from a different source, it switches the display's input source to the selected device.
Is there any way to use HDMI pass through in a way that will allow the input source on all TVs to remain static when the various audio sources are selected on the Onkyo's remote? I suppose I could buy another TV that is ARC capable, stick it in the closet, and run everything through that. I'm being facetious of course, but is there a way this can be done?

Thanks in advance, and my apologies for the long post.

Having finally had a few minutes to think about this (sorry about the delay), I have a few ideas. What is your budget?

The reason I ask is that the "normal" way to do this would be to run *all" of your input sources into a matrix switch (8x8) in this case and then run the outputs to the TVs and the receiver. That way you could run any input to any output. For your desired result, you would have three choices. One would be to stay all HDMI and use the 7th output as an output to the Onkyo. There would be a slight glitch when you switched but lasting less than a second (most likely).

A second way would be to run video exactly as I think you have it, but take the digital audio from every set top box and run through a matrix switch into the Onkyo. It is cheaper and should avoid any glitching during switching (sounds like a dance).

If you really don't want to use OTA tuners, then you would have to run digital audio from those TVs to the switcher or use ARC. ARC becomes a problem just because a lot of systems have only one ARC HDMI input.

I have not mentioned the use of the Onkyo for switching audio since you can't switch video and audio separately with that model. Others you can but not that model. You can, however, elect not to use the Onkyo for video output, pump the STB video directly to the TVs and send audio to the Onkyo. This then allows you to switch audio only with the Onkyo using a combination of HDMI and digital audio inputs. I'm not sure how many ARCs you can have but it looked like you could set each of the three HDMI inputs for ARC. So, that is probably the cheapest solution but also somewhat limited. Should allow you to choose any of the 6 TVs' audio at any time without changing that TV's video.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-31-2013, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Alk. I"m leaning heavily toward the use of a switch that would allow me to connect all 6 displays via toslink. The C2G model (or Impact Acousitcs) is the only one I can find that has 6 inputs, so I'm checking out the price options on that unit.
As far as my budget goes, I'm always looking to do things effectively but inexpensively, so again this seems like a solid option. I've never gone the universal remote route, so it's imperative to me to be able to connect all 6 to one unit. That way I can use the switch's remote to jump back and forth during the course of a day's viewing. This would also allow me to maintain digital audio connections for my blu-ray player (optical) and 1 other DVD player (coaxial) to my Onkyo.
I'm also intrigued by the third option you mentioned, if just from a curiosity standpoint if nothing else. I'll probably experiment with that one too. I'll have to educate myself a bit more to see how this can be done without having it effect the video displays.
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post #8 of 12 Old 09-03-2013, 10:43 AM
 
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For the setup you are using where each TV has its own unique input (or uses the built-in tuner/apps), not sending an HDMI output to any TV is certainly an option, which is what I was trying to say in option 3. In that case, your audio selection is completely independent of what you'll see on the TV.

I can tell you from experience that a universal remote where you can label each AVR input select with the actual input name ("Panny OTA" instead of "V.Aux") will be a great help when you try to remember what TV goes with what AVR input.
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post #9 of 12 Old 09-11-2013, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input alk and integrated. I've been patiently waiting and watching ebay....purchased the C2G 40697 for $20 + shipping, NIB. So I'll report back. BTW, I also upgraded to the Onkyo TX-NR708, so that's part of the plan as well.
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post #10 of 12 Old 09-21-2013, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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I've installed the C2G 40697. I had to buy one coaxial to optical converter, but I now have all 6 screens connected to my Onkyo (upgraded to TX-NR708) with digital optical cable and can enjoy 5.1 sound from any of 6 games.
Thanks again for the tips!

Now for some HDMI discussion. I wanted to connect my Panasonic DMP-BDT220 Blu-ray/Mitsubishi LT-40134 display to the Onkyo with HDMI to experience the best possible video and the latest audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD, etc. As explained in the OP, due to the nature of my six screen setup, I did not want the MItsubishi's input source to automatically change when I select various audio outputs from the AVR.
The way I have connected this currently is not according to mfg. instructions. I am inputting only 1 HDMI connection into the Onkyo; the Blu-ray player connected to "BD/DVD" input. The Mitsubishi is connected directly to my cable box via HDMI; it is not running through the receiver. The HDMI output is obviously connected to the Mitsubishi display, but I don't select "TV/CD" as the audio output as the owners' manual insists. Instead I select "BD/DVD."
Thus far I have had to disconnect the HDMI input from the back of the Onkyo once or twice (I believe this is due to the Mitsubishi TV, the Panasonic Blu-ray, and the Onkyo AVR linking together because of CEC rather than the way the pass through is set up, but that's another annoying issue entirely) but otherwise it appears I've somewhat successfully circumvented the system. When I first turn on the Mitsubishi and Blu-ray, my receiver automatically goes to "TV/CD" for audio output. But once I select "BD/DVD," all systems are go from there.

Can anyone comment on this? Have I really "outsmarted" the receiver or am I doing something which will eventually cause some sort of real problem or damage?
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post #11 of 12 Old 09-22-2013, 10:39 PM
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You are good to go. I would recommend you turn OFF CEC control so your receiver doesn't switch inputs 'automatically' when your Blu-ray player is turned on or if you mistakenly switch to the Blu-ray player input. Instead, just use a decent universal remote control and you will be able to tell the receiver to turn on/off as you want and switch inputs as you want as well.

There is nothing at all about this setup which will damage anything. The big things that hurt receivers are things like speakers which are improperly wired or using cables which are damaged and can short things out.

Since it sounds like your speakers are good to go, then the rest is gravy.

Enjoy your setup!

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post #12 of 12 Old 09-23-2013, 04:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again Integrated. I've not yet discovered how to disable CEC in the Mitsubishi which is quite annoying. I may try their customer service number.
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