Panasonic SC-HTB500 - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 253 Old 03-02-2011, 02:07 AM
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Thanks Athenian,
Can I just mount the sound bar on the wall above the tv or will that be too high?
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post #182 of 253 Old 03-02-2011, 06:25 AM
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Yes, on the wall above is a possibility. We're all used to pictures with bars mounted below but many think having the bar above yields better sound.
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post #183 of 253 Old 03-02-2011, 07:06 AM
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Thanks again. I think I'm gonna bite the bullet and buy one. I'll post back with my experience with it.
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post #184 of 253 Old 03-05-2011, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

Just keep in mind that the current bar is designated as 5-ch and includes rear speakers. The new unit is 2-ch only without the rear speakers. Soundwise there may be little difference other than the surround effect.

Just FYI, according to the Panasonic USA web site, the older SC-HTB500 (that this Thread is about) is also 2.1ch (Two speakers in the bar + 1 subwoofer) No mention of any physical additional rear speakers in the Technical Specs or pictures of additional rear speakers on the Product Overview page. I'm confused as to what is making the current SC-HTB500 5.1ch that you mention?
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post #185 of 253 Old 03-06-2011, 02:04 PM
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My goof. Wrong soundbar. You are correct, current and future model are 2.1.

David Freeman
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post #186 of 253 Old 03-07-2011, 09:01 AM
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NP, Thx! Thought I was missing something....
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post #187 of 253 Old 03-07-2011, 10:45 AM
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FWIW, I'm pretty disappointed with all the offerings in this product category. It really seems to me that the manufacturers are missing the mark; most of the products are deficient in one way or another. I really don't know who the target market is for most of these "home theatre" products. They seem to have been designed primarily by audiophiles who have only a superficial grasp of what the average customer wants. In our case, we wanted to add depth to television content without obtrusively large speakers or extra wiring. We didn't want/need amother Blu-ray Disc player and we have no audiophile wannabee pretensions.

What I want:
  • Minimum of two HDMI inputs (and two digital for legacy TVs) -- I have a Blu-ray player and am paying a surcharge for HD Television, why do I have to choose only one for the surround sound effect?
  • Minimum 3.1 sound effect - the Dialog Mode on the SC-HTB500 doesn't cut it; the bar needs an actual center speaker.
  • Control over sound quality -- I was surprised to discover that connecting a 2010 Panasonic soundbar to a 2010 Panasonic television results in less control over the sound. Especially irritating here has been the loss of "volume leveling".
  • An optional wireless rear speaker kit. I'm surprised that no manufacturer has figured this out. If it can have a wireless subwoofer, why can't it have wireless rear speakers too. It seems to me that a kit with 2 small rear speakers and a second plug-in transmitter on this bar would be a no-brainer.
Another thing I can't understand, is why Panasonic, in all its aggressive marketing of 3D, doesn't have a riser/base option so that customers can use table mounted soundbar.

Since I got the SC-HTB500 on clearance at a really good price, it's been been good value for me. I don't think though, that it's worth anywhere near the current price at Amazon. IMHO, all the manufacturers of these products need to focus on the people who are buying HDTVs today -- not early adopters or audiophile wannabees, but ordinary buyers who just want better TV sound.
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post #188 of 253 Old 03-07-2011, 12:43 PM
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I understand your disappointment with the Panasonic sound bar. My biggest disappointment was sound that did not measure up to the other units in this category (in my opinion).

However, what most consumers are looking for in this category is improved audio over the mostly terrible sound coming from the built-in speakers included with the new television. Unfortunately, the built-in speakers get worse every year as panels get thinner.

There are a number of choices that would however satisfy your criteria.

Both the Sony CT-150 and CT-350 are 3.1 soundbars. Both simulate the rear channels. Both have HDMI switching for either three or four components. Both have very good sound with good dialog and dedicated controls for tailoring the sound.

The JVC BA1 has true 4.1 sound with center channel simulation. Inputs for two digital and one analog component. Extremely good sound and voice for around $200.

The Yamaha YSP-2200 sounds very good and has the best simulated surround I have heard from any soundbar (there are lots out there that I have not heard).

The Vizio 510 has wireless rear speakers. However, only one digital input. This could be corrected with a digital switcher.

Most of these designs do not come from the audiophile division of any of these companies. Actually, of the companies I mentioned, I do not believe any have any audiophile pretensions. Even though I own a Panasonic TV, I typically tend to avoid their audio products as well as those of Samsung and LG. I am not sure what criteria they use for sound in Japan and Korea, but most of their audio products do not sound natural to my ears.

You last sentence sums up where most of these popular priced manufacturers are going with these devices. Ordinary buyers who just want better TV sound. Of course, some execute this better than others.

David Freeman
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post #189 of 253 Old 03-07-2011, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfreeman60 View Post

Both the Sony CT-150 and CT-350 are 3.1 soundbars. Both simulate the rear channels. Both have HDMI switching for either three or four components. Both have very good sound with good dialog and dedicated controls for tailoring the sound.

I did look at the CT-350 but we really need a wireless subwoofer.
Quote:


The JVC BA1 has true 4.1 sound with center channel simulation. Inputs for two digital and one analog component. Extremely good sound and voice for around $200.

We need HDMI input for the television receiver. I'm serously considering trying it anyway though.
Quote:


The Yamaha YSP-2200 sounds very good and has the best simulated surround I have heard from any soundbar

Everything I've read agrees with you. I don't think though, that anyone but an audiophile wannabee is prepared to spend 35%-80% of what the TV costs just to get decent sound.

I actually own a pair of Yamaha computer speakers and they are fantastic. The thing is, I didn't know what I was buying at the time, they were just very well priced and they are the best speakers on any of my systems.
Quote:


The Vizio 510 has wireless rear speakers. However, only one digital input. This could be corrected with a digital switcher.

Like most ordinary users, we are not going to fiddle with an extra something just to make it work. And the reliability reviews of the Vizio have been terrible.
Quote:


Your last sentence sums up where most of these popular priced manufacturers are going with these devices. Ordinary buyers who just want better TV sound. Of course, some execute this better than others.

Whatever the reasons, I don't think they are going about it in the right way. The SC-HTB500 could have so easily been a winner -- the setup is incredibly easy -- but it falls short in several ways and I cpuld say the same thing about the Sony's or the JVC..they all fall just a step short.
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post #190 of 253 Old 03-12-2011, 02:11 PM
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I received and mounted the SC-HTB500 sound bar and I'm quite pleased with the sound. Big improvement over the tv speakers and considering that 2 months ago I was watching tv/movies on a 32 inch crt I feel I finally have a home theater, as basic as it may be. Another feature I like is the easy change from the sound bar to the tv speakers with the Viera link as my wife watches tv in the room above me and doesn't always want to be "rocked out". Below is a picture of my sound bar placement over my 50 inch TC-p50S2. It is probably about 6 feet off the ground and about 8 inches above the top of the tv. My question is: Is it too high? Should I have tried to place it closer to the top of the tv (say 4 inches above) or is the 8 inches good?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gryd/5520415871/
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post #191 of 253 Old 03-13-2011, 12:37 PM
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Well, I moved it down three inches anyway. I'm glad I did because once I hid the wires in a conduit my hdmi cables barely made it. 2 questions: 1)Can hdmi cables be run in the same conduit/raceway as a power cable? 2) I currently run my hdtv receiver to the sound bar and then the sound bar to the tv. Should I be running my blu ray to the sound bar instead or does it not make a difference?
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post #192 of 253 Old 03-14-2011, 08:24 AM
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I assume that the Blu-Ray is connected to the TV and the TV to the soundbar via HDMI with ARC or optical. The TV can only pass 2-ch for anything connected to it via HDMI. This means you are only getting 2-ch sound from your blu-ray. You would need to decide whether you want more detailed (5.1) sound from your HDTV receiver or from the blu-ray. Odds are you watch more HDTV, but the additional sound info may not be all that good. Blu-rays usually have very good 5.1 soundtracks, so that would be my personal preference.

Also, it will not hurt to run the HDMI cables in the same conduit as the power cables. Looking at your picture, you may consider moving the sound bar even closer to the TV. Less chance of lip synch or other sonic anomalies.

David Freeman
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post #193 of 253 Old 03-14-2011, 11:00 AM
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Thanks David! I did move it down 3 inches. Also, why would it matter if I run it through the blue ray or hdtv box if the soundbar itself is only 2.1 channel?
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post #194 of 253 Old 03-14-2011, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gryd View Post

Also, why would it matter if I run it through the blue ray or hdtv box if the soundbar itself is only 2.1 channel?

The unit has a 5.1 simulation mode. Like you, we just moved from a 32" CRT. Since we don't have a library of Blu-ray discs with 5.1 sound on hand, we actually get more impressive sound from some HD television stations than we do from DVDs. It was a bit confusing though to remember that the lights for TV and BD were reversed so we decided to run a digital optical cable (aka TOSLink) from the cable box to the soundbar. U-verse ended up having to swap out the box but it all works as described now.
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post #195 of 253 Old 03-14-2011, 03:12 PM
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Does hdtv broadcast 5.1 sound? If so, shouldn't I run my hdtv box to the soundbar?
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post #196 of 253 Old 03-14-2011, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gryd View Post

Does hdtv broadcast 5.1 sound? If so, shouldn't I run my hdtv box to the soundbar?

U-verse and DirecTV broadcast 5.1 on some programs.

I'm not sure how you have things cabled now. The recommended way is to run an HDMI cable from the Blu-Ray Player to the bar and another HDMI cable from the bar to the ARC port (HDMI1), Then run a third HDMI cable from the cable box to the second HDMI port on the TV. That will give you 5.1 from Blu-ray disks and 2.1 from the TV. If your cable box has an optical digital port, you should be able run an optical cable from the cable box to the bar and get 5.1 for TV content too.
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post #197 of 253 Old 03-14-2011, 06:32 PM
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Both my blue ray and cable box have optical digital ports. I should be able to run an optical cable from either hook up method (blu ray to sound bar or cable box to sound bar) to get 5.1 sound?
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post #198 of 253 Old 03-14-2011, 07:38 PM
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Yes. You may have to do some configuration on the cable box to get it to output 5.1.

Remember too that if you reverse the connections, the lights on the bar will be reversed to -- i.e. the green light will be for BD instead of the red one.

Note: If you don't already have an optical cable, don't run out and buy one -- order from Firefold. The cheapest optical cable I saw in the stores was $19. Somehow, I didn't mind waiting two days to get it from Monoprice for $3.50 delivered.
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post #199 of 253 Old 03-15-2011, 05:03 AM
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Thanks Athenian. I checked my cable box and audio is set to hdmi so I guess I'll have to change that. I'll try the cheap cable from monoprice and see if I can get better audio that way. I just hope by using the optical cable that it doesn't prevent my ability to easily switch over to the tv speakers if I need to. I did try the blue ray last night through the sound bar and the sound was much more crisp. Hopefully I can get it the hdtv to sound as crisp as well.
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post #200 of 253 Old 03-19-2011, 08:32 AM
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I bought this unit a while ago and am switching from using digital optical audio cables on it to an HDMI cable because I was told HDMI would give the best sound quality due to digital optical audio cables not being able to transfer ALL the sound data.

With that being said, can someone tell me how I need to set up this sound bar given my situation:

I have a Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-Ray Player with 1 HDMI Out.
I have the sound bar, which has 1 HDMI Out/1 HDMI In.
I have a 40-inch Samsung LCD TV that has 4 HDMI Ports.

So, I'm assuming since the Blu-Ray player only has 1 HDMI Out, the HDMI cable from the Blu-Ray player HAS to go to the TV. However, I have been told the best way to not lose sound is to have the Blu-Ray player hooked up directly to the sound bar. Am I an idiot for asking if the sound bar will transfer the video signal through it to the TV?
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post #201 of 253 Old 03-19-2011, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsprings View Post

I bought this unit a while ago and am switching from using digital optical audio cables on it to an HDMI cable because I was told HDMI would give the best sound quality due to digital optical audio cables not being able to transfer ALL the sound data.

With that being said, can someone tell me how I need to set up this sound bar given my situation:

I have a Panasonic DMP-BDT210 Blu-Ray Player with 1 HDMI Out.
I have the sound bar, which has 1 HDMI Out/1 HDMI In.
I have a 40-inch Samsung LCD TV that has 4 HDMI Ports.

So, I'm assuming since the Blu-Ray player only has 1 HDMI Out, the HDMI cable from the Blu-Ray player HAS to go to the TV. However, I have been told the best way to not lose sound is to have the Blu-Ray player hooked up directly to the sound bar. Am I an idiot for asking if the sound bar will transfer the video signal through it to the TV?

HDMI cables carry BOTH video and audio. For your setup, connect the BD player via HDMI to the soundbar, then connect the soundbar via HDMI to the TV. If your TV has an HDMI (ARC) port, use that one. Do you have other components to connect as well?
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post #202 of 253 Old 03-19-2011, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

HDMI cables carry BOTH video and audio. For your setup, connect the BD player via HDMI to the soundbar, then connect the soundbar via HDMI to the TV. If your TV has an HDMI (ARC) port, use that one. Do you have other components to connect as well?

No, I have no other components. Thank you for the response! I will try that when I get the chance. I know I have an HDMI/DVI port but I am not sure what that means. I appreciate the help, possumgirl.
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post #203 of 253 Old 03-20-2011, 05:42 AM
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So I decided to run blu ray to sound bar and cable box to tv. The only way for me to get the optical out on the cable box to send audio to the sound bar is to not use HDMI 1. The manual does say that if you use optical out that you need to disable ARC. The problem with this configuration, however, is that my viera link functions are not working. I don't know if there is a solution for that and I wasn't aware that Viera Link had anything to do with ARC or HDMI 1. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Greg
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post #204 of 253 Old 03-20-2011, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gryd View Post

So I decided to run blu ray to sound bar and cable box to tv. The only way for me to get the optical out on the cable box to send audio to the sound bar is to not use HDMI 1. The manual does say that if you use optical out that you need to disable ARC. The problem with this configuration, however, is that my viera link functions are not working. I don't know if there is a solution for that and I wasn't aware that Viera Link had anything to do with ARC or HDMI 1. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Greg

I'm a bit confused . In this post, Athenian gave you the needed connections. But it sounds like you're trying to use optical from your TV to the soundbar instead of optical from cable box to soundbar. Am I misunderstanding? You should be able to have the cable box connected via HDMI to the TV for video, and then change the cable box audio settings to send audio via optical, not HDMI.
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post #205 of 253 Old 03-20-2011, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

I'm a bit confused . In this post, Athenian gave you the needed connections. But it sounds like you're trying to use optical from your TV to the soundbar instead of optical from cable box to soundbar. Am I misunderstanding? You should be able to have the cable box connected via HDMI to the TV for video, and then change the cable box audio settings to send audio via optical, not HDMI.

Hi Possumgirl,
I do have the optical from the cable box to the bar for audio and from the cable box via hdmi to the tv for video. Problem is it won't work if I'm using Hdmi 1 with the ARC support. The sound bar manual states this as well. It seems by not using hdmi 1 that my Viera link functions don't work. Basically my connections are as follows. hdmi from blu ray to sound bar and hdmi from sound bar to hdmi 2 on the tv. hdmi for video from cable box to hdmi 3 on tv. Optical connection from cable box to sound bar for audio.
Greg
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post #206 of 253 Old 03-20-2011, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gryd View Post

Hi Possumgirl,
I do have the optical from the cable box to the bar for audio and from the cable box via hdmi to the tv for video. Problem is it won't work if I'm using Hdmi 1 with the ARC support. The sound bar manual states this as well. It seems by not using hdmi 1 that my Viera link functions don't work. Basically my connections are as follows. hdmi from blu ray to sound bar and hdmi from sound bar to hdmi 2 on the tv. hdmi for video from cable box to hdmi 3 on tv. Optical connection from cable box to sound bar for audio.
Greg

I guess the assumption is that if you have optical connected it's coming from the TV so having to turn ARC off makes sense. I looked at the manual (page 20). From the way it's written it seems you can set TV Audio to ARC off separately from disabling Viera Link so I'm puzzled why other link functions stopped working. You might try resetting the link from the TV side. Or try setting Viera Link when you're on the HDMI2 input. If those don't work, I'm plum outta ideas.
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post #207 of 253 Old 03-21-2011, 04:16 PM
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Thank you Athenian for mentioning the optical cable solution and thank you Possumgirl for pointing out page 20 in the manual. Page 20 shows how to disable ARC on the sound bar. Now I have dolby digital out from both the cable box and blue ray plus my Viera link functions still work. I can even still switch to the tv speakers if necessary. Thanks again!
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post #208 of 253 Old 03-24-2011, 10:50 AM
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Oops...we had so many issues getting the cable-box connection to work, I forgot to mention disabling ARC. I see that Possumgirl was able to get you past that one. It's still a compromise though because when we disable ARC, we can't use Viera Cast. That's not a big deal since we can get all the same services through the Blu-ray player but it would be nice if it would "just work".

Quote:
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I can even still switch to the tv speakers if necessary. !

But would you want too? Having grown accustomed to the soundbar, we can't believe we endured the built-in speakers for even the short time we did. I still think there's room for improvement but it's a worthwhile improvement.
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post #209 of 253 Old 04-12-2011, 02:41 PM
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Just a quick question about this sound bar:

The sound bar is 2.1, so doesn't that mean I should play sound in Dolby Digital 2.0 instead of Dolby DTS-HD 7.1? In general, it seems that when I have the sound option on either Dolby 5.1 or 7.1, there is a loss of sound (I'm assuming the sound bar does not support this function fully). Am I correct? Or would playing sound @ 7.1 with this sound bar give me the best quality experience?
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post #210 of 253 Old 04-12-2011, 08:46 PM
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With many devices, giving it the most information possible, would help in delivering the output to its best advantage. However, there is a chance that overall volume level, not quality, could be lower as the unit is working harder to decode and deliver the added info.

Try it both ways and keep whichever sounds best. With a 2.1 system, it is pretty hard to screw it up with input.

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