Do I need a soundbar? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I am a tech guy, however new to sound and audio. I have been reading over the past few days so forgive me is this is an amature question

So I am glued to amazon and am ready to purchase the TC-P50G25 or the TC-P54G25, depending on where the price of each goes in the next couple of days. For this TV - My main question - Is a soundbar needed. I know one answer is wait and see - which leads me to my second question. The Polk audio 3000 is on the amazon daily deal today - and if the price is right - I was thinking of picking it up. Is this device worth it for the money ( i am sure btwn 2-250 depending on the deal) or should i look at others?

Last question - Its on Connectivity. I am reading alot on the benefits of HDMI - however I am also seeing many soundbars only come with an optical at most. Is optical sufficient? Do I need HDMI on soundbar?

PS - this is for a living room setup which is off the kitchen. I am looking for the best sound quality I can get at a budget price. I will be building a Home theather room in the basement over the next year and I will spash out on that to jazz it up...

thanks guys .. apprecaiate any replies
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post #2 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 12:07 PM
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Almost all flat panels will benefit greatly from adding external audio. The Panny's speakers may be better than some other brands, but unless all you're planning to watch is talk shows you just won't be getting great sound.

You did not mention what components you'll be using and that should play into your decision on choosing the best soundbar for your needs. Cable/sat DVR? Blu-ray/PS3? Other things? Like most TVs now, the Panny will not send 5.1 audio out over optical (or ARC) from components connected to the TV via HDMI. It will send 5.1 from its internal tuner if you watch TV OTA. So you should look at soundbars that give you some connection options.

Perhaps someone else will have some input on the Polk 3000. I don't see much discussion of it here on these threads.
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post #3 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post
You did not mention what components you'll be using and that should play into your decision on choosing the best soundbar for your needs. Cable/sat DVR? Blu-ray/PS3? Other things? Like most TVs now, the Panny will not send 5.1 audio out over optical (or ARC) from components connected to the TV via HDMI. It will send 5.1 from its internal tuner if you watch TV OTA. So you should look at soundbars that give you some connection options.
thanks possumgirl... So are you saying that if I have devices connected via hdmi to tv , and my tv connected to the surroundbar- it will not give me surround sound? ( or for a soundbar - the surround sound effect) . Sorry if this is a basic question. How do you get all the audio channels from devices to your sound system?

I Would be connecting.. cable.dvr box ( Cablevision in NY). DVD, blu ray. sage tv, netflix via the panny.... thats it for now.

thanks for you reply!
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post #4 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by doogan123 View Post
thanks possumgirl... So are you saying that if I have devices connected via hdmi to tv , and my tv connected to the surroundbar- it will not give me surround sound? ( or for a soundbar - the surround sound effect) . Sorry if this is a basic question. How do you get all the audio channels from devices to your sound system?

I Would be connecting.. cable.dvr box ( Cablevision in NY). DVD, blu ray. sage tv, netflix via the panny.... thats it for now.

thanks for you reply!
Correct, it will only send out 2 ch. audio. There are some exceptions, but the manual says you'll only get 2 ch.

Several of the popular soundbars have at least one HDMI and one optical in connection, and some like the Sony CTs and the YSPs have multiple HDMI in. Plus one HDMI out that supports ARC. You'll get best audio for blu-ray by connecting HDMI directly to a soundbar. Cable box either direct HDMI to soundbar or HDMI to TV plus optical to soundbar.
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post #5 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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so basically what you are saying.. one hdmi cable from a device to tv will not work. Maybe this was my incorrect assumption. Am I understanding you correctly - if I had a cablebox, dvd player, blue ray player. I need a HDMI from all 3 to tv, and a hdmi or optical from all 3 to soundbar or sound system ???

I did not think I would need that much cabling. Am I understanding you correctly?

thanks agian
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post #6 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by doogan123 View Post
so basically what you are saying.. one hdmi cable from a device to tv will not work. Maybe this was my incorrect assumption. Am I understanding you correctly - if I had a cablebox, dvd player, blue ray player. I need a HDMI from all 3 to tv, and a hdmi or optical from all 3 to soundbar or sound system ???

I did not think I would need that much cabling. Am I understanding you correctly?

thanks agian
Sorry, I could have been clearer. Here's some examples:

Panny soundbar has one HDMI in, one optical in, HDMI (ARC) out. With that bar you could connect your BD player via HDMI to the soundbar and HDMI out from soundbar to TV (ARC). Connect cablebox via HDMI to TV plus optical from cablebox to soundbar. Anything else would have to be connected to the TV and audio (most likely 2 ch.) would go out on ARC.

Sony CT model soundbars have 3 HDMI in, 2 optical in, HDMI (ARC) out. With that bar you could connect 3 devices to it via HDMI and HDMI out from soundbar to TV (ARC). Anything else would connect to the TV although you'd still have one optical input available on the soundbar.

I don't know what the TV does with Netflix since that's streaming, not an HDMI connect. Seems like it should pass 5.1 audio through. You might want to ask on the G25 thread in the AVS display section. There are a lot of G25 owners here as well that may see this thread and have the answer.
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post #7 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks possumgirl - you are being very clear - much appreciated.

I guess the next qquestion is at what point does a receiver become necessary or are there other tangible benefits from a receiver in a basic setup?

I held off buying the polk soundbar - thanks I think i need the additional arc functionality along with some hdmi ...

thanks again
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-29-2011, 04:06 PM
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Doogan, Possumgirl is one of the forum's soundbar wizards. Lucky for you, as she's very patient and knowledgeable.

From what I saw on Amazon, the Polk deal is through a third party. Be aware their return policy (i.e. refund, replacement, restocking fee) are not Amazon's. Something to consider especially since problems are possible irregardless of manufacturer.

I don't own the Polk 3000, but I do own an earlier analog Polk "surroundbar." Like the 3000 it does not decode Dolby, and would best be described as stereo plus. Sound is MUCH better than the internal TV speakers, and the sub is surprisingly good. But in no way is it even close to 5.1.

I chose the Polk over the competition for it's simplicity. Volume and mute commands easily programed to my existing remote and the system goes on and off with the TV. No input switching, or extra remote needed. Internal TV speakers are turned off. The 3000 works the same way. It's not sophisticated and the sound is pretty much what you hear is what you get. If this appeals to you, go for it. If you want more controls and arguably better sound and features for a lower price, look elsewhere.
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-31-2011, 08:27 PM
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I have tried the hdmi & cannot get it to work .I tried a rca jacks & pluged it in the orange port !Can anyone help me?
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post #10 of 10 Old 02-01-2011, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by kyreds View Post

I have tried the hdmi & cannot get it to work .I tried a rca jacks & pluged it in the orange port !Can anyone help me?

On your Mitsubishi TV you have two audio outputs. The analog output should be red and white (R/L) standard RCA jacks. These would be connected to similar jacks on your soundbar. Usually an orange RCA jack is either a sub-woofer output or digital coax. Therefore, cables from your TV analog out to this port would not work and could possibly damage the soundbar, the TV or both.

You will also need to go into the Audio menu on the TV and change the settings to Audio Receiver to hear output from the TV.

You do not say what type of soundbar you are using and what type of components you have or how you have them connected.

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