Physical challenges associated with sound bars? TV IR sensor, TV stand, etc. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-16-2012, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm struggling to find a sound solution I'll be most happy with. I have a 2010 50 Panasonic plasma (P50G20) in the living room sitting on an entertainment center that I want to improve the sound. I'm posting this in the sound bar forum because that's the type of solution I've been looking at the most (with some concerns/questions about them noted below), but I am not ruling out something else.

I have a dedicated theatre room with 7.1 for movies, concerts, etc., so I'm not interested having a high-end sound system in the living room, rather just something better than the built-in speakers to be able to watch daily TV shows. A subwoofer isn't required, although I'm not opposed to it.

I have a MythTV PVR frontend connected to the TV through HDMI which provides the video and audio and will need to work with the sound solution.

1. The TV remote IR sensor is only about 2-1/4 inches above the surface of the entertainment center the TV is sitting on and would most likely be blocked by most sound bars. I see where there is a now discontinued IR Blaster (SC_HTB10) for the Panasonic SC_HTB520 sound bar which retransmits the remote IR signal behind the sound bar. Is something like this necessary for any sound bar in order to not block the TV remote IR signal? What is Panasonic thinking by having the TV IR sensor this low but what it will be blocked by most/all sound bars and then discontinuing the IR Blaster on their sound bar? I see where I can get a 3rd party IR blaster that will work with their sound bar if necessary.

2. Do most sound bars have legs/feet to hold the bar up from the table an inch or so? The few sound bars I saw in Best Buy didn't look like they had legs on them at all. My TV has an oval stand that is about 3/4 high that will be in the way if a sound bar sits flush on the table.

3. I wouldn't be opposed to simply getting a couple speakers to sit on each side of the TV if they weren't too big and would connect appropriately. The TV has no speaker or analog audio outputs, rather just HDMI ARC or Digital Audio Out with an optical Toslink cable. Any recommendations on a small 2.0 or 2.1 system that would work? Ideally it would be great to simply have amplified speakers that would connect via HDMI or optical, but I could have a small amp sitting in the entertainment center if necessary. I've thought about buying a relatively low-end 5.1 system and simply using two speakers, but this feels like overkill when all I need is a simple solution and I'm not sure how well that would work if it was expecting all 5 speakers to be connected. My living room isn't conducive for side or rear speakers, nor am I interested in that given that I have the dedicated theater room.

4. I don't particularly want to have to turn on a sound bar or amplifier by using a different remote or having to press extra remote buttons. If I could simply connect external speakers on the TV like you used to be able to do in the old analog days, I would most likely be satisfied with that!

5. I've looked at the Panasonic sound bars the most so far simply because I assumed they might have the most seamless integration with the Panasonic TV, but I'll go with something else if integrates well (i.e., wouldn't require it's own remote or extra key presses on an existing remote, etc.).

I'm leaning toward some sort of sound bar but have concerns about the physical layout due to the TV IR sensor and the TV stand noted above. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-17-2012, 11:21 AM
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1. There are lots of IR repeaters out there. Google will help you find lots and lots of products.

2. No idea but I would generally think why have feet on a sound bar. Does your TV move back at all?

3. So this is professional series plasma? Needing an audio decoder complicates things a little more. There were some small computer (think logitech) systems that took optical for a while. Might look into finding a used/new system. Other wise your get a full on AVR that you get to cable up. You can find about 1000 old recivers that will take optical and run 2.0 and 2.1 just fine. Alot of mainstream AVRs have setup to say what speakers are present in the system for over the last decade or so.

4. Good luck. I have a power strip that turn on equipment when I turn my theater rack on. There are Macro remote controles (think "Watch TV" as a button). Some equipment will auto sense and turn on. Carefully design your system if you want a single action to turn all your equipment on.

5. No doubt the soudbar is going to be the simplest thing. Plug your optical or hdmi into the sound bar but you really need to understand what controls the volume. Maybe your TV can but you really need to keep track of volume control and what remote will be used. In general most TVs just pass 2.0 output over digital. They not manage the volume from the display but I don't know much about your specific tv with no analog outputs.

Good Luck! Research!
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-17-2012, 12:43 PM
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GaryP2, you sound like a good candidate for a ZVOX.
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-17-2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryP2 View Post

1. The TV remote IR sensor is only about 2-1/4 inches above the surface of the entertainment center the TV is sitting on and would most likely be blocked by most sound bars. I see where there is a now discontinued IR Blaster (SC_HTB10) for the Panasonic SC_HTB520 sound bar which retransmits the remote IR signal behind the sound bar. Is something like this necessary for any sound bar in order to not block the TV remote IR signal? What is Panasonic thinking by having the TV IR sensor this low but what it will be blocked by most/all sound bars and then discontinuing the IR Blaster on their sound bar? I see where I can get a 3rd party IR blaster that will work with their sound bar if necessary.

As the owner of a Panny plasma that sits on an entertainment center, I sympathize. Besides an IR extender, you could consider using universal soundbar brackets to mount a bar just above the TV. Bars usually sound best when they are not too low.

Quote:


2. Do most sound bars have legs/feet to hold the bar up from the table an inch or so? The few sound bars I saw in Best Buy didn't look like they had legs on them at all. My TV has an oval stand that is about 3/4 high that will be in the way if a sound bar sits flush on the table.

There are some bars with feet or a cradle, but wouldn't that just make the problem of blocking the IR worse?

Quote:


4. I don't particularly want to have to turn on a sound bar or amplifier by using a different remote or having to press extra remote buttons. If I could simply connect external speakers on the TV like you used to be able to do in the old analog days, I would most likely be satisfied with that!
5. I've looked at the Panasonic sound bars the most so far simply because I assumed they might have the most seamless integration with the Panasonic TV, but I'll go with something else if integrates well (i.e., wouldn't require it's own remote or extra key presses on an existing remote, etc.).

If the soundbar supports CEC (many do), VieraLink should allow you to turn the bar on/off with the TV and control the volume using the TV remote. The Panny bars would do this and so will several others.
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-26-2012, 11:21 AM
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I'm having this issue too (50" panasonic (professional) plasma plus Yamaha YSP-4000 sound bar).

Here are some ideas that may be of interest. I haven't decided what I will do yet.

- A stand that is designed to securely mount your specific sound bar and any VESA-compliant TV: example that works for my case, Yamaha YTST500
http://www.jr.com/yamaha/pe/YAM_YTST500/

- Any regular cabinet that has a soundbar-friendly shelf below the top surface: example,
http://www.cymax.com/Common/Product/...nd-BAY6028.htm

- A TV Riser that accommodates a sound bar: example, http://www.standsandmounts.com/WoodT...BlackSBR2.aspx
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