How should I connect my new soundbar? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 04-01-2013, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought an LG NB2520A soundbar and am unsure of which is the better connection:

1. cable and blu-ray to TV via HDMI, then TV to soundbar via optical; or

2. cable and blu-ray to soundbar via HDMI, then soundbar to TV via HDMI.

My TV has optical audio out only.

The soundbar is intended to replace the TV speakers, and I'd like that to be as seamless as possible. It seems like connection #1 gets closer to that. However, I read that optical doesn't support some Blu-ray audio formats. I really like Blu-ray and would hate to hamstring its capability. Then again, I don't know how much that would matter with the audio playing through only a soundbar.

I've been thinking about dumping cable and going with OTA, so I guess I'd need optical anyway for TV audio.
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post #2 of 24 Old 04-01-2013, 07:44 PM
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Definitely option #2. I could have sworn that I saw this soundbar at Sam's Club but that unit didn't have HDMI inputs. Yours does. Connect all sources to the soundbar directly. Worry about the optical cable if/when you ever switch to OTA. You could also consider utilizing ARC in the future, as long as your TV supports it.

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 #3 of 24 Old 04-01-2013, 07:45 PM
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Use the optical cable, its easy and as far as the lossless audio from the blu ray you would need to have an AVR to get it. You also need to set the digital out for the TV to PCM. That's what I did and works great.
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post #4 of 24 Old 04-02-2013, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the replies. For now, I'm using connection #2.

I watched LOTR Fellowship of the Ring on blu-ray last night. My first impression of the NB2520A is that it generally sounds great, but would definitely benefit from sound leveling. I had to adjust the volume several times during the movie, which got annoying. It could be this particular movie, so I'll play others to get a better feel for the soundbar. Also, my living room isn't as quiet as I'd like (loud heating duct, PC with speakers in connected room).

As I said, I was hoping for a seamless TV speaker replacement: the TV speakers automatically disable when I plug in the optical cable, and any TV volume commands get passed to the soundbar. Other than for adjustments to configuration settings, I'd rather not need the soundbar's remote. Do you know of any soundbars that function like that?
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post #5 of 24 Old 04-02-2013, 12:27 PM
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If you have any SRS settings in the menu for the TV try them and see if you get what you want.
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post #6 of 24 Old 04-02-2013, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

I bought an LG NB2520A soundbar and am unsure of which is the better connection:

1. cable and blu-ray to TV via HDMI, then TV to soundbar via optical; or

2. cable and blu-ray to soundbar via HDMI, then soundbar to TV via HDMI.

My TV has optical audio out only.

The soundbar is intended to replace the TV speakers, and I'd like that to be as seamless as possible. It seems like connection #1 gets closer to that. However, I read that optical doesn't support some Blu-ray audio formats. I really like Blu-ray and would hate to hamstring its capability. Then again, I don't know how much that would matter with the audio playing through only a soundbar.

I've been thinking about dumping cable and going with OTA, so I guess I'd need optical anyway for TV audio.

as long as your soundbar has both HDMI in and out, then use 2. My TV has only optical out so I am using an optical switch. DirectTV to optical 1, Blue ray to optical 2 and TV to optical 3.

Since Blue ray and D* connect directly to TV using HDMI, I take the feeds from those devices directly to Optical 1 or 2 on the switch......But if the TV feed comes from OTA Antenna or Internet with wireless or Ethernet, then I can switch to Optical 3. Also since the switch has 2 optical Outs I connect one to sound bar and the second to my Sony DMR ds2600 optical wireless headphones then I can use either the soundbar or my headphones at my choice.
I chose to use Cat6a Ethernet cable to the devices because the wireless signal was so weak and I had no place to plug in a wireless repeater to go between the devices and the router. Since I had so many devices on the Ethernet cable, I use a 6 port switch at the end of 100 ft cable run.

The TV outputs LPCM and Dolby and the soundbar decodes Dolby, Dolby PLII in 5-1 and the headphones do 7-1

I did not buy this soundbar because of the small 3 inch woofers so I bought one with a separate wireless woofer and both a cinema (surround sound 5-1) and music mode(2-1)
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post #7 of 24 Old 04-03-2013, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

If you have any SRS settings in the menu for the TV try them and see if you get what you want.
Thanks for the advice. I'll try that. Is there any likelihood of the TV's SRS conflicting with the sound bar's surround sound settings?

My TV's volume linked to the sound bar last night. I didn't change any settings, but got a new "home theater audio" volume display when using the TV and cable remotes. That didn't happen the night before. My TV's manual mentions auto switching with an HDMI connection, but it isn't very clear. It also say that the default audio can be changed fromTV to home theater, so I'll try that.

I went through the channels last night and found two or three channels (or maybe just the programs) that sounded thin, as if all the sound was coming from the tweeters. I don't know how much audio processing would improve that kind of broadcast, but I'm not going to sweat it. I bought the sound bar mostly for blu-ray, and it has been fantastic for that. I prefer to stick with quality audio sources, rather than relying on processing to turn bad audio into touched-up bad audio.
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I did not buy this soundbar because of the small 3 inch woofers
I initially thought the same thing, especially since there was a Panasonic sound bar (same brand as my TV) with a separate subwoofer for about the same price (both were open box). I thought the VieraLink feature and the separate sub would be the way to go, but the salesman seemed to think the LG was the better unit. It sounded great in the store, so I went for it.

I'm happy with the sound bar's audio performance. With the subwoofer at a low setting, it gives me plenty of bass for my apartment living room. My son and I watched The Last Airbender last night, and a few of the scenes thundered nicely. When the ice orb broke out of the frozen lake, I realized that Night mode would be a must. Not bad at all for a first sound bar at under $150. I'm probably looking at another $75 for a Harmony remote, but I was sick of juggling remotes even before the sound bar.
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post #8 of 24 Old 04-03-2013, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

Thanks for the advice. I'll try that. Is there any likelihood of the TV's SRS conflicting with the sound bar's surround sound settings?

My TV's volume linked to the sound bar last night. I didn't change any settings, but got a new "home theater audio" volume display when using the TV and cable remotes. That didn't happen the night before. My TV's manual mentions auto switching with an HDMI connection, but it isn't very clear. It also say that the default audio can be changed fromTV to home theater, so I'll try that.

When you are using "home theater" as the audio output, the TV's SRS settings are probably not even available. Those settings only apply to using the TV's built-in speakers AFAIK.

If you poke around in the VieraLink settings, you'll find the speaker setting where you can default to home theater. Once set it should stay there, at least mine does.
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post #9 of 24 Old 04-03-2013, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

When you are using "home theater" as the audio output, the TV's SRS settings are probably not even available. Those settings only apply to using the TV's built-in speakers AFAIK.
Good point.
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If you poke around in the VieraLink settings, you'll find the speaker setting where you can default to home theater. Once set it should stay there, at least mine does.
I'm going to do that today and see how it works. If I can set it up so that the soundbar automatically turns on and off with the TV, I can probably do most of what I need through my cable remote. My family seems a little put out by the extra complexity of the sound bar. The TV and sound bar manuals mention these kinds of auto capabilities, but it isn't very clear. I'll probably call customer service for clarification.
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post #10 of 24 Old 04-03-2013, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

Good point.
I'm going to do that today and see how it works. If I can set it up so that the soundbar automatically turns on and off with the TV, I can probably do most of what I need through my cable remote. My family seems a little put out by the extra complexity of the sound bar. The TV and sound bar manuals mention these kinds of auto capabilities, but it isn't very clear. I'll probably call customer service for clarification.

In VieraLink settings you'll find two separate settings, one for "auto-off" which is enabled by default, and another for "auto-on" which is disabled by default. As long as VieraLink and Simplink are both enabled the TV and soundbar should get along nicely. smile.gif
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post #11 of 24 Old 04-04-2013, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

Thanks for the advice. I'll try that. Is there any likelihood of the TV's SRS conflicting with the sound bar's surround sound settings?

My TV's volume linked to the sound bar last night. I didn't change any settings, but got a new "home theater audio" volume display when using the TV and cable remotes. That didn't happen the night before. My TV's manual mentions auto switching with an HDMI connection, but it isn't very clear. It also say that the default audio can be changed fromTV to home theater, so I'll try that.

I went through the channels last night and found two or three channels (or maybe just the programs) that sounded thin, as if all the sound was coming from the tweeters. I don't know how much audio processing would improve that kind of broadcast, but I'm not going to sweat it. I bought the sound bar mostly for blu-ray, and it has been fantastic for that. I prefer to stick with quality audio sources, rather than relying on processing to turn bad audio into touched-up bad audio.
I initially thought the same thing, especially since there was a Panasonic sound bar (same brand as my TV) with a separate subwoofer for about the same price (both were open box). I thought the VieraLink feature and the separate sub would be the way to go, but the salesman seemed to think the LG was the better unit. It sounded great in the store, so I went for it.

I'm happy with the sound bar's audio performance. With the subwoofer at a low setting, it gives me plenty of bass for my apartment living room. My son and I watched The Last Airbender last night, and a few of the scenes thundered nicely. When the ice orb broke out of the frozen lake, I realized that Night mode would be a must. Not bad at all for a first sound bar at under $150. I'm probably looking at another $75 for a Harmony remote, but I was sick of juggling remotes even before the sound bar.
probably most sound bar will be better than the TV speakers due to the thin space in most LCD, Plasma TV's so it is a matter of choice. What I liked about is the separate woofer with it's own volume control that allowed me to set the bar's volume and woofer volume to my liking. When I want really good audio, I use the wireless 7-1 headphones.

With your TV auto-switching it probably is referring too HDMI ARC which allows 2 way communication. Your TV SRS system should apply only to the TV's own speakers. My Panasonic Plasma TV has both HDMI ARC and Digital Optical (Toslink) which gives me a choice. When the TV speakers are set to OFF, the TV outputs PCM, dolby, Fiber Optic pass through. I see displayed on the bar it's self "Dolby or Dolby PLII" but have not noticed anything else.
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post #12 of 24 Old 04-04-2013, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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After talking with LG's customer service, I think optical will work better for me. I ordered a cable yesterday and will post an update after I get it.
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post #13 of 24 Old 04-04-2013, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

After talking with LG's customer service, I think optical will work better for me. I ordered a cable yesterday and will post an update after I get it.

I hope they didn't recommend connecting the BD player to the TV and only using optical from TV to soundbar. eek.gif
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post #14 of 24 Old 04-04-2013, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

I hope they didn't recommend connecting the BD player to the TV and only using optical from TV to soundbar. eek.gif
That's what he recommended. He said there would be no difference in sound quality between the HDMI and optical connection, and that the optical connection would be better for linking with the TV. I see that some people here disagree with the first statement. I'll try both connections and see how they compare -- if I keep this sound bar. Tonight it sounded thin and cheap while I was watching cable (I tried several channels). It also sounded detached from the video. I could easily hear that it was coming from a separate speaker, rather than sounding like it was coming naturally from the video. I'll do some comparison shopping this weekend.

One consistent annoyance has been that each time the sound bar is powered on, the bright LED display doesn't turn off unless you do it manually by pressing the sleep button.
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post #15 of 24 Old 04-05-2013, 12:26 AM
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Lou, if you return your sound bar take a look at the Vizio bar with wireless sub. I have 2 of them set up and use the optical cable. When the TV comes on the signal turns on the bar and signal stops off goes the bar. It works just the same with the RCA inputs. As far as getting better sound using an HDMI cable to a sound bar it won't make a deference, BD has whats called lossless audio and the only why to get it is with HDMI to an AVR and a good 5.1 system. Everything ells is called lossy for compressed audio, I have both and it all sounds the same to me.

Some good info and explanation on what I am saying. One of the more knowledgeable wrote this in response to a question I asked.

Lossy audio was invented because originally there wasn't enough space on the disc nor a fast enough method to send out the bits to support lossless multichannel audio. So a method was invented to reduce the number of bits and increase the number of channels to 5.1-channels (then 6.1-channel for DTS and 7.1-channels for LPCM, DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD).

Based on numerous studies, it has been shown that parts of audio are imperceptible to most humans. The obvious things are frequencies that are too high to hear or too low to hear (although those can be felt). In addition to those, we have a difficult time perceiving very soft sounds while a loud sound is also occuring. A finger cymbal being hit at the same time a cannon is fired will not be heard. The lossy algorithms take this into account when reducing the sounds to make the bits fit in the available space. Their goal with these algorithms is to 1) reduce the bit count to an acceptable level and 2) make it inperceptible to the average listener.

So, for you to notice the improvement with lossless audio, you would have to have a system that allowed you to hear the differrences. A bunch of little satellite speakers with little dynamic range will not provide an ability to hear the differences. Obviously your own hearing would have an impact as to whether or not you could hear a difference.

Finally, there is no such thing as low-loss audio. The whole idea behind the lossy audio was to save space. Low-loss would not save significant space and would make no sense. Be careful of any source that mentioned low-loss since they obviously are talking outside of their area of knowledge. By the way, Dolby Digital Plus uses more bits than Dolby Digital but is still a lossy audio scheme. It is definately not low-loss. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA are both lossless audio. The bits output from those two codecs are the exactly same bits that were originally recorded.

The bottom line to all this is the following question: What are you missing from your present system that you think lossless audio and a new receiver will solve? If you can give us an answer to that, we can probably tell you if you are on the right track.
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post #16 of 24 Old 04-05-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Phil, thanks for the info on lossy audio.

I didn't think to check for cable audio settings. It would be nice if it's something that simple, but I'm still going to audition other models this weekend. I'll keep an eye out for the Vizio Phil recommended, and I'm also interested in the Yamaha YAS-101.
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post #17 of 24 Old 04-05-2013, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

That's what he recommended. He said there would be no difference in sound quality between the HDMI and optical connection, and that the optical connection would be better for linking with the TV.

Indeed, coming from the TV there would be no difference between HDMI(ARC) and optical, but that's not the issue nor is lossy vs. lossless. The issue is connecting the BD player to the TV. During the HDMI handshake, the BD player learns it is connected to a TV which is a stereo device. So the player downmixes audio to stereo. The only way to get 5.1 audio from the BD player would be to ALSO connect optical directly from the player to the soundbar. Of course, if a soundbar has HDMI inputs, that is the preferred connection method for any source device.
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post #18 of 24 Old 04-06-2013, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I listened again last night and decided to return the sound bar. Actually, I was relieved when I saw just my TV on the stand again. Aside from the bar's sonic charm fading, I just didn't like its blocky transitional-solution look. For a dedicated TV speaker system, I prefer the cleaner look of something like the Bose Cinemate Series II. I'll keep looking. Thanks again for all your help!
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post #19 of 24 Old 04-06-2013, 03:35 PM
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Solved my sound bar issue with the purchase of a Yamaha YHT397 HTIB. My Panny 520 was interfering with my Xbox, and my Roku because of the wireless connection to the sub woofer. Plus, I was getting booming sound from the bar, louder commercial volumes that couldn't be adjusted, no tonal adjustment to speak of apart from mild bass adjustments to the sub, and no separation or surround effect which I really miss. Took me a few hours to complete the transition to the Yamaha, but worth every minute. Now I have 5. 1 surround sound in a perfect package with a bonus too - a headphone jack that doesn't appear on TVs or sound bars anymore. Couldn't be happier. Sound bars are easy to plug in but, at least so far, seem to have several limitations at least for my needs. Nothing like a wired system. Sometimes, old can be good. It is for me. Oh, and the Yamaha system is only $280 for a dramatic sound system. That's got to be one of the absolute best deals on the planet at the moment.
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post #20 of 24 Old 04-06-2013, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

I listened again last night and decided to return the sound bar. Actually, I was relieved when I saw just my TV on the stand again. Aside from the bar's sonic charm fading, I just didn't like its blocky transitional-solution look. For a dedicated TV speaker system, I prefer the cleaner look of something like the Bose Cinemate Series II. I'll keep looking. Thanks again for all your help!

Bose does sound good in the store, but before you buy type Bose into the search box at the top of the page.
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post #21 of 24 Old 04-06-2013, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

Bose does sound good in the store, but before you buy type Bose into the search box at the top of the page.
I was talking about the Cinemate's appearance, not necessarily its sound. Whatever I decide to go with, I'll ultimately need to hear it in my living room.
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Solved my sound bar issue with the purchase of a Yamaha YHT397 HTIB. My Panny 520 was interfering with my Xbox, and my Roku because of the wireless connection to the sub woofer. Plus, I was getting booming sound from the bar, louder commercial volumes that couldn't be adjusted, no tonal adjustment to speak of apart from mild bass adjustments to the sub, and no separation or surround effect which I really miss. Took me a few hours to complete the transition to the Yamaha, but worth every minute. Now I have 5. 1 surround sound in a perfect package with a bonus too - a headphone jack that doesn't appear on TVs or sound bars anymore. Couldn't be happier. Sound bars are easy to plug in but, at least so far, seem to have several limitations at least for my needs. Nothing like a wired system. Sometimes, old can be good. It is for me. Oh, and the Yamaha system is only $280 for a dramatic sound system. That's got to be one of the absolute best deals on the planet at the moment.
I too like wired systems.
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post #22 of 24 Old 04-07-2013, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lou3 View Post

I was talking about the Cinemate's appearance, not necessarily its sound. Whatever I decide to go with, I'll ultimately need to hear it in my living room.
I too like wired systems.

If you are thinking of upgrading from a sound bar, the Yamaha YHT397 looks like a nice system and for real good deals on this type of system take a look at accessories4less.com. I have used Onkyo's for years with good results and a4less has some very nice systems from Onkyo and Denon that are comparable too the Yamaha YHT397 HTIB for just slitty more money then sound bars. PS a4less has a nice deal on wire to
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post #23 of 24 Old 04-07-2013, 08:04 AM
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Indeed, coming from the TV there would be no difference between HDMI(ARC) and optical, but that's not the issue nor is lossy vs. lossless. The issue is connecting the BD player to the TV. During the HDMI handshake, the BD player learns it is connected to a TV which is a stereo device. So the player downmixes audio to stereo. The only way to get 5.1 audio from the BD player would be to ALSO connect optical directly from the player to the soundbar. Of course, if a soundbar has HDMI inputs, that is the preferred connection method for any source device.
It really depends on both the source and receiving devices. HDMI passes BOTH audio and Video signals while Toslink (digital optical ) passes audio only. I connect my BD player directly to the bar with toslink and to the TV with HDMI (SAME WITH d*). Cable choice CAN be a problem, but IMHO the biggest problem is the ability of the equipment to send and decode all of the different compressed digital formats that are transmitted and also those that are yet to be developed that deal with high speed band width. The better BD players do decode multiple formats but the TV mfg's do not even try to keep up with it. This fact is probably why most serious viewers who have the room go all the way and include a good AVR in their set up. I use a AVR in my family room and a bar in the bedroom. The bar is really a midway solution to the pitiful speaker system in the TV itself (UNLESS one has a deep pocket book with lots of $ inside). This fact is not really the TV's fault though because of the very limited space that they have to install speakers of any size so they focus their efforts in producing good video. in the family room, where I have more space to accommodate a full 7-2 system the AVR is my choice for good audio and versatility.
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post #24 of 24 Old 12-23-2013, 04:56 PM
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:)There is absolutely no difference in audio by connecting everything to your TV then connecting the soundbar to the TV with one cable. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
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