After reading the FAQ, Question on HDMI audio - AVS Forum
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Old 12-23-2009, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I read the AVR FAQ and still have some basic questions.

I don't have a lot of money to spend on a receiver. I have an older Pioneer Receiver with only analog 5.1 inputs that I want to replace, and I have a Dish Network HD Receiver with both HDMI and Optical outputs. Currently, I am running from my satellite receiver an HDMI-to-DVI cable to my TV for video, and analog L/R channels to my receiver for audio.

Is it true that only the expensive ($400+) AVRs will actually play audio from an HDMI input? Call me a noob, but I don't understand the point of AVR's having HDMI inputs if they don't play the audio.

Since I am on a very limited budget, is it better for me to buy a receiver that has Optical input and not worry about using HDMI for audio?


Anyway, thanks for any advice =)
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Old 12-23-2009, 12:13 PM
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Whats the budget?

No it isn't true. Many AVRs under $400 can play audio over HDMI. Some of them can decode the newest audio formats - DD and DTS HD - PLIIz etc.

Look at the Onkyo SR507 and RC160 - both play audio over HDMI but only the RC160 decodes the latest audio formats. For the money difference the RC160 is a much better buy.

There are others if you are interested.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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Old 12-23-2009, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonie_rocks View Post

Is it true that only the expensive ($400+) AVRs will actually play audio from an HDMI input? Call me a noob, but I don't understand the point of AVR's having HDMI inputs if they don't play the audio.

Keep in mind that AVRs <$500 are generally considered "budget" AVRs so it's important to check the specs and/or manual to ensure the AVR you are looking at meets your requirements. Although many AVRs below $500 will pass audio/video over HDMI, what they may NOT do is to upconvert a composite or component video signal to HDMI, rather just passing through HDMI IN ---> HDMI OUT.

Does your receiver have DD Pro Logic that simulates 5.1 surround with a stereo input? As it is right now the best you'll get with your HD cable box is DD 5.1. Unless you have a Blu-Ray player, there may be no reason to upgrade at this point, rather saving up for better speakers first and then an HDMI AVR. Although if you get a Blu-Ray player that can decode the HD audio to multi-channel output, you could then run that to your current AVR and still get the lossless audio.

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Old 12-23-2009, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Knucklehead: I was hoping to spend ~$200. My tastes in electronics far exceeds my current income =)
Thanks for the recommendations. I am looking at them now. I prefer Pioneer only because the rest of my stereo components are currently Pioneer. But price vs. function is more important to me, so I am not dead-set on Pioneer.

jdsmoothie:

"Although many AVRs below $500 will pass audio/video over HDMI, what they may NOT do is to upconvert a composite or component video signal to HDMI, rather just passing through HDMI IN ---> HDMI OUT."

Currently, my video goes from my HD Dish box to my TV via HDMI cable (actually HDMI-DVI conversion cable). Do I need an AVR that does upconvert to get the same video quality I am getting now?


"Does your receiver have DD Pro Logic that simulates 5.1 surround with a stereo input?"

Yes, it has simulated 5.1 and it sounds....weird. Muffled, fluctuates, etc. I have never liked it.

"As it is right now the best you'll get with your HD cable box is DD 5.1"

So the audio output quality of my Dish box isn't worth getting an AVR that supports either HDMI or Optical input?

My Dish box has three audio output choices: HDMI, Optical, or L/R analog. My current AVR has several of the standard stereo L/R inputs and analog 5.1 Front L/R, Rear L/R, Center, and Subwoofer. It has no digital inputs at all. I am currently running L/R analog out from the Dish box to the 5.1 Front L/R input on the AVR. The Center, Sub, and Rear L/R are getting no inputs.



Thank you both for your answers. I really thought HDMI was supposed to make video/audio more simple. I forgot to mention that at least for now, I am only interested in 5.1 sound. But I would like for it to be true 5.1 sound.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:50 PM
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Yes, HDMI was supposed to make AV connections simpler. In some cases it has. That is, when it works properly - it's great and when it doesn't, well it sucks! In many cases it has to do with HDCP handshake issues between the source components and the AVR--->TV connection.

The best way to determine if a particular AVR is going to work for your applications is to see an actual demo in a physical store. Alas, that is becomming a rare ability. If you can't do that, then go ahead and purchase the AVR that you like and then try it out for yourself. Worst case scenario would be that the HDMI connections via the AVR don't work as hoped, in which case you can just connect the HDMI cable directly to the TV and then run digital audio cables to the AVR. Again, not as convenient as a single cable solution, but you won't loose much, if anything, on the audio side and the video will be stable.
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Old 12-23-2009, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonie_rocks View Post

Currently, my video goes from my HD Dish box to my TV via HDMI cable (actually HDMI-DVI conversion cable). Do I need an AVR that does upconvert to get the same video quality I am getting now?

It's highly unlikely that a budget AVR (w/video chip) would do a better job then what you're currently getting from your HD Dish box. Also, HDMI/DVI connections have their own issues with HDMI AVRs and often it's better to connect straight to the TV as you are doing now with optical (for DD 5.1) to the AVR (although realizing of course in your case you cannot do that with the current AVR).

Quote:
Originally Posted by stonie_rocks View Post

So the audio output quality of my Dish box isn't worth getting an AVR that supports either HDMI or Optical input?

If you want true DD 5.1 audio from your HD Dish box you would need either an HDMI or optical connection to the AVR. If you really don't like the DD PL simulated 5.1, sounds like that might be a good reason to upgrade to a more modern DD 5.1 AVR that at least accepts optical.

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Old 12-23-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsmoothie View Post

If you really don't like the DD PL simulated 5.1, sounds like that might be a good reason to upgrade to a more modern DD 5.1 AVR that at least accepts optical.

Jd,

It sounds like going optical for my audio is the safest choice for compatibility reasons, and possibly expense too.

Thank you all for your advice.
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Old 02-09-2010, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Heya jdsmoothie, PIRSQUARED, and Knucklehead90. I just bought and installed the Onkyo HT-S6200.

The HDMI from my Dish receiver is connected to the Onkyo receiver, then out to my TV via the HDMI-to-DVI cable and working flawlessly! The sound is outstanding, especially compared to what I had. My old DVD player only has video component out and coax audio out, so I can't use the Onkyo for a complete switchbox yet. Nothing that a good HDMI capable Blu-Ray player can't fix though.

Thanks for all the advise!
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