Optical (Toslink) and 5.1 from Satbox - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I searched some of the older threads and I am getting mixed answers - here's the question:

I have an optical cable running from my VIP211 Satellite box to my pre/pro for TV audio out. When a station says 'broadcast in 5.1' is the optical out 2.0 or 5.1?
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by kitchen_space View Post

I searched some of the older threads and I am getting mixed answers - here's the question:

I have an optical cable running from my VIP211 Satellite box to my pre/pro for TV audio out. When a station says 'broadcast in 5.1' is the optical out 2.0 or 5.1?

I don't own that cable box, but I think that the optical out should handle both 5.1 dolby and 2.0 dolby. My Directv DVR is that way. It is limited to 2.0 PCM on my DVR. I have it set to dolby not PCM. Maybe some one else will chime in to make sure. I could be wrong. Can your receiver tell you what the input is that it is receiving, or the amount of channels?
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

I don't own that cable box, but I think that the optical out should handle both 5.1 dolby and 2.0 dolby. My Directv DVR is that way. It is limited to 2.0 PCM on my DVR. I have it set to dolby not PCM. Maybe some one else will chime in to make sure. I could be wrong. Can your receiver tell you what the input is that it is receiving, or the amount of channels?

I have an Onkyo 5507 pre/pro, and to find out what the audio input is, you hit the 'display' button and it sends a video overlay to the TV. Here's the problem, when I am listening to audio from the sat box, the onkyo does not send that overlay to the TV because there is not video from the sat box going into the onkyo, just the fiber optic cable.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kitchen_space View Post

I have an Onkyo 5507 pre/pro, and to find out what the audio input is, you hit the 'display' button and it sends a video overlay to the TV. Here's the problem, when I am listening to audio from the sat box, the onkyo does not send that overlay to the TV because there is not video from the sat box going into the onkyo, just the fiber optic cable.

I think you should still be able to see what the Onkyo is receiving right on the Onkyo display. It doesn't have to be put out onto the television to view this. At least not on my TXSR805. I run HDMI from my DVR to my TV and digital coax for sound to my Onkyo.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

I think you should still be able to see what the Onkyo is receiving right on the Onkyo display. It doesn't have to be put out onto the television to view this. At least not on my TXSR805. I run HDMI from my DVR to my TV and digital coax for sound to my Onkyo.

Ah - well, digital coax should be the same format as optical right? So, do you get 5.1 or 2.0 from the digital coax from the DVR?
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kitchen_space View Post

Ah - well, digital coax should be the same format as optical right? So, do you get 5.1 or 2.0 from the digital coax from the DVR?

Yes, both cables should carry 5.1 dolby or 2.0 dolby. I get both 5.1 dolby and 2.0 dolby through digital coax. Depending on the channel of course. Some only broadcast in 2.0 dolby. Also check the little speaker boxes on the front of your receiver. If 5.1 of them are filled in you are getting 5.1. As long as you have the speakers enabled in the set up.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

Yes, both cables should carry 5.1 dolby or 2.0 dolby. I get both 5.1 dolby and 2.0 dolby through digital coax. Depending on the channel of course. Some only broadcast in 2.0 dolby. Also check the little speaker boxes on the front of your receiver. If 5.1 of them are filled in you are getting 5.1. As long as you have the speakers enabled in the set up.

Interesting - on my Onkyo the little speaker squares do not fill in; they remain outlines, but when one presses the 'display' button, on the front of the onkyo showed 5.1! I then switched channels and it said 2.0.

Very interesting.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 08:43 PM
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Some commercials are only in 2.0 dolby and the main program will be in 5.1. Some channels only broadcast in 2.0. It depends on the channel. On my receiver the outlines on the speaker boxes are always there. When I have 5.1 dolby coming in they stay filled in. FL,C,FR
SL,LFE,SR
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I was watching this bluray that came with my oppo, and the guy on it stated that toslink and digital coax use S/PDIF, which is only capable of 2.0
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by kitchen_space View Post

I was watching this bluray that came with my oppo, and the guy on it stated that toslink and digital coax use S/PDIF, which is only capable of 2.0

You misunderstood Dr. Waldrep. While the S/PDIF protocol is limited to two channels of PCM, it is more than capable of sending encoded multichannel audio such as DD 5.1 and DTS Surround. Those are the formats that have been used on DVD for years. Many TV shows also have DD 5.1 soundtracks.

Optical and coax can send stereo PCM and multichannel DD 5.1 and DTS.

HDMI is needed for multichannel PCM and lossless codecs such as TrueHD and dts-HD Master Audio.

So, returning to your original question, when a station says "Broadcast in 5.1", that means it is using DD 5.1, a format that can sent over an optical or coax connection to a receiver for decoding.
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post #11 of 12 Old 01-19-2010, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks BIslander -

Fantastic explanation. Obviously, you watched that bluray, too.

So, if I understand you, S/PDIF can handle 2.0 PCM, which I take it is unencoded. But, it can handle encoded 5.1.
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post #12 of 12 Old 01-19-2010, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kitchen_space View Post

Thanks BIslander -

Fantastic explanation. Obviously, you watched that bluray, too.

Yes. AIX has great hi-res releases.

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So, if I understand you, S/PDIF can handle 2.0 PCM, which I take it is unencoded. But, it can handle encoded 5.1.

Correct. Encoded audio is limited to DD 5.1 and DTS. The newer encoded formats such as TrueHD require HDMI.

Encoding is really just zipping the original PCM to save space. Decoding (unzipping) turns the data back into PCM.
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