I recently moved into a new house and the living room is really challenging for the speaker setup (see photo):
I currently have a new Panasonic TC-P54G20 mounted above the fireplace and the Vizio VHT510 soundbar underneath the TV. For those of you who don't know, this particular soundbar has a wireless sub and two rear satellite speakers that plug into the sub. It also has only one optical audio input.
With such an open & large room that a soundbar may not be the ideal choice and WAF is high and she's very anti-wires (not keen on me running them under the floor (basement below) which is why I went with a soundbar in the first place. I'm still trying to sell her on putting the rear satellite speakers on stands in the back of the room. Regardless we are pretty happy with the quality of the sound from the Vizio soundbar despite the challenging room conditions.
Content is coming from a mac mini running into the Panasonic TV via HDMI as well as a blu-ray player running into the Panasonic via HDMI too. I run an optical cable from the Panasonic TV to the Vizio soundbar. The problem is that the Panasonic TV will not pass-through DTS or other fancy 5.1 audio to the soundbar - it only send 2-channel PCM. If I want to get that type of sound I need to run an optical cable directly to the soundbar instead of going through the TV. I've considered the 2-to-1 optical splitter thing from Monoprice to get audio from both the mac mini as well as the blu-ray player. With that setup I can't automatically get audio from the TV (via antenna) without shuffling cables.Here's the question
: Should I
1. Stay with the setup as-is and live with 2-channel audio going to the soundbar
2. Buy a HTIB (like the Onkyo HT-S3300) to run everything through that receiver and not worry about the TV refusing to pass-through better audio - and run it as a 3.1 system as well as try to figure out how to wire up the speakers around the fireplace through the walls (something that the wife will not like and I don't feel very confident doing)
3. Buy a standalone receiver to run everything through and output audio to the vizio soundbar as a speaker
4. Stay with the current components and shuffle wires around into the soundbar as needed (something the wife may not go for)
5. Something else?
I really appreciate any insight you clever people can give.