Originally Posted by sloenvy
I am seting up an Onkyo 606 and I'm debating whether to utilize the HDMI connections on the receiver. I am currently directly attaching all of my components (DirectTV and HD DVD) using the HDMI connections to my TV (Pioneer 6020). I'm then using the digital optical audio from the TV to the Onkyo. The sales person suggested keeping this setup as it would provide the best picture (even through the Onkyo has a pass through feature).
My question - was the sales person correct or should I utilize the Onkyo pass through to run my HDMI connections throught the receiver? I feel like I'm just missing out on something with the Onkyo by not using the HDMI connections.
Theoretically, passing the video through the receiver shouldn't affect the quality. Still, people like to use the direct connection for the reasons you stated. If you have enough HDMI inputs, then passing-through the receiver will consolidate your cabling and allow you to video (and audio) switch with the receiver
If you have a multichannel setup, using the TV's optical outs is probably not a good idea. Most TVs will only pass a 2-channel downmix via their optical outputs. A few TVs will pass 5.1 audio. Very few. So, if you want the 5.1 soundtrack, you need a digital audio connection to the receiver from each of your devices. Even if you have a 2-channel or 2.1 setup you will benefit as your receiver will be able to properly handle the LFE channel. With the 2-channel downmix from the TV, there is a good chance the LFE channel is being dropped altogether. If your TV only passes 2-channel, you are not getting true multichannel surround sound from multichannel material. You are probably simply applying DPLII or something like that to the 2-channel output to get "fake" surround.
If your receiver will do audio via HDMI, you can use it for your audio, too. If not, even with separate toslink and/or digi coax connections for the audio, your receiver will switch the audio and video simultaneously with each device if you pass the video through the receiver.