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Got a free Sony HT-260...optical??

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I got a HT-260 sound bar for free when I bought a tv at the Sony Store today. I know nothing about sound bars, but in a quick comparison with the CT150 I noticed the HT-260 uses optical inputs while the CT-150 uses HDMI w/ optional optical.

I have a HX950 Sony LED TV, PS3 for gaming, blu-rays, and Netflix streaming, and a Samsung HD cable box.

My question is, what the heck is the difference between using optical and HDMI? Please feel free to break it down to me in the simplest way possible. I didn't expect to get a free sound bar today, and I'm confused about why it has optical and the CT-150 has HDMI.

Should I sell it and get the CT-150 w/ HDMI inputs?
post #2 of 15
From the standpoint of audio quality, there should be no difference between HDMI and optical. Optical is an audio-only transport, whereas HDMI handles both audio and video. Of the two, HDMI is the only one that has the bandwidth needed to handle the HD audio codecs. In the case of soundbars, that last point probably doesn't matter much.

The 150 is meant to be the HDMI switcher for your source devices and will use 5.1 input to perform its DSP magic in creating faux surround. The 260 relies on the TV being the switcher. Most TVs only output 2 ch. stereo from attached source devices. Don't know what your model does.

The HT-260 is fairly new. There are some reviews for it on Amazon. My guess (and it is strictly that), is that the 150 & 260 sound quite different. Whether one is better suited to your needs than the other, only you can decide. smile.gif
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks Possumgirl!.

I forgot to include the most important bit of info, and the reason I'm debating between a sound bar with HDMI (CT-150) or optical inputs (CT-260).

My setup includes an Astro 5.1 Wireless Mixamp which I use for headphone gaming on the PS3 when my girlfriend is asleep.. Right now, the PS3 is connected to the TV via HDMI, then PS3 to an optical switcher via optical cable. The switcher then connects to the Astro Mixamp receiver via optical for headphone use.

My question is, do you know which type of sound bar will be the least amount of hassle for my setup - one with optical inputs, or HDMI?

I really don't want to be swapping out cables every time I switch from PS3 blu-ray via the sound bar, to PS3 gaming with headphones via Mixamp. The PS3 has 1 optical port, the optical switcher has 3. I hope this makes sense, I'm a little confused with all the connection possibilities right now. Below are the audio specs for my TV from the Sony site, maybe that will help?


Audio Features

5.1 Channel Audio Out : Yes

5.1ch Through Out (Handycam) : Yes

Advanced Auto Volume : Yes

Alternate Audio (Digital) : Yes

Audio Out : Fixed/Variable

Clear Phase Speaker : Yes

Dolby® : Dolby DigitalDolby Didital PlusDolby Pulse

Headphone/Speaker Link : Yes

Invisible Speaker : Yes

S-Master : Yes

Sony Original Surround : S-Force Front Surround 3D

Sound Booster : Yes(Not appeared for UI)

Sound Enhancer : Yes

Sound Mode : Dynamic; Standard; Clear Voice; Custom

Stereo System : MTS(AUTO SAP)

Surround Effect : Cinema; Sports; Music; Game
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by scott128 View Post

I'm a little confused with all the connection possibilities right now.

Not as confused as I am after reading that. biggrin.gif I don't have a PS3 so maybe I'm missing something about your current setup. Is the PS3 outputting audio on both the optical and HDMI connections at the same time? Or do you have to make a setting change to go back and forth? And why go to the optical switch instead of direct to the Mixamp receiver? Or do you have other things connected to the switch? I might be able to help figure out which type of soundbar would be easiest if I understand how you've got things working. Pardon my PS3/headphone ignorance. redface.gif
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
I thought it might be confusing, sorry lol.

Ok here we go:

The PS3 is not outputting audio on both optical and HDMI at the same time. I have to make a settings change in the PS3 menu - I toggle between HDMI for PS3 blu-ray audio through TV speakers, and optical for PS3 headphone gaming.

I go to the optical switch because as you guessed, I have other components connected to the switcher (xbox and HD cable box).

That setup is on a Panasonic plasma bc my Sony I gave specs for has yet to be delivered, but I will swap out the Panasonic for the Sony when it comes if that matters.

My main concern is with the PS3 because it gets the most use with Blu-rays, Netflix Streaming, and gaming with headphones. I really don't want to be plugging/unplugging cables everyday.

Does that clear things up a little?
post #6 of 15
Got it! Actually, either soundbar would work for you without any cable swapping. If you keep the 260, your connections would be just like you have now with the addition of an optical cable from the TV to the soundbar. When you have audio being output over HDMI, it will pass through the TV and go to the soundbar. There's probably a setting on the TV to use "external" speakers for audio.

If you choose to get a 150 instead, you have the choice of connecting source devices to either the TV or the soundbar. I'm sure the TV supports ARC, so you could connect just like above except you wouldn't need an optical cable from TV to soundbar. Or you can connect source devices via HDMI directly to the 150 instead of to the TV. You'd still use your optical connections to the switch. The difference is that when you are outputting audio via HDMI, the bar will be receiving DD5.1 or DTS when available and may reproduce more convincing "surround" sound.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow thanks, you really made that easy to understand. Basically I won't be getting DD5.1 or DTS when available with the 260.

The Specs page for the 260 lists a subsection that says Amplifier/Receiver, and it lists:


Decoding Format(s)

Dolby Digital/DTS : Yes/Yes
Dolby Dual Mono : Yes
Dolby Prologic II : Yes

Does that mean if I had a receiver I could get DD/DTS?

I just took a look at the box for the 260, and it lists Dolby Digital Pro Logic II, and DTS Digital Surround.

Is that misleading?

Thanks again, your comments are really helping me out!
post #8 of 15
I find those specs confusing. Dolby Pro Logic isn't the same as DD5.1. You definitely won't get DTS coming out from any TV. I don't know if your new TV is one of the few that would pass DD5.1 from a connected source device. As for the 260, it may be that it can decode DD5.1/DTS if the source device audio is connected directly to the soundbar. In other words, beats me! eek.gif

To answer your other question, Sony is simply referring to the soundbar as an amplifier/receiver since it performs functions of both.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
I stumped you lol.

Yes, I am confused. My new tv specs say it does 5.1 audio. I am going to call a Sony CSR and see what kind of answers I can get.

You helped me out big time, thanks for your great explanations - I'm learning something new!
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Possumgirl View Post

Got it! Actually, either soundbar would work for you without any cable swapping. If you keep the 260, your connections would be just like you have now with the addition of an optical cable from the TV to the soundbar. When you have audio being output over HDMI, it will pass through the TV and go to the soundbar. There's probably a setting on the TV to use "external" speakers for audio.
If you choose to get a 150 instead, you have the choice of connecting source devices to either the TV or the soundbar. I'm sure the TV supports ARC, so you could connect just like above except you wouldn't need an optical cable from TV to soundbar. Or you can connect source devices via HDMI directly to the 150 instead of to the TV. You'd still use your optical connections to the switch. The difference is that when you are outputting audio via HDMI, the bar will be receiving DD5.1 or DTS when available and may reproduce more convincing "surround" sound.
I came to this thread because I was considering buying the HT-CT260 for my Bravia KDL-46ex700, which has audio specs similar to those Scott posted above -- basically "5.1 Channel Audio Out : Yes".

I was originally (naively) thinking that if I'm playing on my TV a show with DD5.1 (being fed to the TV via HDMI), then this would mean the optical out would be carrying that DD5.1 -- and it would not lose anything to feed to the 260. However, your final comment there makes me think that I'm confusing DD5.1 with the "5.1 channel audio out" in the TV specs, and that the optical would not be sending DD5.1 to the soundbar, but rather "5.1". Is that so?

It would mean that I'd probably be better off buying something with a HDMI pass-through, like the HT-CT150. Correct?
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlv View Post

I came to this thread because I was considering buying the HT-CT260 for my Bravia KDL-46ex700, which has audio specs similar to those Scott posted above -- basically "5.1 Channel Audio Out : Yes".
I was originally (naively) thinking that if I'm playing on my TV a show with DD5.1 (being fed to the TV via HDMI), then this would mean the optical out would be carrying that DD5.1 -- and it would not lose anything to feed to the 260. However, your final comment there makes me think that I'm confusing DD5.1 with the "5.1 channel audio out" in the TV specs, and that the optical would not be sending DD5.1 to the soundbar, but rather "5.1". Is that so?
It would mean that I'd probably be better off buying something with a HDMI pass-through, like the HT-CT150. Correct?

You're not confusing DD5.1 with the 5.1 channel audio out statement. Here's the part that does often get confusing ....all HDTVs will output 5.1 channel audio from broadcast TV received via the TV's internal tuner, but most will only output 2 channel stereo from source devices connected to the TV. Sometimes, buried in the fine print in your owner's manual, you can find that information. I don't know if your TV is one of the few models that reportedly will pass 5.1 from all sources.

An optical cable will carry 5.1 as long as that is what the TV outputs. Same for digital coax and HDMI(ARC).
post #12 of 15
OK. Thanks for clearing that up for me!

I will try to determine what the TV will pass out the optical by hooking it up to my receiver (a Yamaha RX-V661, which isn't used for much these days) and seeing what that reports it's getting.

I'm really just looking for a decent sound solution for a low price that will integrate seamlessly (mostly that means: still only one remote to control the tv). it still sounds like either of these two Sony soundbars look like they'll do that (although I'd love something <<$200). My primary source is an HTPC I just built running WMC.
post #13 of 15
Hello,
Can you confirm whether there is an auto wake function when you turn on the TV? Or do you have to turn on the TV and then turn on the soundbar separately? I have a Sony Bravia HX750 if that makes any difference and I would hope the soundbar would be able to wakeup automatically when it realizes there's an active input (from TV sound or from Bluetooth).
I'm also wondering if this blocks any of the IR ports on a 55". Judging by the specs, it may or may not. I think it has a built in IR repeater but does that go for signals to and from the 3D glasses as well?
Thanks.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hwaiting View Post

Hello,
Can you confirm whether there is an auto wake function when you turn on the TV? Or do you have to turn on the TV and then turn on the soundbar separately? I have a Sony Bravia HX750 if that makes any difference and I would hope the soundbar would be able to wakeup automatically when it realizes there's an active input (from TV sound or from Bluetooth).
I'm also wondering if this blocks any of the IR ports on a 55". Judging by the specs, it may or may not. I think it has a built in IR repeater but does that go for signals to and from the 3D glasses as well?
Thanks.

The soundbar needs to be turned on separately as far as I know. I dont have bluetooth enabled but I don't think it would matter.
post #15 of 15
Hi Guys, I have been reading this with interest because I currently run a sony x290 soundbar (optical i/p only) with my KDL 46HX753 TV (UK version of HX750).
The TV itself does o/p DD 5.1 when receiving the same from the DVD player via HDMI but when receiving DTS 5.1 it downmixes to stereo, also the newer blu-ray sound codecs come out as stereo, I imagine all recent sony TVs would do the same. I am using a logitech harmony 200 programmable remote to switch the TV & soundbar on/off with one button push which I have found to work well & is wife friendly. I hope this is useful for you.
smile.gif
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