Originally Posted by proxy64
Yes I did test "Pass-though" which exihibited the same behavior as "Auto".
Just to add a few more comments on this topic...(1)
If you don't turn your AVR on last, but instead say turn your HDTV on first, and then your AVR on second, with the DCX still powered off, when the AVR stabilizes after a few seconds you will see the "DUI" (actually, I think it's supposed to read "DVI") flash on the front panel of the DCX.
This is an indication of the HDMI handshake occurring for the "digital video interface (DVI)". And it is at this moment, with the DCX powered off, that the RESET occurs for both "native" on video as well as "pass-through" or "L-PCM" on audio, back to the box defaults. Video will revert to some fixed resolution (instead of "native"), 480i override will revert to 480i (instead of "off"), and audio will revert to "auto" (instead of "L-PCM" or "pass-through").
So if you can implement a hard-and-fast AVR-on-last, and AVR-off-first, you can prevent losing "native" on video and "L-PCM" on audio.(2)
The "auto" HDMI audio setting on the DVR (and, by the way, this set of "additional HDMI settings" to control audio which was always on the DCX power/menu setup is now also available on the DCH3416 power/menu setup, after some previous firmware upgrade was rolled out, even though the Motorola PDF manual still fails to show it) essentially says that the DCX will send DD5.1 if the receiving device (AVR or HDTV, whichever the HDMI cable is connected to) indicates it is capable of receiving DD5.1.
Or, it will send 2.0 if the receiving device indicates it cannot accept DD5.1 but only 2.0.
So with "auto" the receiving device controls what digital audio format the DCX sends out over HDMI. Normally, the device responding to the HDMI handshake would be the AVR, and since the AVR CAN accept DD5.1 that's why DD5.1 programs cause the DCX to send DD5.1 audio out over HDMI... when "auto" is the HDMi audio setting.
But if it's an HDTV which is connected directly to the DCX via HDMI cable (with no AVR relay involved), most HDTV's cannot accept DD5.1 audio (since they don't have a surround speaker system built into them, so why accept anything other than 2-channel L/R stereo?) then the response to the DCX's query about audio capabilities will be that "only 2.0 PCM stereo is acceptable". This will then cause the DCX with "auto" set to send only 2.0 PCM stereo out over HDMI (exactly as if "L-PCM" were set, see below).
In contrast to "auto", the "pass through" setting for HDMI audio is like "native" for video. Whatever audio the source program contains, that's what gets sent out over HDMI.
So if the program content on a given channel changes back and forth while you're watching, or if you change channels and move from DD5.1 to 2.0 and/or back to DD5.1, well the audio stream sent out by the DCX over HDMI will change accordingly. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, and depending on your equipment may be audible.
You may hear momentary drops of sound, or the complete absence of sound, as your equipment at the other end of the HDMI cable adjusts to the changes. For example, if your HDTV is directly connected to the DCX via HDMI but it can't accept DD5.1 but only 2.0 PCM stereo, and you feed it DD5.1 from the DCX (set to "pass through"), then you will get no sound at all from your HDTV speakers.
Finally, "L-PCM" is truly the old-fashioned 2.0 channel digital audio L/R-stereo stream as sent out by the broadcaster (like the old MTS stereo with OTA analog broadcasts). It's not a "downmix" from DD5.1.
So if you could get the DCX to hold that "L-PCM" setting, you'd get nothing but 2.0 channel stereo which you've stated would be a very acceptable compromise as upmixed by your Onkyo AVR, since it would always produce center channel output (although we all know that it's really a "phantom" center channel that's been fabricated... and not the true C channel of DD5.1).(3)
As was pointed out by TNO821, stations are notorious for sending out what purports to be DD5.1 (per the lights on the AVR) but in fact they're only sending out 2.0 (i.e. L/R stereo). So as you've already noticed, you end up having no sound from your other speakers because the AVR is functioning as if it truly were 5.1 input... albeit realistically with zero signal on anything but LF and RF.
NBC is notorious for doing this, in my opinion. They started that back in 2004 with the Athens Olympics when they first were going to DD5.1 audio. The audio on other non-Olympics programs was not yet truly in DD5.1 but was still marked as such in the meta-data. Of course our sound systems were dealing with this as "reported" by the meta-data, but we were only hearing 2-channel stereo. It was just terrible.
Anyway, given that broadcasters will often keep their meta-data showing DD5.1 even if only LF and RF channels are populated with audio, it seems you are going to have to determine which is the "least offensive" compromise among several options, if you want to ensure that you get a center-channel.(4)
My Yamaha RX-V863 AVR has its own special HDMI audio setting: (a) RX-V863 or (b) other. I suspect your Onkyo may likely have a similar setting.
The first "RX-V863" value indicates that digital audio is to be handled entirely by the AVR (i.e. decoded, channels amplified, fed to speakers, etc.). This setting stops the digital audio right at the AVR. There is NO digital audio further sent out over HDMI to what is presumed to be the connected display device.
So only digital video goes out over HDMI, and this is perfectly fine for an HDTV as the target at the other end of the HDMI cable and the sound system totally controlled by the AVR. If I tried to listen to sound from the speakers on my Sony HDTV, there would be no sound.
In contrast, the second "other" value indicates that there is a device at the other end of the HDMI cable which CAN understand and process digital audio. So the AVR actually DOES "pass through" digital audio onto the HDMI output cable (presumably going to some secondary DSP device or external decoder/amplifier system). It is also handled by the Yamaha AVR (though in reality you might not have any connected speakers in this case, if you had a secondary external decoder/amplifier sound system), but the important thing is that the digital audio IS passed on also through the HDMI output cable.
What's most significant about this "other" option is that with this in effect the audio capabilities of the device at the end of the output HDMI cable are now visible as part of the HDMI handshake, along with the video capabilities of that device. It is that "end device" whose audio capabilities are now queried... not the audio capabilities of the "invisible" AVR which is now just another "digital pass-through" device.
And since most HDTV sets cannot accept DD5.1 audio but can only accept 2.0 PCM stereo, the net result of the HDMI handshake from DCX through Yamaha AVR (with the "other" option set) is to force the DCX to only deliver 2.0 PCM stereo in response to its "auto" setting!!!
This is perfect, if it's 2.0 PCM stereo that you want! By simply involving the HDTV itself (instead of the AVR) in the audio part of the HDMI handshake, you force "auto" to drop down to 2.0 PCM stereo... since that's the only acceptable audio format the HDTV can accept.
In other words, "auto" on the DCX causes whatever the target HDMI-connected audio device to report what it can accept. If the Yamaha (or Onkyo) is that device (as it will be if "RX-V863" is specified in the HDMI audio option), it will report that it can accept DD5.1 and thus "auto" on the DCX will see DD5.1 audio delivered out over the HDMI cable from DCX to the AVR.
But if the Sony HDTV (34XBR960 for me and Bravia for you) is specified as that device (as it will be if "other" or equivalent is set on my Yamaha AVR's HDMI audio output setting) then the audio portion of the HDMI handshake process will result in "I can only receive 2.0 PCM stereo" as the response. And thus the DCX with "auto" set will now only deliver 2.0 PCM stereo out over the HDMI cable to the AVR.(5)
So if you are quite content to let your Onkyo do what it does when receiving 2.0 PCM stereo (which upmixes to PLII movie, and thus gives you sound out of the center speaker), and your goal is actually to FORCE the DCX to always send out 2.0 PCM stereo (which it will do if you can get "L-PCM" to hold), then I think you should try my proposed alternative solution which is based on "auto" in the DCX. Since "auto" is actually the default setting you don't have to worry about it resetting when you also lose "native".
Try changing the "HDMI output" setting on your Onkyo to "pass-through" or "other", or whatever the value might be called that results in sending out digital audio over HDMI.
This will make the Sony Bravia's limited 2.0 PCM stereo audio capabilities seen by the DCX, and force "auto" to limit digital audio output to the same 2.0 PCM stereo.
And your Onkyo will then go into its PLII up-mix which guarantees center channel sound, and you should be home free.(6)
If you also use your home entertainment setup for BluRay discs, or when you know you're watching DD5.1 source programs, you might consider reverting that "other" setting on the Onkyo back to normal (i.e. non-pass-through). You'll no doubt have to power all the boxes off after you make this settings change on the AVR, in order to reinitiate the HDMI handshake that occurs during the power-on sequence (remember... AVR-on-last). Once this HDMI handshake is re-performed with the new setting, "auto" will now produce true DD5.1 output.
That way you can also get to enjoy true DD5.1 audio when you know you have it solid... and will absolutely get the true center channel as well as all the other channels, in their "native" multi-channel form.
I realize this will be a bit of a nuisance, but your situation is unusual and some kind of compromise is only reasonable.
I suspect that if you don't reset your Onkyo to "non-pass-through" for audio, that a connected BluRay player (configured with its own equivalent of "auto" for audio) may also do what the DCX does, and also drop down to only 2.0 PCM stereo delivered out its HDMI cable since the DD5.1-capable AVR is not seen as the audio device.
Again, a bit complicated but your situation is unusual. You're just going to have to be a bit more involved with things, if you want DD5.1 in some situations and 2.0 PCM stereo in others.
Let us know if this trick I've suggested actually works for you.