Atmos/TrueHD thru ARC on lg Sk9y and Samsung q7c. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-12-2019, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Atmos/TrueHD thru ARC on lg Sk9y and Samsung q7c.

So here's a surprise I've recently learned about soundbars and TVs and their precious ARC. The interconnect methods simply don't deliver the expected hi res audio results. Using the 4 hdmi inputs of a TV hub like the Samsung Q7 to connect your source devices and passing thru audio via arc to the soundbar doesn't result in more than Dolby 5.1 or dts at best. No TrueHD or atmos. Unreal.

For that you have to have the source hooked directly to the soundbar hdmi of which the sk9y has 2 (1 for arc 1 for input - so effectively 1 hdmi input)

Speaking of which Not all source material is from bluray anymore. MOST comes from streaming and online sources. (Netflix Hulu Amazon on or other streaming devices/services) I would think nowadays.

How is this not talked about more? Arc simply not capable of delivering these hi res audio formats? Very disappointed.

And how is the soundbar not smart enough to switch back from arc to its main hdmi input when selecting the "soundbar" as a video source? It switches the other way (from hdmi in to arc but not back again automatically)

Is it because they are not the same brand? Or is it the convenience of the idea hasn't caught up with its hardware implementation? Either way ARC is not currently (5/2019) designed (by spec) to handle those hi bitrate sound sources you are probably expecting it to when you buy atmos soundbars. You'll have to wait for eARC for that or maybe YOUR hardware combination has its own magic that works better? Ymmv.

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post #2 of 9 Old 05-12-2019, 01:39 AM
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No surprises, HDMI-ARC was NOT designed to carry multichannel lossless HD audio, only lossy DD/DTS/DD+.

But today no streaming service uses lossless HD audio, only lossy DD/DD+, so you do not lose anything (yet)!

One day, when streaming services will start to use lossless HD audio you will be compelled to change the TV with an eARC compatible model and the soundbar/receiver with an eARC compatible model. Until then..., no need to worry!

My setup:
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-12-2019, 12:45 PM
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Is it because they are not the same brand? Or is it the convenience of the idea hasn't caught up with its hardware implementation? Either way ARC is not currently (5/2019) designed (by spec) to handle those hi bitrate sound sources you are probably expecting it to when you buy atmos soundbars. You'll have to wait for eARC for that or maybe YOUR hardware combination has its own magic that works better? Ymmv.
It's not the brand, it's the HDMI spec. regular ARC only allows for approx 1mbps bandwidth for audio, which technically allows for 5.1 DD, DTS, or up to 7.1 DD+, or compressed DD+ Atmos. Considering the fact that streaming sources are limited to compressed DD+ and that cable broadcasts are typically capped at 5.1 DD, this means that ARC is currently fine. Just plug in anything capable of uncompressed audio into the HDMI IN port of the soundbar.

Ideally the setup would be the following:
4k bluray player for the uncompressed physical media sources
TV with cable box or built in apps to send DD+ 5.1 or ATMOS over ARC to the TV

Fortunately, the intention with ARC and CEC was to allow mixing and matching product brands, so you don't need to buy everything from the same manufacturer.

In the future, eARC will allow like 38mbps for audio, so you can connect your disc player to your TV and have the uncompressed audio go over arc to the sound system. This will be great for soundbars, since they typically don't have enough inputs for source switching.

But I know of no streaming sources with plans to use uncompressed audio over the internet, so you're not missing out on anything there. Netflix just very recently increased their audio bandwidth for their ATMOS soundtracks to 768kbps from 448kbps, and 5.1 to 640kbps from 192kbps. So both are well within the 1mbps cap of regular old ARC.

Last edited by rennyrb; 05-12-2019 at 12:50 PM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-12-2019, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's my main complaint on this topic. It might be specific to me? I dunno.

I need the setup to be "wife friendly". So everything connected arc makes it wife approved. But I lose the ability to get atmos from my main source (keep reading)

My main source of video is a htpc. So I have uncompressed audio (atmos etc) video files stored there. To get that sound (which is why anyone would get a atmos soundbar), the pc can not get piped thru the tv - it has to go directly to the soundbar.

If the soundbar + TV combo with its cec interconnect communications could switch back to the soundbar only hdmi input after a TV app (netflix/etc) was used I wouldn't be complaining at all.

If the soundbar is selected at the tv source (via pass thru hdmi), and you use the TV app (Netflix) the soundbar automatically switches to arc.. Great! Everything works as it should imo. Now if you switch back to the htpc source by choosing the LG soundbar as the source on the TV (because the pc is connected to hdmi 1 of the soundbar) the soundbar stays in arc mode. So no video on the TV. You have to manually select hdmi in on the soundbar, which translates into using another remote... IF the soundbar could switch back to hdmi in after being selected by the TV as the source all would work as intended and be wife approved.

I realize eARC may solve this in the future but that's not going to be an option until the tv is replaced.

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post #5 of 9 Old 05-14-2019, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Araltd View Post
My main source of video is a htpc. So I have uncompressed audio (atmos etc) video files stored there. To get that sound (which is why anyone would get a atmos soundbar), the pc can not get piped thru the tv - it has to go directly to the soundbar.

If the soundbar + TV combo with its cec interconnect communications could switch back to the soundbar only hdmi input after a TV app (netflix/etc) was used I wouldn't be complaining at all.
Your issues with the HTPC vs the soundbar are caused by the lack of HDMI-CEC in the HTPC. Switching back and forth between the TV-ARC and HTPC with one remote (or automatically - yes it can!) is resolved by adding an external HDMI-CEC adapter for the HTPC, such as this:

https://www.pulse-eight.com/p/104/usb-hdmi-cec-adapter

I use this kind of adapter in all of my HTPC NUC's (I have three!) and it resolves a lot of problems, including your problem.

My setup:
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-14-2019, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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If the soundbar + TV combo with its cec interconnect communications could switch back to the soundbar only hdmi input after a TV app (netflix/etc) was used I wouldn't be complaining at all.
Your issues with the HTPC vs the soundbar are caused by the lack of HDMI-CEC in the HTPC. Switching back and forth between the TV-ARC and HTPC with one remote (or automatically - yes it can!) is resolved by adding an external HDMI-CEC adapter for the HTPC, such as this:

https://www.pulse-eight.com/p/104/usb-hdmi-cec-adapter

I use this kind of adapter in all of my HTPC NUC's (I have three!) and it resolves a lot of problems, including your problem.
I've seen that before but never cared about using the TV remote with my media center. Can you explain your setup process, and some details about your htpc? I'd appreciate it.

I use windows media center on windows 7.

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post #7 of 9 Old 05-14-2019, 12:20 PM
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I've seen that before but never cared about using the TV remote with my media center.
Using ONE remote for everything is pure bliss, trust me!

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Originally Posted by Araltd View Post
Can you explain your setup process, and some details about your htpc? I'd appreciate it.

I use windows media center on windows 7.
I used Pulse-Eight HDMI-CEC adapters from 2013, with my first Intel NUC HTPC (i5-4th gen. CPU). I liked very much the functionality and I fitted any new NUC with those internal adapters. Pulse-Eight has special sized HDMI-CEC internal adapters for all kind of NUC's generations/models, and right now I use three NUC's, one as a mini-server, and two as HTPC's (media players, mostly), with Windows 10 and Kodi. Kodi has by default all you need to support the HDMI-CEC adapters (internal/external). Also, Windows Media Center works with the HDMI-CEC adapters.
A NUC has an HTPC header that exposes the HDMI-CEC bus pin (and the needed voltages) on the NUC motherboard so you can connect on that header the internal adapter.
There are regular/desktop PC motherboards with HTPC headers, but now are very rare, mostly extinct and most were made only by Intel (they also pushed the HTPC header in the Media Center hay days..., but it did not catch very much...). Right now, the Intel NUC's are the only PC systems that have the required interfaces for a single-remote-integrated-experience Home Theater PC. NUC's also have InfraRed (IR) ports so you can control them very easily with an MCE RC6 remote, or another remote (but other remotes must be programmed, MCE RC6 remotes work out-of-box - with Media Center or Kodi). You can also find IR receivers over USB that can be used with MCE RC6 remotes so you can control the PC even if you do not have an HDMI-CEC or IR compatible HTPC. I have this kind of IR interface and I used that on my desktop PC before I discovered the NUCs and the HDMI-CEC adapters.
A regular PC motherboard has no HTPC header, and so you can't use the internal HDMI-CEC adapter, only the external one. But the external one is very useful if you have an add-on 3D graphics accelerator for games (Nvidia/AMD), you just insert the adapter between the HTPC and the TV/AVR and enjoy.

Once you discover single-remote life, you can't go back...

If you need more details, just say!

My setup:
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-17-2019, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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What tv and soundbar are you using?

Assuming your using a Samsung 2017+ TV, how did you get the cec working with windows? (which profile did you choose in the Samsung remote setup to communicate with the pc via cec)

Last, to verify you have the pc hdmi going into the lg soundbar (which I'm assuming is a lg sk9y?) and you are able to switch between the internal TV apps using arc and then back to the LG soundbar (video) which is where the pc is connected and everything properly switches audio/video inputs properly automatically without additional interaction from you?? Specifically the soundbar.

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post #9 of 9 Old 05-17-2019, 03:25 PM
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What tv and soundbar are you using?
An LG 3D TV and a Denon AVR. No soundbar.

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Originally Posted by Araltd View Post
Assuming your using a Samsung 2017+ TV, how did you get the cec working with windows? (which profile did you choose in the Samsung remote setup to communicate with the pc via cec)
My TV does not have CEC profiles, but if the TV has profiles, choosing a Blu-ray player profile may give you access to other remote buttons that can be passed to the HTPC (or another source).

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Last, to verify you have the pc hdmi going into the lg soundbar (which I'm assuming is a lg sk9y?) and you are able to switch between the internal TV apps using arc and then back to the LG soundbar (video) which is where the pc is connected and everything properly switches audio/video inputs properly automatically without additional interaction from you?? Specifically the soundbar.
For example, you watch TV (cable or streaming app) and if you start the HTPC (push the POWER button), when the HTPC boots and Kodi is running, the AVR/TV switches automatically to the HTPC and the TV remote now controls the HTPC. If you power OFF the HTPC, the AVR/TV switches back to TV (cable/streaming) and the TV remote controls the TV...

If the AVR and the TV are both powered OFF and you start the HTPC, the AVR wakes-up and it also wakes-up the TV, and the AVR (or TV if no AVR) changes its input to the device that initiated the power ON sequence (HTPC).

If I use the remote to switch TV to the HTPC (by using the TV CEC control menu, SimpLink for LG), the TV stays on his current channel/app, but in the background sends a wake-up CEC signal to the HTPC, the HTPC powers ON and when Kodi is running the TV automatically switches its screen to the HTPC input, and the TV remote now controls the HTPC/Kodi. Shutdown Kodi/HTPC = AVR/TV goes automatically to previous input/source.

Switch TV to another input/source by using CEC (SimpLink) or input menu = HTPC can enter sleep/power OFF/do nothing - it is configurable. The same behavior for powering OFF the TV - it powers OFF all the connected devices - because the TV (the sink, address 0/zero) is the master device in an HDMI chain.

The AVR can also be controlled (in limited ways, for example, volume, input change and to set Tuner and Internet Radio channels) with the same TV remote, via CEC.

Not every TV brand has the same behavior for the same CEC commands so you may not get some functions with a different brand.

My setup:
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