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post #1 of 10 Old 05-13-2019, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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UPDATE WOW What have I been missing?

I've updated and edited my previous post. I'm all over the place here so bare with me please. Yesterday I discovered using HDMI for sound instead of using digital optical and noticed what a difference it makes. After some more research I've found out I can lose my 4K resolution and get 1080 instead and or only get 2.0 audio instead of 5.1 if not connected properly or maybe that's what you get no matter how it's connected. I'm not sure how all this works together or even if it actually works at all. I don't want to lose my 4 K resolution or 5.1 but it seems I might have to. Is it possible to get 5.1 audio without losing the resolution. I don't do any streaming or Netflix and don't have cable...I use OTA for regular TV and my 4K Bluray player for movies. My player has an HDMI out to TV and an Optical Digital and my TV has HDMI ARC and Optical Digital. I'd just like good HDMI audio for my 4K and 1080 Bluray movies. Is this possible without losing resolution or 5.1? This is more complicated than I thought it would be. I have a Vizio 5.1 and a new Polk 2.1 which I might return.

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post #2 of 10 Old 05-14-2019, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by william273 View Post
I've updated and edited my previous post. I'm all over the place here so bare with me please. Yesterday I discovered using HDMI for sound instead of using digital optical and noticed what a difference it makes. After some more research I've found out I can lose my 4K resolution and get 1080 instead and or only get 2.0 audio instead of 5.1 if not connected properly or maybe that's what you get no matter how it's connected. I'm not sure how all this works together or even if it actually works at all. I don't want to lose my 4 K resolution or 5.1 but it seems I might have to. Is it possible to get 5.1 audio without losing the resolution. I don't do any streaming or Netflix and don't have cable...I use OTA for regular TV and my 4K Bluray player for movies. My player has an HDMI out to TV and an Optical Digital and my TV has HDMI ARC and Optical Digital. I'd just like good HDMI audio for my 4K and 1080 Bluray movies. Is this possible without losing resolution or 5.1? This is more complicated than I thought it would be. I have a Vizio 5.1 and a new Polk 2.1 which I might return.
Good news: you shouldn't have to choose between audio and picture quality!

You're lacking some information, namely what kind of Vizio and Polk soundbars you have, which could make a difference.
With that in mind, here is some educated guessing:

IF you have one of the ATMOS enabled Vizio 5.1 bars, go ahead and connect your 4k player to the HDMI IN on the soundbar - this will allow it to decode uncompressed audio - and then connect the soundbar to the TV HDMI ARC port

IF you have an earlier Vizio 5.1 bar, or one that does not support ATMOS, then it does not support 4K pass through.
BUT, not to worry, because these don't support uncompressed audio codecs either, so you're not missing out by not being able to connect to HDMI IN. In this case, connect your 4k player to your TV and then connect the soundbar and TV with the HDMI ARC ports. Most TVs will pass through Dolby Digital 5.1 over ARC, and some will do DTS as well, which is all these bars support anyway. If you have an older 1080p device, you can connect that to the HDMI IN port on the soundbar. Using HDMI ARC (be sure to enable CEC and/or ARC in your TV settings for this to work) will allow the TV to turn on the soundbar automatically and let you use one remote to control volume and playback over the connected devices. If HDMI-CEC isn't cooperating, or you want a way to easily choose between the TV speakers or soundbar, then connect the TV to the soundbar optical port. This will also carry 5.1 Dolby and DTS signals from your 4k player and OTA broadcasts.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-15-2019, 04:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Renny and thanks for the reply. I have new issues other than what I posted.Sorry I didn't get back sooner...was talking with Vizio and Samsung tech support all day...each blaming the other for the problem...I have a Samsung 4K TV. The TV isn't picking up the HDMI ARC. The Vizio sound bar is not Atmos sound bar...just plain 5.1. I did a firmware update for the TV...I don't have an internet connection with the TV so I had to use my computer to download the update the tech support guy sent me and then put it in a flash drive. Along with uplugging the cables and a restart of everything it finally worked and the TV made a handshake with the Vizio sound bar and ARC showed up as connected. Last night I tried watching a bluray movie and the connection was lost again...wasn't really surprised though.


The TV is 4K and requires a high speed HDMI cable which I have for my 4K bluray player. The HDMI cable I'm using for the HDMI ARC is not high speed...just a normal HDMI cable. I'm going to Best Buy this morning to get another high speed HDMI cable and see if that fixes the handshake problem. I really "think" I noticed a difference in sound quality using HDMI ARC than Digital Optical which is why I want to use it. If I can't get the HDMI ARC to work I'll just use Digital Optical. If push comes to shove I can always learn to love my TV speakers...other than sound quality they don't seem to cause many problems.
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post #4 of 10 Old 05-15-2019, 06:18 AM
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I would suggest grabbing an HDMI cable from Monoprice or Amazon. Best Buy rapes you with their HDMI cable prices.
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-15-2019, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by william273 View Post
Hi Renny and thanks for the reply. I have new issues other than what I posted.Sorry I didn't get back sooner...was talking with Vizio and Samsung tech support all day...each blaming the other for the problem...I have a Samsung 4K TV. The TV isn't picking up the HDMI ARC. The Vizio sound bar is not Atmos sound bar...just plain 5.1. I did a firmware update for the TV...I don't have an internet connection with the TV so I had to use my computer to download the update the tech support guy sent me and then put it in a flash drive. Along with uplugging the cables and a restart of everything it finally worked and the TV made a handshake with the Vizio sound bar and ARC showed up as connected. Last night I tried watching a bluray movie and the connection was lost again...wasn't really surprised though.


The TV is 4K and requires a high speed HDMI cable which I have for my 4K bluray player. The HDMI cable I'm using for the HDMI ARC is not high speed...just a normal HDMI cable. I'm going to Best Buy this morning to get another high speed HDMI cable and see if that fixes the handshake problem. I really "think" I noticed a difference in sound quality using HDMI ARC than Digital Optical which is why I want to use it. If I can't get the HDMI ARC to work I'll just use Digital Optical. If push comes to shove I can always learn to love my TV speakers...other than sound quality they don't seem to cause many problems.
Definitely connect the 4K Blu-ray player directly to the TV's HDMI ports, not the soundbar, because the Vizio HDMI IN will not support 4k/60p.

You should not (should being the operative word) necessarily need a new HDMI cable from the TV to the soundbar since ARC works all the way back to HDMI 1.3 cables.

Try the new cable and hopefully that fixes it, that would be a cheap & easy fix!

But it is possible the HDMI HDCP (copyright protection) is interfering if it detects an old cable or device in the chain between source - display - audio.

You MIGHT run into an issue since the non-atmos Vizio soundbar doesn't have the latest HDCP protocol, but since you are only sending audio to it, and not video through it, I don't think this should be a problem. I think HDMI-ARC doesn't necessarily require everything to be the same HDMI or HDCP version number.

If you still have problems, the above would be my guess to the cause. If so, I would try the optical connection from TV to the soundbar. The only things you might possibly lose are DTS (some Samsung TV's will not pass this through) and Dolby Digital Plus. Technically DD+ requires HDMI connection, but some TVs will decode it internally and send it out as regular Dolby Digital 5.1 from the optical port (my Samsung Bluray player does this from streaming apps), but others require HDMI ARC to carry the signal as-is. If you have the latter case then it is possible you will lose some sound quality compared to HDMI.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-15-2019, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I got the new HDMI cable at BB and knew I could take it back if it didn't work...yea their prices are high. The cable did make a connection and I got good sound but I'd get a flicker every few minutes and the sound and video would drop out then come back. Called Samsung and we unplugged the power cord to reset everything and it seemed to work...for a little while then started flickering again so I'll be taking it back to BB....I'm done. I'm just going to stay with the Digital Optical....it never caused any problems. I have my player connected straight to the TV with HDMI and the sound bar connected to the player with the Digital Optical cable....that's all I need and want...it's simple, easy and it works...as long as I can get 5.1 I'm good to go.


Not sure why people have so many problems with ARC but hopefully it will work itself out in the future...kind of like 3D Blu ray. It had a rough start but finally got up and running. I don't care for it myself but just used it as an example of how ARC might be working. I know it's been around for a few years but have read a lot of problems relating to it. Maybe one day it will be as easy and simple as Digital Optical. Thanks for your help Renny!
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-27-2019, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by william273 View Post
Well I got the new HDMI cable at BB and knew I could take it back if it didn't work...yea their prices are high. The cable did make a connection and I got good sound but I'd get a flicker every few minutes and the sound and video would drop out then come back. Called Samsung and we unplugged the power cord to reset everything and it seemed to work...for a little while then started flickering again so I'll be taking it back to BB....I'm done. I'm just going to stay with the Digital Optical....it never caused any problems. I have my player connected straight to the TV with HDMI and the sound bar connected to the player with the Digital Optical cable....that's all I need and want...it's simple, easy and it works...as long as I can get 5.1 I'm good to go.


Not sure why people have so many problems with ARC but hopefully it will work itself out in the future...kind of like 3D Blu ray. It had a rough start but finally got up and running. I don't care for it myself but just used it as an example of how ARC might be working. I know it's been around for a few years but have read a lot of problems relating to it. Maybe one day it will be as easy and simple as Digital Optical. Thanks for your help Renny!
Sounds like you just had some bad luck. Who knows what exactly was causing the issue. Flickering with hdmi would mean the signal/connection is bad but you tried two cables. Did you make sure you shut off all devices before plugging in the hdmi cable?

FYI optical supports 5.1 surround just not Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD, and TRUE HD. It does depend on your tv's capabilities though. Here's a pretty handy chart from rtings showing what particular tv models capabilities are:
https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/inpu...io-passthrough

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Last edited by djp2k7; 05-28-2019 at 05:51 AM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-27-2019, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes everything was turned off. They were going to send someone to take a look at it and I talked with the guy over the phone and he said it sounds like a bad circuit board which he could replace. I thought about it but decided I didn't want to take a chance taking the TV apart and possibly doing more damage so I'm just going to stay with Digital Optical and not use HDMI ARC. Thanks for the info though.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-01-2019, 11:55 PM
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Some HDMI info

ARC does not support lossless formart Dolby True HD, DTS Master Audio or 8 channel PCM. The only thing it supports that optical doesn't is Dolby Digital Plus which can be used for Atmos information but is often used for it's greater compression algorithm.

For standard Dolby Digital, DTS and 2 channel lossless PCM there is no difference between optical and ARC. You might get a volume difference like ARC might be at volume 20 on your device where optical to play the same level might be volume 30 on your device. The surround and sound quality is the same.

Some TVs cannot handle a Dolby Digital or DTS signal and some only can do it from their internal apps and antenna tuner. In the HDMI protocol the TV tells the source device (i.e. cable box, Blu-ray, game, streaming device, etc.) it's capabilities. If the TV tells the source device it is only capable of stereo that is all the source will send via PCM or Dolby Digital 2.0, whatever gets sent to the TV is what gets sent to optical and HDMI ARC.

So if the TV is not "passing" the surround signal to ARC or optical it is because the TV is not asking for a surround signal to be sent. It is possible but very rare that the TV asks for a surround signal with ARC but only stereo for optical. With the exception of DD+ the sound between optical and ARC will be the same. The new version of HDMI will hace eARC and be able to use the lossless formats but nothing is using it yet.

Another side note. When using ARC it has to turn on CEC which can turn on/off devices, control volume and change inputs on devices in the HDMI component chain. This can cause problems in controlling the system. So if you get some problems with device switching inputs or turning on/off devices it might be because of ARC/CEC. There is more going on with HDMI then most realize.
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post #10 of 10 Old 06-02-2019, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by william273 View Post
Well I got the new HDMI cable at BB and knew I could take it back if it didn't work...yea their prices are high. The cable did make a connection and I got good sound but I'd get a flicker every few minutes and the sound and video would drop out then come back. Called Samsung and we unplugged the power cord to reset everything and it seemed to work...for a little while then started flickering again so I'll be taking it back to BB....I'm done. I'm just going to stay with the Digital Optical....it never caused any problems. I have my player connected straight to the TV with HDMI and the sound bar connected to the player with the Digital Optical cable....that's all I need and want...it's simple, easy and it works...as long as I can get 5.1 I'm good to go.


Not sure why people have so many problems with ARC but hopefully it will work itself out in the future...kind of like 3D Blu ray. It had a rough start but finally got up and running. I don't care for it myself but just used it as an example of how ARC might be working. I know it's been around for a few years but have read a lot of problems relating to it. Maybe one day it will be as easy and simple as Digital Optical. Thanks for your help Renny!
Did you get a Certified Premium cable? As was suggested you can get one from Monoprice for ~$5...
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