Originally Posted by william273
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.