Negotiating surround signal from TV through HDMI/Optical switch - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-04-2010, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, hope I'm posting this in the right forum. I'm about to pull the trigger on a Monoprice HDMI-to-optical switch. (It's called the "4X1 HDMI 1.3b Certified Switcher with Toslink & Digital Coaxial port" -- sorry, I'm not allowed to post a link to it directly.)

However, in the item description, it indicates that if your TV only supports stereo output, then the optical output from the switch will only be in stereo/PCM, due to handshake/EDID issues.

So my question is, Does anyone know if the Sony Bravia KDL-V32XBR1 TV supports 5.1 output through the switch? I'd like to know before I buy, because if the switch is only going to give me stereo, it's not worth it for me. I've asked both Monoprice and Sony and got conflicting answers, so I'm hoping to hear from someone who's done this in the real world with a Sony Bravia 32". I've also searched the forums, but haven't seen any reviews of particular television models working or not.

Just FYI, my setup would be: An HDMI cable from my laptop to the switch. From the switch, I'd run an HDMI to the Sony TV, and an optical SPDIF line to my receiver (which doesn't have HDMI in). Anyone know if the Sony TV will allow 5.1 output from the switch to the receiver?
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-04-2010, 10:02 AM
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I think the phrasing in the warning is a little misleading. In your setup the computer is outputting the audio to the switch and then maybe to the TV and audio system. I have a Popcorn hour connected to a Samsung TV via an HDMI cable. The TV appears to only produce audio if it gets a PCM audio signal. No sound is produced when the TV gets a a Dolby digital signal. I can set the Popcorn hour's output to be either type of audio for a video with a Dolby Digital sound track. In your setup if you can control the type of audio the laptop produces and set it Dolby or raw you should get 5.1 channel sound to the audio system. The TV may or may not produce sound at the same time, My Samsung would not.
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-04-2010, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the quick reply. It was my original understanding that even if the 5.1 signal is being output correctly from my laptop, once an HDMI cable hits the TV, it's the TV that determines whether that original 5.1 signal from the laptop can be passed back to the switch and then to the receiver via optical toslink. If the TV is not 5.1 capable, then only stereo/PCM sound is transmitted back through the switch and then on to the receiver. (It's all something to do with copyright and standards and digital rights management related to HDMI, right?)

Anyway, you're saying that the above is not the case? That as long as my laptop outputs the sound correctly, the switch and receiver should input the sound correctly?

I guess my main concern is that it seems like there are more than a few customer reviews on Monoprice saying their switch didn't work because of this issue, but no one really reported what their TV models were.
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-04-2010, 11:18 AM
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It may not be possible to get both 5.1 sound and sound from the TV at the same time. I also don't think the TV sends sound back to the switch but it does tell the video source to give a compatible resolution. Someone who knows more about HDMI might know if the TV also tells the source what type of audio to output. It seems that if it does my Popcorn Hour ignores that information.
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-04-2010, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, that's the real question -- does the TV tell the source what type of audio to output. I actually don't care about getting sound out of the TV and the receiver at the same time -- I just want surround sound out of the receiver.
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post #6 of 20 Old 11-04-2010, 11:52 AM
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You should look at the control software for the sound device in the laptop and see if outputting dolby digital is an option through HDMI.
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-04-2010, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, my laptop can output DD/DTS from HDMI, so that's not the issue -- it's really a question of whether the TV is going to bottleneck things.
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-05-2010, 05:07 AM
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I'm not sure that I understand your question, but if you are trying to get DD sound from your AV receiver then the optical should run directly to the AV receiver. The TV would not need to be in the loop. You just need to send the video to the TV via HDMI, Component, etc.
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-05-2010, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Right, you are correct, the optical should run directly from the switch to the receiver, without even touching the TV.

But from the warning message and customer reviews on the item's home page, that doesn't matter -- because of HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) issues, if the TV does not support surround sound, it will somehow send a signal back to the switch via HDMI and will not allow the switch to output 5.1 via optical.

See here for product info: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2.

And here's a description of the problem: https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/archi...t-1228366.html.

I merely want to figure out if my TV supports 5.1 output -- if it does, this switch will likely work. If it doesn't, the switch won't work...
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post #10 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 06:37 AM
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I see now. In that case you might have to use just an HDMI switch and run the optical coax from your units do your AV receiver and if you need more inputs there are optical switched (Manual) for around $10 or less.
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post #11 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 07:06 AM
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My Sony W4100 (couple years old) does support 5.1 output from it's optical out. I use it all the time. I have several 5.1 devices hooked to my Sony via HDMI and run the Sonys optical audio out to my AVR's one optical input. Works like a charm.
When I called Sony to ask if this would work I kind of got the run around and finally a NO that it would not work
I can't guarantee if your model Sony would also output 5.1 but I'd tend to think if mine did yours might, especially since your XBR is top of the line.
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post #12 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Jjeff, did you have to change any settings on your TV to get Dolby Digital or DTS optical out? What are your DD/DTS sources into the TV?

Originally, I wanted to get this HDMI-to-optical switch because my laptop doesn't output SPDIF optical -- it only outputs HDMI. My receiver, on the other hand, has no HDMI input, only optical.

So if I can run HDMI from my laptop to the TV, and then optical from the TV to the receiver, and subsequently get DD or DTS output straight from my laptop to the receiver, I wouldn't need the HDMI switch in the first place.

But I was under the impression that my Sony TV couldn't do that.
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post #13 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 10:27 AM
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I have several HDMI sources, Tivo HD, Sony DVD player, Panasonic DVD recorder and they all run to my Sony TV. My AVR has no HDMI input so I take the optical audio out of my Sony TV and run it to my AVR (older Sony STR-K790) which only has 1 optical and one coax input. I get true 5.1 from all sources including live TV from the Sony TVs tuner. The only time my AVR says PLII(simulated 5.1) is if my source doesn't contain a true 5.1.

My TV is kind of acting like a switcher for my AVR since it has such limited inputs.

I didn't have to configure anything with my TV but I did have to configure something in my Tivo, at first everything was showing up PLII even though it should have had 5.1. I think my DVD players output 5.1 from the start.
Again Sony said I should only get 5.1 from the TVs tuner but at least for my TV this is not the case, I get it even from 5.1 devices hooked to the Sony's HDMI inputs.
I've been told not all brands of TVs act this way, I'm just glad mine does.
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post #14 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Huh, that is the *exact* same setup that I would like to have, where I run one HDMI cable to the TV, and then one optical toslink from the TV to the receiver. But it seems no matter what I try, I can't get it to work. Maybe newer/higher-end TVs have more copyright protection built-in, and thus don't allow the TV to work as a 5.1 switcher/passthrough for anything other than broadcast television?
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post #15 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 12:36 PM
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Are you sure your laptop is capable of 5.1 over HDMI, maybe it's a setup issue with your laptop? The only way to know for sure would be to hook your laptops HDMI output to a device that could tell you if it indeed contained 5.1.
My laptop is at work but I suppose I could bring it home sometime next week and try hooking it to one of my my Sony TV's HDMI inputs and see if 5.1 makes it to my AVR(via toslink). I'm in the same boat as you though, I'd have no way to really verify 5.1 is coming out of my laptop, except for the lack of 5.1 to my AVR.

One more thought, do you have anything else that you know outputs 5.1 from HDMI? Maybe a upconverting DVD player or BR player? You could see if that makes it to your AVR, through your TV.

Current(~last 5 years) Sony devices are quite DRM sensitive, I'd doubt my 2 year old Sony would be any less than a current model year but again this is only a guess.
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post #16 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, my laptop is basically brand new, an HP Envy 14 with an ATI 5650 video card, and supposedly the card outputs 5.1 over HDMI. At least that's what they say...
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post #17 of 20 Old 11-06-2010, 03:30 PM
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I've also got a newer HP, a 17" with HDMI output. I have no doubt mine and yours are capable of 5.1 but I was just saying that maybe it needs to be enabled somewhere in the setup.
I'll try mine with a 5.1 DVD next week and report back.
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post #18 of 20 Old 11-08-2010, 03:45 PM
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I could not get 5.1 to my AVR using my default VLC media player but when I used Windows Media Player I was able to get 5.1 just fine
I made sure the correct audio track was selected and I enabled 5.1 in the VLC setup, but I could only get stereo audio to my AVR when using VLC.
You might want to try another media player.
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post #19 of 20 Old 11-09-2010, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, typically I use either MPC-HC or Windows Media Player, but at the moment, no matter what I try, I can't get passthrough from the TV's optical out jack.

I guess the only fix to my problem is to either buy the HDMI-to-optical switch and hope that it works with my setup, or buy a new receiver with plenty of HDMI inputs.

Any suggestions? Do you think it's worth paying $50 for an HDMI switch as a temporary stopgap, or should I try to get rid of my 5-year-old receiver and buy a new one?

Either way, thanks for all your help.
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post #20 of 20 Old 11-09-2010, 01:30 PM
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If I were you I'd try and fine a DVD(or BR) player with HDMI out that you knew output 5.1. I still think your laptop may not be sending out the signal. I guess if you knew someone with a AVR that has HDMI input that would also verify your laptop.
Another option would be to take your laptop(and HDMI cable) to a video store(BB or similar) and maybe they'd let you hook it up, again to check for 5.1 output. You could say you're in the market for a AVR but want to make sure your laptop would work for the source before you purchase anything.
Again it's possible your Sony TV could be different than mine, I just don't know.
I'm sure you've already thought of this but make sure your DVD has a 5.1 soundtrack, most do but not all.
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