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post #1 of 10 Old 05-12-2020, 05:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Roku Express+/Old TV/No HDMI on Stereo Amp

I installed a Roku Express+ on an old Panasonic CT-32SF37 TV and I'm using an old Harmon Kardon stereo amp for the sound. Neither the TV nor the amp have hdmi so I just used the yellow, red, and white composite cables to connect from the Roku to the TV and then connected from the TV to the amp. Everything seems to work. I've got sound coming out of 5 speakers plus a subwoofer but I don't think it's really "separated stereo", and I'm wondering if I could somehow take advantage of the optical input on the Harmon Kardon amp that I might be able to improve things. I'm not well versed in Dolby Digital 5.1 terms and such things. I'm hoping that I can get a little direction on how to convert hdmi to optical for the sound while keeping the yellow composite cable connected to the TV for video. The TV is at my mother's house and the goal is to get Spotify up and running on this old TV so we can "pipe" the music into the old (but nice) Harmon Kardon amp. Is this possible? Thanks. Gary
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-12-2020, 07:12 AM
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To get optical digital audio, it needs to come from your Roku, not TV unless you have HDMI from Roku to TV.

TBH, A 30 to 40" modern LCD TV can be had for around $100 to $200 with common streaming services built-in. Some (like TCL) even has Ruko built in. It really doesn't make much sense to try these hacks you do (using RCA cables only pass in 480i video). Then, all you have to do is connect the optical from TV to your old AMP.

Heck, I have two 40" 4K TVs sitting on my desktop as PC monitors that only cost a little over $200 per TV.

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-13-2020, 12:21 PM
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Posting the model numbers of your equipment might help figure out what is/isn't possible with the equipment you already have. You mention that your Harmon Kardon AVR is "stereo", but also that it's 5.1, so knowing its capabilities is the first step. For the below, I'm assuming you have a Dolby Digital 5.1 capable AVR.

While it's possible to extract audio from HDMI and pass it via optical to your AVR, it can be a can of worms when it comes to what sources properly pass DD+ (Netflix, Amazon, etc), transcode to DD5.1 (which your AVR likely supports), or transcode to either DD2.0 or PCM 2.0. I don't know of an HDMI Audio Extractor that properly handles all of the HDMI EDID info (what tells your source device what your display or AVR is/isn't capable of playing back) AND properly converts DD+ to DD5.1... much less one that's affordable. There's also one older Roku model (the Ultra 4640) that has an optical output and does properly transcode DD+ sources, but it doesn't have the SD Composite Video + Analog Stereo (Red/White/Yellow) outputs you need for your existing display.

Personally, to make the best use of the equipment (I assume) you have, your best bet is probably to use it exactly how you have it set up, engage Dolby Pro-Logic/PLII for matrix/simulated surround, and call it a day. Otherwise, as mentioned, a new smart display with optical output may be the wiser upgrade path vs. sinking more money into adapting what you have on-hand IF you have the budget/desire to do so.

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post #4 of 10 Old 05-15-2020, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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The Harmon Kardon is an AVR 310. Thanks for explaining the futility of what I thought I should
try to do. I will not try to force digital on the AVR 310 by using a "converter". Appreciate advice
given by all parties.



Is it normal for the subwoofer to be fed by just one monster cable from the AVR?
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-15-2020, 02:14 PM
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There is no such thing as stereo sub output. You only get one channel of sub output. Some subwoofers might have two inputs but you only need connect to one of them of use a Y-splitter to combine both channels together.
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-22-2020, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post
There is no such thing as stereo sub output. You only get one channel of sub output. Some subwoofers might have two inputs but you only need connect to one of them of use a Y-splitter to combine both channels together.
Two inputs on the subwoofer (R & L). There's just one monster cable going from the subwoofer output on the Harmon Kardoin AVR310 to the L input only on the subwoofer. Is that OK?

Thanks
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-22-2020, 11:28 AM
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That's completely normal, just plug it in to one or the other on the sub (sometimes one will be labeled Mono or LFE, but it really doesn't matter). The only reason you'd need a splitter at the sub would be if the voltage is too low from the AVR for a single input, but that would manifest as low output even with the sub volume maxed out, or high noise/hiss with the sub volume maxed out.

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post #8 of 10 Old 05-22-2020, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gkaucher View Post
Two inputs on the subwoofer (R & L). There's just one monster cable going from the subwoofer output on the Harmon Kardoin AVR310 to the L input only on the subwoofer. Is that OK?

Thanks
Yes, that's how you suppose to do. Or you can use a Y cable to connect both to make it look better but really serves no purpose at all.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-22-2020, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post
...but really serves no purpose at all.
It can serve a purpose (mitigating low AVR output voltage causing a high noise floor) but usually isn't necessary.

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post #10 of 10 Old 05-22-2020, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post
Yes, that's how you suppose to do. Or you can use a Y cable to connect both to make it look better but really serves no purpose at all.
Thanks to all!
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