Originally Posted by JohnnyGalaga
Well, I went ahead and tried hooking it all up differently. So now it goes:
HDMI cable from cable box into the receiver.
HDMI cable from the receiver into the TV.
Optical cable no longer used.
When I did this, it makes the volume a lot quieter. It basically sounds worse than before. But now I do sometimes get audio out of all the speakers. But then there's other times I don't get audio from the far surround speakers. It's like from one commercial to the next, it comes and goes, even though the receiver display will show "Dolby D 5.1". This whole thing has been a confusing mess. I've basically gotten fed up at this point.
Something else that's obnoxious. I have an RF antenna hooked into the TV for over-the-air channels. So if I switch the TV input to the antenna, this whole "ARC" thing seems to work, as the TV audio gets into the receiver, but I still get no audio out the far surround speakers and the lip sync is way off. And the volume is awfully quiet compared to before when I used the optical cable with PCM. That's on over-the-air TV. With the cable box, I do get 5.1 sometimes, but the side speakers are awfully quiet.
The cable box has audio settings of HDMI, Dolby Digital, or Other. I have it set to HDMI, as the other 2 give no audio. The Onkyo manual is poorly written and hard to understand and the settings are confusing.
It does sound like it's working. SO, not all content will be using the surround speakers, especially commercials! Why you are likely hearing drop outs. It just depends on the source content. Do you have Netflix or Amazon on the TV? Find content that you know is in 5.1 and see what happens with that. Also, you should be able to find movies or TV shows on the cable box that are in at 5.1 as well. Some contetn too will report as 5.1, but the surrounds aren't active (or very little).
I'm not familiar with the Onkyo either, but there should be a lipsync adjust for that one issue you're having. Check the remote to see if has on the fly adjust, or it'll be a setting in the Onkyo's set up screen, probably! You can always contact Onkyo support as well if you're having trouble with the manual - lots of manuals are not very good, you're not alone!
Sounds like the cable box needs to be HDMI, so just leave that. Volume too low, turn it up!! Even though it might be quieter vs. when you had the optical cable feeding back to the receiver, you should still have quite a bit of range for the volume. Stick with it, you'll get it to work!
BE SURE to re-run the room EQ system on the Onkyo! That might help adjust the volume issue. Had you used the EQ system prior?