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Setting up a TV room in a small apartment. I know when the HDMI vs optical question comes up for home theater everyone says to use HDMI in to your receiver because HDMI supports better surround codecs than toslink. What I haven't been able to find an answer to: provided I will never have a surround setup and only plan on using stereo speakers, is there any reason that HDMI is still superior?


The reason I'd like to know: I watch TV over the air instead of with a cable box, so at least for viewing live TV it's necessary for me to use optical out of my TV into the receiver. So I can't switch ALL of my sources through the receiver. If I were to connect all of my inputs directly to the TV and just send the audio to the receiver, I can have a simpler setup: just switch inputs on the TV and leave the receiver on its one input. Compared with hooking up HDMI inputs to the receiver first: now I have two switches, on the TV side: Switch input from over-the-air to the receiver, then pick up the receiver and choose which of *its* inputs to have active. More fiddly, more annoying.


I don't think HDMI ARC is an option for me. I have a Panasonic TC-P50V10, and the manual doesn't mention what version of HDMI it uses or mention ARC anywhere. The inputs on the TV don't have an ARC label, either.


Lastly, please don't tell me why I should get a surround setup instead. It's simply not practical for my apartment.
 

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You should be good to go using optical out from your

TV for your set-up.
 

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I would use analog audio outputs from the TV if they are available, when viewing off-the air TV.


The optical will have to do if analog outputs are not available on your TV (it appears Panasonic did not provide them).




For all other situations (except off-the-air viewing), I would connect the source devices to the receiver and use the Component Video cables (3-RGB) , or HDMI, to send the video to the TV from the receiver. Turn the TV volume down/off.


That way the receiver gets the audio direct from the devices, and not through the TV. The sound quality will be better. So it takes a couple of seconds to select an input and change the TV; this is a big deal?
 

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For digital devices connected to the TV by HDMI, keeping the signal digital is to be preferred. The TV's EDID reports to the input devices that its output is stereo, so the input devices are responsible for downmixing multichannel source material to two channels.


Some optical connections can't handle the highest PCM bitrate (24 bits/sample, 192K samples/sec) that coax and HDMI connections can handle, but that high a bitrate usually doesn't gain anything in terms of audio quality.


In other words, using your TV as an HDMI switch should work fine.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman  /t/1524519/hdmi-vs-optical-for-stereo-setup#post_24541859


I would use analog audio outputs from the TV if they are available, when viewing off-the air TV.


The optical will have to do if analog outputs are not available on your TV (it appears Panasonic did not provide them).




For all other situations (except off-the-air viewing), I would connect the source devices to the receiver and use the Component Video cables (3-RGB) , or HDMI, to send the video to the TV from the receiver. Turn the TV volume down/off.


That way the receiver gets the audio direct from the devices, and not through the TV. The sound quality will be better. So it takes a couple of seconds to select an input and change the TV; this is a big deal?

One good general rule is that it is best to keep digital signals in digital form as close to the output devices (either display or loudspeakers) as possible.


These days all of our audio and video sources are digital. The TV is not our only source. Most of us also access precorded optical discs (CD, DVD or BD) and streaming video from the web. We mostly access TV via cable and cable boxes have their own set of outputs for sound unless you use their HDMI outputs. Converting them into the analog domain prematurely exposes them unnecessarily to all sorts of of noise and distortion problems.


Optical digital audio connections are more limited in terms of the 2 channel and surround formats that they can handle than HDMI.


Keeping sound and video signals in the digital domain as close as possible to the output devices is not only the best route for highest quality but it is also very cost effective. Compare the costs for say Blu Ray (BD) players that have analog outputs to those that have only digital outputs. If you buy a BD player with analog outputs it will have circuitry that is at best a low function redundant version of circuitry that is already in the AVR or the TV itself.


On top of all this, keeping the signals in the digital domain simplifies cabling and hook up. A single digital HDMI cable carries all of the necessary sound and video signals. Compare that with the 9 analog cables required for component video (3 cables) and surround sound (6 cables).
 
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