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Discussion Starter #1
I plan to replace my current sound bar with a 5.1 setup, and I need some advice about receivers.

In my current setup, I have everything (Blu-ray player and video game consoles) connected directly to the television, and then I use an optical cable from the TV to the sound bar. I like this setup because it's simple. Whether I'm watching TV or using an external source, the only input I ever need to change is the one on the TV itself, and the sound bar will always just play the TV audio no matter the source.

I'm wondering whether a similar setup is a good idea for use with a surround-sound receiver. I don't know what the limitations of the optical connection are, whether the TV will just pass the audio signal through to the receiver this way, or whether it differs from TV to TV (I currently have an LG but plan to replace it with a Vizio PQX later this year).

I've seen other threads where people criticize this approach because receivers are generally designed to be used the opposite way--all the components are hooked up to the receiver, and then the receiver passes the video through to the television. But I have a couple of concerns about this approach.

First, how should I route the audio from the TV itself (both broadcast and streaming apps)? I understand that ARC is designed for this, but some articles I've read seem to indicate that there are limitations to the number of channels and audio formats that can be passed via ARC, e.g. https://www.cnet.com/news/what-is-audio-return-channel-arc/. But that article is 6 years old, so I don't know if all the information is still relevant.

Second, I'm concerned about the receiver's ability to pass through video, especially things like various HDR formats. One of the reasons I specifically plan to buy a Vizio TV is that they are one of the few manufacturers to support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. But looking at, for example, the Yamaha RX-V485, one receiver I've been considering, the specs say it supports Dolby Vision but not HDR10+. So I'm concerned that I won't be able to take advantage of one of the main things I bought the TV for if I set the receiver up this way.
 

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If your TV has Dolby Vision do you really need HDR 10+?
 

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There are at least some 4K discs that include HDR10+ but not Dolby Vision, aren't there? I would like to be able to watch them in HDR.

I don't actually know if the same is true of other video sources (streaming services, etc.)...are you saying that there is little or no content that uses HDR10+ instead of Dolby Vision?
 

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There are at least some 4K discs that include HDR10+ but not Dolby Vision, aren't there? I would like to be able to watch them in HDR.

I don't actually know if the same is true of other video sources (streaming services, etc.)...are you saying that there is little or no content that uses HDR10+ instead of Dolby Vision?
you would still be able to watch them in HDR. All the 4k discs are at least in HDR10 which is the standard used and supported by all TV's that are HDR (within the last few years anyways i'm not talking 4ks that first came out or whatnot). HDR10+ is just basically a version of HDR that Samsung is pushing to compete with Dolby Vision but DV supported by way more devices.
 

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There are at least some 4K discs that include HDR10+ but not Dolby Vision, aren't there? I would like to be able to watch them in HDR.

I don't actually know if the same is true of other video sources (streaming services, etc.)...are you saying that there is little or no content that uses HDR10+ instead of Dolby Vision?
I know there is some content that uses HDR10+, I think Amazon Prime does. I haven't read that it is better than Dolby Vision but rather a competitor. My OLED has HDR10 and Dolby Vision so I don't feel like I'm missing anything by not having HDR10+
 
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I plan to replace my current sound bar with a 5.1 setup, and I need some advice about receivers.

In my current setup, I have everything (Blu-ray player and video game consoles) connected directly to the television, and then I use an optical cable from the TV to the sound bar. I like this setup because it's simple. Whether I'm watching TV or using an external source, the only input I ever need to change is the one on the TV itself, and the sound bar will always just play the TV audio no matter the source.

I'm wondering whether a similar setup is a good idea for use with a surround-sound receiver. I don't know what the limitations of the optical connection are, whether the TV will just pass the audio signal through to the receiver this way, or whether it differs from TV to TV (I currently have an LG but plan to replace it with a Vizio PQX later this year).

I've seen other threads where people criticize this approach because receivers are generally designed to be used the opposite way--all the components are hooked up to the receiver, and then the receiver passes the video through to the television. But I have a couple of concerns about this approach.

First, how should I route the audio from the TV itself (both broadcast and streaming apps)? I understand that ARC is designed for this, but some articles I've read seem to indicate that there are limitations to the number of channels and audio formats that can be passed via ARC, e.g. https://www.cnet.com/news/what-is-audio-return-channel-arc/. But that article is 6 years old, so I don't know if all the information is still relevant.

Second, I'm concerned about the receiver's ability to pass through video, especially things like various HDR formats. One of the reasons I specifically plan to buy a Vizio TV is that they are one of the few manufacturers to support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. But looking at, for example, the Yamaha RX-V485, one receiver I've been considering, the specs say it supports Dolby Vision but not HDR10+. So I'm concerned that I won't be able to take advantage of one of the main things I bought the TV for if I set the receiver up this way.
Optical output limits you to DD or DD+. It can't pass Atmos, Dolby True HD or DTS Master Audio.

Your new TV will have EARC that will pass HD audio so you can use the TV's apps and still get the best audio available over streaming. You can still hook up you external devices either to the TV if it has enough inputs and use EARC or hook them up the the AVR. Either way works. I have a blu-ray player and a Roku Ultra hooked to my AVR and utilize my TV apps for most of my streaming. LG's WebOS doesn't have anything owned by AT&T and it doesn't have ESPN plus either which is weird since it has Hulu and Disney+ so I still have to use my Roku for that and a few other channels.
 

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I plan to replace my current sound bar with a 5.1 setup, and I need some advice about receivers.

In my current setup, I have everything (Blu-ray player and video game consoles) connected directly to the television, and then I use an optical cable from the TV to the sound bar. I like this setup because it's simple. Whether I'm watching TV or using an external source, the only input I ever need to change is the one on the TV itself, and the sound bar will always just play the TV audio no matter the source.

I'm wondering whether a similar setup is a good idea for use with a surround-sound receiver. I don't know what the limitations of the optical connection are, whether the TV will just pass the audio signal through to the receiver this way, or whether it differs from TV to TV (I currently have an LG but plan to replace it with a Vizio PQX later this year).

I've seen other threads where people criticize this approach because receivers are generally designed to be used the opposite way--all the components are hooked up to the receiver, and then the receiver passes the video through to the television. But I have a couple of concerns about this approach.

First, how should I route the audio from the TV itself (both broadcast and streaming apps)? I understand that ARC is designed for this, but some articles I've read seem to indicate that there are limitations to the number of channels and audio formats that can be passed via ARC, e.g. https://www.cnet.com/news/what-is-audio-return-channel-arc/. But that article is 6 years old, so I don't know if all the information is still relevant.

Second, I'm concerned about the receiver's ability to pass through video, especially things like various HDR formats. One of the reasons I specifically plan to buy a Vizio TV is that they are one of the few manufacturers to support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. But looking at, for example, the Yamaha RX-V485, one receiver I've been considering, the specs say it supports Dolby Vision but not HDR10+. So I'm concerned that I won't be able to take advantage of one of the main things I bought the TV for if I set the receiver up this way.
What is your Blu-Ray player? Can it pass HDR 10+, or are you going to upgrade that as well? A quick glance at Vizio TV specs says you have to use your smart phone or other source for streaming apps? Which of those apps are HDR 10+ compatible that you have access to? Also looking at TV specs on Vizio website it says outputs ARC: No, Analog audio: Yes 1 bottom, Digital audio, yes 1 bottom. So to get the best audio, hook everything to new receiver. Only thing you will need audio coming from your new TV will be if you use an antenna for over the air broadcasts. For that the basic digital out will be fine. As far as HDR 10+ is concerned so little is out I wouldn't worry about it. As for the 4K Blu-Ray movies that do have it, most of them have Dolby Vision as well. If you are really serious about it, look at the new Denon and Marantz receivers as they officially support it as well as 8K. Those receivers also give you the option to expand past 5.1 into Atmos and DTSX surround formats.

Here is a list I found of HDR 10+ titles
https://hd-report.com/list-of-4k-blu-ray-discs-with-hdr10/
 

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For 5.1 use whichever input you need to for the video features you are interested in and let the audio do its thing on the EARC if it needs to. You likely won't notice any difference in sound quality and all of your audio features on your receiver that are important should still be available.

The one caveat is if there is some sort of buggy interaction between the TV or receiver and a particular component. If you find that you have gaps of black screen and/or dropped audio you might try re-arranging the connections to improve the reliability of the signal. Unfortunately on some devices, if one of the inputs glitches, it resets the whole HDMI interface to re-detect attached devices and that sticks a long gap in the middle of your program. The device causing the issue might not be the one you are currently using, so simplify the troubleshooting by unplugging everything else first and re-attach them one by one to verify which one is causing the issue.

When the decision of which receiver to buy and how to hook it up and troubleshoot it becomes this complicated, that's a sure sign that the technology is poorly integrated. I've wondered forever why we aren't just sending AV data over a generic coaxial connection. If it's good enough for phone, internet, cable, and satellite, why can't we use it for everything else? I've broken as many HDMI cables and Ethernet cables as I have currently installed in my system. That's a 50% failure rate on an unbelievably fragile connector.
 

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If you're OK with your TV being the hub instead of the AVR, then the Vizio PQX's support of Dolby Vision and HDR10+ will have you covered on the Dynamic HDR side. It looks like you're OK with multiple cables running to the TV.
If that's the case, get an AVR with eARC to pass back better uncompressed sound for all available channels, rather than the compressed 5.1 you can get with the optical cable or ARC. ARC is limited like the optical cable, while eARC surpasses the limitation.
At the low-end of AV Receivers, that's the Yamaha RX-V385. To add networking/streaming capabilities and a few other features, the Yamaha RX-V485 and Denon AVR-S650H should do well.

You stated that you're using a 5.1 setup, so the question is really only about compressed vs uncompressed sound. Spending more for higher-end AVRs won't get you much since you don't have more speakers for surround or Atmos (at least not yet! :)).
You might consider spending more for improved room correction (a Yamaha model with YPAO RSC, or a Denon model with Audyssey MultEQ XT), but you'll have to consider if it's worth it.

As more content becomes available with HDR10+, I imagine that AV Receivers will get updates to support the Samsung backed Dynamic HDR format, but that hasn't happened yet. Only the new Denon AVRs support HDR10+ so far, but they're much more expensive than "basic" 5.1 receivers.
In your case, since you want to use the TV as the hub, you only need to worry about the TV's support of it, and the PQX has you covered.

I plan to replace my current sound bar with a 5.1 setup, and I need some advice about receivers.
In my current setup, I have everything (Blu-ray player and video game consoles) connected directly to the television, and then I use an optical cable from the TV to the sound bar. I like this setup because it's simple.
I'm wondering whether a similar setup is a good idea for use with a surround-sound receiver. I don't know what the limitations of the optical connection are, whether the TV will just pass the audio signal through to the receiver this way, or whether it differs from TV to TV

Second, I'm concerned about the receiver's ability to pass through video, especially things like various HDR formats. One of the reasons I specifically plan to buy a Vizio TV is that they are one of the few manufacturers to support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you guys so much for the advice, this is exactly what I was looking for.
 

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Optical output limits you to DD or DD+. It can't pass Atmos, Dolby True HD or DTS Master Audio.

Your new TV will have EARC that will pass HD audio so you can use the TV's apps and still get the best audio available over streaming. You can still hook up you external devices either to the TV if it has enough inputs and use EARC or hook them up the the AVR. Either way works. I have a blu-ray player and a Roku Ultra hooked to my AVR and utilize my TV apps for most of my streaming. LG's WebOS doesn't have anything owned by AT&T and it doesn't have ESPN plus either which is weird since it has Hulu and Disney+ so I still have to use my Roku for that and a few other channels.

I didn't think any of the streaming apps (netflix, amazon, disney) used Dolby True HD or DTS Master Audio, for bandwidth purposes I thought they were limited to the lossy versions. Are some providers now supporting lossless audio? Granted they may be those apps I did not list...?
 

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All the streaming apps to my knowledge are still limited to DD+ and Atmos over DD+ if you're using ARC or even eARC at this point.
 
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