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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I am planning to buy a basic 5.1 ch home theatre system to be used for outputting audio from my tv, set top box, movies played through the laptop connected to tv, etc.

I have a basic full hd led tv:

www dot hisense.co.za/tvs/D36/50/0

I am planning to buy a home theatre system in box.

The TV has 2 HDMI ports (dont think it has ARC HDMI port), 1 USB and 1 co-axial port.

Home theatre system (HTS) that I have looked has one HDMI out port and probably one TOSlink port (another HTS has one coaxial port).

www dot samsung.com/ae/consumer/home-audio-video/home-entertainment-system/home-entertainment-system/HT-F450K/ZN

www dot lg.com/ae/audio/lg-DH6330P

I have downloaded 1080P x265 with DTS 6 channel audio movies. I am unable to play them directly from my TV USB port because my TV doesnt support x265. But I can play them on my laptop which when connected to my TV through HDMI plays the movie on TV. So, I use this HDMI port only when I connect my laptop to the TV otherwise it is free.

Also, I have a cable set top box presently connecting to my TV through HDMI. This remains connected all the time to the TV,

I want to buy HTS and connect it such that audio from all sources go to the HTS - Set top box, laptop playing movies on TV, movies (which are playable such as x264 MP4, etc.) I play directly from USB, etc.

Also, i want to make sure it plays on all 5 channels and sub woofer i.e. 5.1 in true HD audio (wherever it is available for e.g. x265 movies with DTS 6 channel audio).

So, in summary, I want to know what would be the ideal setup:

1. Set top box connected to the HTS via HDMI. Laptop connected to TV via HDMI. HTS connected to TV via coaxial or should it be connected via HDMI?

2. Set top box, laptop and HTS connected to TV via HDMI (alternating between the 2 HDMI ports i.e. if want to watch TV, plug set top box and HTS to TV HDMI. If want to watch downloaded movies, plug laptop and HTS to TV HDMI)

Other questions:
1. Will the sound output to HTS connected via HDMI to TV, if TV HDMI port does not ARC?
2. Will connecting HTS to TV via co-axial give the same quality and 5.1 tru HD sound as compared to being connected via HDMI?
3. If I connect, say laptop and HTS to the 2 ports of TV, how would the sound from laptop be heard on TV since both (laptop and HTS) are on 2 different HDMI ports of the TV and generally on TV remote, we can select only one source i.e. HDMI1 or HDMI2 (I know this question would be felt as dumb but I am sorry I have no clue how it will work and am curious to know)
4. Last question - if HDMI ARC is required on TV for HTS to output sound to HTS via HDMI (which the TV does not have) and HTS does not have co-axial port, what other option should I look out in HTS that will help me output sound in true HD quality to 5.1 speakers?

Those of you who are impatient by this kiddish questions, please do not respond.

Awaiting earliest response from those who care for people like us who are new to HTS but want to explore it out :)

Regards,
Pratik
 

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A few basics. The best audio that an optical connection can do is 5.1, the same for ARC. You will not be able to output HD audio (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-MA, etc) thru either connection.

I have not been able to discern any difference in 5.1 whether it's optical or HDMI.

ARC, which is a great idea, can have problems because it's associated with CEC (Consumer Electronic Control). Both use HDMI. CEC allows you, in theory, to use a single remote to control all of your HDMI connected devices. However, the protocols are not standardized so there are incompatibilities. There are no firmware upgrades to make them compatible and no guarantees that it will work correctly. There are folks who have successfully used ARC/CEC and are happy. Just keep in mind if ARC/CEC doesn't work for you, it's more than likely due to an incompatibility. The most reliable workaround, and one that I use, is an optical connection from the tv to the receiver and a programmable remote like a Harmony.

If you have two or more HMDI inputs on your tv, you will have to select the source for whichever device you want to hear audio from. For example, I have one HDMI input from the receiver to the tv and one optical from the tv to the receiver. All of my devices are connected to the receiver via HDMI so we can hear any audio format that is presented. The optical cable from the tv to the receiver is for OTA TV and we can listen to discrete 5.1 when presented. If I connect my laptop to the tv via another HDMI input, and then select that input, audio is passed thru the optical cable to the receiver. Whether it's 5.1 or stereo I'm not sure because I rarely use my laptop directly connected to the tv. What ever the case, the audio is still limited to 5.1 via optical.

If your tv doesn't have an ARC HDMI input, then your only option is to use an optical connection from tv to receiver. ARC is bi-directional audio via HDMI. If your receiver has an ARC HDMI output ,but your tv doesn't have an ARC HDMI input, you can still connect the two ,
but audio will be uni-directional (from receiver to tv).

HTiB's come is lots of configurations. I would suggest looking at one with just a receiver and speakers only. The integrated systems (built-in blu-ray player) are ok but you are limited somewhat in what you can do and the sub-woofer is quite often passive. In other words it derives its power from the blu-ray player/reciever which results in less-than-desireable bass response. An active sub-woofer has its own amplifier which results in a much cleaner and more powerful bass response. The speaker connections are also usually proprietary so it's difficult to upgrade the speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thanks Otto for quick and detailed response http://www.avsforum.com//forum


So, you suggest, I connect my set top box to the HTS through HDMI and HTS to TV through co-axial and laptop through HDMI to TV?

Will all sound output to HTS?


When you say 5.1 and not true HD, will it be stereo 5.1 or analog? And how much difference it will be between true hd and 5.1 sound?


So, the laptop connected to TV via HDMI and HTS connected to TV via coaxial will give me stereo 5.1/hd sound, right?


If the HTS doesn't have coaxial, what would be my options?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks Otto for quick and detailed response



So, you suggest, I connect my set top box to the HTS through HDMI and HTS to TV through co-axial and laptop through HDMI to TV?


Will all sound output to HTS?


When you say 5.1 and not true HD, will it be stereo 5.1 or analog? And how much difference it will be between true hd and 5.1 sound?


So, the laptop connected to TV via HDMI and HTS connected to TV via coaxial will give me stereo 5.1/hd sound, right?


If the HTS doesn't have coaxial, what would be my options?
 

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If you connect all of your devices to the receiver of the HTiB, all of the audio will be played thru the receiver (once the correct input is selected) and the video will be passed to the tv. The optical cable from the tv to the receiver is only for audio that is received via the internal ATSC tuner whether it be OTA (antenna reception) or a cable service connected directly to the tv. Keep in mind scanning for channels depends on which type of connection you use. If you connect your laptop directly to the tv via HDMI the audio will go thru the optical and back to the receiver. However, depending on the source, it will either be stereo of discrete 5.1 (depending on the what your laptop is capable of). The tv will not do any decoding other than taking whatever audio formats it detects and converting them to what it can pass thru the optical.

The audio format can be either 5-channel stereo, discete 5.1, or HD audio (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-MA, etc). The HDMI connection can pass any format and it will be played back depending on what the receiver is capable of. Audio thru an optical cable is limited to 5-channel stereo, stereo, or discrete 5.1. Again, that is all source dependent.

You will have to disable (turn off) the tv's speakers for the most part otherwise you will get muddied sound, no sound, or echoing.

I just looked up the Samsung HT-F450K. Pretty thin spec-wise. It appears the best you can do is Dolby Digital, there are no HD formats because it's only a DVD player, not blu-ray.

The LG-DH6330P seems to be pretty much the same. A DVD karaoke-type system. Passive sub, no HD formats, etc.
 

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Connect all devices to the sound system using HDMI. It will produce discrete 5.1 from sources that have DTS or DD 5.1 soundtracks and can use surround modes such as PLII to upmix stereo sources to output from all six speakers.

Send video from the sound system to the TV using HDMi. If you have a Smart TV with apps such as Netflix, then you will need an optical connection to feed audio from the TV to the sound system for audio from those apps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your replies.

The cable is coming through set top box (dish)

Here is the issue. First and foremost budget. I just have a budget of $150-200!

Also, the 2 HTiB I am looking at just have 1 HDMI Which I think is HDMI out with no HDMI in. So, does that mean I will have to connect all my source directly to TV and HTiB also to TV?

In that case will all the audio output to HTiB?

My TV doesnt have HDMI ARC. But the HTiB does have it. Will the audio from all sources still output to HTiB if I connect it to tv via HDMI and all other sources i.e. set top box & laptop to TV via HDMI?

Or

Connecting HTiB through coaxial would be my only option since tv does not have ARC?

If the HTiB does not have coaxial but has Toslink, if I use Toslink-coaxial converter, will it work? And will it provide 5.1 discrete audio?

Otto,

If I buy a blu ray HTiB, will I be able to get tru hd audio if I connect the HTiB through coaxial or still no?

And last question, do we feel much difference between 5.1 discrete and tru hd audio while watching x265 dts movies?
 

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You can connect devices with ARC to devices that don't have ARC using the same HDMI input. In that case the connection will work just like a regular uni-directional HDMI connection.

Integrated HTiB's (ones with built-in blu-ray) will play HD audio because the "connections" are internal so there's no need for an HDMI connection. A standalone blu-ray player uses an HDMI connection to connect to a receiver which is capable of decoding and playing back lossless audio (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-MS, etc).

I have no experience with x265 dts movies but depending on the source, a well made blu-ray with HD audio can be noticeably better than 5.1(both are 5.1 but HD audio has a much better dynamic response and depth). However, good speakers make all the difference in the world for clean audio fidelity, range, and depth, but the speakers that come with systems at your price point are barely adequate.
 

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If you connect your devices to the TV, you still have to get the audio to the HTIB.

Option 1: If the HTIB has optical or coax audio inputs and your devices have matching outputs, then you can use HDMI to the TV for video and optical or coax to the HTIB for audio. You would separately select the proper inputs on both the TV and HTIB when changing sources, the TV for video and the HTIB for audio.

Option 2: Run an optical or coax audio connection from the TV to the HTIB. Then, the audio from whatever source you are watching on the TV will be sent to the HTIB. That would seem like the way to go. Unfortunately, most TVs only output stereo from their HDMI inputs. While some sets will pass through DD 5.1, very few do DTS. So, those DTS tracks from your laptop will almost certainly be downmixed to stereo.

btw, ARC only works if both the TV and the receiver support the feature. Since your TV doesn't, ARC is not possible for you. But, that doesn't matter since, as Otto points out, ARC simply saves a cable. An optical or coax connection from the TV provides the same quality of audio.

I have not looked at the systems you are considering. But, from your description, it looks like neither has any HDMI inputs and just a single digital audio input. Systems like that are inadequate for what you want to do. I suggest you save a bit more so that you can get a system with a receiver that has more inputs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you connect your devices to the TV, you still have to get the audio to the HTIB.

Option 1: If the HTIB has optical or coax audio inputs and your devices have matching outputs, then you can use HDMI to the TV for video and optical or coax to the HTIB for audio. You would separately select the proper inputs on both the TV and HTIB when changing sources, the TV for video and the HTIB for audio.

Option 2: Run an optical or coax audio connection from the TV to the HTIB. Then, the audio from whatever source you are watching on the TV will be sent to the HTIB. That would seem like the way to go. Unfortunately, most TVs only output stereo from their HDMI inputs. While some sets will pass through DD 5.1, very few do DTS. So, those DTS tracks from your laptop will almost certainly be downmixed to stereo.

btw, ARC only works if both the TV and the receiver support the feature. Since your TV doesn't, ARC is not possible for you. But, that doesn't matter since, as Otto points out, ARC simply saves a cable. An optical or coax connection from the TV provides the same quality of audio.

I have not looked at the systems you are considering. But, from your description, it looks like neither has any HDMI inputs and just a single digital audio input. Systems like that are inadequate for what you want to do. I suggest you save a bit more so that you can get a system with a receiver that has more inputs.
Great Otto and BIslander. thanks a lot.

from what I understood, tv is going to downmix to stereo. so is there a benefit to me buying a blu ray HTib instead of dvd HTib?

I am not going to use the dvd/blu ray player at all. it is just for audio. I want the movies (1080p x265/x264 movies encoded with DTS) that I play from laptop which I connect to tv through hdmi to play 5.1 audio - hopefully dts (else 5.1 discrete if no options available).

My tv has co-axial and the htib I am looking at has toslink. So, when I use a co-axial/toslink converter between the two, will there be audio quality loss or it will still remain the same?
 

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The optical-coax converter won't reduce the quality at all.

That's not your problem. If you want dts audio, you cannot route it through the TV as you'll end up with just stereo. If you want dts, your laptop will need to be able to send HDMI to the TV and either optical or coax to the HTIB at the same time. And, since the output to the TV will be stereo, the computer must be able to send dts to the sound system even though the HDMI connection is limited to two channels.

btw, optical and coax do not support 5.1 audio, except when it is compressed using either Dolby Digital or DTS. Also, getting a BD system doesn't address your problem. You need a sound system with HDMI inputs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The optical-coax converter won't reduce the quality at all.

That's not your problem. If you want dts audio, you cannot route it through the TV as you'll end up with just stereo. If you want dts, your laptop will need to be able to send HDMI to the TV and either optical or coax to the HTIB at the same time. And, since the output to the TV will be stereo, the computer must be able to send dts to the sound system even though the HDMI connection is limited to two channels.

btw, optical and coax do not support 5.1 audio, except when it is compressed using either Dolby Digital or DTS. Also, getting a BD system doesn't address your problem. The issue is matching up inputs and outputs.
What if I connect my laptop to htib through hdmi and tv to htib through coaxial/toslink?

fyi htib just has hdmi out (not hdmi in).
 

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Yes. But, unless you have a rare TV that passes DTS audio from an HDMI input, you are going to end up with stereo audio. That's why the sound systems you are considering are not appropriate for what you want to do. You need one with HDMI inputs.
 

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Optical and coax only support 2 channels of PCM. But, they can send 5.1, provided it's encoded as DD or DTS.

The question is wherever the Auto setting on your TV will pass DTS from an HDMI input. Very few TVs will do that. Most will send DD 5.1 from sources they acquire themselves, such as over the air signals and Smart TV apps. But, HDMI inputs are limited to stereo PCM.
 
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