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Plex -> TV -> AV receiver for surround sound?

6166 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  AV-Moderation
I have home media server setup on my network, I am streaming movies to via plex application on my TV, how would I go about a setup to have surround sound?
Should I connect AV receiver to TV via HDMI ARC or something else, what features my TV should support for this to be achievable etc., basically how can I get my plex movies to play with 5.1 sound system.

At the moment I have no AV receiver, nor surround speaker setup, just looking to buy and trying to figure out what I need.
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In general, unless there's a special circumstance it's best to connect "peripherals" to your receiver (which handles the audio) and then just run the video to the TV. (This is across the board, not just for Plex.) If you have anything going on directly with your TV then ARC comes into play (like for an antenna).

There's lots of Plex configuration options, but I think the easiest is to run a Plex server on your PC/laptop and use a Roku for the client. The Roku would connect to your receiver. This configuration is very easy to set up. If your media server is a PC or a reasonably powered NAS, then that can be the Plex server.
The old/traditional way was to get a receiver with a lot of inputs and let it handle switching them and feeding video to the TV. Newer TVs tend to have at least 4 HDMI inputs and many native apps, and it is becoming common to use the TV as the switching hub and use a simpler sound bar for audio, but either way still works - although you can run into trouble with older receivers not passing 4k video or TVs only passing DD+ or DTS out optical/ARC (EARC is needed for the newer HD audio formats).

A Sony Android TV or TCL roku TV (and probably others) would have Plex as a native app without needing another box.
Sounds like you already have Plex and the client (via your Smart TV).

The ask is how to get 5.1:
- You can get 5.1 over ARC, just check your source content and if you can pass it natively (via TV ARC) using your native audio codecs or if it needs to be transcoded (DTS HD TrueHD)
- Soundbar or AV receiver for 5.1? That’s preference and will gauge your options how far down 5.1 you want to go. You get what you pay for so if a soundbar is the preferred choice, look at return policies and give it a shot
* Is Atmos in the future or expanding to 7 channel or multi subs?
* An AV receiver will add more flexibility but is a rabbit hole if you’re not focused on your end goal
* A soundbar can offer 5.1, rear wireless speakers. Plenty of options

I’m running an AVR; 5.1.2 as my main viewing screen with a Plex NUC, Smart TV’s, iPads and AppleTV as clients.

Adequate sound options are there using Plex or other media servers. Just make a decision that fits your budget, wants and the audio codecs that you have or will use on your source content.

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