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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Right now, I have an HDMI cable going from the cable box output into one of the TV inputs. Then I have an optical audio cable going from the TV into the home theater receiver (this is a 5.1 receiver). I get sound from the 3 middle speakers and the sub-woofer, but nothing for the 2 outer surround speakers. 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. I'm trying to figure out how to make it put out sound to the last 2 surround speakers.


So, do I have this hooked up right? Or is it instead supposed to go: HDMI cable from the cable box output into one of the receiver inputs, then another HDMI cable from the receiver output into one of the TV inputs? And then what do I do with the optical cable?


Thanks.
 

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So, do I have this hooked up right? Or is it instead supposed to go: HDMI cable from the cable box output into one of the receiver inputs, then another HDMI cable from the receiver output into one of the TV inputs? And then what do I do with the optical cable?
I would connect the cable box (and any other devices) to the receiver, and the receiver to the TV. Use the ARC HDMI ports if you've got 'em, and this will get audio back to your receiver from the TV if you are using streaming apps on the TV. In this case you would not need the optical cable, assuming your TV and Receiver are both ARC-compliant. Check specs. for both TV and Receiver...


What kind of hardware do you have?
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, then it sounds like I've got it hooked up backwards. Another issue is, I have an external RF antenna hooked into the TV (via 75-ohm coax). If I have the cable box connected to the receiver, but then I opt to watch over-the-air TV with the antenna, how do I get the TV's audio to the receiver?

And I keep seeing this "ARC" thing, but don't know what it is? Also, in order to see the receiver's settings screen, wouldn't I need to connect the receiver to the TV via HDMI? Thanks.

The devices are:


TV - Vizio M507-G1 (A 50-inch LED TV).
Receiver - Onkyo HT-S3300 (5.1 surround sound)
Cable Box - Unsure, it just says "technicolor" on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you. So this sounds like I wouldn't even need the optical cable at all?


And I guess with this "ARC" thing, the HDMI-1 on the TV actually sends audio out to the receiver (even though I thought this is an input jack)?


If I switch the TV source input over to RF over-the-air TV, how does the TV know to start sending the audio to the receiver (this seems backwards)?
 

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Thank you. So this sounds like I wouldn't even need the optical cable at all?
In theory, correct.

And I guess with this "ARC" thing, the HDMI-1 on the TV actually sends audio out to the receiver (even though I thought this is an input jack)?
That's right. Audio Return Channel. It is an input, but it is also an audio output. So long as the port on both the TV and receiver are ARC enabled, that should take care of you.

If I switch the TV source input over to RF over-the-air TV, how does the TV know to start sending the audio to the receiver (this seems backwards)?
Like smcmillan2 mentioned, check your Onkyo manual to set the receiver up properly to handle the HMDI control for ARC. The TV should automatically handle this, but not being familiar with your TV, you might need to do something with the TV setup as well. Check instructions or help menus for that too. Think of HDMI ARC as a two-way street. :) Depending on the system, ARC can sometimes be finicky, so be patient. Let us know how it goes. If you have trouble, you can also post in Onkyo and Vizio owners threads. You'll get it working!
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Awesome, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is PCM Better Or Worse Than Dolby Digital?

I'm not sure exactly what "PCM" means, but when I choose that setting instead of "Dolby Digital", I get much better results. The audio is louder and the surround sound is more, well, surround. I've been having a bear of a time trying to figure out the settings and getting 5.1 to work right. The main issue is only getting audio out some of the speakers. "PCM" has given the overall best-sounding result and gives audio out of all the speakers. But with "Dolby Digital" I don't get audio from the 2 surround speakers.



So which one is normally better? And what's the actual difference between "PCM" and "Dolby Digital"?
 

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PCM as a source file, will always be (able) to be better than Dolby.

PCM is uncompressed audio, it's what your receiver converts everything to before playing it.

Dolby digital is a lossy format, so once you convert PCM to Dolby, quality is lost you can't get back.

In addition to the Dolby Digital (AC3) source file not being as good, the receiver then has to convert it back to PCM, which means more loss.

If you feed the receiver PCM directly, it doesn't have to do any conversion, and the source file is lossless quality.

DTS-HD master audio and Dolby TrueHD are lossless, compressed formats. So they are able to store the original quality of PCM but in a smaller file.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 

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PCM = Pulse Code Modulation ..... I'm new to this but.... the PCM should be better and allow for higher bitrate which in turn supports the higher resolution HD audio formats beyond 5.1 DD Dolby Digital... Such as DD+ ie 7.1 , DTS and DD Master Audio from BluRays and obviously ATMOS and DTS-X
 

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Where are you choosing dolby/PCM?
On your player or receiver?

Very few blurays or videos have raw PCM as a source file.
Only seen it once or twice.


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Is PCM Better Or Worse Than Dolby Digital?

Where are you choosing dolby/PCM?
On your player or receiver?

Very few blurays or videos have raw PCM as a source file.
Only seen it once or twice.


Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk

Yeah. Maybe he’s talking about gaming perhaps?

When I use AirPlay through my receiver, it shows the source being PCM. Does this mean the receiver is converting the audio ( which is AAC,MP3 or flac) to PCM?
 

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Yeah. Maybe he’s talking about gaming perhaps?

When I use AirPlay through my receiver, it shows the source being PCM. Does this mean the receiver is converting the audio ( which is AAC,MP3 or flac) to PCM?
The light or indicator represents the input format the receiver is getting. If it shows PCM, then it's getting PCM straight from Airplay and no conversion is needed, it just plays PCM.

Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk
 

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I'm not sure exactly what "PCM" means, but when I choose that setting instead of "Dolby Digital", I get much better results. The audio is louder and the surround sound is more, well, surround. I've been having a bear of a time trying to figure out the settings and getting 5.1 to work right. The main issue is only getting audio out some of the speakers. "PCM" has given the overall best-sounding result and gives audio out of all the speakers. But with "Dolby Digital" I don't get audio from the 2 surround speakers.



So which one is normally better? And what's the actual difference between "PCM" and "Dolby Digital"?
Set the output of your source device, (BluRay Player, streaming device, etc.), to "Bitstream." This will cause the decoding of the signal to occur in the receiver instead of in the source device.
 
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Set the output of your source device, (BluRay Player, streaming device, etc.), to "Bitstream." This will cause the decoding of the signal to occur in the receiver instead of in the source device.
This is usually the correct choice.
However, there can be certain situations where you don't want to do this. One example is if you want to inject EQ into the stream before sending it to your receiver, such as using Equalizer APO on a windows based HTPC.

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Where are you choosing dolby/PCM?
On your player or receiver?

Very few blurays or videos have raw PCM as a source file.
Only seen it once or twice.
Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk



I'm selecting PCM from the TV settings. I have an HDMI cable going from the cable box into the TV. Then I have an optical cable going from the TV to the Onkyo receiver. I've been having a hack of a time trying to get actual 5.1 surround sound, but the settings and the manual and basically everything is so dang confusing. I have a suspicion that PCM is really only giving a stereo signal passed on to all the speakers.


 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
PCM as a source file, will always be (able) to be better than Dolby.

PCM is uncompressed audio, it's what your receiver converts everything to before playing it.

Dolby digital is a lossy format, so once you convert PCM to Dolby, quality is lost you can't get back.

In addition to the Dolby Digital (AC3) source file not being as good, the receiver then has to convert it back to PCM, which means more loss.

If you feed the receiver PCM directly, it doesn't have to do any conversion, and the source file is lossless quality.

DTS-HD master audio and Dolby TrueHD are lossless, compressed formats. So they are able to store the original quality of PCM but in a smaller file.
Sent from my Pixel 3a XL using Tapatalk


It's confusing that there's a few different things that have the word "Dolby" in them. This has all been frustrating. Even when the receiver display shows "Dolby D 5.1", I still don't get audio from the far left & right surround speakers.


 

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I'm selecting PCM from the TV settings. I have an HDMI cable going from the cable box into the TV. Then I have an optical cable going from the TV to the Onkyo receiver. I've been having a hack of a time trying to get actual 5.1 surround sound, but the settings and the manual and basically everything is so dang confusing. I have a suspicion that PCM is really only giving a stereo signal passed on to all the speakers.



The best way to connect is usually to the AVR and not the TV. TVs are not really good with sound and the AVR is made to be the hub in a system.

Also to consider, if its only the cable box on one or a couple of channelsor programs is that they send 5.1 but with all except front mains mute or front mains and surround but not center. It will show as 5.1 but will be silent in the unused or mute channels.

It can be the TV doing this, making a dolby digital signal out of a non DD signal.


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It's confusing that there's a few different thing that have the word "Dolby" in them. This has all been frustrating. Even when the receiver display shows "Dolby D 5.1", I still don't audio from the far left & right surround speakers.


Yes, the problem is the TV / optical cable.
Any tv I've tried cannot pass 5.1 through optical.
It will downconvert it to stereo.

And you cannot pass high definition audio through optical at all.

If your Onkyo Receiver has an HDMI out and HDMI in, you need to use all HDMI. HDMI out to TV. That will fix all the confusion.



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