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  1. #1
    Site Admin MikeTrin's Avatar
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    hdmi, xbox, bluray, catv help

    I currently have 2 hdmi sources (bluray and catv) that go directly to my tv and 2 dolby digital rca sources that I plug into a manual switch box with 1 rca dolby digal input on a reciever that does dolby and dts decoding.

    with the addition of an xbox 360 elite i'll have 3 sources and think i'll need a new receiver that has more than 2 hdmi inputs. My question is, i need a new receiver, maybe 7.1 surround, what should I get, how do i deal with all these hdmi sources and still get dolby or dts audio? i don't want to spend a ton of money....

    help?


  2. #2
    ...Lighting The Water On Fire Since '04 duramaxxed's Avatar
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    From what my Friends say, that are more into Home Theater than I am, Yamaha is the way to go if you are on a Budget.

    I use all Sony Components...Receiver, DVD, CD.

    However, I use an HDMI Switcher that I got at Best Buy made by Psyclone. It does a damn good job, and never had a problem with it.

    You might want to look into it, and you won't have to buy any new Components, just the Switcher, which will save you ALOT of Money.

  3. #3
    Tennessee's Avatar
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    You can get a switch box and keep the reciever you have if you want. Here is just one with 5 inputs for less than $35. There are bunches of choices. http://www.bestlinknetware.com/produ...asp?sku=110308

  4. #4
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTrin View Post
    I currently have 2 HDMI sources (bluray and catv) ... and 2 Dolby digital rca sources ...
    The HD audio aspect may be the determining factor.

    Multi-channel audio can be confusing, especially the high definition audio, such as Blu-Ray.

    If you want to hear the enhanced definition audio that is on your Blu-Ray discs, you must have a system that can get that audio from the disc to your speakers.

    The old coax and optical digital (Toslink) methods of connecting a digital audio source (DVD, cable TV set-top box, CD player, etc) can NOT handle the higher fidelity signals from Blu-Ray. The Blu-Ray player only sends a downgraded digital audio out those ports, with similar audio quality to standard DVD.

    There are only two ways to hear the full audio quality from Blu-Ray; HDMI to the Receiver or multiple analog outputs from the Blu-Ray player to analog inputs on the receiver.

    A current generation HDMI capable receiver, that can extract the full 7.1 digital audio channels from the HDMI feed, will do the job.

    OR, you can purchase a Blu-Ray player that has the full complement of 7.1 RCA style analog outputs on the back, and connect those to the 7.1 (or 5.1) analog (RCA) inputs on your receiver.

    Surprising to many, very few of the Blu-Ray players on the market, and none before mid-2008, could handle the full range of high end audio formats found on Blu-Ray discs. Many Blu-Ray players can NOT handle DTS-HD, or DTS-Master Audio tracks, and other players don't support the Dolby True-HD audio format.

    If hearing the full quality of the sound tracks is important, make sure the Blu-Ray player you use can handle all these formats. In addition, if you want to use the analog inputs on your receiver to connect the player, make sure the player can internally decode these formats.

    Many Blu-Ray players can 'bitstream' these high def audio tracks to the receiver using HDMI, but if the HDMI receiver is not capable of extracting them from the HDMI stream, then you won't hear the higher quality. Instead, you will hear only the core or downgraded audio quality - still surround sound, but not high def sound.

    Further confusing the consumer is that there are two ways for Blu-Ray to deliver these high definition digital audio streams over HDMI. One is called PCM, where the player decodes the audio from the disc, and converts it to PCM (up to 8 channels of high quality PCM audio), and the player sends it all to the receiver via HDMI. The receiver doesn't need to know, or even care, what format is on the disc. It simply accepts the PCM audio over HDMI, and sends it to the speakers.

    The other method is for the player to simply stream the compressed digital audio, still fully encoded (DTS-HD, DTS-MA, Dolby True-HD), from the disc to the receiver. The receiver must then recognize the encoded audio bitstream, fully decode it, before it can send it to the speakers. If it cannot, the receiver may decode a lower quality core bitstream which is embedded within the high quality bitstream. The display on the the receiver will tell you which bitstream format it is actually decoding and sending to the speakers.

    Both methods can deliver the exact same high quality audio. BUT, it depends on the device doing the decoding (player or receiver) being capable of handling the higher fidelity audio. If it does not, then the player or receiver decodes a lower quality alternative, which is always available, and sends that to your speakers.

    Almost all HDMI receivers on the market can handle 7.1 channel PCM audio, which is all you need if the Blu-Ray player is handling the decoding. Many HDMI receivers can handle some of the High-Definition bitstream audio codec formats over HDMI, but only some can handle all the formats.

    Simply hearing sound from your front and surround speakers does NOT mean you are hearing the full quality audio.

    For Blu-Ray players, my current picks would be;

    If the receiver is HDMI high-definition audio capable, then the Panasonic DMP-BD35, or Sony S350. Both of these Blu-Ray players can decode all the high end audio formats, and send them via PCM to the receiver, OR send the raw bitstream from the disc to the receiver, if the receiver can handle the decoding.

    If you want, or need, the option of using the analog inputs on your receiver to listen to the high quality Blu-Ray audio, then the Panasonic DMP-BD55, or Sony S550 players are a good choice. These models also do all the HDMI audio bitstreams and PCM decodes, like the BD35 and S350 models, so you would have complete flexibility regarding receiver audio choices - via HDMI or analog.

    Do you have multi-channel surround sound now?
    How many channels can your receiver handle?
    Do you want more than 5.1 surround?
    How many channels of analog (RCA) audio input does the receiver have?

    Keep in mind that there are almost no 7.1 soundtracks on Blu-Ray, most are 6.1 (one rear channel of audio) or 5.1 (side surround L+R only, no separate rear channel audio). Most 7.1 receivers can take the 5.1 or 6.1 input, and synthesize a decent sounding 7.1 surround output.
    Last edited by K447; 12-26-2008 at 10:41 AM.

  5. #5
    The ski's have taken a "backseat" to the Corvette DarthAWM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTrin View Post
    I currently have 2 hdmi sources (bluray and catv) that go directly to my tv and 2 dolby digital rca sources that I plug into a manual switch box with 1 rca dolby digal input on a reciever that does dolby and dts decoding.

    with the addition of an xbox 360 elite i'll have 3 sources and think i'll need a new receiver that has more than 2 hdmi inputs. My question is, i need a new receiver, maybe 7.1 surround, what should I get, how do i deal with all these hdmi sources and still get dolby or dts audio? i don't want to spend a ton of money....

    help?
    If you don't want to upgrade receivers you can get an automatic 2 to 3 way HDMI switch I've seen them at Best Buy for reasonable prices in the gaming section

  6. #6
    YoYamma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by duramaxxed View Post
    From what my Friends say, that are more into Home Theater than I am, Yamaha is the way to go if you are on a Budget.

    I use all Sony Components...Receiver, DVD, CD.
    You know it's funny, my old SONY finally gave out a few months ago, and I went down and got a new YAMAHA digital receiver (I used to have YAMAHA many years ago in college and loved it). WOW, was I surprised, the YAMAHA had the same amount of power but didn't sound nearly as good to me as the SONY on movies and it was downright confusing to use. I kept it for a couple weeks, tweaking the output levels, etc. but after all that I can honestly say, SONY makes a kick-azz home theater receiver, I took the Yamaha back and got another SONY.

  7. #7
    Click avatar for tech links/info, donation request K447's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YoYamma View Post
    ...got a new YAMAHA digital receiver ...didn't sound nearly as good to me as the SONY on movies and it was downright confusing to use.

    I kept it for a couple weeks, tweaking the output levels, etc. but after all that I can honestly say, SONY makes a kick-azz home theater receiver, I took the Yamaha back and got another SONY.
    What model Yamaha did you try, and which Sony receiver did you end up with?

    Did the Yamaha have an automatic room setup, using a microphone on a stand and some automatic test tones to calibrate the receiver to your room acoustics?

    What Blu-Ray player model are you using?

  8. #8
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
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    http://www.amazon.com/HM-501-5-PORT-.../dp/B000FHQMFK

    Also check Fry's Electronics and Best Buy.

  9. #9
    YoYamma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    What model Yamaha did you try, and which Sony receiver did you end up with?
    Sony is a STR-DG510, sorry don't remember what the Yamaha model was, but they both came from Best Buy.

    Quote Originally Posted by K447 View Post
    Did the Yamaha have an automatic room setup, using a microphone on a stand and some automatic test tones to calibrate the receiver to your room acoustics?
    You've gotta be kidding... if it needs that much calibrating to sound like the sony, they can keep it.

    What Blu-Ray player model are you using?
    Don't have one yet, just a Sony DVD.
    My next purchase will be a new Sub, we recently had a power surge which I think damaged my old Velodyne, it was $600 when I bought it about 8 years ago.

  10. #10

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    Here is a switcher fro the hdmi and will support 120hz so its not outdated:

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2

    Now run one hdmi to the tv from the switcher and as far as surround sound IMO just use optical from whatever your playing from for sound, its the easiest and you can tell no different.

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