Connecting HDMI/Audio Optical - Advice please.


Established Member
I have just purchased a Panasonic 50" plasma with two HDMI inputs and an optical audio output. I would like to add surround sound and my Sony Home Cinema system (HCD-S800 = about £600 worth) has died on me. I also want to add a Humax HD Freesat box, Panasonic upscaling DVD and a PS3 into the system (so three HDMI sources).

Can I get an HDMI switch to toggle between the PS3 and DVD? Then I have two HDMI cables going into the back of the plasma.

If that is sensible can I just take the optical out from the TV and plug it into say a Logitech Z5500 or will the sound degrade along the way?

Is there a better option possibly buying an AV reciever to switch the HDMI inputs and use the speakers that came with the Sony?

Either way my budget is only about £250 for the audio stuff and HDMI switching. Thanks in advance for any advice.


Distinguished Member
Firstly after several updates, the PS3 is a not bad upscaler so you could relegate the Panny player to another room unless of course you need it for multi-region DVD.

I wouldn't use Logitech PC systems in a living room setup, particularly with a 50" plasma!!

You could get a HMDI switch e.g. Oppo HM31 for around £65 and a separate sound system. This has 3 in/1 out and is fully automatic and comes with IR control. However, as you have no sound system at present you might as well incorporate HDMI switching.

What is the impedence rating of your old speakers in ohms? I doubt the sub could be recycled though in your new setup. If they can be re-used, I would look at an AV receiver that accept LPCM over HDMI e.g. Sony 910, Yamaha 761 which you should be able to get around your budget. These would enable you to get HD audio from the PS3. However, both are outgoing models so stocks are low. There are new Sony amps out soon with HD audio decoding on board (820 & 920 models). If you do re-use the speakers, go easy on them and consider an upgrade sooner rather than later. They will seriously hamper your sound quality as they're usually only designed to be used with the system they shipped with.

Other systems around your budget to look out for with HDMI switching would be the Sony 890 and HT-SF1100 models. The newer 1300 model accepts LPCM over HDMI from the PS3 for HD audio but is over your budget. I wouldn't bother with all-in-ones from Panasonic, Samsung, LG etc. as in my experience they don't sound very good.


Established Member
DavePuma - Thanks for the advice.

I didn't realise that the PS3 could do upscaled DVD perhaps I should read the specs more! That being the case it appears to solve my HDMI switching problem and I can use the DVD player elsewhere as you suggest.

So that leaves me trying to find an audio solution for around £250. Your suggestion of the Sony 910 reciever is not going to fit my budget. I think the existing speakers are 3ohm so probably not suitable.

I could afford something like the Sony HT-DDW890 but this does not support LPCM. Why is this important? Any further advice is really appreciated.


Established Member
Just seen that Sony now have a HT-DDWG800 system which does support LPCM and does appear to be close to the budget. Do you think this is better than the Z5500?


Distinguished Member
I think the existing speakers are 3ohm so probably not suitable.

No, I wouldn't use them unless you want to cook a fry up on your amp and blow the speakers and shut down the amp (if you're lucky).

I could afford something like the Sony HT-DDW890 but this does not support LPCM. Why is this important?

After update 2.30, the PS3 can now decode all lossless HD audio formats inc. It sends this multi-channel audio signal out as Linear Pulse Code Modulation via HDMI which requires a suitable amp to process this lossless signal. If you want these new HD audio formats from the PS3, you need an AV Receiver that can handle LPCM over HDMI. You will see some AV Receivers have DTS-HD MA, Dolby TrueHD decoders onboard. While these are obviously more futureproof they aren't technically necessary, particularly if you're using the PS3 as all the decoding is done elsewhere (PS3).

Whether the HD audio formats make a difference on cheaper budget receivers is questionable. Some far older kit will sound better than new stuff with all the new bells and whistles simply as better components are employed. Compromises have to be made but a separate amp and speakers will always sound better than an all-in-one solution. At least if something breaks, you can change the part that breaks and not bin the whole lot. Also the speaker connections and so on used on separates are standard rather than some of the strange connectors used on all-in-ones so if the speaker cables are too short, you're kind of stuck.

As you're looking for an amp and speakers for around £250, your choices are pretty limited but I would imagine that any of the Sony systems will be a good choice as a starter system. Sorry, I'm not a fan of the Logitechs, great for PC use in a bedroom but I wouldn't use one on a main listening system. The Sony HT-SF1300 can be bought for around £280 (after a search on here but couldn't find it for that price online)


Established Member
I guess I am a bit anti SOny all in one's since the last sytem stopped working while still current. I will go and research audio options.

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