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How good is optical on Freeview?

Discussion in 'Freeview & YouView' started by crobo, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. crobo

    crobo
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    I just bought the Humax 8000 Freeview box with 80GB hard disk and I do like it. Can anyone help with 2 questions?
    1. Is it supposed to go cha-cha-cha after switching on (I am guessing that this is the HD but it pays to be sure).

    2. More important. I have the sound going to the receiver using the two standard red/white stereo outputs, but this receiver does optical out too. Does the optical option give a noticeably better sound quality than the stereo even though there is no 5.1 signal? I would be surprised if it did, but otherwise there seems to be little point including it since no Freeview stations offer 5.1 to my knowledge.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Overlord69

    Overlord69
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    On my freeview box I've tried both L & R RCA's and "Digital Coaxial". Both fed into a AV surround amp. L & R RCA's sound good, but the Digital Coaxial feed is clearer with far more defined separation between the channels. The overall range seems higher as well. :)
     
  3. jon stallard

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    I've got a Sony and now an netgem iplayer and in both cases, the sound output into my Denon 1905 via optical is stunning - providing of course the source material is up to it. You wouldn'y expect Dolby digital from only fools and horses for instance but a film of recent times certainly recreates 5:1 alright. A lot of the current drama series do to. You are still going to get excellent quality from stereo phono's though.

    Jon.
     
  4. crobo

    crobo
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    Overlord69, Jon, you've both suprised me and thanks for the info. The sound quality with Freeview is generally pretty good and if it can be improved I'm all for it. I'll try optical after all.
     
  5. 9761

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    Ive got pace twin connected only via RGB only scart and optical cable, Only using a cheap one atm but the sound is so more clearer and defined. It sounds so much more better than standard analog sound.
     
  6. Jules

    Jules
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    It depends whether the D/A converter is of higher quality in the freeview box or the amplifier.
    Bearing in mind that most freeview boxes are made to be as cheap as possible, the analogue output is most likely going to be pants. A digital output, if available, connected to a decent AV amplifier would nearly always be recommended.

    My Pioneer freeview box has an optical output, and as expected when this is connected to my Denon AV amplifier the sound is much cleaner when compared to the analogue output.
     
  7. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    As is nearly always pointed out when this type of question is asked, it all depends on where the best DACs are. If the Freeview box has the best DACs then analogue connections will give the best sound. However if you have a good quality receiver/processor then that may give the better sound.
    Also consider the length of cable between receiver & FV STB. If a long cable run is required then optical/coax may be better as this shouldn't pick up any inteference, but an analogue cable may well, especially if running close to main cables.

    jon,
    there are no 5.1 Dolby Digital transmissions via Freeview, regardless of the age of the program. All FV transmitions are either mono or stereo, depending on the origional recording. The only way to get a psudo surround is to use DPL etc and this will only work from a stereo soundtrack.
    Freeview is however capable of carrying full 5.1 etc Dolby Digital/DTS soundtracks, it is just that the extra bandwidth required for it would reduce the number of channels available.

    Mark.
     
  8. crobo

    crobo
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    I've been used to Sky before now and wasn't impressed by the sound quality with phono leads. Freeview audio seems to be of a higher quality (may be just my impression) and I wondered if this was because of Freeview or the fact that I'm using a relatively high-end set top box. If the optical works even better I will be happy indeed. Frustratingly, I do have an optical lead for the DVD player but the cables are hidden so well I don't want to risk swapping them.
     
  9. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Are you saying Freeview now transmits in DD5.1?

    I never knew this. Time to upgrade my Freeview box then.
     
  10. crobo

    crobo
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    I think this needs clarifying. I am new to Freeview but did not think it broadcasts in true 5.1, just as SKY doesn't except for some movies with SKY+ (I believe). Maybe what Jon means is that it sounds good in Prologic II or the equivalent?
     
  11. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    Yes that's right.

    I suspect Jon is thinking he's listening to 5.1 through his Prologic 2 amp but isn't really.

    I'm sure it would be mentioned if Freeview transmitted 5.1. Therefore I'm not going to pay £90 for a small improvement in stereo separation with digital cables.
     
  12. crobo

    crobo
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    After all of the chat I bit the bullet and used my optical cable to compare side by side with the phonos. This is with a Harmon Kardon 5500 amp and Mordaunt Short speakers + Kef 200 centre. I did not notice much of a difference. This may mean that the Humax does a good job with analog stereo (or my ears aren't up to subtle differences). This was using the HK Logik 7 instead of PLII though, and the Logik7 does a much better job of separating stereo signals anyway. On this evidence I may not be going for the optical route though I need to play with it some more before I'm through.

    Overall, I am sure that the Freeview channels are, on average, better sounding than the SKY ones. Has anyone else thought this?
     
  13. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Although I have never had Sky, I have heard others say that the PQ via Freeview is better than the same channel on Sky. Therefore as the improved PQ is down to more bandwidth I would assume that the sound would get a share of the additional bandwidth also. Wheather this is noticeable or not I don't know!

    Mark.
     
  14. bradavon78

    bradavon78
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    I find Freeview better quality than Sky, both on RGB Scart.

    It's not an exact science as I was using two TVs but that can't be helped.
     
  15. crobo

    crobo
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    Yes I do find that the PQ is better too, on average. Probably similar to the best Sky channels but superior on average and significantly better than the poorer ones, which are shocking. I wasn't sure whether PQ and sound quality are necessarily correlated though.
     
  16. av2diefor

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    My pq on freeview is better than sky+ also,5.1 on sky movies is excellent though.
     
  17. jon stallard

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    5:1 - prologic.... Yes, I'm probabaly having a terminology breakdown! What I should have said was that (using old fashioned terminology:)) I am sure I am surrounded by sound in an appropriate manner i.e. someone opens a door off screen to the left, I have slight coronary as I expect to see someone about to enter the room.

    Or so it seems.

    Apologies if I've misled anyone.

    Jon.
     

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