Question I want a 5.1 surround system, but I have some concerns...


Established Member
Hey everyone.

I have four devices - PS3, PS4, Wii U and a HTPC (Acer Revo 3610) - connected via HDMI to my TV (Philips 42PFL7603D), and I want to add a 5.1 surround system. I understand that surround systems are installed by connecting my device HDMI outputs to the surround system HDMI inputs (instead of the TV), then the surround HDMI output is connected to the TV HMDI input. I have some concerns about this configuration.

1. Will the surround sound system introduce any noticeable input lag to my gaming? I play lots of fast action games and music rhythm games.

2. Will HDMI-CEC work with the surround system? For example, when I switch on my PS4, will the TV automatically switch on and select the correct input like it does now? Can I still use my TV remote to browse shows and movies on my HTPC?

3. How will I use different TV settings for different devices? My PS3, PS4 and Wii U need to be in "GAME" mode to minimise input lag, but the HTPC should have picture enhancement features enabled. How does this work when everything is routed to a single TV input?

Can anyone recommend any systems that are suitable for my requirements? Ideally, I would like to have wireless rear speakers. The front speakers will be stood at the same height as my TV, while the rear speakers will be stood on the floor (maybe I'll need stands for the rear speakers). I don't need something super-fancy; I just want something that will be a nice step up from using my TV's built-in speakers.



Distinguished Member
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If you have lag now then you will always have lag as you have to look at an AV system as a visual HDMI extender.

So long as you set the Video output to pass through, by pass or what every your amplifier allows you should be OK.

Sound wise, what ever you are connecting I would always switch the CEC option off as this can create more problems than it's worth. Imagine one of your devices goes to sleep mid flight of you just achieving your highest score on the other console, bang everything goes to sleep and your left with a blank screen.

Sound wise, always remember if its broadcasted in 5.1, 2.1 or stereo then the amp will output what you tell it to. i.e. when using HDMI it will output the pure audio output unless you alter it manually. Also, note that when it says wireless it has to be powered by the mains and choosing the right speaker cable will be easier to hide than a big black mains cable.

As for what you are looking for, try to get the best you can for your money. Try to keep it separates as it will be easier for your to upgrade in the future and if something does go wrong with one item it not another big purchase and tones of work to replace it.

Regards, Shane.


Established Member
Thanks Shane for the quick reply.

So if I understand correctly, as long as I set the video output of the surround system to "Pass Through" mode, then I won't have any issues with input lag? This may be a stupid question, but what other video output modes do surround systems typically offer? I just assumed such systems use HDMI to extract the audio while leaving the video part completely untouched (I don't see what business a sound system would have in messing with video or other parts of the HDMI signal). Am I misunderstanding something about the way that surround systems work?

I don't really understand your comment about HDMI-CEC. I have HDMI-CEC enabled across the board and I've never even once encountered a problem like you describe. Why should it be any different if I add a surround system to the mix? I really do not want to lose the HDMI-CEC functionality, especially the use of my TV remote with the HTPC (I bought the Pulse-Eight CEC adapter specifically just to get CEC functionality on my HTPC).

I understand that rear wireless speakers still require power, but this is less of an issue because I have outlets at the back of my living room and the cables can run behind the couch. My main intention is to avoid running cables between the front and back of the room, since then they would need to go across the ceiling to avoid doorways.

This is the kind of system I had in mind (probably not this specific one since the front speakers are probably too tall for my cabinet and it doesn't have enough HDMI inputs, but something similar): LG BH9540TW

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