Is this the best way to connect all my kit together?

jamesaevans

Novice Member
I am currently purchasing some additional home cinema kit, and when my shopping is complete I will have the following items: SKY HD, Plasma, Amp, PS3, Wii, HTPC, DVD Recorder, VCR, Laptop, NAS and Broadband Router.

Based on my experience, reading the product manuals and from helpful posts on this forum, I have put together a diagram (see attachment) illustrating what I think is the best way to connect all of my kit together. I have excluded the 5.1 speakers for simplicity.

However, I would appreciate comments and suggestions from other forum members before I purchase the cables and install them in the wall.

Thanks
James
 

Attachments

  • Home Cinema Connections.pdf
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Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
Looks good. One presumes the Plasma has 3 x HDMI inputs?

Does your PC have a digital SPDIF out instead of using 5.1 analogue? If so consider using that. 5.1 analogue connections are somewhat bulky!

In the unlikely event of transferring between VCR and DVD recorder, you may need a Scart between those as well.

Good luck with the wiring!
 

MarkTaylor

Novice Member
There is a good reason for using the 5.1 analogue rather than SPDIF from a PC.

It may or may not apply in this case, but a lot of the sounds cards/chipsets can't encode a 5.1 signal to pass over SPDIF, they can only pass a pre-encoded stream.

So pretty much any PC equipped with an SPDIF output can output 5.1 from a DVD as the stream is already encoded on the disk however very few can take the multichannel sound from a game and push that over SPDIF, most just give stereo.

So if the only need is to play DVDs then np, SPDIF all the way, but if you want to play games and hear the multi-channel sound you'll probably want to keep the analogue outputs.
 

jamesaevans

Novice Member
Looks good. One presumes the Plasma has 3 x HDMI inputs?

Does your PC have a digital SPDIF out instead of using 5.1 analogue? If so consider using that. 5.1 analogue connections are somewhat bulky!

In the unlikely event of transferring between VCR and DVD recorder, you may need a Scart between those as well.

Good luck with the wiring!


Hi Mr Incredible, thank you for the quick reply and useful suggetsions.

Yes the plasma does have 3 HDMI inputs (Pioneer LX508d).

I was planning to use the 5.1 analogue connections as I believe that this is currently the way to get the best sound from a HTPC, that is until PC component manufacturers start producing motherboards/graphics cards that can output PCM over HDMI, but no idea when that will be if ever.

As for transfering old recordings from Video to the DVD recorder I was planning to pull the cable that goes from the Video to the Plasma out of the back of the Video, and then use pull the cable that goes from the DVD Recorder to the SKY HD box out of the back of the SKY HD box, and plug it into the back of the Video. I should probably find a way of illustrating this on the diagram for clarity, so thank you for highlighting this point.

James
 

jamesaevans

Novice Member
There is a good reason for using the 5.1 analogue rather than SPDIF from a PC.

It may or may not apply in this case, but a lot of the sounds cards/chipsets can't encode a 5.1 signal to pass over SPDIF, they can only pass a pre-encoded stream.

So pretty much any PC equipped with an SPDIF output can output 5.1 from a DVD as the stream is already encoded on the disk however very few can take the multichannel sound from a game and push that over SPDIF, most just give stereo.

So if the only need is to play DVDs then np, SPDIF all the way, but if you want to play games and hear the multi-channel sound you'll probably want to keep the analogue outputs.


Hi MarkTaylor,

I am planning to use my HTPC (future project) as a multi-region DVD, Blu-ray and HD-DVD player. As far as I am aware SPDIF does not have enough bandwith for the new HD audio formats, therefore 5.1 analogue is currently the best and only way to go.

I was thinking of a dedicated sound card along the lines of the Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1, but if the motherboard includes analogue outputs that may work just as well, as the HD sound formats are being decoded by the software e.g. PowerDVD even if they are currently being down sampled.

However, by the time I get round to building the HTPC later this year the technology may have moved on, and an alternative connection method (e.g. PCM over HDMI) may be available.
 

Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
Nice looking soundcard!

I notice in the spec for the Auzen:

Optical / Coaxial COMBO Port
The SPDIF Output port has 25mbps bandwidth and supports DTS-
HD/DolbyTrue HD. It is possible to shift between Optical and Coaxial in this port.


Are you talking about new HD formats not covered by this sort of bandwidth?

Also, I presume with a HTPC there is no need for an analogue connection between your laptop and the amp?
 

jamesaevans

Novice Member
Nice looking soundcard!

I notice in the spec for the Auzen:

Optical / Coaxial COMBO Port
The SPDIF Output port has 25mbps bandwidth and supports DTS-
HD/DolbyTrue HD. It is possible to shift between Optical and Coaxial in this port.


Are you talking about new HD formats not covered by this sort of bandwidth?

Also, I presume with a HTPC there is no need for an analogue connection between your laptop and the amp?


Good spot, I hadn't noticed that part of the sound card spec, I must invesitage further. But not sure if any amps will support this bandwidth over SPDIF.

I was thinking of the HD audio formats on HD-DVD & Blu-Ray movies, it was my understanding that standard SPDIF does not have enough bandwith. Some more details in this thread Audiophile sound card...

Thats correct, no need for an audio connection from my laptop, I might want to connect it occastionaly to the plasma, so though I might as well install the cable while I am at it.
 

Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
Reading other sources on the internet, I think the standard S/PDIF connection will handle the 1.5Mbps DTS-HD (formerly DTS Full Bitrate I think) and Dolby HD without too much hassle.

EDIT: JUst read in some other sources that the HD content can exeed 1.5Mbps, so perhaps your initial reservations are correct. Perhasp dropping a note to the Auzen support people may help. Perhaps they mean the card will downsample everything to a max 1.5Mpbs. :confused:
 

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