Question Issue with arc HDMI and Sony STR DN 1080 and QNAP NAS t251+

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by GonkfaceGary, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    I have my receiver connected to my smart tv via the arc hdmi however I am aware the arc hdmi does not support the high def formats such as Dolby True HD. When I stream movies from my NAS the video quality is excellent (i.e. UHD 4k) but the audio content (if it's Dolby True) doesn't seem to be passed back along the arc hdmi. Does anyone know of a way to connect the NAS directly to the receiver so that the audio content can be processed by the receiver without the need for it passing along the arc hdmi?
     
  2. dante01

    dante01
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    Unless the NAS is one of the newer models with the ability to run as a HTPC with HDMI output then you'd not be able to connect it directly to an AV receiver. You need an intermediary device between the NAS and the receiver with which to play the video content with, either a dedicated media player or a streaming box with integral media player capabilities. AV receivers have no ability to play video files and even their network audio capabilities are restricted to 2 channel audio over a network.

    The intefediary devices needs to be able to play the formatted video files on your NAS and have the ability to bitstream the audio associated with those files. The device will also need HDMI output with which to convey both the video and audio to the AV receiver. The video aspect of the signal will be passed through the receiver and out to a display while the audio aspect is processed and amplified by the AV receiver.

    Your QNAP T251+ does apparently include the ability to run the device as a mini computer and does include an HDMI output. You'd not be able to convey 4K cpntent via this arrangement though given that the HDMI chipset used is HDMI version 1.4 as opposed to version 2.0 or higher. I'd still suggest using an intermediary player to access the files as opposed to using the NAS itself as a HTPC.

    the following exhibits your NAS being used as a mini PC:
    QNAP TS-251 Personal Cloud Linux NAS - HTPC in...


    As I said though, video output would be restricted to 1080p if wanting to use the box's HDMI output.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  3. Rambles

    Rambles
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    @GonkfaceGary You say that Dolby True HD audio will not playback, does that mean that some audio does playback if it is in a format that the TV supports, eg Dolby Digital?

    An option is to install Plex Media Server on your NAS, then, if there is a Plex app available on your TV, when you use that to playback media the audio will be transcoded on the fly to a format that your TV supports.

    The Best NAS for Plex

    This option would be the no cost, no additional devices option.

    The best option though, for best possible video and audio playback, is to obtain a media player device that supports HD audio and 4K video. Then connect this to your AVR, so you get HD audio into your AVR and 4K video passed through to your TV.
     
  4. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    Thanks very much for the information and your input. It is much appreciated.
    The other factor in the equation is that I use the Plex app on my smart TV to access the media files on the QNAP NAS. I like, and have gotten used to, the Plex interface so I guess if I installed a media player I would no longer use the Plex app on the tv but use the interface of the media player instead. I suppose that would be the trade off of getting 4k video content with HD audio. At the moment I can get the 4k video content but the arc hdmi is unable to pass the HD audio to the receiver. I assumed that the tv would simply compress the audio content down to whatever codec that it supports and pass this via the arc to the receiver but there is no audio at all when accessing a 4k movie with dolby True HD. Is that correct or is there perhaps some setting that I need to activate to get any sound off of the file. I have the output of the audio from the tv set to bitsteam as opposed to pcm. Would that make a difference?
     
  5. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    I get no sound at all when playing it via the Plex app on my TV.
     
  6. dante01

    dante01
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    Some streaming boxes can run the Plex client if this is something important to you. I tend to avoid PLex though, especially as a server because it is CPU and memory hungry.
     
  7. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Are we talking about one file or all files?
    Do you have Plex Media Server installed on the NAS?
    What app are you using where you get some sound?
    Have you used MediaInfo on the files to see which audio codec(s) do and do not play with the different TV apps that you have used.
    Is the behaviour any different if you use an optical audio connection from the TV to the AVR, or even analogue?

    It might be a case of troubleshooting to see if it is a settings / config issue, or if your TV simply will not play any audio from file types where it is an unsupported audio codec. I would have thought that it would be able to passthrough some audio if a Dolby True HD signal was input into it via, say a Blu Ray Player, connected straight to one of the TV HDMI ports.

    What TV is it?

    EDIT: I completely missed your post above. Definitely try outputting to PCM, that way the TV should do the decoding, and it may be all you need to do!
     
  8. dante01

    dante01
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    TVs cannot passthrough TrueHD and have no ability to downmix TrueHD audio. The only TVs able to passthrough such audio would be those that include eARC. Even these TVs are of little use until eARC is deliverd as an ability to the most recent AV receivers that some manufacturers have indicated will be getting an eARC update. The only exclusion to this would be some high end Sony TVs that did include the ability to convert/transcode TrueHD to Dolby Digital. I'm not sure as to the exact models with this ability though?

    If the only audio available to the player is a format which that device doesn't include a codec for then that device cannot convert or mix it down. It is unlikelym but not unfeasible that the video conrainers associated with these files doesn't include more than one audio file? Even if the containers do include other audio options, the media players on TV seldom include the ability to select alternative audio to that which is marked as being the default.

    If running PLex on the NAS then this should include options to downmix certain audio options to ones that may be more amenable to the capabilities of the payback device? The QNAP NAS in question also includes such transcoding abilities of its own without any need to run PLex server on it.

    If wanting to get the best performance and access to HD audio formats then I'd suggest you look at using a more dedicated intermediary playback device that includes the abilty to access files off your NAS, play 4K content preferably held within the type of container being used and the ability to stream HD formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS:X via HDMI.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  9. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    Once again, many thanks for your response. I am very grateful. Please see my additional queries in red.
     
  10. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    Brilliant, thank you. I will try altering the output.
     
  11. dante01

    dante01
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    I'm unfortunately not up to date on streaming boxes and what would be the best option for you. I use my NAS to store 1080p Blu-ray rips and not 4K content so my dedicated player hasn't the ability to play 4K video or the associated H265 video codec associated with such content.

    If I were to direct you anywhere then it would be in the direction of one of the streaming boxes as opposed to a more dedicated media player. These boxes seeem to be caparately cheap when compared to the more dedicated solution of yesteryear.

    You'd preferably want a box that can access the type of video container you commonly use (MKV for example) over a network using DLNA. This device should also include the ability to play 4K video content at its native frame rate and the ability to bitsream both TrueHD and DTS-HD MA audio via HDMI. I'd post here in relation to this:

    Video Streaming Boxes & Services


    Containers are basically what look like the video files on your NAS. They are in fact containers that include both audio and video files within them. THe most commonly used container is MKV these days.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  12. Rambles

    Rambles
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    @GonkfaceGary I just went and checked this on my set-up.

    I have a pretty ordinary Sony HD TV (not 4K) with an Opera operating system. Using the Plex app, and playing back a Dolby True HD file, Plex transcodes the audio from TRUEHD to AAC and the TV sends it to my AVR via HDMI ARC as Dolby Digital 5.1.

    If I use the DLNA playback option, it is being sent to the AVR as Dolby Digital 6.1, so as no other device is in the chain at that point, it is the TV that is transcoding the TrueHD file to Dolby Digital.

    So, if you are not bothered about HD audio, there should be a way of getting it to work without using an external media player. Having said that, I still think that a separate media player is the way to go, for a better interface and best possible audio and video quality. Watching video as video and / or audio is transcoded can be a bit choppy, especially if wanting to file seek.
     
  13. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Mine does some downmixing / transcoding, and it is an oldish Sony HD (non 4K) TV. You may also not be aware of Freeview being transmitted in a HE-AAC audio format, which most, maybe all TV's, send through to an AVR as Dolby Digital or multi channel PCM.
     
  14. dante01

    dante01
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    I'm aware that Freeview uses HE-ACC, but it is part of the Freeview spec that Freeview devices be able to convert this to Dolby Digital and or 2 channel PCM data. What has Freeview or HE-ACC got to do with Dolby TrueHD?

    You cannot downmix TrueHD without the inclusion of a TrueHD codec. TVs do not include HD audio format codecs and this is why the TV cannot ordinarilly convert or handle such formats. You would however still get SD DTS in association with DTS-HD Master Audio because of DTS's core audio encoding. DTS-HD Master Audio includes a DTS core which a playback device will still see and play if it has the ability to do so, but not the ability to play or handle DTS-HD MA. Dolby TrueHD hasn't this feature and doesn't include a Dolby Digital core.

    Also note that it is also impossible to output multi channel PCM from any TV without using eARC. Neither ARC nor S/PDIF can convey more than 2 channels of PCM data. You cannot output multichannel PCM via either conventional ARC or S/PDIF.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  15. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    And is your output set to PCM instead of Bitstream? I will definitely try that tonight. If that doesn't work I will look into a media player. Many thanks for your help.
     
  16. Rambles

    Rambles
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    The only options I have are Auto or PCM. I have it on auto, bit when I switched it, it made no difference.
     
  17. dante01

    dante01
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    You'll get 2 channel stereo PCM. ARC and S/PDIF optical haven't the ability to convey more than 2 channels of PCM data. You'd need either eARC or a direct HDMI connection from a source to be able to convey multichannel PCM.
     
  18. dante01

    dante01
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    AUTO equates to BITSTREAM on Sony devices.
     
  19. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    I'm not disagreeing with you but when I access a file which is purportedly with Dolby Digital, the receiver initially indicates that it is receiving a Dolby Digital signal which I don' think would be the case if the arc was only conveying a simple 2 channel stereo signal. In any event I am grateful to you for all your input.
     
  20. dante01

    dante01
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    You can convey SD formats such as multichannel Dolby Digital and DTS via ARC and S/PDIF, but these are compressed SD formats. You are limited to only 2 channels of PCM data because this is a decompressed data format and neither ARC nor S/PDIF iinclude the bandwith to convey more than 2 channels of PCM data. You can also rechnically convey Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) via ARC and this is a slighly better format than bog basic DD with a higher bandwidth and up to 8 channels of audio. Not all TVs facilitate this though. AS said, you cannot convey multichannel PCM via standard ARC or S/PDIF optical. The standards that govern their use do not allow or facilitate it.

    As far as SD 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS go, you can quite happily output these formats via either conventional ARC or S/PDIF optical. What you cannot convey is HD formats such as Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio or multichannel (more than 2 channel) PCM. The PCM setting option on all TVs downmixes all audio being output to 2 channel stereo.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  21. Rambles

    Rambles
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    @GonkfaceGary I have done some other checks.

    With my TV selected to output PCM, everything is downmixed to stereo.

    With TV set to Auto (bitstream) the TV mostly converts everything to 5.1 or 6.1 dolby digital, but with some files, it downmixes the audio to stereo. For Dolby TrueHD, the TV converts it to 5.1 dolby digital and sends it as such via HDMI ARC. But for the DTS HD MA file I tried, it downmixed it to stereo.

    Obviously, all TV's will be different in this regard, so I am not sure what your TV will do. It seems that when set to bitstream, your TV only bitstreams the audio that it it supports, and just gives you silence for the audio that it doesn't support. If set to PCM, it may convert it to stereo PCM, so at least you will have some sound.

    I don't know why Plex Media Server is not transcoding the audio for you to that which your TV does support, maybe that is a setting in Plex?

    If a standalone media player is within your budget, that would give you the best outcome in terms of video and audio quality, and probably usability.

    If not, your TV may convert the audio to stereo, when you set it to output stereo PCM.

    You may be able to use Plex, or the software built into your NAS to transcode the audio on the fly to a format that your TV will support.

    Or, you could re-encode the files yourself to an audio format that you know your TV will play, eg Dolby Digital 5.1.

    Ineresting chat, good luck!
     
  22. GonkfaceGary

    GonkfaceGary
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    Thanks for that. All options that I will investigate tonight. One final point...how do you go about re-encoding files to a different audio format?
     
  23. Rambles

    Rambles
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    There are various video converter tools available online, plenty of free options, that you input the video file, then select the re-encode / convert options and it will output a new video file with the converted audio (and optionally video).

    Handbrake is one of the most popular ones that springs to mind:

    HandBrake: Open Source Video Transcoder
     
  24. dante01

    dante01
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    https://support.plex.tv/articles/212072167-audio-configuration-guide-plex-media-player/

    QNAP Hardware transcoding fro PLEX


    Note that the limited CPU power associated with your NAS may limit its ability to transcode on the fly without issues arising. I'd not want yo rely on the NAS when it comes to transcoding.

    Don't convert your files to include lesser audio and invest in a player than can play them as they stand now. Handbrake is a conversion tool that results in the files it creates being permantly formated with the lesser audio you specified. You'd not then have access to the higher definition HD TrueHD audio your files are encoded with. There are other options such as creating a Dolby Digital downmix of the TrueHD audio including this within an MKV that also includes the TrueHD audio and the 4K video, but making the Dolby Digital audio the default audio rather than the TrueHD audio. You'd then still have both the SD and the HD audio within the container. The TV would use the default DD audio while you'd still be able to select the HD audio if you later get a player able to handle it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  25. Rambles

    Rambles
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    No, but obviously you could have 2 copies of the same file. One with the HD audio soundtrack, and one with the SD. Or, if one is clever, merge them so one video file with two audio soundtrack options.
     
  26. dante01

    dante01
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    You don't need to do that and it would be quite demanding upon the hard drive to have to store 2 4K video containers. This is especially poigniant given that his NAS is only a 2 drive unit. All he needs to do is create another duplicate with Dolby Digital as opposed to TrueHD audio then copy the DD audio and create a unified MKV that includes both the HD and the DD audio. I'd suggest he makes the DD audio the default in order that his TV chooses it as opposed to the TrueHD audio when playing the file. Use MKVToolnix to edit and unify the contents of the MKV containers.
     
  27. dante01

    dante01
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    Also. is the OP ripping these files? If so then may I suggest that you from now on include the SD audio formats along with the HD options when you rip the files? I'd then suggest you use MKVToolnix to make the SD audio the default without having any need to crete an SD audio variant via converting the HD version.
     
  28. Rambles

    Rambles
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    Well that is very much a personal choice of the OP. If the original disc is to hand, and the rip is purely to watch once on the devices available as of today, then just rip with MakeMKV and choose the SD audio track. But if the video file has been acquired and the original disc is not to hand, then the OP may want to keep the best quality version somewhere to watch again in the future when new devices are available to get the full benefit of the HD audio soundtrack.

    However, if this is something that we can have a totally pointless argument about, then for goodness sake don't let that opportunity pass, aye? :rolleyes:
     
  29. dante01

    dante01
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    Even if he's only the ripped container available to him, he can still create another using a conversion tool and then extract the SD audio file from it and merge it into the original file. You don't need to perform a new rip of the disc.

    I'd still suggest he spend some money and just buy a more capable player.
     
  30. Rambles

    Rambles
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    I didn't say he needed to do a new rip of the disc. And I have already said several times on this thread that a stand alone player would give the best audio and video quality and likely the best usability also. However, the OP is asking for advice and guidance, hence my response of several available options. Whereas you seem to prefer a list of dante01 rules that has to be abided to, by the letter, at any time one may wish to watch any audio or video files on their own equipment, in their own home.

    I think I prefered it when you were ignoring me :censored:
     

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