Newbie PS3, HDTV, Amp Connection Clarification

rogerxp

Standard Member
My surround sound kit has been in its box for the last 3 years due to moving house and the new lounge not being the best shape for my kit but am about to haul it all out having ordered a new HD TV. Now, I’m completely out of date with everything so please excuse my ignorance. I’ve searched various forums but thought I’d check my thought process so far is right.


I’ve got a Sony VA333ES amp and matching NS999ES DVD/SACD player which I bought 6 years ago. I’ve got a PS3 which I’m going to use for Bluray (to dip my toe in as it were) and awaiting delivery of a Sony 37W5500 full HDTV. I’ve got a set of KEF 2005 eggs (enough for 6.1 but will only use 5.1 now). Also I’ve ordered Sky+ HD to be delivered.


My DVD/SACD player is now virtually defunct now but will hold onto it if it fits within the new TV stand but think the PS3 (and likely upgrade to a dedicated Bluray player) will basically take its place. Am I right in guessing my existing DVD player when playing standard DVDs, if the TV does the upscaling, will provide a better picture than the PS3; I suppose only testing it will confirm this.


Neither my Amp or DVD player have HDMI but both have S Video & Optical (I presume S Video is useless now).


Now for my questions... ...am I right in the following connection assumptions -:


PS3 to TV – HDMI
PS3 to Amp – Optical
This obviously sends the image & 'standard' sound to the TV and '5.1' sound to the amp (I presume if the amp is not on the TV still receives a sound signal?). Might have to play with the settings.


TV to Amp – Optical


Sky to TV – HDMI
Sky to Amp - Optical


The only item in the set-up which isn’t ‘modern’ is the Amp but does this make any difference as it's only dealing with sound; are there such things as ‘HD Amps’ that improve on sound or, as long as it’s connected correctly, my Amp will cope with what’s thrown at it??? I presume 5.1 is 5.1 no matter whether it’s coming from standard DVD or Bluray???


Sorry to be so basic but as I say I’ve kind of lost my way a bit (and all the connectors have changed!!!).


Roger
 

dwhite

Well-known Member
Your connections are correct. however for PS3 you will have to change the settings between HDMI audio out and Optical audio out, depending if you want to listen on the Tv or the amp, as unlike skyHD, both are not active at the same time.

You can get amps with HDMI inputs that allow you access to the HD audio (upto 7.1 uncompressed) audio available from bluray. This will be better than the plain Dolby Digital/DTS you currently can get with your amp.
 
Hi Roger,

Those choices of connection all look fine.

Yes indeed, 5.1 is still Dolby 5.1 however to get the maximum from Blu-ray's you will need to consider a new amp/Receiver that can process the new HD sound formats.

Its not essential and frankly I have not trodden that path yet.

Edit: Sorry I was too slooow.
 

StevieBuck

Well-known Member
Your amp will be fine, and the connections you've described are pretty much spot on.

When you connect the PS3, make sure you go into the menu and set the optical connection as your audio output. When you do this, it will also ask you to set the audio formats your amp can handle. I use HDMI for audio, so I can't remember what all the options are for optical - but make sure Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 are selected and you should be OK. I need to have my amp on all the time, as the HDMI from the PS3 is fed through it - so I'm not sure if you can get audio from both the HDMI and optical at the same time. You definetly won't get surround sound from them both, but there's a chance you'll get standard stereo from the HDMI even when the optical is set to on.

Blu-rays are often encoded with HD audio (using the new dts-HD Master Audio or Dolby Digital TrueHD codecs) which can be up to 7.1 channels, although most are just 5.1. In order to playback these HD audio tracks in full, you need an amp that handles audio over HDMI. In your case, you will only hear the 'core' (like basic 5.1 DD or dts sound) portion of the HD audio track when using the optical connection.

However, there is another way to get HD audio - and that is use a Blu-ray player which can decode these formats on-board and output the sound over analogue outputs. Going by what I just read online (image of rear panel in the link below), it seems like your amp happens to have a nice set of 7.1 analogue outputs which will do the trick. Hence, when/if you do decide to add a standalone player make sure you buy one that has analogue outputs and you'll get HD audio with your existing amp. The Sony BDP-S550 and Panasonic DMP-BD80 are two current BD players which have these connections.

DISCONTINUED SONY STRVA333ES HOME CINEMA RECEIVER - available from Superfi UK Visit http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/page/moreinfo.cfm/product_id/1208 for details
 
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rogerxp

Standard Member
Thank you all for the prompt and informative responses. Certainly helped to stop my head from spinning!!!

Well the TV stand arrived today, 2x HDMI cables also due today, Sky HD just booked in for 27th June, just need the TV to arrive now (pencilled in on 23rd), and we're off and running. Now need to start the Bluray collection; two ordered last night. Can't wait :D

Yes, my Amp does have 7.1, used to use 6.1 but will only use 5.1 from now on. Thanks for the tip regarding the Bluray players with analog output; I've got all the cables for this from my original DVD player. I'd already read about the BD60 getting good reviews but spotted the BD80 last night which was being prasied too. My thoughts were to sell the PS3 & games, etc, and get the BD80 - I never use the PS3 for games anyway (even though I hate selling stuff like that!!).

One question though, obviously my Amp is able to play up to 7.1, but would there be an improvement on sound quality when comparing my non-HDMI 'old-style' Amp to a more modern HDMI 'new-style' Amp??? I know my Amp is now 6 years old but was top-of-the-range at the time and making a comparison with a new Amp is possibly unfair. I suppose the question is; is 5.1 through something like DD-TrueHD better in quality than old skool 5.1 (like what I have)??
 
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StevieBuck

Well-known Member
If you buy a BD player with analogue outputs, then it will be Dolby TrueHD you're getting - so it would be just as good as getting an HDMI amp and connecting it that way. I think you'd struggle to tell the difference to be honest, especially since it was a top of the line amp.

PS - You get a HDMI cable with the Sky HD box, so you don't need to buy your own!
 

rogerxp

Standard Member
So my Amp has always been capable of better output but it's been the source (DVD) which has been the limitation. With Bluray the extra information will be processed and hey-presto I'm in with the hi-tech kids :smashin:

Think I'll be checking out what a berely used PS3 with all the kit will fetch on 'Fleabay'...
 

rogerxp

Standard Member
To quickly relight this thread...

I'm about to order a couple of optical cables and just thought "why am I connecting the TV to the Amp"???

If my PS3/DVD player and Sky+ HD are connected directly to the Amp (via Optical) and TV (via HDMI) what is the need to also connect the TV to the Amp (I never watch terrestrial telly).

Have I over-egged the connections here or am I missing something??
 

StevieBuck

Well-known Member
If you never watch terrestial TV, then you're right - you won't need it connected.

However, if you ever connect something else to the TV like a camcorder, Wii or whatever it may be, the audio will be passed through the TV and onto the amp with this connection. It may be handy to have in that type of situation, otherwise don't bother.
 

rogerxp

Standard Member
Perfect; thanks Steve.

I've just ordered two new optical cables (TCI Coral) and have a spare at home that I found last night. The one I found probably isn't the highest quality so I'll probably use that to connect the TV to the Amp for very occassional use (I do have a Wii which also hardly gets used).

Also realised that I left my Sub Cable behind the skirting at my old house so just ordered a QED One cable; not the best around but will do for me I reckon.

The QED Performance HDMI cables will arrive today hopefully.

I think the cables will be sufficient for me, quality-wise, at this stage. I've kind of run out of cash (wasn't quite ready to upgrade the TV but my old one is virtually dead; it's going down fighting though!!!).

Just need the damn TV to arrive now; still awaiting dispatch from Amazon; pencilled in for Tues/Wed delivery next week.

Thanks for all your help and I'll report back once it's all up and running.
 
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