Optical cable - use or don't use?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by glenc, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. glenc

    glenc
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    Bit of a newbie question here, for which I'm a little embarrassed, but....

    I've got an onkyo 5405 which plugs into a samsung sky hd box and a philips blu ray player.

    Currently I've got it all connected via hdmi leads.

    Should I also be using the optical connectors as well as the HDMI leads ? Or does the HDMI lead option give me the best output?

    Bit confused what the optical connectors are for to be honest...

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. dante01

    dante01
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    The audio from your Blu-ray player will be fine, in fact you are better off using HDMI for audio from a BD player because optical cannot convey the HD audio formats found on Blu-ray titles.

    You should use optical from your SKY box for audio because SKY boxes cannot output Dolby Digital via HDMI. THis is something peculiar to SKY boxes, but they only output stereo audio via their HDMI output.
     
  3. jason1wood

    jason1wood
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    With regards to Sky HD, the uses HDMI for picture and stereo sound but if you require surround sound 5.1 etc you'll need to use the optical from sky to your receiver. I know it's a backward step but Sky only push surround through optical. There's loads of threads on that specific problem on here.
     
  4. jason1wood

    jason1wood
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    Beaten to it.....:)
     
  5. Andy98765

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    I have heard that some of the new SKYHD boxes now have 5.1 via HDMI. Which one I do not know.

    On the sky forums

    To hear Dolby Digital sound your SkyHD box must be set to output Dolby Digital sound. You can change this setting quickly and easily with your Sky remote.

    1.Press services on your Sky remote control and you will see the main menu with Options highlighted.
    2.Using the left/right arrows, highlight Settings and press select.
    3.Using the left/right arrows, highlight Sound and press select.
    4.If you're using an Optical (TOSLINK) cable, press the down arrow to highlight Digital Audio Output - Optical. Output should be set to DOLBY D.
    5.If you're using HDMI, press the down arrow to highlight Digital Audio Output – HDMI. Output should be set to DOLBY D.
    6.Press the green button to save your settings.
    7.Press sky to return to normal viewing.
     
  6. dante01

    dante01
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    Only the DRX595 basic box has the ability to output Dolby Digital via HDMI. This box lacks SKY+ or recoding and is more geared toward being a multiroom box.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
  7. glenc

    glenc
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    Thanks for your feedback guys - I've plugged the sky hd box into the optical cable and connected it up to the onkyo amp - just need to make the changes listed above to the interface - will do that tonight

    What else should I use an optical lead for?

    Just bought an Apple TV - should I connect that optical lead up to the Onkyo too? Or is it best leaving it to HDMI?
     
  8. dante01

    dante01
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    It is basically just SKY boxes that need to use the optical connection in order to access Dolby Digital encoded audio and other HDMI equipped devices generally don't have the same issue as that associated with SKY. Your Apple TV will output Dolby Digital via HDMI and there's no advantage gained by also utilising its optical audio output if using its HDMI output.
     
  9. glenc

    glenc
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    Ok great - thanks for that. Random question; but why did Apple put in an optical output if that's the case? You have to connect via HDMI, so why did they go to the expense of also included optical if it's kind of redundant?
     
  10. dante01

    dante01
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    You can connect to a TV via HDMI, but that TV isn't forced to have any ability to handly Dolby Digital. Older AV amps lacking HDMI inputs have optical audio inputs so you could connect the HDMI to a TV for Video and the optical connection to an older AV amp for the audio.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  11. davepuma

    davepuma
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    Some people are still using older kit that doesn't have HDMI inputs. Most all-in-one home cinema systems don't have them either and are usually limited to optical (if you're lucky).
     
  12. glenc

    glenc
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    OK - thanks - so with optical you can also transmit picture as well as audio? Interesting, I thought it was just audio for some reason.
     
  13. PSM1

    PSM1
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    Optical only transmits audio and not visual. So if using optical you still need a video lead (like HDMI or component or composite).
     
  14. glenc

    glenc
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    That's what I thought. So why would Apple include an optical output as the only way to connect video from the Apple TV is via HDMI (there are physically no other connection options) - so if HDMI will always carry sound better than optical, isnt optical redundant?

    Doesnt make sense....
     
  15. davepuma

    davepuma
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    Not every AV receiver has HDMI inputs. I think we have said this before.....
     
  16. glenc

    glenc
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    OK. but if Optical only transmits audio and the Apple TV only has optical and HDMI (which it does) - how would you get video transmitted if you dont have HDMI?

    Ie if you dont have HDMI you can't use the Apple TV for video as the only other port is optical.

    Thus you HAVE to have HDMI to use Apple TV.

    Thus why have optical too?

    (Or am I talking gibberish!?)
     
  17. davepuma

    davepuma
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    You connect HDMI to the TV and optical to the audio device if it doesn't support HDMI audio.

    Yes, you are talking gibberish. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  18. clockworks

    clockworks
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    Just to clarify what you've been told, you don't HAVE to connect the ATV's video output to your amp, you can connect it straight to your TV. If you do this, the only way to get the digital audio signal into your amp is with the optical connection.

    My last amp didn't have enough HDMI sockets for all my sources, so I connected them straight to the TV. I used the optical connection to get the audio signal into the amp.
     
  19. wysinawyg

    wysinawyg
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    Although it isn't why Apple put it on there, the other benefit of the optical port is that with a cheap s/pdif to phono converter you can take analogue and digital out of the AppleTV at the same time.

    That means you have an analogue source for amps which support a Zone 2 so you can have the ATV playing music over Zone 2 while you're watching something (other than ATV) in Zone 1.
     
  20. dwhite

    dwhite
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    It does make sense , as already explained, for people who have a new tv but older av receiver with no hdmi inputs or other audio system with no hdmi. They connect to the tv via hdmi for video and via optical to their amp for audio.
     
  21. Minkey1

    Minkey1
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    Hello all.

    First post, so apologies if I'm further muddying the waters....

    All my kit is brand new, and comes with a full stable of connectors. Freeview HD broadcasts show on the TV as "HE-AAC 5.1" so if that's correctly indicating some form of HD audio in 5.1, that's another source, yes ?

    If that's the case I could feed it back to the amp.

    ARC endowed TV's would simply use the amp/TV HDMI connection to achieve this, but unfortunately the UE46D5520 isn't so equipped.

    Enter the optical connection which I'd be using to feed the broadcast audio back to the amp to give me an extra surround source on suitable material.

    Or am I misunderstanding ?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 12, 2012
  22. davepuma

    davepuma
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    Yes, just use the optical cable.
     

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