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PCM Bitstream question


Novice Member
I searched, there's a ton of information on this topic I apologize in advance if this has already been posted.

I have a Yamaha rx-a1060 receiver connected to Vizio 4K TV. I have the TV audio output via optical (or HDMI ARC) set to bitstream only. I have several sources going directly into the Yamaha and have those set to bitstream as well. I prefer that the Yamaha do the decoding as that way I have more DSP options to try and see which one I like best. I also have a couple of sources going to my TV first (nVidea Shield, Nintendo switch, and PC computer). Sometimes I listen to these through my TV speakers, sometimes I want the audio sent to the Yamaha (via the optical output). If one of those sources sends a PCM signal to the TV (eg some shield apps don't give you the option of bitstream or pcm; in the shield audio settings, there is no bitstream only option), what gets sent to the Yamaha? Do I get the original full bitstream information or do I get only the PCM that got converted back to bitstream by the vizio. Example: Movies Unlimited app on shield, I play a movie that is 4K, HDR, and Atmos. Will I get an Atmos bitstream sent to my Yamaha or was a lesser PCM signal sent from the Shield and that was converted to bitstream by my Vizio?


You need to have the Yamaha acting as the HDMI hub with all audio being passed to that then onto the TV. Not knowing the TV in question with ARC you may very well just be getting 5.1 standard def sound being passed by the TV. By using the receiver as the hub then all the audio will be HD quality.

From the TV itself and it's built in apps that will depend on the configuration of the TV. However I would only want the TV's audio to be passed to the receiver via ARC. Everything else should be sent direct to the receiver.


Distinguished Member
Your TV can only convey 2 channels of PCM via S/PDIF optical. If a source is outputting multichannel PCM directly to the TV then that TV will not be able to pass the multichannel PCM signal through and out via optical.

Note that S/PDIF optical cannot convey more than 6 channels of audio, HD formats such as DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby TRueHD, Atmos or DTS:X metadata or more than just 2 channels of PCM audio data.

I'd suggest you connect sources that may output multichannel PCM directly to the AVR via HDMI as opposed to passing the audio through the TV. You could potentially still use the TVs speakers while the AVR in in standby by turning on the receiver's STANDBY THROUGH setting within its HDMI configurations. THis allows you to pass any HDMI source through the AVR while the AVR is in standby. You can even select different HDMI sources to pass through the AVR with the receiver's remote while in standby.

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