Soundbar Advice/Dolby Digital/DTS Query.

Discussion in 'Soundbars, Soundplates & Soundbases' started by Aidan., Feb 4, 2014.

  1. Aidan.

    Active Member

    Mar 16, 2008
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    I am looking at buying a 2.1 soundbar, but have some questions before I do so.
    My TV is Samsung's LE32B450. It has three HDMI ports and an Optical Out port.

    The manual says the following:

    "When the HDMI IN jacks are connected, the DIGITAL AUDIO OUT (OPTICAL) jack on the TV outputs 2 channel audio only. If you want to hear 5.1 channel audio, connect the Optical jack on the DVD / Blu-ray player or Cable / Satellite Box directly to an Amplifier or Home Theatre, not the TV."

    What does that even mean? When the HDMI input is connected to what? When it says 2 channel, does it mean PCM or 2.1? I apologise if they are the same thing - I am beyond a novice when it comes to this stuff.

    The manual also says that the Freeview tuner makes use of Dolby Digital (Plus, apparently)? What is this exactly? I read somewhere that if I use my TV as a switcher (what does this mean?), it will convert to PCM, which soundbars that do not support Dolby can play. I also read that if I use my TV's Freeview tuner connected to a soundbar, it will send the Dolby signal to the soundbar - but if the soundbar has no Dolby support, no sound will output.

    How does this relate to Optical Out 5.1 and HDMI bit mentioned above?

    The reason I ask is that I want a soundbar to connect to my TV and laptop (laptop has a HDMI jack). I don't have much room though (only room for a soundbar which is 800mm/80cm in width), and don't really want to spend above £150.

    My only option seems to be Maxell's MX-SB252 (no Dolby or DTS decoding support). It has 3 HDMI Inputs, 1 HDMI output, and 1 Optical Input. What would be the best way to connect to my TV and laptop? If I came across a 2.1 soundbar, does Dolby Digital (and/or DTS) decoding support make a noticeable difference?

    I apologise for the long-winded post, but I know absolutely nothing about audio, and wanted to give as much info as possible.

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