The "Best" Setup using Optical Cables


Active Member
I have a HTPC, which is connected to the TV via HDMI cable - that also carries audio by itself.
The HTPC is connected to a 5.1 system via optical.
This means I can have nice 5.1 sound from the HTPC although my current Samsung needs me to turn the volume to 0 otherwise there's a very slightly lag.

I have an optical cable connected from the TV to the sound system.
This means I can watch things on Netflix through the nice 5.1 sound system, although this is rare.

Is this the best set up?

Or should I just allow the TV to output sound to the 5.1 system and disconnect the link between the PC and sound system.
I'm worried that I won't get proper 5.1 sound by doing that.


Well-known Member
Why would you? The optical connection is the inferior one to HDMI hence its limited to 5.1 Dolby Digital etc and cannot support Dolby TrueHD 7.1 etc.

Ultimately it will come down to the specification of your TV but most should be able to split audio from HDMI and output to Optical in 5.1 without introducing any material delay


Active Member
So I should sever the connection between the PC and speakers?
Then the PC should output through the HDMI to the TV, which will in turn output to the speakers?

Most of the stuff I watch is barely in 5.1 let alone 7.1.


Well-known Member
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If the best connect you have available to you on the soundbar/surround sound system is optical, then I'd leave it as everything is working. As has been mentioned, you will not be able to access the best sound format, but if you don't have the ability to connect everything via HDMI, then you will not gain anything and in fact could loose 5.1 plugging the HDMI into TV and then using the optical audio to your sound system as many TV's only output stereo from HDMI inputs (so read the manual to see what yours does). Also you wouldn't gain anything either as the sound would still be Dolby digital as it requires a HDMI connection to access the best sound formats unless you have another gizmo in place which can pull the audio out and from that point, you'd be better looking at another solution which will give you something better.

If you do have HDMI in on your sound system, then as @BobBob21 mentions, the HDMI should go directly to the sound system and then the HDMI output on the sound system goes to the TV. If they are all modern, you may have a connection called ARC or better still eARC. ARC will most likely send stereo from the TV whereas eARC could send the full blown 5.1 signal. So again do look at your TV

Do remember, if you are happy with the audio and you only have an optical input on your sound system, then don't change it until you are to upgrade


Active Member
Thanks for the advice.

To be honest, what I have currently set up may not work on the new TV I am looking to buy anyway as I'm not sure of the optical outputs.

I set it up like this so if watching a film through the Netflix app on the TV, I can still have nicer sound as well as from the HTPC. For every day viewing, happy for the TV speakers.

Will see what's what with the new TV but the Logitech z906 speakers I have don't have an HDMI input.

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