Question Will all devices output surround-sound through HDMI? Will an audio extractor preserve all channels?

eddielinton

Standard Member
I want to connect a cheap notebook (Medion MD62300) to an old AV receiver (Sony STR-DA1200ES) for multi-channel audio, and a projector (Infocus SP8600) for video. This would all begin by using the notebook’s mini-HDMI out.

The root of the problem: if I plug HDMI from notebook to AV receiver, then another HDMI from AV receiver to projector, the AV receiver simply passes through BOTH audio and video to the projector, instead of playing the audio through my lovely surround speakers. With any HDMI input, the receiver requires a separate optical cable to supply audio to its own speakers (insane, I know, but it’s in the manual… pages 25-26).

I will be loading films on to the notebook in MKV, AVI or whatever container format works, with surround audio. The output from the notebook is mini-HDMI, so I will be using an adapter, then a normal HDMI cable. As I understand, this shouldn’t affect the signal, but I thought worth mentioning.

So, my main question is: can I be certain that the notebook will output all 5.1 audio channels from (let’s say) an MKV video with its audio track encoded as Dolby Digital surround? Since it’s HDMI-out, surely the notebook just outputs the digital signals, without having to process or “understand” them. I am also hoping that, along those same lines, it’s all nothing to do with the device’s soundcard (which I am sure is terrible) or other capabilities of the cheap notebook itself?

The second and final hurdle is to split the HDMI signal into its audio and video parts.

Using an HDMI audio extractor with SPDIF output (and an extra HDMI + optical cable), I should get the HDMI video signal going in to the AV receiver, then on to the projector, but crucially capture the audio and input it to the AV receiver from the extractor’s SPDIF OUT.

I know the simple answer is “get a more modern AV receiver that deals with HDMI properly” but I don’t have the budget.

If I’d known it would be this hard, I wouldn’t have bothered - I feel like a donkey reading quantum theory – but I’ve come this far, I want to do everything I can to get it working! I’m sure some of you will know how that feels… but also the triumph of getting it working after a steep learning curve!

As ever, thanks in advance for any help.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
AVR - in the early days of HDMI the HDMI Input/Output on many AVR was simply an HDMI switch added for convenience with no processing of video or audio on the way through the AVR.

Source device - hard to say what it will be doing, its is going to 'see' a 2.0 capable Projector on its Output so may list you Ito playing back 2.0 content or down-mix everything which is 5.1 to 2.0 unless you can manually override it within the PC settings.

HDMI Audio Extractor - will retain the separate channels, if you have a device with EDID Management which you can set to 5.1 that ought to trick the Source into Outputting video + 5.1 via HDMI.

Joe
 

eddielinton

Standard Member
Thanks very much Joe! The HDMI is just pass-through... I'm sure I'm not the only one buying that AV receiver and being pretty disappointed finding that out half way through the manual!

Source/extractor - The audio extractor has a 5.1 switch, so I'm hoping that will maintain the channels, but I see what you mean... if Windows sees a 2CH device, it may only output 2CH before the signal even gets to the extractor.

Fiddling about with EDID sounds like another rabbit hole, but at least I now know that's what it is - thanks!

I think I'll buy the switcher and will report back how I get on! Maybe some other poor numpty finding an old "HDMI switch only" AV receiver in the attic will benefit from it one day!
 

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