Will digital optical cable pass 5.1 from TV to receiver?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by gfphoto, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. gfphoto

    gfphoto
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    Will digital optical cable pass 5.1 from TV to receiver?

    I think this has been answered--but along with the answers has been other information that makes it all confusing to me--so I'll apologize upfront--I'm hoping someone here can cut through the fog...

    Recently my second Yamaha receiver died (rx v373). Actually, since it clicks when I push the reset sequence I think maybe it's the protection circuit, but regardless it's just too much money right now to replace or have repaired. I've got a surge protector and we don't do anything weird with the receivers.

    When that was working I had the DVR and Blu-Ray HDMI's plugged into the receiver and that outputting HDMI to the LG 55LB5550 TV, and sound to a set of Klipsch 5.1 surround speakers.

    $300 or so for a new receiver isn't doable so I was looking at Craigslist and thinking about an older 5.1 capable receiver to use for the time being--but the ones I've seen for what I can afford and wouldn't be too much of a risk if it too failed, don't have HDMI, or have HDMI inputs but can't take the audio from it.

    So I'm thinking to plug the DVR and Blu-Ray HDMI's into the TV and use a digital optical cable from the TV to the used non-HDMI audio capable receiver.

    But from what I've been reading it appears that the digital optical cable can't carry the 5.1 surround information...or can it? The TV specs say it has a Dolby® Digital Decoder--what's the point of that if it only has weak stereo speakers and can't send out the information? Or is it a copy protection issue and the cable can pass the information but isn't allowed to do so?

    Would that setup work and give the 5.1 surround?

    If not, would it be 2 channel stereo that I could use the receiver controls to at least balance and fade? And would the subwoofer still be doing what it's supposed to?

    Would there likely be any other issues like a delay?

    Are there any other economically feasible solutions--like some kind of an HDMI splitter that would maintain the 5.1? I'm not trying to be cheap, we've just had some financial upsets recently and would still like to relax with a good movie.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Member 581642

    Member 581642
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    Whether the TV will output 5.1 via optical is down to the TV, Optical will certainly pass 5.1 but not all Tvs will pass this through from external inputs like HDMI.

    You could use a HDMI audio dembedder and a HDMI switch (or all in one unit)

    I assume you are in the US by the $ pricing but you could probably pick one up for around $100 (£150)
     
  3. oHUTCHYo

    oHUTCHYo
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    Annoyingly, there are a actually very few manufacturers who design their chipsets with 5.1 optical pass through, then even fewer models within that range.

    From my previous research, Sony was one of the very few who implemented it. Certainly not Samsung, Panasonic etc.

    Suggest you Google and be absolutely sure before you commit.
     
  4. Member 581642

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    very tricky to get a definitive answer
     
  5. oHUTCHYo

    oHUTCHYo
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    These are old models but will give an idea just how scarce optical passthrough is. Note the Sony and Toshiba...

    Make and model Dolby Stereo Dolby Digital 5.1 Dolby True HD (downconverted)
    LG 47LA6200
    No No No
    LG 55LA8600 No No No
    Panasonic TC-P55ST50 (2012) No No No
    Panasonic TC-P55ST60 No No No
    Panasonic TC-P60VT60 No No No
    Panasonic TC-P60ZT60 No No No
    Samsung PN58B650 (2009) No No No
    Samsung UN32EH4000 (2012) No No No
    Samsung UN40F5000 No No No
    Samsung UN55F6300 No No No
    Samsung UN55F8000 No No No
    Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD (2011) No No No
    Sharp LC-60LE650U No No No
    Sony KDL-60R520A Yes Yes Yes
    Sony KDL-55W900A Yes Yes Yes
    Sony XBR-65HX950 (2012) Yes Yes Yes
    Toshiba 32C120U (2012) Yes Yes Yes
    Toshiba 65LS9300 Yes Yes Yes
    TCL LE58FHDE3010 No No No
    Vizio E500i-A1 Yes

    Source: 20 TVs tested: Which sets can pass surround sound to a sound bar? - CNET
     
  6. Member 581642

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    However many of those will only be from the internal tuners or smartTv feature not from external sources
     
  7. gfphoto

    gfphoto
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    Excellent!

    Very frustrating to be thinking of the possibility of something--like the embedder (maybe this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ..._haecoax_audio_de_embedder_with_3d.html)--and not have a clue that they actually exist or what to search for. That and another $20 odd for a switch seems to be a perfect solution; and reading through the reviews looks like I'm not the first to have wanted to go that route.

    Thank you all for the rapid and very helpful replies.
     
  8. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Look for an AVR with at least Two Optical Inputs and connect the Optical Output of each Source direct to the AVR.

    The HDMI cables will carry HD Video (+ stereo audio to the TV) and 5.1 DD to the AVR.

    Ensure the AVR has the option of User Adjustable Digital Audio Delay so you can keep the sound and vision in sync.

    Joe
     
  9. oHUTCHYo

    oHUTCHYo
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    Agree with Joe here, this was my only option when I owned a Bose 3.2.1. It had no HDMI in, just optical and coax.

    My solution from three devices (console, htpc, console) was each respective HDMI to TV. Then two optical so from devices to an optical splitter, then to Bose. Then also a coax from remaining device to Bose. Hey presto 5.1 from all devices.

    Thank god that Bose is now sold and I'm investing in a new AVR, less cables lol
     
  10. gfphoto

    gfphoto
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    Thanks all!
     

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