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Spetz

5.1 Channel Connections?

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Hi everyone,

 

Does optical output offer 5.1 channel connection?

I am looking at buying an older received that does not have HDMI input, and I would like the possibility of 5.1 surround sound with downloaded movies which would be played via the USB on a TV.

 

Is this possible without HDMI?

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Hi everyone,

 

Does optical output offer 5.1 channel connection?

I am looking at buying an older received that does not have HDMI input, and I would like the possibility of 5.1 surround sound with downloaded movies which would be played via the USB on a TV.

 

Is this possible without HDMI?

 

optical will get you DD5.1 to DD-EX 6.1 or DTS 5.1 or DTS-ES 6.1

 

of course you are limited to these lossy formats and won't handle hdaudio possible with blu-ray for instance :)

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Al, are you saying that optical connections are of low quality?

Certainly they can't be worse than the RCA connections that seem to be ok?

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Al, are you saying that optical connections are of low quality?

Certainly they can't be worse than the RCA connections that seem to be ok?

 

spetz you just can get hdaudio over optical if using a blu-ray player. your restricted to lossy formats as mentioned. the connection just doesn't have the bandwidth. re analog that is another can of worms and will come down to quality of dacs and analog implementation in the player which in most players is pretty average…unless buying an expensive player where care has been taken with analog. and also depends on the analog capability of the rest of the equipment whether will be any good. for your average player you'd be likely better off hooking up over optical than analog particularly if have a better dac and analog stage in the amp. given your particular situation you might better off to hook up both ways and hear for yourself which is better :)

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If you are downloading the movie from NetFlix or iTunes or Google Play, it's likely it is encoded with DD5.1 or DTS5.1 which are lossy formats - so the optical connection will work just fine. They will support the full resolution of those soundtracks.

What al is referring to are HD audio codecs which will require more bandwidth than SPDIF can deliver. These contain lossless 5.1 to 7.1 soundtracks that are usually encoded in 16:44.1 or even higher.

These are soundtracks from Blu-ray Discs. But you are unlikely to get them in downloaded formats.

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Pre HDMI receivers will be able to decode Dolby Digital and DTS from an optical input, which are lossy. They won't be able to decode the newer non-lossy formats.

 

If you want to play the later non-lossy formats on an older receiver, then you would need to find one with line-in sockets for all channels, and connect these to a blu-ray player with equivalent line-out sockets. That way the blu-ray player is doing the decoding and passing it to the receiver.

 

This is the way I am doing it. I have a Marantz SR6200 which I bought prior to the introduction of HDMI. The SR6200 has line-in for all surround channels, pre-outs for all channels, as well as optical and coax inputs/outputs (one of the reasons I chose it was for its 'connectability'). I have an OPPO blu-ray player connected to the SR6200 via its analog out sockets, with the HDMI going separately to a Panasonic LCD TV. Works well.

 

The SR6200 is quite a good receiver, and you might be able to pick one up for a good price (but I'm not selling mine, sorry!).

 

Alternatively, you could just buy a current model receiver.

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Thanks guys for the info, that cleared things up.
All the movies that will be watched will be downloaded so it seems that the optical input will suffice.

I am looking at an Onkyo TX-SR602 currently as well as a Sony STR DB 2000, neither of which has HDMI.
Any recommendations as to which is better?

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If you are buying second hand units, get a midrange to high end model. No point skimping since they are already quite well depreciated.

 

I don't know what your budget is but even a 6 year old model has HDMI connectivity. I'd see if you can get a mid range AVR that has HDMI 1.3 at least and also preamp outputs. 

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yes agree with doggie, and yes depending on budget should be able to pick up a hdmi capable unit these days. unless have a non hdmi unit already that are utilising, if buying am not really sure the need to be buying a non hdmi avr these days :)

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Can you guys give suggestions on units around the $200 mark?
5.1
Twin zone (I would like to be able to run a pair of stereo speakers in a different room)
 

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ebay will be your best bet. there are so many hdmi av receivers listed at under $200 worth watching. do you research for one that does what you want :)

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