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great sound to HDTV - Sound Bar
Adding great sound to your HDTV can be accomplished in several ways.
The Sound Bar
solution is one way.
Another way is to go with a full function surround sound solution.
What do I
need for surround sound?
To reproduce surround sound at home, you need the following:
1) A source such as a DVD player, digital cable TV, satellite TV or
digital broadcast TV, capable of either (a) passing a digital bit
stream of encoded surround-sound signals to a separate decoder via an
optical or digital coaxial audio output, or (b) decoding the bitstream
and passing the multiple resulting analog audio signals to an
amplifier. Most DVD players, digital cable TV boxes and HDTVs pass the
digital bitstream for surround formats; for multichannel audio, make
sure the requisite decoders (SACD, DVD-Audio or both) are built-in,
since these formats must be decoded at the source component.
2) A sound system capable of multichannel reproduction. A basic
5.1-channel system (the minimum needed for the most common surround
applications) consists of speakers for front left, front right, front
center, surround left and surround right channels, each with a
dedicated channel of amplification usually supplied by a home theater
receiver, also called an Audio/Video Receiver or AVR, plus a separate
subwoofer which usually has its own built-in amplifier.
You must have a decoder compatible with one or more multichannel audio
formats. For movie surround formats (Dolby Digital, DTS and their
extended-surround variants), the decoder is typically built into the
home theater receiver that supplies amplification and processing for
each of the system's audio channels, but may also be built into a DVD
player or added to the system via a dedicated processing device.
For multichannel music (SACD and DVD-Audio), decoding must be done
within the source component and the resulting audio signals passed on
to the system's amplifiers via multiple analog audio outputs, usually 6
RCA audio cables. If multichannel music is a priority for you, make
sure you buy either a dedicated SACD player or a DVD player with
built-in SACD or DVD-Audio processing capability.
For discrete multichannel audio, you'll also need surround-encoded
media. All DVD discs, for example, are encoded with Dolby Digital
soundtracks, but not all Dolby Digital soundtracks are multichannel.
Unless a movie soundtrack was originally created with multichannel
audio in mind, or remixed to accommodate multichannel playback, it will
not necessarily have a surround soundtrack.
Increasingly sophisticated hybrid matrix-surround technologies such as
Dolby Pro Logic II, DTS Neo:6 and Dolby Pro Logic IIx can simulate the
discrete multichannel experience, even with audio CDs, stereo
and other 2-channel media.
What to look
for when buying a home theater receiver
When buying a home
theater receiver, look for high
power (100 watts per channel or more is recommended), equally
distributed to all channels of the system (e.g., 100 watts x 5 for a
5.1-channel system). Make sure the receiver you select includes
decoders for the formats you want to use. Most modern receivers include
basic Dolby Digital 5.1-channel decoding, and many include DTS 5.1
decoding as well. Extended-surround formats are backwards-compatible
with 5.1-channel playback, and you can always start with a basic
5.1-channel system and upgrade with extra speakers later. Brands to
look for include Pioneer, Yamaha, Sony, Denon and Onkyo.
There are also all-in-one systems called "Home Theater in-a-box" or
HTIB. Included are AM/FM, DVD/Blu-ray and 6 speakers.
• Learn more about HTIB here.
Receiver › Features to look for:
Satellite radio reception
Video conversion - analog video upscaled and sent over HDMI
Video conversion allows composite video and component video input
signals to be converted to HDMI, then all video sources are routed to
the TV using one HDMI cable
Lip Synch - ability to match (delay) sound with picture
Audio Delay: You can delay the sound output up to 240ms to synchronize
it with the video image.
Multiple HDMI Inputs and HDMI Output (HDMI 1.3)
Dolby Digital decoding, DTS decoding
Analog 6 to 8 RCA audio Inputs for already decoded audio such as from
SACD or DVD-Audio
Phono Input for turntable
Assignable input and output jacks
Optical digital audio inputs
Digital Coaxial audio inputs
Media Docks such as for iPod
Speaker level adjustments for each speaker
Multi-function Remote control
5-way speaker binding posts
Inputs for DVD, CD, TV, DVR, Game, converter box
Acoustic Optimizer - automatically adjusts the output of the speakers
based on placement, performance, and the room's acoustic characteristics
192kHz/24-bit digital-to-analog converters for all channels
Dual Zone Capability
Bluetooth wireless capability for streaming audio
Next-Generation SURROUND SOUND capability:
* Dolby TrueHD: a lossless coding technology that supports up to 8
channels of multi-channel surround sound for the next generation
optical discs; the reproduced sound is true to the original source
* Dolby Digital Plus: developed as an extension to Dolby Digital, the
coding technology supports 7.1 discrete channels
* DTS-HD Master Audio: an advanced lossless technology that delivers
sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master, offering a
high-definition home theater experience
* DTS-HD High Resolution Audio: high resolution audio, virtually
indistinguishable from the original audio track
Dynamic Range Control: The amount of dynamic range compression applied
to bitstream signals; Min/Auto is suitable for low volume listening,
Standard is typical for home use, and Max doesn't compress the dynamic
range at all.
HDMI Through: When the Receiver is in standby mode (power off), the
HDMI Through feature allows HDMI source signals to pass through the
receiver to the TV. The HDMI input must be selected before the unit is
Your speaker complement should ideally be "voice-matched," meaning that
all the speakers in the system exhibit similar performance with regard
to frequency response, sensitivity and overall tonal character. The
easiest way to ensure voice-matching is to buy all your speakers at
once and confine your choices to a single manufacturer. If you're fond
of your current stereo speakers and wish to augment your existing
system to accommodate surround sound, you're probably best off adding
speakers by the same manufacturer to ensure the greatest tonal
You will need connecting cables for the video and audio to get from
source components to the receiver and to a TV. These include HDMI
cables, composite and component video, digital audio and also speaker
wires. Visit this Cable
Guide for an overview of common
audio and video cable interconnects.
You can buy a good Audio/Video Receiver with Dolby Digital 5.1 decoding
capability and HDMI for around $200 - $300.
Examples include the following:
Pioneer - 550W 5.1-Ch. Home Theater Receiver
Model: VSX-519V-K with HDMI
Yamaha - 525W 5.1-Ch. A/V Home Theater Receiver
How do I connect the
You can connect your Cable or satellite TV box, DVD player, Blu-ray
player, HDTV and other sources using the optical, digital coaxial or
HDMI outputs on the rear of the devices. Typically for Dolby Digital
5.1 you will use the optical output on a HDTV and this will pass the
bitstream to the Audio/Video receiver using an optical audio cable to
the optical input jack of the AVR. The AVR decodes the bitstream,
amplifies the sound and sends to the speakers.
HDTV DIGITAL AUDIO OUT (OPTICAL)
Connects to a Digital Audio component such as a Home theater receiver.
When a Digital Audio System is connected to the DIGITAL AUDIO OUT
(OPTICAL) jack: Decrease the volume of the TV
and adjust the volume level with the system’s volume control.
5.1 channel audio is possible when the HDTV is connected to an external
device supporting 5.1 channels. When the Home Theater receiver is set
to On, you can hear sound output from the TV’s Optical jack.
When the TV is
displaying a DTV(air) signal, the HDTV will send out 5.1 channel sound
to the Home theater receiver. When the source is a
digital component such as a DVD / Blu-ray player / Cable Box /
Satellite receiver (Set-Top Box) and is connected to the
TV via HDMI, only 2 channel sound will be heard from the Home Theater
receiver. If you want to hear 5.1 channel audio,
connect the digital audio out jack on DVD / Blu-ray player / Cable Box
/ Satellite receiver (Set-Top Box) directly to your Home Theater
Receiver, not the HDTV.
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