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How to hookup Surround Sound


Surround Sound

Dolby ProLogic II

Dolby ProLogic II, also called a matrixed Analog 5.1 surround, is an analog matrixed surround sound standard that was created by Dolby Laboratories in 2000. It is 5.1 surround with a Front-left, Center, a Front-right, a Surround-left, a Surround-right, and a subwoofer channel . Prologic II can process both Dolby Prologic and stereo sound sources and simulate 5.1 surround sound. Dolby Prologic II has a music mode, movie mode, game mode and matrix mode. The music mode has additional center and surround channels, but does not change the nature of the left and right channels. The movie mode is designed to provide the 5.1 experience for movies that have not been digitally encoded. The game mode supports decoding for video games. The matrix mode supports the up-mixing of single channel mono content to surround sound.

Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital is a form of discrete digital 5.1 surround sound. Dolby Digital is a whole family of digital surround encoding technologies created by Dolby Laboratories. It is also known as AC-3, or Adaptive Transform Coder 3. It' has the capabilities for various channel configurations, however, it is most widely used as 5.1 surround sound. It includes Front-left, Center, Front-right, Surround-left, Surround-right, and subwoofer channels. Dolby Digital is a lossy encoding technology limited to 640 kbits per second, however, most DVD players may limit it to 448 kbits per second.

Since Dolby Digital treats each channel discretely and is digitally encoded, Dolby Digital requires a digital decoder to provide the 5.1 audio standard. Most home theater receivers can decode Dolby Digital, however, to get the signal from a source, such as a DVD player, to the receiver you must use a digital audio connection such as optical or digital coax cable.


DTS, also a form of Discrete Digital 5.1 Surround, stands for Digital Theater Systems. DTS is a competing standard to Dolby Digital. It is a discrete digital surround standard that provides multiple channel surround including the Front-left, Center, the Front-right, the Surround-left, the Surround-right, and the subwoofer channels. Similar to Dolby Digital, it is different in one primary way. It provides lossy encoding up to 1536 kbits bandwidth on DVDs compared with Dolby Digital's 448 kbits. Depending on the sound system, a broader dynamic range and less hiss may be noticed. Like Dolby Digital, DTS requires that the home theater receiver supports decoding DTS and also requires optical or coax digital audio connections.

Dolby TrueHD

Dolby TrueHD stands for true high definition. TrueHD has nothing to do with high definition video. It is an audio standard. TrueHD is a next generation encoding standard. This standard is optional for Blu-Ray players. TrueHD uses a HDMI 1.3 connection standard. The optical and digital coax connections are not capable of carrying TrueHD.


Dolby Atmos is a surround-sound technology that was first developed in 2012, expanding upon the pre-existing 5.1 and 7.1 surround-sound set-ups with surround channels coming from overhead,
enveloping the audience in a dome of sound.
But unlike traditional channel based systems, Dolby Atmos doesn't just send audio at discrete levels to each speaker. The technology can also produce up to 118 simultaneous sound objects, allowing the sound designer to place each sound and voice to exact points within the soundfield
rather than simply assign them to specific channels. These objects can be manipulated and moved around within the space creating a convincing 3D soundstage.
Adding two or four ceiling speakers in home environments in addition to the 6 or 8 ground speakers creates a dome of sound.
Any Blu-ray player that fully conforms to the latest specifications and can output a bitstream audio signal for your AV receiver to decode can playback Atmos.
Current Online streaming services, even headphones have ATMOS capability. ATMOS content is available more and more.


DTS-HD is the Digital Theater Systems' answer to Dolby TrueHD. The specification allows for unlimited channels that can be down-mixed to the number of channels supported on the home system. The bit-rate is also flexible because it can be as low as lossy DTS, or all the way up to lossless quality. DTS-HD standard is optional on Blu-ray high definition discs.


HDMI supports Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and other high resolution audio formats. HDMI has been designed from the very first version to carry up to 8-channels of audio, 192kHz, 24-bit uncompressed audio, which exceeds all available current consumer media format. Plus HDMI can carry any compressed audio format, such as Dolby or DTS. The Dolby or DTS compressed audio formats are the only multi-channel or high-resolution audio formats that can be carried across the older S/PDIF or AES/EBU interfaces (optical or digital coax). In addition, most existing HDMI sources can output any compressed stream, and the newer sources can output uncompressed 6-channel, 96kHz audio from a DVD-Audio disk. There are A/V receivers available on the market that can receive and process the 6- or 8-channel audio from HDMI.

HDMI itself does have the capability to carry up to 8 channels of audio and compressed audio streams. The key consideration in connecting audio source to audio processor using HDMI is as follows:

1) Does the source device send the desired audio out over HDMI?
2) Does the audio processor, such as a receiver, have the capability to handle the sent audio using HDMI?

Many modern audio/video receivers do have the capability to handle the latest multi-channel high res audio but be careful, many do not.

HDMI Cable Connections

HDMI devices such as Digital Cable TV boxes, Blu-ray players, HDTVs, Internet media boxes and Audio/Video Receivers can use an HDMI cable to carry video and audio signals. In fact HDMI MUST be used for the newest audio surround sound as the SPDIF optical and digital audio coaxial cable connections are not capable of handling the newer audio (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD).

An HDMI cable is connected from the source device (Blu-ray player, cable box) to the decoder device (audio/video receiver) and another HDMI cable from the decoder device HDMI OUT to the HDTV's HDMI input.

HDMI Versions

HDMI Cables

Wiring diagram - HDMI Surround Sound

How to hookup Surround Sound

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