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UncleMeat

Is Dolby Digital 5.1 being phased out?

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I was watching SNL last night and the sound kept cutting out on commercials, only the subwoofer would make sound.  Then I switched to a movie on HBO and the same problem.  Other channels were fine but I noticed if I turn the Surround setting off on the DVR the sound came back; or on the HBO channel switching to Pro-Logic got sound back. 
 
Is the problem that my Carver C-1000a can't process a newer DD format?  I've never had this problem until now; and I'm happy with DD 5.1 but if I'm going to be downgraded to Pro-Logic or Stereo I'll need to find another option.
 

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I have the HDMI from the DVR to my TV, then the optical output from my TV going to the C-1000a. The C-1000a has a selector for DD-5.1, PCM 2-channel or DPL.

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I have the HDMI from the DVR to my TV, then the optical output from my TV going to the C-1000a. The C-1000a has a selector for DD-5.1, PCM 2-channel or DPL.
 
There are very very few TVs which will actually pass Digital formats. The TV Tuner will output Digital formats only for broadcast formats. If the digital stream passed through the TV, it will end up being 2CH out of the TV optical.  
 
 See CNET and SONOS articles.

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That's weird that it would just start happening all of a sudden. It sounds like the C1000 is not switching between DD and 2CH automatically, from movie/show to commercial. Its waiting for the DD. Hitting DPL takes advantage of the 2CH digital signal during commercials. It's especially weird if other channels were working normally.

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I have the HDMI from the DVR to my TV, then the optical output from my TV going to the C-1000a. The C-1000a has a selector for DD-5.1, PCM 2-channel or DPL.
 
There are very very few TVs which will actually pass Digital formats. The TV Tuner will output Digital formats only for broadcast formats. If the digital stream passed through the TV, it will end up being 2CH out of the TV optical.  
 
 See CNET and SONOS articles.

 
It does pass DD 5.1 to the optical output; it's designed to be connected that way to a surround system.  Normally when a DD 5.1 source is playing the C-1000a switches to DD 5.1 automatically.  But when these problems happened the C-1000a showed it was still set DD 5.1 but there was only sound from the subwoofer. 
 
Manually switching the DVR over to Stereo got sound, or switching the C-1000a over to DPL also got the non-digital surround signal (or a quasi-surround mode).  Sometimes if it detects only PCM during a commercial it will switch to DPL but then forget to switch back to DD 5.1 if there are both DPL and DD 5.1 available.
 
 

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I'm all but certain my Sony Bravia Z-Series set passes DD 5.1; when a movie that's in 5.1 is on (and no DPL signal) everything works correctly and the C-1000a won't switch over manually from DD 5.1 to DPL.

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I just did a quick experiment with my Sunfire ultimate receiver. I have a Satellite PVR connected to the TV via HDMI and an optical cable to the sunfire. I also have the TV optical out connected to the sunfire.

 

Now, first I played a movie on the PVR. with the sunfire input set to receive the digital signal from the PVR the sound is 5.1. (sunfire has two blue lights to indicate processing; one confirms a digital signal and the other confirms DD. My ear confirms 5.1. Now, I switch to the sunfire input that receives the TV optical input and low and beyhold, the DD light goes out and the sound is now only 2CH.

Next, I fire up Netflix which is received by the TV directly from my wireless router. I leave the sunfire set to receive the optical signal from the TV. I fire up the next episode of Breaking Bad and the DD indicator on the sunfire lights up and again the sound is 5.1

 

SO, it seems that the TV optical out is capable of sending a DD signal (when it originates from the TV) however, it does not seem to "pass through" a DD when it originates from the PVR.

 

I don't know if this helps, but that's the way the sunfire works. It just automatically plays the DD or 2CH w/o me having to select anything.

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Uncle-

 

Funny you mention this - I'm having all sorts of issues with my family room setup, specifically anything coming from my DishNetwork receiver. Commercials super loud, dialog almost non existent on shows... Receiver shows DD, but sound is screwed up. My Apple TV, which runs into the receiver on its own hdmi sounds fine, as do DVDs.

 

It's so bad, I've just set the receiver to 2ch when watching Dish.

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There is quite a bit of variation between service providers and connectivity options. I use OTA broadcasts, and TV Tuner will send digital formats via Optical and my 4ES is set to Auto Decode, so I know broadcast shows at night are usually DD5.1. Netflix will honor the Info button on Remotes and show the details of the stream (except ATV).
 
@UM... do you have an option to directly connect Optical to the Carver from the PVR and see what the format is. Balok's test confirms the pass thru does not work in all environments. If you did have this working in the past, it may be worth checking the appropriate settings on the Sony, to verify correctness. 

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Yes I have the ability to connect the optical out from the DVR to the amp but the reason I don't is because the timing is bad the audio will precede the video. I'll try it to verify but unfortunately it won't be a permanent fix.

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[EDIT--the more I think about this, the "solution" below doesn't make sense if the receiver displays "DD", unless DD can be 2-channel digital.  My Pioneer receiver has all kinds of modes it displays, some being its version of sonic holography.  I do remember solving that exact problem, though.  Will have to explore receiver setup tomorrow.  But it still might be worth a look at the Dish box setup.]
 
A lot of times TV dialog is mainly in the center channel.  Commercials are often stereo.  I have had that same problem, where it wants to only output to the mains.  Seems like it happened when we switched from Charter to Uverse, had to set the Uverse box.  Options: Audio/Language: Digital:  Surround (i.e. not Stereo).  But I don't recall the receiver saying it was in surround mode.
 
Had a similar problem when we bought a Visio TV (old Sony CRT finally shot craps).  As shipped from the factory there was no sound at all, was ready to take it back until I started messing w/ settings.  Had to set the TV up to think it had a sound bar, although it only had internal speakers.
 


Uncle-

Funny you mention this - I'm having all sorts of issues with my family room setup, specifically anything coming from my DishNetwork receiver. Commercials super loud, dialog almost non existent on shows... Receiver shows DD, but sound is screwed up. My Apple TV, which runs into the receiver on its own hdmi sounds fine, as do DVDs.

It's so bad, I've just set the receiver to 2ch when watching Dish.

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Seems like two TV stations have changed their digital format; or the cable company is not sending the right signal for those channels. I cant figure out why the documentary on HBO was also not giving digital sound also. I connected the DVR directly to the receiver but I also get the same problem so it's not the connection from TV to receiver.

 

The documentary was "Nixon by Nixon"; it displays the problem in both the HBO broadcast and on the HBO HD On-Demand selection. It was released in 2014 so it should have some flavor of Dolby or DTS Digital audio but I suspect that it's in True HD or newer.

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I'm pretty sure you're asking too much of your tv to decode one audio for its self and another for your receiver. Might be time to upgrade. I finally gave up my Sony STR-DA4ES for HT.
 
 
I have an Anthem AVM20(by Sonic Frontiers) that has Group Audio Delay for syncing with the picture. The AVM20 is an amazing unit and can be had for under $400.00 because it has no HDMI ports. HERE I use an automatic HDMI switcher to choose Cable box, BluRay or DVD that I got on eBay for $20.00. The AVM20 is just for audio and I can hook up lots of Carver amps to it. It even has three zones. 
$_57.JPG 
 
 

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The TV is the HDMI switch box; and it directs all inputs to the C-1000a via the Optical output. So whatever source I play via HDMI or the web enabled TV (pandora, netflix, etc), it ports it via Toslink to the C-1000a. I don't think it's being asked to do too much it's just sending the source digital signal out via it's Toslink port; it does not need to process the digital signal; the same way a CD player with an optical out sends the digital data to an external DAC.

 

I verified that the problem is not with the TV's I/O, a direct connection from the optical out on the DVR to the C-1000a produces the same result. I just need to know now if TV stations and channels like HBO are going to broadcast higher versions of Dolby Digital (True HD, Atmos) and leave the rest of us with older DAC's stuck with DPL as the only alternative. DPL does not sound right on my system, the bass is too boomy and the rear surrounds sound like 5h17.

 

I need to check my newer Sony blu-ray/surround processor; it will play DTS/DolbyTrue HD via the player, but I'm not sure it will accept the HD audio through it's toslink input. If it will; I'll need to rig a series of Z-1 boxes to connect it's amp to the C-1000a's 5.1 input (no pre-outs on it).

 

 

 

 

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