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Chrispy_
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Simple HTIB options

Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:39 pm

So, I have a chance to wire up a friend's house (new-build, construction to be completed in 2018) and there are two rooms that will have wall-mounted TVs and other stuff to plug in via HDMI (XBOne, AppleTV, Roku, laptops etc)

My first thought was a HTIB setup but they all tend to come with too many speakers and too little sound quality, as well as extraneous features and a blu-ray player they don't want.

So, here are the requirements:

  • Audio input to the sound system must be via HDMI from the TV - everything plugs into the TVs and so these are simply replacements for the HDTV's pathetic, tinny audio.
  • Some speakers - 2.0, 2.1, 3.0 or 3.1 setup. rear satellites will be wasted (becaus HDMI audio is only two-channel).
  • HDMI-CEC to control the volume, allowing the TV remote's volume rocker to control the speaker volume
  • Good sound quality on a ~$500 budget per room.

Can you fine gerbils think of an HTIB solution that fits the bill, or can you recommend a cheap HDMI amp that will take audio over HDMI-CEC and drive some bookshelf speakers?
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:38 pm

Since 2.1 is your only requirement, you could just piece together a 2.1 system yourself like https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SW-8MK2-Designed-100-Watt-Subwoofer/dp/B008NCD2PC EDIT: scratch this one, I was thinking those direct speaker hookups were line outs instead of line ins. I have a Harmon Kardon woofer that has line outs in this style.
Plus two https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-FS52- ... B008NCD2S4

Or any other pairing that has an amp in the subwoofer. I just like the Andrew Jones line because they go on sale for cheap every so often.

Once you go 3.1 or greater I think you'll need a receiver.
 
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:01 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
[*]Some speakers - 2.0, 2.1, 3.0 or 3.1 setup. rear satellites will be wasted (becaus HDMI audio is only two-channel).

Huh? HDMI can carry 5.1 DTS just fine. The TV may truncate its own output at two channels, however?

Unless this person simply does not have the space, it seems like it would be better to manage all sources except OTA channels through a 5.1 HDMI receiver, and rely on HDMI loopback from the TV for OTA broadcast audio. That would answer the requirements you list but put the master control in the receiver's remote rather than the TV, and leave the option of 5.1 on the table for later.
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JustAnEngineer
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:04 pm

I've run my home theater both ways. Currently, most of my sources are switched via HDMI through the TV with the receiver simply providing sound for whatever the TV is displaying. Only the Oppo disc player connects directly to the receiver because the TV wouldn't know what to do with the high bitrate audio streams from DVD audio discs. HDMI does handle 5.1 just fine.
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:35 pm

We use a Vizio sound bar that is 5.1 with wireless sub and rear speakers that attach to the sub. We use it with a Roku 48" TV with Plex. I think the quality is good for the money. The tv speakers are off and we use CEC and just the roku remote. The most important part is the WAF, wife approval factor. She loves it. It was actually her idea to get the sound bar because she became spoiled with the Paradigm speakers we have on anther tv.
 
Chrispy_
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:28 am

ludi wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
[*]Some speakers - 2.0, 2.1, 3.0 or 3.1 setup. rear satellites will be wasted (becaus HDMI audio is only two-channel).

Huh? HDMI can carry 5.1 DTS just fine. The TV may truncate its own output at two channels, however?

Unless this person simply does not have the space, it seems like it would be better to manage all sources except OTA channels through a 5.1 HDMI receiver, and rely on HDMI loopback from the TV for OTA broadcast audio. That would answer the requirements you list but put the master control in the receiver's remote rather than the TV, and leave the option of 5.1 on the table for later.


Oh, yeah. I've never seen a TV that doesn't truncate down to two channels.

I don't think it's space, I think it's budget. An HDMI receiver is, what, $200? That's basically half the speaker budget for a box that does what the TV already does and adds nothing to the sound quality whilst tangibly decreasing the simplicity of the whole system.

the limitation against 5.1 is room layouts - there'd be no easy way to power or connect the rear speakers, unless we're talking battery-operated wireless speakers which is a whole different can of worms (but a viable one if that's what they decide later).
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Chrispy_
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 6:29 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:
I've run my home theater both ways. Currently, most of my sources are switched via HDMI through the TV with the receiver simply providing sound for whatever the TV is displaying. Only the Oppo disc player connects directly to the receiver because the TV wouldn't know what to do with the high bitrate audio streams from DVD audio discs. HDMI does handle 5.1 just fine.


That sounds like what they want to do. What brand TV, out of curiousity?
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 7:22 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:
I've run my home theater both ways. Currently, most of my sources are switched via HDMI through the TV with the receiver simply providing sound for whatever the TV is displaying. Only the Oppo disc player connects directly to the receiver because the TV wouldn't know what to do with the high bitrate audio streams from DVD audio discs. HDMI does handle 5.1 just fine.


That sounds like what they want to do. What brand TV, out of curiousity?

Any TV with HDMI ARC will do this, but now you're talking about adding a receiver, which I thought you didn't want to do.

If you're going the receiver + sound system route why not grab whatever $200 5.1 receiver is on sale at Best Buy and then this package while it's on sale for use as a 3.1 system? http://www.harmankardon.com/home-theate ... SA-Current

That nets you just over $400 after tax and you get the benefits of a tunable setup (so you can set the crossover frequencies etc properly).
 
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:17 am

https://www.vizio.com/sb4051c0.html
I think that is the one we use. I'm happy with it.

Edit this is it.
https://www.vizio.com/audio/sb4051d5.html

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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:20 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
ludi wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
[*]Some speakers - 2.0, 2.1, 3.0 or 3.1 setup. rear satellites will be wasted (becaus HDMI audio is only two-channel).

Huh? HDMI can carry 5.1 DTS just fine. The TV may truncate its own output at two channels, however?

Unless this person simply does not have the space, it seems like it would be better to manage all sources except OTA channels through a 5.1 HDMI receiver, and rely on HDMI loopback from the TV for OTA broadcast audio. That would answer the requirements you list but put the master control in the receiver's remote rather than the TV, and leave the option of 5.1 on the table for later.


Oh, yeah. I've never seen a TV that doesn't truncate down to two channels.

The truncate down to 2 channel is due to HDCP. Any time HDMI is communicating without HDCP it truncates to 2.0.
 
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:48 am

as for HTIB I had good results with Onkyo.
They have 5.1 and 7.1 and the speakers were decent... not audiophile quality but definitely good performers for home theatre.

https://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S3800-Channel-Theater-Package/dp/B01F3ENAOU/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1513781225&sr=1-4&keywords=onkyo
 
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:52 am

Chrispy_ wrote:
I don't think it's space, I think it's budget. An HDMI receiver is, what, $200? That's basically half the speaker budget for a box that does what the TV already does and adds nothing to the sound quality whilst tangibly decreasing the simplicity of the whole system.

But if you want a box (or two, more likely) that's nothing but an HDMI input, a DAC, and an audio amplifier, you're still going to spend a chunk of the budget on it, especially if you're shopping for speakers in the $500/pair range -- you weren't going to drive those with a $30 T-Amp, were you? A receiver is basically that same box with a lot more flexibility. You just use the receiver to manage sources and volume control rather than the TV. Many of them will even overlay their menu system onto the HDMI output stream.
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:19 pm

Arvald wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:
ludi wrote:
Huh? HDMI can carry 5.1 DTS just fine. The TV may truncate its own output at two channels, however?

Unless this person simply does not have the space, it seems like it would be better to manage all sources except OTA channels through a 5.1 HDMI receiver, and rely on HDMI loopback from the TV for OTA broadcast audio. That would answer the requirements you list but put the master control in the receiver's remote rather than the TV, and leave the option of 5.1 on the table for later.


Oh, yeah. I've never seen a TV that doesn't truncate down to two channels.

The truncate down to 2 channel is due to HDCP. Any time HDMI is communicating without HDCP it truncates to 2.0.
If you are concerned with not having more than two audio channels, is there any reason why you wouldn't consider using an optical (Toslink) connection for audio? On my main TV, I use an optical cable out of my TV to a 5.1 Vizio soundbar. With the TV audio output set to bitstream, I get all 5.1 channels from each of the HDMI inputs. The TV's remote controls the volume on the soundbar as well so I only need to use the one remote.
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:26 pm

I'm a big fan of 3.1 setups. That's what I've had for the last 10 years until finally putting in some surrounds for a proper 7.1 system. In terms of speakers, something like the B652-Air's are a fantastic value for the money, if they wanted to go very budget-friendly.
 
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:01 pm

Some good stuff in here.
I've not seen 3.1 for sale, I'm assuming if you buy a HTIB 5.1 and just don't connect the two surround speakers, the receiver just works it out accordingly?
Or are there actual 3.1 systems on offer somewhere?
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ludi
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:21 pm

Chrispy_ wrote:
Some good stuff in here.
I've not seen 3.1 for sale, I'm assuming if you buy a HTIB 5.1 and just don't connect the two surround speakers, the receiver just works it out accordingly?
Or are there actual 3.1 systems on offer somewhere?

Assuming the HTIB system has a receiver-type main unit, the speaker configuration is usually in the setup menu. If any channel is disabled, it will drop it or try to remix it virtually into the available channels.

Otherwise...a soundbar.
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:07 am

general_tux wrote:
Arvald wrote:
Chrispy_ wrote:

Oh, yeah. I've never seen a TV that doesn't truncate down to two channels.

The truncate down to 2 channel is due to HDCP. Any time HDMI is communicating without HDCP it truncates to 2.0.
If you are concerned with not having more than two audio channels, is there any reason why you wouldn't consider using an optical (Toslink) connection for audio? On my main TV, I use an optical cable out of my TV to a 5.1 Vizio soundbar. With the TV audio output set to bitstream, I get all 5.1 channels from each of the HDMI inputs. The TV's remote controls the volume on the soundbar as well so I only need to use the one remote.

Things like CEC and ARC are a reason for not using the Toslink.
I have a good setup running 4K over HDMI with 5.1 audio running through ARC. I love the simplicity of it.
 
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:55 pm

Arvald wrote:
Things like CEC and ARC are a reason for not using the Toslink.
I have a good setup running 4K over HDMI with 5.1 audio running through ARC. I love the simplicity of it.
OK, that makes a lot of sense.

I guess I just have never had a good experience with CEC or ARC yet. Perhaps it is just the hardware that I have connected to my TVs or the TVs themselves, but I have not been able to achieve the same simplicity or consistency with the just HDMI solution as I have with the HDMI input and optical audio out. Whenever I have tried using CEC, the TV would turn off at odd times (like PC resolution changes going into games) and the input changed sporadically whenever I had multiple devices on at the same time. My current solution has one more cable, but I've never had a problem with it and I still only ever need to use the TV remote.

I'll have to take a look at CEC and ARC again next time I upgrade hardware.
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Re: Simple HTIB options

Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:37 am

I use CEC at home not by purchase intent, but just by coincidence. I couldn't be happier with it, though.

The surround system turns on when the TV does, the volume rocker for the TV works for the speakers, but using the TV's OSD. I can configure the surround mode and presets through the TV too and the only thing the TV or TV remote cannot control is the DVD player which I haven't used in, oooh, ever.
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