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My TV is a Samsung UN55ES6150F - the specs say it has "1 Digital Audio (Optical) ports used to transmit digital audio streams between components without interference."
and, 1 Audio Out Mini Jack - Stereo port for media players, cameras, and other devices to run audio into or out of the TV.
My question is, what is the configuration of the sound coming from each? I don't need full five channel home theater, rather I just have two nice bookshelf speakers (Paradigm Titans), one on each side of the TV and I want to get a sound bar for the center channel/voices. Right now I don't have the sound bar and it's still pretty good as the Titans give a good representation of the voices into the center. (Right now I have the audio coming from my Tivo Premier box going directly to the receiver. But, that doesn't help with DVDs, so I'd like to have the TV audio going directly into the receiver.
I am pretty sure the Audio Out Mini-Jack is just stereo but I am wondering what the optical output will do.
Optical out is also stereo. You only need stereo, right ?
GLH is right that the output is almost always stereo. It's a digital signal so the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) in your receiver will offer the best sound quality.
The only time you may get 5.1 from this connection is if you are using the TV's digital tuner to decode HD television programming. In this instance, you would either have an OTA antenna or cable feed connected directly to the TV with a coax cable. For any HD channels decoded by the TVs internal tuner, you may get a 5.1 channel audio signal from the TV's optical output.
Some "Smart TVs" will also offer a 5.1 signal output from certain applications (Netflix, Amazon, etc.).
Thanks, but this is confusing. Are you guys saying that to get 5.1 - or in my case I want two side speakers plus a center/voice channel - every device, DVD and TV-source (in my case Tivo Premier) have to be direct connected to the receiver? That would mean that I'd have to select each source with the receiver whenever I wanted to watch it. I'd prefer just to turn it on and have it reflect anything that the TV was showing.
So, what is the recommended procedure for connecting all these devices? Am I missing something?
Either way, you’ll be switching the source selection somewhere. Ideally, you’d have a receiver with HDMI switching so you would only need to switch the source on the receiver. If your receiver does not have HDMI, then you would have to match the source selection of the receiver and TV.
In the second scenario, you would connect the digital audio output (optical or coaxial) of the sources to your HT receiver and the HDMI outputs directly to the television. Without an HDMI capable receiver, this will be the only way to ensure you’ll get the discreet 5.1 channel audio from your sources through the receiver and connected speakers.
Now, as usual, there’s a “convenience vs. performance” decision to be made here. If you prefer the convenience of using the TV as your only switching device, you can connect your sources to the TV and the optical output of the TV to your receiver. While you will not get the benefit of a 5.1 signal, your receiver should have surround modes (I recommend Dolby Pro Logic II) to utilize the center channel speaker even though the source will only be stereo (2 channels).
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