How would I hook up my cable box to surround sound?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by applefan289, Feb 7, 2012.

  1. applefan289 macrumors 68000

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    #1
    My cable provider advertises that the channels/programs are in 5.1 surround sound. I cannot find a clear explanation by searching Google about how to hook up my set top box to surround sound. I currently have a surround-sound Blu-ray player that I hardly ever use, and would like to use those 5.1 speakers with my cable box. Any general knowledge of home theater setups would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
     
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    Need to tell us what outputs the cable box has and what inputs the 5.1 system has
     
  3. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #3
    It is the RNG110 from Comcast. The inputs are shown on page 6 of this PDF:

    http://media2.comcast.net/anon.comcastonline2/support/help/faqs/settopboxes/pacerng110.pdf

    The Blu-ray player has an HDMI out and has 5.1 Channel speaker output connectors, aux in jacks, HDMI out jack, and an external digital optical input jacks
     
  4. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #4
    So your 5.1 speakers are connected directly to the blu-ray player?

    If your blu-ray player has an HDMI in, then connect your cable box to that. Else, if it has a digital optical in then use that, and send the video direct the tv via hdmi.
     
  5. gramirez2012 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Are the surround speakers connected directly to the blu-ray player, or are they connected to an AV receiver? If the former, use an HDMI cable. If the latter, use an optical audio cable from the set top to the receiver.
     
  6. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Yes

    Ok - so that means the Blu-ray player would have to constantly be on? Is there any accessory I can buy that allows me to hook up my 5.1ch speakers directly to the cable box?
     
  7. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    Yes it would have to be on and no you can't hook the speakers up directly
     
  8. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #8
    Yes and no.

    If you don't want the Blu-Ray player to always be on, you could buy an A/V receiver but that would always have to be on.
     
  9. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Ok, and would it have to work the same way if it were not surround? What if I just wanted external stereo speakers?
     
  10. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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  11. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Also, I'm guessing it won't have the same effect if I connect a speaker to the TV's optical audio-out jack, right? I assume the signal would be way worse coming from the TV's processing.
     
  12. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

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    #12
    If you connect your cable box to your Blu Ray player using optical out. You can turn your blu ray on when you want surround sound and turn it off when it isn't so important.

    Your Blu Ray player is basically an AV receiver, just with a blu ray player attached.
     
  13. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #13
    Excellent, that sounds like the way to go.

    Do you think this one is okay to use?

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dynex&#...3223&skuId=9699131&st=optical cable&cp=1&lp=1
     
  14. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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  15. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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  16. applefan289 thread starter macrumors 68000

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    #16
    I actually had an optical cable lying around the house, and hooked it up. The sound was really good, and as I was going through the "setup" on the RNG110, I noticed that "highest" output was "stereo". I have seen Comcast advertise that some programming is 5.1ch, but the cable box seems to only output stereo. Regardless, the sound was good. After enjoying it for a little while, I ended up disconnecting it because it is not a user-friendly setup.

    While the cable box is on, the BD player is in some sort of "sleep" mode where it passes on the sound without being on completely (which is good). When I want to watch a Blu-ray, it stays in this "sleep" mode even after I turn it on. And when I want to change a setting on the Blu-ray player while the cable box is on, I can't because it's in sleep mode.

    It's nothing overly-difficult, I'm just not satisfied with the awkward steps I have to go through in order to make the Blu-ray (and A/V) receiver function the way it should in all situations without going through tedious menus every time I want to watch a movie (like change the "output" sound on the cable box from "TV speakers" to "stereo", and then back again when I'm finished). I would rather have a more seamless experience and separate the cable box from my Blu-ray player, rather than mixing everything together and having to mess with things every time I want to switch back and forth.

    Also, every time I would change a channel when connected to the speakers, the sound would either be very low, or way too high. When I put the volume higher on the lower-volume channels, and then switched it to another channel, the volume would blow my ear drums out!

    If I ever wanted to be serious about this, I may hire a home theater guy to set things up correctly...
     
  17. samiwas macrumors 65816

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    #17
    True. Never buy cables from Best Buy. So overpriced, it's ridiculous. Monoprice has everything you need for way, way cheaper. There's supporting American companies, and then there's just blatant ripoff.

    And whatever you do, never buy Monster Cables. That company is one of the most dishonest companies in existence.

    As for the OP, it would have really helped if you had posted the model of the Blu-Ray player as well. I find it really odd that the Comcast Box does not have any options other than Stereo, though.

    EDIT: While searching for some info for you, I found another thread you must have posted where you say the BD system is a Samsung HT-BD1250. This system has only optical audio inputs. There are no other inputs. The only way your setup will ever work is by running an optical audio cable mentioned in some posts above between your cable box and the BD player. That is all you need. $2 and 10 seconds. Somewhere, you've got to be able to select 5.1 sound on the cable box.

    There's no reason to have to hire a home theater professional for this. Also, there should be no issues with having the BD system on when listening to sound/watching TV...that's kind of what it's designed for.
     

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