Quick Question About Toslink Cable

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by downingp, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. downingp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2006
    I was wondering if I should be able to get 5.1 surround sound out of a Toslink cable? I have a 2011 Mac Mini and would like to have an HDMI cable running from the Mac Mini into my Panasonic TV and then a Toslink cable from the TV to my Pioneer receiver. The problem is, when I setup it up this way, I am only able to get 2 ch. stereo and when I try to play a surround sound movie within Plex, I get static. Is this normal?
    I could have my mac mini going to my receiver via HDMI and then another HDMI from my receiver to my TV to get 5.1 sound, but I have found that I get a few blue screens and then some flickering on my TV before everything settles in. It's not a huge deal, but I have found with the HDMI and Toslink connection I get a very brief blue screen and then everything is good.
    I have tried changing the audio settings within Plex from HDMI and digital as well as the output without success.

    Any suggestions? Thanks in advance.
  2. ppc_michael Guest


    Apr 26, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Toslink is certainly capable of 5.1, yes. But do the videos you're trying to watch contain 5.1 channels?
  3. downingp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2006
    Yes, all of my videos have 5.1 surround sound because when I strictly use HDMI, I get my movies in surround sound.
  4. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    try going toslink directly from the mac mini to the receiver, you'll need an adaper like this or get a mini toslink to toslink cable.

    sometimes TVs don't pass properly, it might be a setting in your TV is wrong, or your TV isn't able to handle that type of audio.
  5. roidy macrumors 65816

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    As far as I know, the toslink output on most if not all TV's is only for outputting surround from the in-built tuner and wont pass through surround from a HDMI input.
  6. downingp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2006
    I am sorry for the elementary question, but does the new 2011 mac mini have a spot to insert a mini toslink cable? Is it just the headphone jack where I would plug in the mini toslink?
  7. roidy macrumors 65816

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    Yep, the headphone jack is also the mini-toslink jack.
  8. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Yep as posted u wanna go from the mini to your amp of you'll end up with audio delay issues
  9. kirsch92 macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2009
    It's not your cable, its the TV.

    The optical output from TV's was designed to pass only 2 channel PCM so the user couldn't send a clean digital 5.1 signal to recording equipment via a reciever.

    There were several TV's (the older Pioneer Plasma's) that had no internal speakers, but came with an external soundbar, and were able to bypass the law that way. But AFAIK there are none currently on the market.

    My two Panny plasmas do not have any audio sync issues when passing 2 channel PCM but the sound level was so low its almost useless when coupled with the low audio output from Handbrake transcodes.

    Sure would be nice to send one signal from the TV to the stereo though.

    There is an HDMI switch sold thru monoprice that has a digital optical output that is said to pass the 5.1 signal. The reviews are pretty decent. What stopped me is the need to use a remote to switch inputs. It does not auto switch, and my Harmony remote is full of devices.

    My 2 cents
  10. downingp thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2006
    Thanks for the input. So if I get a mini-toslink to toslink either adaptor or cable going directly from my mini to the receiver, I should be good to go?
  11. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Yes, this is the way to go. As others have pointed out, most TVs don't do 5.1 passthru.
  12. ACKRITE macrumors member


    May 11, 2008
    West Hartford, CT
    When I run my HDMIs (X360, Comcast STB/DVR) directly to my Sony XBR LCD, which then has an optical TOSlink down to my Yamaha YSP-4000, the soundbar reports that it's receiving a 5.1 channel signal. Is it lying to me?
  13. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Most != all but it's impossible to answer your question with what you've provided. XBR is a product line spanning many years. How about a specific model number for others to use to verify? It's unlikely that the soundbar is lying but we're just speculating at this point.

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