TV to AVR - HDMI or optical?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sdilley14, May 3, 2014.

  1. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

    Feb 8, 2007
    Mesa, AZ
    I have done a bit of research on this, but I haven't really found a definitive answer.

    I just got a new receiver - the Yamaha RX-V475. I am trying to figure out the "optimal" set up. Right now I have my cable box (Charter), PS3, and Apple TV running directly to my TV via HDMI, then I have the TV connected to the AVR via a digital optical cable. It sounds great to me. However, I have heard that, with most TVs, the sound that gets transmitted to the AVR through optical is stereo rather than 5.1? And that it can't handle Dolby HD signals. Is that correct? I have a traditional 5.1 speaker set up, and with my current connection scheme, I'm getting sound out of all my channels and it sounds just fine.

    So I'm wondering, would I be better served connecting my TV to the AVR via HDMI instead? And if it is better to connect through HDMI, is it a vast difference, or rather marginal (it will be a bit of a pain to change everything over, so I want to be sure it will be worth it). Also, if I decided to connect all of my peripherals to the AVR via HDMI (pass-through?), does the AVR have to be turned on for those to work?

    My TV is an LG 55LM4600, if that makes a difference.
  2. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    My preference is to set up a system in reverse of how you've set up yours, with the receiver as the "central hub". I run everything to the receiver, then a single HDMI cable from the receiver to the TV. In my mind, the TV is nothing more than a "dumb" display panel.

    A few of the advantages of running everything through the receiver 1st:

    1) For Bluray, you will be able to take advantage of advanced "HD" audio, beyond stereo and Dolby 5.1.

    2) You can keep the display off and play music via the PS3, AppleTV, etc.

    3) It is easier to add/remove components. Simply plug something new into the receiver, regardless of using the HDMI or other inputs. For instance, you can add an additional media box like as a Roku or something as simple as a camera by connecting into the receiver. When you switch the receiver to the correct input, the TV will display for that added device. No fiddling around with the hard to reach inputs on the back of a TV.

    You would have to keep the receiver powered on at all times while using. But to me that is not a negative as I would never use the TV's built in speakers anyhow.

    Also, if you haven't already done so, invest in a programmable remote such as a Logitech Harmony. They really help with a more complex system and truly eliminate the need for multiple remotes.
  3. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    It will be marginally better. Optical is fine for most all 5.1 sound, HDMI can do the 7.1 uncompressed/lossless stuff.

    I'd buy the amazon basics HDMI cable for 6 bucks and call it a day.

    edit: just reread your post. "Optimally" you want everything run through your AVR receiver via HDMI and then HDMI from the receiver to the TV. You'll only have one HDMI cable plugged into the TV.
  4. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    Yes, the preferred setup is to use your new receiver as the hub and only run one HDMI cable from there to the LG TV. Others have correctly pointed out the advantages.

    One thing to check on: Many of the newer Yamaha networked receivers have a very nice iOS remote control app. Look to see if this supports your receiver. If so, it is much easier to use than the Yamaha remote control. Look in the Apple iOS app store for "Yamaha AV controller version 4.0".
  5. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    you may be getting sound out of all your speakers, because the receiver is creating simulated surround from the stereo signal.

    in looking at your manual (page 40) there is a "straight" button on the remote, if you press that, you'll get sound only from the speakers that you're getting signal from.
    (in straight mode, the indicators in the bottom right of the display should show what kind of signal you are getting)
  6. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    From what I've seen (as I recently bought a new TV, an LG 42LB6300), most TVs these days don't pass surround from the HDMI to the optical to be sent to a receiver. It seems the expectation is that people buying high-end TVs are going to have a receiver with HDMI inputs.

    This is a problem for me as my 15 year-old RCA surround receiver doesn't have HDMI. Debating what I'll do about it.
  7. sdilley14 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Feb 8, 2007
    Mesa, AZ
    I downloaded the app right away and have been using it. It's quite nice!


    Great info, thanks!!

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