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Audio connection to stereo receiver

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
Hello all,

In reading HTPC guides I have seen mention of bit-streaming audio over hdmi. Am I correct in that this essentially means connecting your HTPC via HDMI to a stereo receiver and letting the stereo receiver do the conversion of the audio signal to the correct format?

If yes, then how about if you wanted/needed to connect your HTPC to a stereo receiver via optical? Do you lose that bit-streaming capability?

Looking at something like this motherboard...

http://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/GRYPHON_Z87/#overview

It has an HDMI and an optical.

My receiver does not have an hdmi input. I would think that I could connect the HDMI to my TV (old Sony 65" 1080i, no hdmi) and the Optical to my stereo receiver.

Is that not how it works or is that not a workable solution?

Thanks,

blue.sticky
 

NutBucket

Lifer
Aug 30, 2000
26,363
247
106
If your receiver is old enough not to have HDMI it won't be able to decode the high-def audio formats anyway. Let the computer do the decoding and send that via optical to the receiver.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
Hi NutBucket. Thanks for the reply.

I likely do not have a full understanding of the technical aspects of what I am asking. The one thing I wanted to be sure my htpc can do is to let my receiver decode 5.1 audio from either a BlueRay or a Movie I may watch over cable/FIOS.

Is that not what bit-streaming the audio to the receiver will do for me?

Or I guess for that matter, if the HTPC can decode the 5.1 and sent that via optical to the receiver I guess that is "6 of 1 half dozen the other".

So optical out of an HTPC to a receiver is good to go then?

Thanks,

Maiyr
 
Last edited:

SaurusX

Senior member
Nov 13, 2012
993
0
41
You'll only be able to bitstream DD5.1 or DTS over your optical connection. It doesn't have the bandwidth to pass the high definition audio formats that are most often on blu-ray. For HDTV streams you'll be good to go as that is just DD5.1 always.

As to your other question, you can have the HTPC re-encode the HD audio from blu-ray to either DD5.1 or DTS and then bitstream that over the optical cable.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
Awesome! Thank you both very much for your answers. An HTPC is something I have wanted to do for years and I am finally at a point that I want to start making it happen.

Maiyr
 
May 27, 2008
62
0
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You can either bitstream the audio, which will have your AVR decode the audio track. Or you send the decoded audio via PCM (Pulse Code Modulation), which will have your HTPC decode the audio and send the decoded audio to the AVR.

Optical toslink only supports Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1 or PCM 2.0 (stereo). You will want to bitstream Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 over optical toslink to your AVR if you have more then 2 speakers for your AVR.

All BluRay movies must have a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. It's a requirement of the BluRay spec. Almost all BluRays also include a Dolby True HD 7.1 track. However since your AVR does not have HDMI it is unlikely to support Dolby True HD 7.1.

If you are thinking of ripping your BluRay media to your HTPC you will have to decide which audio track you want to include in the rip. You can choose to rip the DD5.1 track and that will work for your current equipment. You can decide to rip the Dolby True HD 7.1 track and have your HTPC recode this track to DD5.1 so you can bitstream it to your AVR. You would do that if you are thinking of replacing your AVR and speakers in the future to upgrade to a 7.1 surround system and not have to re-rip your BluRay collection.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
Thank you lucklessgorath. That is good info and contains some points I had not even considered.

I have been doing a bit of reading in the last few minutes and it seems that to watch BluRay on my HTPC I'll first have to rip to something like MKV and then watch with VLC, etc... I was thinking it was just pop it in and watch it like any standalone BluRay player. Seems that is not the case, but BluRay is not a priority for me right now as far as my HTPC is concerned, but definitely something I would want to add at a later date.

Thanks again,

Maiyr
 

Automaticman

Member
Sep 3, 2009
176
0
71
I feel like things have gotten a little more complicated than necessary here. The easy answer is this: connect your htpc to your receiver using the optical connection. Set the optical output as the default audio output for your pc, and use MPC-HC to watch just about any video type (just configure it to bitstream the audio formats you want, in this case DTS and DD).

Honestly, forget all the bits about re-encoding audio. It's just not necessary. You'll find that almost all BluRay discs these days use DTS-HD Master as the primary audio. DTS-HD cannot be bitstreamed over optical, but it features a standard DTS core that will bitstream just fine.

Lucklessgorath is partially right about a required dolby digital track, but that is only true for discs that use DD TrueHD instead of DTS Master (as DD TrueHD does not have the lossy core that DTSHD does). Still a bit of a moot point since DTS Master is so much more common anyway.

The other advantage of using MPC-HC for video playback is that recent additions have added BluRay disc playback via built in LAV Audio splitter/codec. MPC-HC will not play the Bluray menu, but you can pick the title you want to watch via a navigation menu. MPC can also bitstream HD audio formats over the HDMI of your video card if you upgrade your receiver. The only sticking point with this is that you will need something like AnyDVD or DVDFab Passkey to decrypt the bluray before your computer can read it.

You can also use something like Arcsoft's TMT player that will decrypt the disc by itself, and also supports bluray menu navigation.
 

Maiyr

Member
Sep 3, 2008
117
1
81
Thank you for your reply Automaticman. Great information indeed and it will certainly come in use once I get started configuring. I am hoping to get started on my build in a couple of weeks and am excited to say the least. :)

Maiyr
 

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