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    Thread: Do I need an HDMI receiver?

    1. Member Flavo Cadillac's Avatar
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      01-26-2012 06:49 PM #1
      My home theater set up is currently being powered by a harman kardon av147 http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/it...ails/538398896 . One of the channels recently stopped working and I really don't see that this thing is worth fixing for what it would probably cost. The only thing that I have hooked up to it other then my tv is a ps3.
      I recently was reading that for the best picture I should have my tv hooked directly to the ps3 (which I do) and the audio w/ another cable. Optical maybe?
      I'd like to replace my cheap av147 w/ a nice used receiver. Units that don't have hdmi are going really cheap and I can get a much nicer receiver then I currently have for well under $200.
      So my real question here is. Do I really need hdmi for what I am doing or can I safely go another route w/out compromising picture or sound?

      Thanks for the help, Mike.

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      01-26-2012 09:59 PM #2
      Since most electronics are going to HDMI, it't much simpler to buy a receiver that has HDMI connections. I wish I had a newer receiver that could take multiple HDMI connections now that most of my admittedly cheap components are HDMI capable.
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    3. Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      01-27-2012 01:37 AM #3
      What are you going to get for under $200 that is nice than what you have now? I mean of course, not refurbished or used.

      I have a 247, and while it is technically a downgrade from my old 300, I think it is far superior in every way except power. It has been so far completely flawless in almost 5 years now.
      Last edited by patrikman; 01-27-2012 at 01:44 AM.
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    4. Member Flavo Cadillac's Avatar
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      01-27-2012 08:10 AM #4
      It will definitely be used. If I just replace my 147 w/ another hdmi unit I will still go used. Looking on ebay I could pick up all sorts of nice older units that I would imagine are built way better then the 147. Pioneer elites and the like can be found really cheaply. I admittedly know very little about home theater stuff though.
      Last edited by Flavo Cadillac; 01-27-2012 at 08:29 AM.

    5. Member Minker17's Avatar
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      01-27-2012 08:48 AM #5
      Having not read the thread, I would say you might as well get it. It will make things much more simpler in the long run.
      Rick
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    6. 01-27-2012 10:57 AM #6
      HDMI is the way to go.. connect everything to receiver via HDMI, then just one cable to the TV.

      Alternately, you can connect everything to your TV via HDMI, then use optical toslink out(if your set has one), and re-route the audio back to the receiver. The TV's setting should allow for audio pass-through. This is how I had my setup before I upgraded to an HDMI receiver .. it worked flawlessly. BUT, your TV must support it.

    7. 01-27-2012 12:54 PM #7
      Whoever told you that you would get a better picture by running your HDMI straight to the TV instead of switching it through a receiver is incorrect. It will be no different, unless you have a defective receiver that is messing up the signal.

      Audio-wise, you give up sound quality on Blu-Ray movies by using optical instead of HDMI. Optical connections do not pass hi-resolution audio (multichannel PCM/Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HDMA), only HDMI does. The benefit of Dolby TrueHD vs Dolby Digital is likely going to outweigh any benefit from a marginally better amplifier you might get in an entry-level receiver like what we are talking about.

    8. Member Flavo Cadillac's Avatar
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      01-27-2012 05:24 PM #8
      My tv does have an optical out for audio. I'm also not swayed by the 1 cable thing. I don't mind running and extra cable and they will be hidden anyway. But what I'm trying to figure, is if there will be a noticeable difference in sound or picture quality. What I think I've heard is that the picture quality would not be affected and the sound quality may or may not be affected. I say maybe won't be affected because it's not like I have real nice speakers. They are just some cheaper polk units that I thought would be on par w/ the 147. Please correct me if I misunderstood.

      I'm switching up the tv room and it also comes down to looks. The receiver will now be seen out in the open and I would rather look at a receiver that I perceive at least to be a nicer unit. So I'm kinda trying to sell myself on the older quality unit that I can afford. Where as I can not afford a quality newer unit. My budget is under $200

    9. Member Flavo Cadillac's Avatar
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      01-27-2012 07:23 PM #9
      Who am I kidding? I will probably end up going over budget and get a decent hdmi receiver.
      I'd still like to know though.

    10. 01-27-2012 07:55 PM #10
      Switching HDMI through the receiver will not adversely affect your picture quality. Using optical instead of HDMI for audio connections will negatively affect your sound quality, with Blu-Ray movies only.

    11. Member GeoffD's Avatar
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      01-27-2012 09:06 PM #11
      Be careful about buying older HDMI gear. Since everything switches through the HDMI receiver, you want that to be up to the latest & greatest HDMI spec.

      If you're 100% HDMI, you don't need to pay for the extras on an HDMI receiver. The entry level Pioneer will suffice. You're not going to get old school power and old school levels of distortion out of a modern dirt cheap "amp on a chip" implementation but something like a Pioneer VSX-821 5:1 is just fine in a small room along with a good sub. $198.00 with free shipping on Amazon meets your criteria.

      http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-VSX-82.../dp/B004M8RPB8

      I own two of them. My beefs about it are the on-screen control is only over old school NTSC video rather than on HDMI and the display menu is right out of an old Radio Shack TRS-80. Other than setting it up, I don't use it. Their higher end AV receivers run the menus over HDMI. My other beef is that it can't shuffle an iPod play list. It only seems to know how to shuffle the whole iPod.

      You can do much better for more money but for $198.00, it's hard to beat if all your electronics is HDMI.

    12. Member Flavo Cadillac's Avatar
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      01-28-2012 10:10 AM #12
      That sounds like a good idea too. Any other models I should be looking at? Or when I'm searching what key words am I looking for to know that I am getting the right receiver?
      Thanks for the help.

    13. 01-30-2012 09:42 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by osiris View Post
      Switching HDMI through the receiver will not adversely affect your picture quality. Using optical instead of HDMI for audio connections will negatively affect your sound quality, with Blu-Ray movies only.
      This, and it really is noticeable on the audio front.

    14. 01-30-2012 03:52 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Flavo Cadillac View Post
      That sounds like a good idea too. Any other models I should be looking at? Or when I'm searching what key words am I looking for to know that I am getting the right receiver?
      Thanks for the help.
      http://www.accessories4less.com/make...eceiver/1.html

    15. Member Flavo Cadillac's Avatar
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      01-30-2012 06:11 PM #15
      Thanks for the link. I did a bunch of research on lower end, newer receivers after that post and decided to go w/ a denon 791. Strangely enough (to me anyway), no Pioneers were on any of the lists for best low end receivers. It was all pretty much denon, onkyo and yamaha.

    16. Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      02-03-2012 01:09 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
      This, and it really is noticeable on the audio front.
      I agree, you may even have a slight delay noticeable with onscreen dialog. This happens to me when I route the sound from OTA antenna from my TV to the AVR via optical.
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    17. 02-03-2012 02:16 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by patrikman View Post
      I agree, you may even have a slight delay noticeable with onscreen dialog. This happens to me when I route the sound from OTA antenna from my TV to the AVR via optical.
      I never experienced any lag, but I know others besides you have. The main issue with routing the sound through the TV then back to AVR is that the optical connection cannot pass through the high-resolution audio on bluray discs like HDMI can, and the audible difference is pretty noticeable.

    18. Member mhjett's Avatar
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      02-04-2012 02:43 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
      This, and it really is noticeable on the audio front.
      Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
      I never experienced any lag, but I know others besides you have. The main issue with routing the sound through the TV then back to AVR is that the optical connection cannot pass through the high-resolution audio on bluray discs like HDMI can, and the audible difference is pretty noticeable.
      A little OT, but I was going to ask why, but the second post explains it - why HDMI audio quality is better than optical digital, but specifically for blue-ray. I currently have a regular DVD player, running the audio to the receiver via optical digital and therefore using the 24bit/96khz D/A converter of the receiver, which is the optimal connection for my setup. First post had me wondering what I'm missing out on, the answer being higher-fidelity (I'm guessing bit-rate) blue-ray audio.

      As to the OP, I got a killer deal on a circa-2006 Pioneer Elite receiver which works for us right now, as we only have one HDMI component (laptop for streaming video), but any more than that and I can see major advantages to a receiver with HDMI switching.
      Last edited by mhjett; 02-04-2012 at 02:48 PM.
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    19. Senior Member patrikman's Avatar
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      02-05-2012 12:44 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
      The main issue with routing the sound through the TV then back to AVR is that the optical connection cannot pass through the high-resolution audio on bluray discs like HDMI can, and the audible difference is pretty noticeable.
      I never thought of that, but mine gets routed to the AVR and then TV via HDMI so I have never experienced it.
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    20. 02-10-2012 10:53 AM #20
      Essentially, neither SPDIF standard (optical, coaxial) has the bandwidth necessary to transmit the high-res audio formats of bluray discs such as DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, and Linear PCM. Bluray player will convert down to DTS, Dolby Digital, or stereo PCM before sending over optical, which according to my ears, gives a noticeable loss in quality.

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