DD 5.1 and OPTICAL out NOT a problem of the 811?


Supporting Founder
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Oct 11, 2003
I have found that the Optical out of the 811 is not at fault when you are not receiving sound through your receiver. The 811 needs to be set at DD/PCM and your receiver should be set at either AUTO or DD/PCM for the optical input that you are using for the 811 to work. I believe that for most of you that are having problems the problem is with your receiver settings and not your 811.

I have had two 811's and they worked exactly the same way. I have a DENON 982 and have noticed that if you set the receiver to PCM only or DD only you do not get any sound most of the time. However, on the DENON there is an AUTO setting and I get sound all the time. My uncle's Yamaha works with the DD/PCM setting. Trying to use just one setting seems to do the same as the Denon--no sound. I do not use RCA jacks on my 811--just the Optical.

There is an easy way to check your optical out port. If there is light coming out of the Optical jack on your 811 then the port is working. No light -- than it is not. Plug in your Optical cable and look at the other end--light your cable is working--no light cable is not working or it is not seating in the optical port correctly.

I came to the above conclusions from experience with a Toshiba DVD player whose optical out worked exactly like the 811's does. If you did not chose the DD/PCM setting I could not get sound out of the player thru the optical port. I just applied that experience to the 811 and my optical port started working and has worked ever since.

Now concerning the audio drop outs--this has nothing to do with the Optical port. I have tried mine with the RCA jacks and have experienced the same thing happening. The audio drop outs only happens when you switch to an HD channel. Does not make a difference which way as the lose of signal is only on HD channels. This includes OTA HD and the HD channels being provided by E*. This even happens switching between HD channels--even from the same station.

My conclusion on the audio drop out is that it is not the optical port but the problems the 811 is having switching between a HD channel and any other channel. It is losing the audio sync with the picture and is not finding it until you switch between channels. Sometimes going to an SD channel and back to the HD channel you are trying to receive is all you have to do. I believe this to be a software not a hardware problem.

Initally in my area when all the stations went to HD there was a problem with the ABC station losing its audio. This usually happened when you switched to their station. Sometimes after a minute or two the sound would come in and sometimes you had to switch back and forth in order to receive it. The problem was in ABC's Psip information. It allowed your HD receiver to lose the audio sync and some receivers could not sync the audio. It took them 3 months to correct this problem.

I am not saying that your 811 is not dysfunctional--just that there are other reasons the optical port might not be working and from my experience when there is light at the optical out port than the receiver settings is 90 % the fault most of the time when dealing with an Optical signal. I just hope that this post can help some of you. :)
I have the RCA audio out jacks going to the appropriate input jacks on my RCA 38310 and have the optical going to my Pioneer DVX-510. I have the HD sent through the component because the RCA doesn't have DVI. I have checked the RCA television owner manual and I have the audio for the component inputs attached to the correct input jacks. When I have the RCA television set on component, I only get sound out of the Pioneer. It does no matter whether they are HD or SD channels. When I have the RCA set on S video or on the RCA video input jacks the sound comes out of the RCA television speakers and the Pioneer.

YOU WERE RIGHT !! After reading your post, I pulled out my receiver instructions (Technics SA-DX1040), read how to change the settings, pushed the correct button, and presto -- the receiver showed a digital signal. Flipping thru the movies that were then playing, on the third one I got a full 5.1 soundtrack. I guess it was me all along.

So now, since they fixed the darkness problem with the HD component outputs (in software 2.63), all they need to do (in my humble opinion) is fix the darkness for the S Video output (and probably for the composite output for people who use it), and then get the whole thing more stable, so we don't have the occasional sound cut out.

Overall, I have to say I have joined the ranks of those who are pretty much happy with the 811.

They really need to get the EPG fixed too. I know that I only get about 2 hours worth of guide instead of the 2 days, and if I watch my locals OTA for any period of time and then try to pull up the guide, I have to wait while the 811 searches for the satelite.
set the receiver to PCM only or DD only you do not get any sound most of the time. However, on the DENON there is an AUTO setting and I get sound all the time.

It's odd that even with the 811 off the TOSlink port on the back panel glows red. But my AV receiver gets DD 5.1 with my other dish receiver a 501 DVR. Then I just unplug the 501 and plug the cable into the 811 and no DD sound. Same settings all the way around and same DD program.

My Onkyo sound AV receiver auto sets what kind of sound is coming in the optical port. With the 811 the Onkyo front panel displays dolby digical but no sound. So dish needs to fix it.

IT IS THE 811.
Congradulations Albert! I was hoping that my post would help some of you having difficulty getting the Optical output to work. I have found that going back to the receiver manuel is a good tool when changing any settings on your receiver. This includes setting up your speakers for the correct crossover for you subwoofer.

Timothy, I did not say that all 811's are working correctly. Just that I believe that 90 % of them are. It is very possible that you have a defective Optical port. Just call E* and they will send you a replacement as soon as they have one in stock. If the second one does not work than you will need to reread both manuels for your settops to see if they handle the Optical port differantly. Good Luck

Ray, I used to own a Pioneer receiver and I know that there is a specific setting for using Optical all the time with your receiver. If it supports mulitple Optical inputs you will have to make that adjustment in your receiver.

On the 811 you can only use the Componet or DVI hookups. If using the DVI the Componet will be shut off. The only other connetor is the SVHS. I run both to my Pioneer 630HD. Video does not have anything to do with the audio. I run only one Optical cable to my receiver and it does not make a differance if I am watching video thru SVHS or DVI. The audio is from the Optical port. My old Pioneer receiver worked pretty much the same as my Denon does. The Denon has more settings but on multiple Optical uses they work the same. Try going back thru the receiver's manuel for Optical settings and see if a change will help you. Good Luck :)
"On the 811 you can only use the Componet or DVI hookups"

On my 811 I can use both at the same time, no problem.

Pioneer Receiver does not get DD

While I understand that some receivers have internal DD/PCM switches, my Pioneer VSX-498 does not that I can find in the manual. I have a dvd connected to one optical input assigned to the DVD front button. I have the 811 connected to the second optical input assigned to the TV/SAT button. When playing a DVD I get DD 5.1 and it lights up seven different indicators on the front panel. When I swap the assignments for the two optical ports, I receive DD 5.1 and all appropriate indicators on the front panel while the TV/SAT button is pushed. With respect to the 811, when assigned to either optical port, the ONLY sound received is when the DD settings on the 811 is set to PCM only, not DD or DD/PCM. It shows up as a digital, but not DD on the front panel. I can only surmise that the 811 is not sending a signal that my receiver identifies as DD.
I too can get both DVI and Component working at the same time on my 811. In fact, I use both comparatively in a PIP format to see which gives the better picture. BTW, I have a Mitsu WS-55613, if it matters
JoeSp said:
Timothy, I did not say that all 811's are working correctly. Just that I believe that 90 % of them are. It is very possible that you have a defective Optical port. Just call E* and they will send you a replacement as soon as they have one in stock.

I called E* to report this problem 3 weeks ago and they would not send me a new 811. They said it was a known issue and a new 811 would not fix it. I believe them. My 501 works fine, but my 811 does not.


Has Dish ever come back to you with ANY info on the Audio problem??
I have identical problem with my 501 / 811 combo.

I did not notice it prior to the software ver. 263 update. Believe me I would have noticed it.

Like you my 501 works fine with everything else.

Nope, no help from E*. I don't really expect anything from them. As you can see, it only happens with certain audio processors. I'd guess that this problem will continue until I get a new audio system.

hey osxguy:

Well after living with this for the past couple of weeks I rolled my T.V. out and swapped out the optical cable from my DVD player (monster) with the optical cable (RCA) from the Sat box. Guess what. Now that I have the Monster cable in place my problems are ALL GONE.. My digital sound from my 811 to my Onkyo 501 now works perfectly!!!
Obviously the RCA brand cable was bad. (one of those RCA HI-Performance Digital cables) I guess it wasn't so hi performance after all.
Yeah, I can chime in with my own happenings.

I have had my 811 for just about a week now and my reciever is setup for DD 5.1 it even lights up blue when it gets the signal for DD. I have been watching channels and the DD had been working until last night. I switched the channel and boom the DD was gone, now I cant get DD at all on my HD channels.

I have to set the 811 to PCM in order to get sound, if I set it do DD/PCM I cant get any sound on my HD channels but sound does come through on none HD channels.

Nothing was changed on my reciever, so I have no idea what went wrong.
Well I wanted to double check, so I used the same optical cable and the same input and plugged my xbox into it, yep DD 5.1.

So I unplugged my 811 for a few seconds, let it grab the signal again, and what do you know. I have DD 5.1 again, very odd.
Only had my 811 drop Audio to my Pioneer 811-VSX a couple of times. Changing channels to a non DD broadcast and then back to the digital channel cleqred it up no problem. I am using a $9 3' OPtical cable by Dayton (Partsexpress house brand which is surprisingly nice).

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