Home theater frustrations

Discussion in 'General Home Theater Discussion' started by lparsons21, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Master
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    I've got a Sony 900 75" 4K TV, Samsung HW-K950 5.1.4 ATMOS soundbar and Xbox One S. And of course some source boxes like Tivo, AppleTV and FireTV. You'd think that would be a great way to get 4K and great sound. But there are quirks that make it not as good as it could be.

    On the Xbox One S I have the Dolby Experience app that allows for ATMOS support and even twiddles other codecs to give a fake ATMOS. That works on everything but actual discs. That's all fine and works as it should. In order to get that great sound I connect the other source boxes to the Xbox One and there's the rub. The HDMI input to the Xbox doesn't support 4K at all so anything coming in that port gets upscaled by the Xbox. While that does produce a really good picture it doesn't allow for 4K inputs for source material in 4K.

    A workaround is to use apps on the Xbox One and that does work well even though the Xbox One UI and controller, even with a Harmony Elite, kind of sucks. And for Amazon Prime you can't order paid content on the Xbox, you have to order on Amazon or some other way, similar to what the AppleTV makes you do.

    The cure could be an HDMI splitter that has one full HDMI output for video to go to the TV directly and another for just audio. But alas, unless I'm just drawing a blank, there isn't one that would allow me to connect for sound only to the Xbox One that would make the whole thing see that something isn't 4K capable.

    The HW-K950 soundbar is OK without ATMOS source, but REALLY shines when the input is ATMOS.

    Sent from my Google Pixelbook using Tapatalk
     
  2. Foxbat

    Foxbat Addicted to new HW
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    I saw Amazon announced the Fire TV Cube which provides 4K and HDR (but no mention of Atmos) but that doesn't get you UHD disc playback. Apple announced Atmos support for tvOS 12 which should be out this Fall.

    I gather the Samsung sound bar doesn't have many HDMI inputs? And the Sony may not pass Atmos from one of its 4K inputs back to the sound bar, right?
     
  3. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    A conventional AVR might solve your problem. Six or more inputs, appropriate handling of various audio formats and HDMI passthrough for those times that you don't need the full sound system (or you need fallback support for users not familiar with your system). Better AVRs aren't limited to HDMI inputs and that can be a big consideration these days as analog, optical and coaxial digital inputs are disappearing from gear.

    The Samsung is a great system, but it has some sticky limitations as applied to UHD and/or a large number of source devices.

    A "by the book" HDMI splitter negotiates the greatest common denominator and would see that one side could only process audio so the output of both sides would be limited to audio. If it was less than upstanding in its HDMI support, it may see that the TV can't handle ATMOS and negotiate for a lesser sound mode that the TV does handle.

    I think the only way to have your cake and eat it too in the long run is to have a single box that can take all inputs, switch among them and process their audio without emulation or simulation.
     
  4. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Master
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    Yeah, the soundbar is somewhat limited in inputs and how it does things. Unfortunately a conventional AV system won't work for me because of the layout of my home theater room.

    So I got a good 3 port HDMI switch that will switch what I need to the Xbox One. And I've got this:
    coming tomorrow that should allow me to send the audio only HDMI to the Xbox One and video to the TV in 4K. I hadn't thought about the ATMOS issue with the TV. I'll know if it is the solution or not tomorrow or the next day.
     
  5. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Master
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    Some reason the link doesn't show. here 'tis again:

     
  6. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    Fortunately for you, the switch (that was linked to in both posts) doesn't appear to be entirely fastidious about its HDMI support (anything that allows you to diddle the EDID is probably not truly compliant) so it may work.

    Hopefully you can get the audio to sync with the video in all modes.
     
  7. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Master
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    I didn't see the linnk showing up and oddly it thinks it is media.

    The splitter came in and works as advertised. Now I'll need to twiddle with setting up the Harmony Elite a bit better for this change to equipment.

    And video/audio sync is spot on!

    Sent from my Google Pixelbook using Tapatalk
     
  8. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    Probably some brain damage on the part of Tapatalk.
     
  9. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Master
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    In addition to the splitter I just got, I also got a 3 input switch that supports all the latest hdcp/hdmi specs. Here's the one I got:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I have a Tivo Bolt+, AppleTV 4K, and FireTV plugged into the switch. Output goes to the splitter. Video output from splitter goes to the TV, audio hdmi output goes to the 950 soundbar. All this is controlled with a Harmony Elite as of this morning.

    If you decide to get this switch also and have a Harmony remote note that you will have to teach the Harmony Hub about the switch. Even though the Harmony database seems to know about the switch, the controls do not work. Teaching is simple enough and it works quite well. Note that on the switch, when you change inputs there is a noticeable lag while it does the switching, I assume doing a re-handshake of HDMI/HDCP.

    The splitter doesn't need to be visible as there are no remote controls for it as it doesn't need them. Note that you need some more HDMI cables and it can get a bit messy with all those cables.

    So now I have all my devices controlled by the Harmony Elite though I tend to use the Tivo remote when watching via the Tivo as I think it is a superior remote and it allows for voice search which is quite handy.
     
  10. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    This all sounds very complicated and I'm thinking that "a bit messy" is a substantial understatement.

    I hope that some new HDMI or HDCP scheme doesn't punch holes in it.
     
  11. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Master
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    While it does have a slew of cables, it isn’t as messy as it sounds. It isn’t complicated at all though, the Harmony Elite handles it all quite well and setting things up on it was no more onerous than setting other things up.

    If something changes in the HDMI/HDCP arena I suspect it will cause me no more issues than it would others with simpler setups.

    There are bigger issues that someone could solve in the streaming equipment, but various licensing issues keep it from happening. Apple could license iTunes to someone else or someone else could license theirs to Apple for instance and make a ‘one size fits all’ box, but there doesn’t seem to be any movement in that direction.

    Hell, Netflix could make an app that is the same on all platforms, but they don’t. Same for Amazon Prime. It is all about licensing and payments.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
  12. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    Messy is in the eye of the beholder. If you can hide everything, it isn't unsightly, but if you have to work on it, that can be a drag.
    With AVRs, firmware updates are pretty common. I'm not sure you can say that about sound bars.

    In the end, all that really counts is that it works and you don't have to follow a littany of rules and obscure protocols to keep it working.

    I used to think my setup was pretty straightforward until someone wanted to show me something from a camcorder and I had to set up a "scene" to do it.
     
  13. Foxbat

    Foxbat Addicted to new HW
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    And then there's this company who wants to solve your problem by throwing even more money at it...
     
  14. Scott Greczkowski

    Scott Greczkowski Scanning the Skies!
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    I looked as Kava before and while it supports 4K it does not support HDR.
     
  15. Foxbat

    Foxbat Addicted to new HW
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    Yeah, I noticed that, too. I think they need to start over again and by the time they work out the multiple HDR formats and seamless OTT integration, 8K will be here... :D
     

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