sound confusion (1 Viewer)

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
286
Texas
Hi,

I am completely confused.

Last week I bought a little WD HDTV Live Plus box.

I have a Vizio 32" flat screen TV.

I also have a home theater satellite tuner setup.

I have an RCA 5.1 stereo amplifier.

I have the satellite PC sound connected to the RCA with a laser cable. I can see a red light in the cable.

The PC is connected to the TV with an hdmi cable but no sound goes through the cable because it makes a terrible popping noise in the TV speakers like a clock ticking. So the PC is connected to the tv hdmi port that has video only and it ignores the hdmi sound. If that makes any sense. That's why there is a separate sound cable that goes from the pc to the RCA. This was not my idea or doing, my ex hooked all this mess up. I asked him why he did it this way and he said this was the only way it would work properly without the popping sound.

Well, whatever. It works. It's complicated but it works and I have no idea how to change it anyway.

So I bought the little WD thing and put it on the other hdmi port of the TV. It works just fine. It plays video and sound on the TV through the hdmi wire just fine. BUT, the TV only has two speakers and it didn't sound so great after being used to my RCA 5.1 speakers.

So I wanted the WD to also go through the RCA speakers like the satellite does.

I bought another laser sound cable and connected the TV into the RCA.

Then I went into the TV menu and turned off the TV speakers.
Now when I use the TV tuner the sound goes through the RCA and it also does the same when I play the WD on the TV.

So now ALL the sound, be it from the TV tuner, the WD box or the satellite pc, all plays on the RCA 5.1 and it all goes through the laser cables.

It sounds really good now but I'm not sure what I'm doing. On the TV menu there was an option for the sound that I had to pick either Dolby Digital or PCM. It doesn't say what that is for, it doesn't say which is better, doesn't say if it applies to the TV tuner, hdmi ports or whatever. It assumes you know what to select already. :mad:

Another huge annoyance is that now the TV remote control no longer controls the volume or mute.

When watching satellite, there is a remote control for the pc tuner cards and it controls the volume and mute among other things. I just turn the RCA on and forget it. The pc is run directly into the RCA stereo by laser wire. I do not use the TV remote control when watching satellite.

Before I put a laser wire between the TV and the RCA, the TV remote would control the volume of the TV speakers when using the TV tuner or the WD box. Now it does not at all. The TV remote no longer has any effect on the sound at all, no volume, no mute control.. :(

When watching TV or the WD box I have to use the crummy little remote that belongs to the RCA stereo to adjust volume and mute it. I hate that remote control. And now I went from having one remote (satellite) to FOUR remotes.
1. TV
2. Satellite
3. RCA
4. WD Live+

I know this sounds confusing and stupid. I guess that's because it is.

What I'm wondering is,

1. What do I set the TV to? The options are PCM or Dolby Digital.
2. Is there anyway to get the TV remote to control the volume like it once did?
3. Is there anyway to consolidate all these flippin remote controls into ONE remote? This is extremely annoying more than anything.

I own some weird remote that I can't figure out. My ex told me it's not compatible with my satellite. The only thing I can do with it is turn an OLD TV set in the kitchen on and off. I bought this thing several years ago for like $150 because it was supposed to be able to operate any and everything in my house. I never figured it out and I lost the booklet for it a long time ago.

It would be awesome to get all these darn remotes working on this one remote, I like it because it lights up and I can see it in the dark unlike all the other remotes that I can not and always have to turn the darn lights on to operate them, every time.

Is there any hope to this mess??

Thanks guys! :)
 

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jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,654
3,221
Sheboygan, WI
The Radio Shack Remote probably isn't going to work.

The TV Remote may work if it is of the universal type. The problem is that the optical output is raw audio and isn't controlled by the TV for volume or muting (you already found that out) so you need to control those functions with the RCA. You can do that if you can add the code for the RCA to your TV's remote control.

As for DD/PCM, use whichever one works with the RCA. If they both work, it doesn't matter much. There are geek type details, but I wouldn't sweat them.

If you can't get the TV remote to accept the codes for the RCA, you should consider looking at a Logitek Harmony remote. There are several models available. They are pretty easy to program and use, and you would be able to replace ALL your remotes with a single unit.

Amazon.com: Logitech Harmony 650 Remote Control (Silver): Electronics

One thing that is very nice about the Harmony is that it gathers everything you need to do an activity (like 'watch satellite') into a single button press so you don't need to remember all the sequences. It is internet based programming, so you select your devices from very long lists. I have never found a device that didn't have codes available.
 

diogen

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 16, 2007
4,313
0
My understanding is RCA 5.1 stereo amplifier is a multichannel receiver and you use optical cables.

>>>> 1. What do I set the TV to? The options are PCM or Dolby Digital.
Dolby Digital (DD) is compressed and PCM is uncompressed sound.
DD sound has to be decoded (i.e. converted to PCM) before it can be sent to the speakers.
Since your TV does not take part in decoding/reproducing audio, the selection you make won't affect the sound chain.
>>>> 2. Is there anyway to get the TV remote to control the volume like it once did?
Volume can be changed only on the PCM level. Since the TV does not "see" PCM audio, the answer is no.
Unless the TV remote can be programmed to control the receiver as well, you can't avoid using the RCA remote.
>>>> 3. Is there anyway to consolidate all these flippin remote controls into ONE remote? This is extremely annoying more than anything.
Like jayn_j said, Harmony would be your best bet.

As a sidenote: you use your TV as a pass-through device for the audio coming from the WD TV.
If that is compressed (DD) audio, your TV might be stripping it from 5.1 to 2.0 (most TVs will do that).
In other words, try to avoid using the TV as a pass-through device.

Diogen.
 

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
286
Texas
The Radio Shack Remote probably isn't going to work.

The TV Remote may work if it is of the universal type. The problem is that the optical output is raw audio and isn't controlled by the TV for volume or muting (you already found that out) so you need to control those functions with the RCA. You can do that if you can add the code for the RCA to your TV's remote control.

As for DD/PCM, use whichever one works with the RCA. If they both work, it doesn't matter much. There are geek type details, but I wouldn't sweat them.

If you can't get the TV remote to accept the codes for the RCA, you should consider looking at a Logitek Harmony remote. There are several models available. They are pretty easy to program and use, and you would be able to replace ALL your remotes with a single unit.

Amazon.com: Logitech Harmony 650 Remote Control (Silver): Electronics

One thing that is very nice about the Harmony is that it gathers everything you need to do an activity (like 'watch satellite') into a single button press so you don't need to remember all the sequences. It is internet based programming, so you select your devices from very long lists. I have never found a device that didn't have codes available.

Thank you for the reply and info.

I tried both the Dolby and the PCM and both seem to work, I can't hear any difference, they both sound the same to me. My hearing is slightly impaired so I can't hear subtle differences anymore. I do like the 5.1 speakers though, I can hear sound out of them all and it's kind of cool to have the speakers behind me. Sometimes they scare me, I won't be expecting it and all of a sudden something plays on the rear speakers and I jump!

As for the remotes, none of them are "universal" at all. Each remote is a single, unique remote to it's own parent and none of them have the option or ability to control other stuff. The Radio Shack was supposed to cover that. It says it's a 6-in-1 and when you light it up it has buttons for satellite, DVD, stereo, TV, etc.
I just have no idea how to set it up.

I will take a look at the remote you mentioned, nothing in this world would please me more than to have one single remote control to deal with all this stuff. It's a real nightmare. I even have a remote for my FAN and two remotes for the two different digital picture frames. And there's a remote for my air conditioner too! It's just nutty.. I have remotes all over the place and when I want to sit down and watch something I have to find them all then sit and fiddle with them until I find the right one. It's so darn annoying!

Thank you.. :)
 

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
286
Texas
Well after playing "click EVERYTHING" for half an hour it seems that no matter what options I select, I just don't have any control over anything. It just does what it bloody well wants to do and how it wants to do it.

I did discover that the TV speakers are still working even though I opted to turn them off via the TV setup menu. Earlier I thought they were off because the volume on the TV speakers was very low. I pushed mute on the RCA and I heard sound on the TV. Hmmm. So I raised the TV volume and sure enough, the speakers are still working. That's for tuner mode or for the WD Live box. But the TV speakers work independent of the RCA. And raising the volume on the TV speakers has no effect at all on the RCA speakers.

I guess it will take me a few days to figure out what is going on here.

But, I do have to say, while it is an inconvenient pain in the rear to operate all that stuff, it sounds fantastic!

You lose a little, you win a little. :)
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,654
3,221
Sheboygan, WI
What is the model number of the Vizio? I can try and look up the manual for some hints on what is happening.
 

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
286
Texas
What is the model number of the Vizio? I can try and look up the manual for some hints on what is happening.

I am not 100% sure because the thing is mounted way high up on the wall and it's impossible to take it down or see behind it. It was a miserable nightmare putting the cables on it, I have small hands and even so it was really hard to get back in there, I ended up cutting my hands all up in the process. :mad: What a really bad design.. :(

I ~think~ it is a Vizio VW32L HDTV30A. That's what the windows display manager says it is.
I don't have the manual for it and the Vizio website says it's a discontinued model. Big surprise there. I think everyone discontinues EVERYTHING about 3 months after it hits the stores.

Doing some reading on other things I have learned that the sound cables are called "optical cables".. Really?? :confused:

They use LIGHT to carry the sound and WIRE to carry the video? How stupid is that?? :confused:

I can't seem to find out if there are really lasers in there, I made that assumption because I see red light in the wires. Oh well, whatever....

I was reading the manual for the WD TV thing and it said that there are three settings in the WD box for sound. One is "stereo" for two or four speakers, another is "digital" for 5.1 surround and the third is "Digital without HDMI audio" and sends no sound through the hdmi cable to the TV and instead sends the sound through the optical sound connection on the WD box. Later this evening I will set it to the second option. I tried all three earlier, not having any idea what they were about and I found that I got sound on the first two and no sound at all on the third. Now I understand why #3 didn't work.


I guess the the TV just can't control the volume of the optical sound. :(
Oh well..

I suppose that's just how it will be.

But what really grinds on my nerves is that now when I want to watch anything I have to keep track of half a dozen remote controls! And being that this is for the TV in my bedroom the remotes are always getting lost in the covers and I'm constantly turning on the lights to either find a remote or to use a remote (can't see the buttons)... :rant:

I was looking at that Harmony remote and that looks pretty good. But I think I want to go for the bigger remote that controls 15 devices. I have enough stuff around here that it would be AWESOME to have just one remote to replace all the others. Fewer batteries, fewer snipe hunts through the blankets and probably fewer headaches in general. It's pricey as heck so it's something I'll have to save up for and make some cutbacks on other things to manage it but I think it would be worth it.

Thanks! :)
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,654
3,221
Sheboygan, WI
Here is the manual link: http://vizio.com/documents/downloads/hdtv/VW32L/Manual.pdf

The description on page 24 and section 3.3.7 on page 44 say that turning off the speakers should mute the TV speakers. A possibility is that you may need to repeat that for every input you use. I have seen that before where each input has an entirely independent set of menus. Also, if you go with the harmony remote and leave the volume all the way down and muted, you will never change it with the harmony because the volume control will be attached to the RCA.

You might also want to look on the top of page 64. That gives you the remote codes, and you could use that to set up the universal remote for the TV. Still wouldn't get you the 1 remote solution, but it would cut the clutter a bit.

I sympathize with the inputs being hard to get to, and I have a few scars myself. Problem is that they are trying to balance an easy to change feature with the ability to hide the cables. If they put them on the side, the cables tend to stick out. Not sure there is a solution that makes everyone happy.

I personally have three Harmony remotes. The home theater uses a Harmony 1, and I love that one. It has a color touch screen which is very easy to use as well as a cradle and rechargable battery. I only use it with a half dozen devices though (projector, BluRay, HD-DVD, Laserdisk, cable box and receiver). Not sure how many it handles. I bought mine at a Black Friday sale for $110, so it might be worthwhile to shop a bit and find a good price.
 
Last edited:

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
286
Texas
Here is the manual link: http://vizio.com/documents/downloads/hdtv/VW32L/Manual.pdf

The description on page 24 and section 3.3.7 on page 44 say that turning off the speakers should mute the TV speakers. A possibility is that you may need to repeat that for every input you use. I have seen that before where each input has an entirely independent set of menus. Also, if you go with the harmony remote and leave the volume all the way down and muted, you will never change it with the harmony because the volume control will be attached to the RCA.

You might also want to look on the top of page 64. That gives you the remote codes, and you could use that to set up the universal remote for the TV. Still wouldn't get you the 1 remote solution, but it would cut the clutter a bit.

I sympathize with the inputs being hard to get to, and I have a few scars myself. Problem is that they are trying to balance an easy to change feature with the ability to hide the cables. If they put them on the side, the cables tend to stick out. Not sure there is a solution that makes everyone happy.

I personally have three Harmony remotes. The home theater uses a Harmony 1, and I love that one. It has a color touch screen which is very easy to use as well as a cradle and rechargable battery. I only use it with a half dozen devices though (projector, BluRay, HD-DVD, Laserdisk, cable box and receiver). Not sure how many it handles. I bought mine at a Black Friday sale for $110, so it might be worthwhile to shop a bit and find a good price.

Awesome! Thank you!

One thing I do when looking for deals is I have the Invisiblehand plugin for my browser, InvisibleHand: Home

It's pretty cool but not always 100%. I also have several shopping assistance apps installed on my iPhone to help me look for bargains as well.

The Harmony remote is pricey enough that I'll take my time to search for a super bargain on it. Besides, I have to save up anyway, the price of groceries is killing me these days!


Oh, and the cables. What they ~really~ need to do is make white wires! There's a whose mess of ugly black wires hanging down the wall from my TV. I ended up stapling a large sheet of white paper over the wires to sort of hide them. It's not the best solution but it's slightly less ugly than the bare wires.

The people that design this stuff obviously aren't married and must live in a bunker or a warehouse where the "heavy industry" look is the in thing.
 

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,654
3,221
Sheboygan, WI
White HDMI cable: For only $2.99 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 6ft 28AWG High Speed HDMI Cable w/Ferrite Cores - White | 28AWG HDMI High Speed Certified Male to Male Cables
Cheap. They have other lengths in white (and other colors) as well.
EDIT: Actually, I would do this one. Better quality cable: For only $6.34 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 6ft 24AWG CL2 High Speed HDMI Cable w/ Net Jacket - White | Premium 24AWG HDMI High Speed Certified Male to Male Cables

White power cords are fairly easy to find. If you want to work a bit and get something cleaner, do a search for a "power bridge". That device will hide the wires in the wall. Try this:
For only $43.69 each when QTY 50+ purchased - Recessed Pro Power Kit w/Straight Blade Inlet White | Recessed Low Voltage Cable Wall Plates

It is possible to do a very clean install with a small amount of effort. The power bridge hides all the wires so it looks like the TV is floating on the wall.
 

Dee_Ann

Thread Starter
Angry consumer!
May 23, 2009
3,420
286
Texas
White HDMI cable: For only $2.99 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 6ft 28AWG High Speed HDMI Cable w/Ferrite Cores - White | 28AWG HDMI High Speed Certified Male to Male Cables
Cheap. They have other lengths in white (and other colors) as well.
EDIT: Actually, I would do this one. Better quality cable: For only $6.34 each when QTY 50+ purchased - 6ft 24AWG CL2 High Speed HDMI Cable w/ Net Jacket - White | Premium 24AWG HDMI High Speed Certified Male to Male Cables

White power cords are fairly easy to find. If you want to work a bit and get something cleaner, do a search for a "power bridge". That device will hide the wires in the wall. Try this:
For only $43.69 each when QTY 50+ purchased - Recessed Pro Power Kit w/Straight Blade Inlet White | Recessed Low Voltage Cable Wall Plates

It is possible to do a very clean install with a small amount of effort. The power bridge hides all the wires so it looks like the TV is floating on the wall.


Hmmm, interesting...
Next year I plan on getting a larger TV to replace the 32 I have now (a 50 or 60 :D ) but before I do I am going to strip out my bedroom and remodel everything, new furniture, etc.. I'll definitely look into these options because I want it too look really nice and not all ghetto like it does now..

Thanks! :)
 

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