Help me understand and set my television and TiVo box audio settings

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Mikeguy, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Jun 8, 2019 #1 of 17
    Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    24,198
    7,633
    Jul 28, 2005
    I must admit to being confused as to the options I have for my audio between my television and TiVo box, and how to set them for the best sound.

    Audio (from OTA reception) goes from my TiVo Bolt box to my Samsung SmartTV via HDMI cable, from there ending via optical cable at a Samsung 4.1 soundbar with wireless subwoofer and surround sound speakers.

    TiVo box audio options: Dolby Audio or PCM

    Samsung SmartTV audio options:

    -- HDMI Input Audio Format: Bitstream or PCM

    -- Digital Output Audio Format: PCM or DTS Neo 2:5.​

    Preferred settings? Is it preferred to be consistent between the 3 settings one way or the other (Dolby Audio/Bitstream/DTS Neo 2:5; or PCM/PCM/PCM) and then to compare results, or does it not make any difference? Thanks--
     
  2. Jun 8, 2019 #2 of 17
    Willy92

    Willy92 Member

    58
    17
    Oct 12, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Set them all to PCM.
     
  3. Jun 8, 2019 #3 of 17
    Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    24,198
    7,633
    Jul 28, 2005
    Thanks. And why/why not to Dolby Audio/Bitstream/DTS Neo 2:5? Should they all be consistent to the PCM side or the Dolby side, or ?, and why/why not? Just trying to understand why I should be doing it.
     
  4. Jun 8, 2019 #4 of 17
    PSU_Sudzi

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

    2,185
    764
    Jun 4, 2015
    Philly suburbs
    Try both settings and see which one sounds better and keep it. For me DD sounds much better.
     
  5. Jun 8, 2019 #5 of 17
    tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

    464
    171
    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA
    It's quite possible that your Samsung TV can't pass most, or even any, bitstream formats such as Dolby Digital or DTS- in which case PCM is your only real choice.

    Optical audio can only typically handle Dolby Digital 5.1, and some modest forms of DTX- it doesn't have the bandwidth for lossless signals such as Atmos or DTS:X. DTS Neo 2:5 is a Matrix virtual surround sound format, which is typically applied by the audio system (and not passed through)- it's taking 2 channel PCM and creating a virtual 5 channel soundstage, similar to Dolby Pro Logic, and others.

    Does the sound system have an HDMI jack, even better HDMI with ARC capability? If you connect the sound bar audio to an ARC enabled HDMI port on the TV, you would have full lossless bitstream capability, and no worries on having to change inputs.
     
  6. Jun 8, 2019 #6 of 17
    tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

    464
    171
    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA
    If the TV can pass DD+, and the soundbar can decode DD+, you can set the Tivo for that output, and what you end up with is the sound as intended by the program creator. That said, matrix sound processing, again applied at the final step before it hits the speakers, and usually by the sound bar, can change or influence the sound to create space or effects that didn't exist in the original, but sound good in your room. That application occurs at the last step, so it's not likely that your TV will output a matrix virtual surround sound product to your soundbar.
     
  7. Jun 8, 2019 #7 of 17
    Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    24,198
    7,633
    Jul 28, 2005
    I understand the purpose of the TiVo box's audio output setting, and I understand the purpose of the Samsung SmartTV's audio output setting, but what is the purpose of the Samsung SmartTV's "HDMI Input Audio Format" setting--shouldn't the television simply accept the audio that the TiVo box is outputting? Or is the television unable to decipher what it is receiving and needs to be told? In which case, the television's HDMI Input Audio Format setting needs to match the TiVo box's audio output setting, right?

    And then, more generally, do all the settings need to be "consistent" with each other (and so, the settings for TiVo box output, Samsung SmartTV input, and Samsung SmartTV output should be set to either Dolby Audio/Bitstream/DTS Neo 2:5, or to PCM/PCM/PCM), or can they be "mixed up," and is there any benefit to one approach or the other?
    Presumably, from its option choices, the Samsung SmartTV can receive either Bitstream or PCM, and can output either DT Neo 2:5 or PCM.
    The Samsung soundbar only accepts optical via its optical port.
     
  8. Jun 9, 2019 #8 of 17
    tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

    464
    171
    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA
    In your current configuration:

    Tivo Box < HDMI > TV <S/PDF Optical> Sound Bar

    Everything being sent from the TV to the Sound Bar is going out in 2 channel stereo (PCM), so it doesn't matter what format you're sending to the TV, as the TV is down-mixing that source to PCM for optical output. The Sound Bar will accept that as a default, and you can apply any matrix surround sound processing that the sound bar offers. If the sound bar will accept Neo 2:5 from the TV, it's a step that's not necessary, as the TiVo can't produce that in the first place: the TV is creating 5 discrete channels of sound from a 2 channel source. The sound bar may just as likely have that as an output option, so better to apply that processing at that point, rather than at an intermediate step on the TV.

    If the TiVo is the only source that you are using for the sound bar, you can connect the optical cable directly from the Tivo to the Sound Bar, which would then allow Dolby Digital to pass to the sound bar. If you have other devices involved, and are using the TV as a hub, you could add an inexpensive optical switch, which would allow you to connect up to three optical inputs that connect via optical to the soundbar.

    The TV HDMI audio input should be set to match whatever selection is coming from the TiVo, but it shouldn't matter on the output, as the that sound is being down-mixed to PCM 2.0 for the optical output.

    Finally, it's helpful to keep input to and output from the TV in the same format, as transcoding or other processing can introduce sync delays between the sound and picture.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
    Willy92 and Mikeguy like this.
  9. Jun 9, 2019 #9 of 17
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    8,751
    632
    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    @Mikeguy , I sympathize with your situation. I have my Roamio (base 4-tuner) connected directly to a 48" 2015 Samsung smart TV (via HDMI). The TV has a confusingly complex array of audio menu setttings, a lot of which I don't understand. And the sound sources (cable TV channels) vary considerably. I've resorted to tedious trial-and-error, costing a lot of time. One of the worst problems was that for some programs the background music overwhelms the spoken audio. I've found a combination of settings that makes this effect barely tolerable, but frequently I resort to closed captions just so I can understand the dialog. (BTW, my wife complains my hearing is bad, so ..... ?)
     
  10. hapster85

    hapster85 Well-Known Member

    941
    324
    Sep 7, 2016
    Is this a recent purchase? Recent enough to return? If so, I'd take it back and get one that supports HDMI input/output. You'll get far better sound quality from your soundbar that way.
     
    Willy92, chiguy50 and kpeters59 like this.
  11. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    24,198
    7,633
    Jul 28, 2005
    Nope, from 1-1/2 years ago, before I even started understanding (lol) some of this stuff, and when I really didn't want to spend much for a soundbar. But, it was a nice Black Friday deal and for what I need (a smaller space), it really is sufficient.

    Just trying to get the best audio out of it as possible, and even understand a little bit of this jazz, which just doesn't seem to be explained much in the components, especially the interoperability. I even called Samsung and asked how I could obtain a manual for my TV that explains the options and features, and was told that none exists (nor had I been able to find one, a real manual). o_O
     
  12. hapster85

    hapster85 Well-Known Member

    941
    324
    Sep 7, 2016
    Oh I understand. I researched my TV and other components before purchasing them, and I was fairly confident about what I knew. The problem was not knowing what I didn't know. Lol. Still learning.
     
  13. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    24,198
    7,633
    Jul 28, 2005
    It's interesting that you mention this: I just watched "BlacKkKlansman" on Blu-ray a week ago, and that's what I found--the music was much louder than the dialog, and I kept on having to lower and raise the volume. I've never had this before, and assumed that it was the movie/disc, as I hadn't changed any audio settings.

    This all is a bit argggh, a reason I thought to seek the advice of folks here--thanks, I'm learning.
     
  14. rpj22

    rpj22 Active Member

    139
    31
    Mar 26, 2016
    SoCal
    To me, the single biggest advantage of 5.1 sound has been having the center channel dialogue. Losing that in a configuration that converts/combines it back to stereo pretty much never has a happy ending for me.
    Next time that happens, do the sort of thing suggested earlier and move your optical cable from the TV output to the Blu-ray player output (while making sure that the player is setup to output DD.) Or, if on the TiVo, to the TiVo output, with output set to DD.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    Willy92 and Mikeguy like this.
  15. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    24,198
    7,633
    Jul 28, 2005
    Way helpful, thanks. Need to digest my best options a bit, but seemingly it really coming down to, with my equipment: PCM from the TiVo box to the TV, and then PCM to the soundbar; or a direct TiVo to soundbar connection and then trying out Dolby (candidly, I had forgotten that the Bolt has a separate optical out--another variable).
    Quick question: I understand other reasons not to be setting the TV's audio output to it, but is DTS Neo 2:5, which my Samsung TV can export, considered to be 2-channel/PCM 2.0? Thanks--
     
  16. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    24,198
    7,633
    Jul 28, 2005
    Thanks, realized that as well--have had all audio going through my TV, but realized that, in addition to the possibility of having my TiVo's audio going directly to my soundbar, can be doing that with my Blu-ray player as well. Think I need to be looking into an optical switch for the soundbar (which has a single optical input).
     
  17. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

    464
    171
    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA
    Neo 2:5 is a matrix sound field, creating a virtual 5 channel sound from the 2 channel input (thus the "2" to "5" designation). Like all matrix sound, it's creating the effect just prior to playback, and it can easier create this from a source that has been encoded (created) with a Prologic soundtrack. Neo is a DTS product- a competitor to Dolby- and is marketed to be used in place of Dolby ProLogic matrix tools. In other words, it creates a center channel and a single surround channel (spread across the two surround speakers) from the mixed source. I suspect the sound export is a two channel bitstream that is remixed during the matrix sound creation by the TV, but I'm not certain of that. A 5 channel export would be odd, although not impossible- although many audio devices wouldn't know what to do with it.

    PCM is typically the straight 2 channel stereo, and you shouldn't hear any rear channel sound. Your sound bar may, on its own, create a center channel from a 2 channel PCM source... again, doing its own type of matrix sound processing.

    Neo 2:5 from the TV out to Neo 2:5 on the sound bar input may work, but I don't know if it's going to sound much different than a straight PCM from the TV, with Neo 2:5 applied by the sound bar. A rule of thumb with audio is that layers of post processing are rarely a good thing. I have a Yamaha AVR in my bat-cave, and I can apply a bunch of different matrix effects to a Dolby Digital 5.1 feed- but there's not a lot of reason to listen to Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune as if you were sitting in a Vienna concert hall.
     
    Mikeguy likes this.

Share This Page