S3 Hookup to Home Theater system?

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by headless chicken, Aug 24, 2006.

  1. headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    Oct 8, 2004

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    Though I've been a loyal TiVo subscriber for 2 years, I've decided to try out my cable company's DVR service since it's got HD recording capability, unlike TiVo at the moment. However, when S3 comes around, I do plan on going back to TiVo if the price is right. However...I have some concerns regarding the hookup.

    I've purchased a Panasonic 42" plasma (TH-42PX60U) that I'd like to connect to a home theater system. Because I spent most of my budget on the TV and it's accompanying stand, I don't have much money left for a home theater system. Thus, I've opted for a Home Theater In a Box, or HTIB. The Panasonic HTIBs don't have any digital inputs, despite having HDMI. Since I'm a newbie to all this, does that mean I can't enjoy Dolby Digital from my TV shows? Also, if I were to hookup the display to a S3 TiVo with HDMI (I noticed the S3 have one HDMI input), how would I carry the signal to my Panasonic SC-HT740 which doesn't have any digital inputs? I'd be converting the signal to analog... How exactly are these S3s meant to be hooked up in the grand scheme of a HDTV and HT?

    If anyone has any knowledge or experience with HTIBs, I'd appreciate some advice. I have yet to pick up my HT system, so I may opt for another one if I can find what I'm looking for under $500. Your help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. mallpig

    mallpig New Member

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    Aug 19, 2004
    Derry, NH
    I wouldn't buy a HTIB without at least 1 digital audio input. I own an Onkyo HTIB that I picked up for less that $300.
     
  3. headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    I seem to be missing the point. Isn't HDMI a digital input, with audio and video consolidated into one cable?
     
  4. kturcotte

    kturcotte Active Member

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    Portland, ME
    HDMI does carry both the digital audio and video, but without am HDMI connection on the HTIB, you have no way to connect them. You're either going to have to run analog audio output from your display (If it has outputs), or run the HDMI cable directly to your tv and the analog audio into your HTIB. Without a digital audio input, you're NOT going to get dgital audio into it.
     
  5. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Yes, if properly implemented. However, considering your HTIB doesn't even have a digital input like optical or coax, I have serious doubts about whether they would have implemented support for the audio portion of the HDMI signal.

    The S3's are meant to be connected to a surround sound system by either optical (most commonly) or HDMI.
     
  6. kturcotte

    kturcotte Active Member

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    Dec 8, 2002
    Portland, ME
    Will they have analog audio outputs though? Has Tivo revealed what it will have for inputs/outputs?
     
  7. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    DC Metro Area
    The Series3 will have two sets of stereo analog outputs, but you can't get Dolby Digital with that.

    Tivo Series3 Pictures (courtesy of Megazone)

    Front
    Rear
    Rear closeup
     
  8. headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    Oct 8, 2004
    This is the model in question.

    Then why bother having HDMI at all? I guess the confusing part is that the receiver is the HDMI out portion, while I need an equivalent HDMI in from the TV...right? I suspect the receiver supports the audio stream from the HDMI, but people are griping about not having the additional digital audio inputs from other devices that don't support HDMI. That, or I still don't understand why HDMI is such a limitation
     
  9. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    DC Metro Area
    headless,

    To get sound through HDMI from the Series3, the setup would need to be like this:

    HDMI output from Series3 -> HDMI input on HTIB -> HDMI output on HTIB -> HDMI input on TV

    I just looked at the manual for your HTIB. It has an HDMI output for the DVD player transport, but I don't see a HDMI input. You need a HDMI input.

    It looks like that HTIB offers surround sound only from the built-in DVD player, and doesn't support surround sound from any other source, be it a Series3 Tivo, PS3, or HD-DVD player.

    Any chance you can return that HTIB? There are other affordable alternatives.
     
  10. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Alternatives to a HTIB...

    Receiver: Panasonic SA-XR57 ($250-$300)

    Speakers: You can get a great set of stereo speakers for a bit over $100/pair. You could start out with a stereo or stereo + center pair and then add surrounds and a subwoofer when finances permit. See the AVS Forum.

    DVD Player: Oppo DV-970HD ($149) or Oppo DV971H ($199)
     
  11. headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    Thanks, bkdtv. That makes sense.

    I'm miffed because the system would have been great had it had the correct input/outputs. I'd like to find some affordable tallboy speakers because all the entry level Onkyo, Harman Kardon and most Yamahas are all boxy things which will require me to purchase seperate stands or wall mount them, which is a hassle and doesn't work well in our space.

    So, the general consensus seems to prefer components to a HTIB. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  12. lynesjc

    lynesjc New Member

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    Feb 10, 2005
    Simpsonville...
    Serious A/V people are going to always recommend separate components over an htib. We all make the journey at some point.

    That being said, if you're not particularly inclined to be an audiophile, several htib's could fit the bill. You've correctly indentified the chief problem with most htib's: lack of connectivity.

    The Oink and Yammy htib's tend to be good choices because they tend to be built around a decent entry-level receiver. You can often get good deals on refurbed htib's from Onkyo USA's website. I've owned one previously and got one for my brother recently as a graduation present and can attest to their good value.

    I would personally recommend that you would be better off with a separate receiver, speakers, and dvd player.

    Onkyo or Panny (digital only) receivers are good budget choices.

    For speakers, not too many value oriented tall-boy designs. The Athena Micras are a well-regarded sub/sat system that won't break the bank.

    You could certainly get those and a receiver for around $500 and be way ahead of the htib game. I assume you already have a dvd player. If not, I wouldn't recommend putting alot of money into one given how low the intro price is for hd dvd.

    As for the S3, we are all eagerly awaiting product details from an official source. Digital sound will flow from, apparently, either the fiber optic or hdmi output. The extent to which the S3 will support digital audio over the hdmi connection remains somewhat of a mystery at this time. I'd be surprised if it's not supported though.
     
  13. CCourtney

    CCourtney Member

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    Mar 28, 2006
    El Dorado...
    For the built in DVD player, that's also the only reason it's a DD5.1 setup.

    Pack the thing up and head back to the store. I'm not for buying HTIBs, but if you'e going to buy one make sure it can do what you want it to do. This one is useless as a receiver.

    CCourtney
     
  14. headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

    435
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    Oct 8, 2004
    Thanks, everyone. I returned the Panny SC-HT740 last night and decided to go with a seperate receiver and speaker system, but I'm still not entirely sure how integral having a receiver with HDMI in/out would be. Aside from the Panasonic SA-XR57 bkdtv suggested, I can't find anything in my new price range (<$400 receiver).

    Ideally, I'd like to setup my system with HDMI out from TiVo S3 to the receiver, and then HDMI from the receiver to the display. However, I wouldn't be compromising if I used digital optical to run the audio into the receiver from the TiVo, would I? What about the video signal? Do I need to run that to the receiver as well (I don't see why I would), or can I just run the video from source to TV since the TV has HDMI input?

    I was considering the Harman/Kardon AVS240 receiver in conjuction with the Onkyo SKS-HT240 Home Theater Speaker Kit. The receiver was rated #1 in Consumer Reports (2005), and the speaker package is an editor's choice item on CNET. I can get the receiver and speaker set for a little over $300 each. What do you guys think?
     
  15. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    headless,

    I would head over to the AMPs, Receivers, and Processors forum on AVS. Any receiver reviewed in 2005 by Consumer Reports will be extremely dated. Check the speaker forum too.

    You can use digital optical to the receiver. HDMI holds no advantage over optical for DVD and TV content. You could then run the video from the Series3 directly to the TV's HDMI input.

    Note you'll want a receiver with HDMI 1.1 if you ever intend to get a HD-DVD player. HD-DVD and Blu-ray use higher fidelity audio formats and you need HDMI (or five analog inputs) to take advantage of those. Again, for standard Dolby Digital 5.1 from DVD and TV, optical works just as well.
     

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