HDMI question

All the snazzy new TVs are using HDMI, Blu-ray is going to use HDMI, but I can’t figure out one thing about it even after some Googling. HDMI handles audio and video, right? How does 5.1 sound work, then? Does the TV have speaker terminals to wire the speakers to, and have 5.1 and DTS decoders built in? Or does it have a passthrough to a receiver? If so, is that another HDMI cable, or is it optical?

As far as I know HDMI doesnt do 5.1.


HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel, 192kHz, uncompressed digital audio and all currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby Digital and DTS), HDMI 1.3 adds additional support for new lossless digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.

And yes to get 5.1 you’ll need a receiver. To get TrueHD and DTS-HD with HDMI 1.3 you will need a 1.3 HDMI compatible receiver.

Actually I think there are some TVs that have passthrough optical or coaxial out but those would be very rare. My TV for instance (Aquos) has optical out but it’s only for OTA HDTV.

I route the HDMI through my Denon receiver, then out to the TV or projector. The receiver is smart enough to pull the sound from the incoming signal and process it properly, then route the video signal out to the display. One cable from the input device, one cable to the display. Alas, there are still six sets of cables going to the speakers from the receiver. But it all works great.

It sounds like ideally everything goes through the receiver, then. Thanks.

Great! So now I gotta buy a new TV and a reciever with HDMI? Man…FUCK Sony and their fucking PS3! Those fuckers!

Sirius-ly: I didn’t know about that HDMI reciever business. Does anyone want to buy a used 5-disc Sony DVD/SACD player/AV switching reciever with 5.1 DD and DTS decoder built-in?

HDMI can handle up to 7.1, however if you can find a TV on the market today that can pass the signal then you’re a more discerning buyer than I.

Most companies don’t bother implementing this though, and only will pass 2 channels out, if at all.

In the future we should see more sets that are compliant and take advantage of everything HDMI has to offer - for now it’s like an overglorified DVI connector.

The 1.3 HDMI capable receivers aren’t even out yet and you can bet they won’t be cheap when they are released. edit: Apparently you can pass multi-channel PCM (which is uncompressed audio) over HDMI 1.1 that some existing HDMI receivers support. I’ll probably still use the optical out for 5.1 DD or DTS for a while. It sounds good enough to me.

Here’s a good little article that will give you some help on receivers: