Thursday, June 18, 2015

HDMI Cable does not broadcast sound to the Stereo Receiver

Solution: On a new TV, connected to a stereo Receiver, sound does not broadcast to the stereo.  TV sound only works through the TV's internal speakers.  This article discusses the solution.

Symptoms:
No sound is heard from an HDMI-connected TV/Stereo.
The Receiver is older than apx 2012 / 2011, the TV is new.
When the TV's internal speakers are used, sound works properly.
Other devices, such as an HDMI-connected DVD player or Game Console do play sound through the stereo.

Issue:
Even relatively new stereos may not support the "ARC" HDMI standard (Audio Return Channel - Sony branded "ASC").  ARC/ASC allows audio data to be transmitted down to the stereo, from the TV's inbound HDMI cable.

Because of this, you will have to use a secondary audio-output cable, usually an optical cable, to route sound outbound from the TV to the receiver's inbound ports.  Thus, there will be two cables running from the TV to the Receiver.  If your receiver does not have optical ports, you could reluctantly use old-style RCA jacks.


Pres-requisites:

a.  Confirm the TV is not set to Mute
 
b.  Confirm the TV's internal speaker settings are set to "Stereo" (or the non-internal speakers).  This is controlled by the TV's setup menus.
 
c.  From the Receiver's side, confirm the TV's HDMI cable is connected to the HDMI Output port (Important:  This is not a normal HDMI input port).

d.  Confirm the other end of the HDMI cable is connected to the TV's INPUT HDMI port.  On my TV, this is labeled "ARC".  Use this port even if you do not have an ARC-compatible receiver.


Solution 1:

1.  Replace the stereo with an ARC-compatible stereo receiver.  At the time this article was written, I did not try this solution, opting for solution 2.  But later, I did buy a new receiver, solving the problem.

Although expensive, there is one minor benefit:  The TV's remote will control the stereo's volume up/down.  Without this, you need one remote for the TV and a second for the stereo.  The stereo's remote will be used mainly for the volume, and little else.  You could substitute a universal remote and program-around this. 

Solution 2:

1.  Run an optical cable from the TV's optical-out port to the receiver's TV Input port.  This is what I did and I used a RocketFish branded cable.

Learning from my experience, a 4-foot (1.3M) optical cable was not long enough to comfortably reach the cabinetry directly below the TV.  Save yourself a second trip to the store and by a 6' or 8' (2M) cable.


(If you do not have an optical port, use a red-and-white RCA connection, but with this option, your equipment is probably too old and you should consider a new receiver.  You will be missing out on other HDMI benefits.)

Solution 3:

By a Sound-bar and bypass/discard the receiver.  I did not try this option.


Comments:

Most people chose a simpler design and route all equipment directly to the TV, allowing the TV to be the central hub.  I did not do this because of the cable-mess behind the TV.  Instead, I recommend routing all connections through the stereo receiver.  With this design, the TV needs  3 cables:  1 HDMI, 1 power, and unfortunately in my case, 1 optical -- a fourth cable if you are using a wired Cat-5 cable.  If I had a slightly more modern receiver, I could dump the optical.


If you find the optical cable does not work, as in my case, try a different port on the receiver.  If this still fails, consider the possibility the TV's port is bad.  Some have suggested a can of compressed air may fix bad ports.


*With an HDMI-connected DVD/BlueRay player, the very act of turning on the DVD player's power is enough to automatically switch the TV's INPUT to the DVD.  This happens even though a stereo receiver was in the middle.  How cool is that?  You may not be impressed, but just last week, I retired a 30-year-old TV with RCA connectors.  My friends have welcomed me to the modern age.

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