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Broken Optical Output?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by decubs, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. decubs

    decubs Cool Member

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    Hi all,

    I've been having to 'share' my optical (TOSLINK) cable between my new Blu-Ray player and D* box, and I think I may have broken something in the box last night, trying to plug the TOSLINK back in. When I tried to plug the optical back in, it simply would not go, and the input itself looked a bit ragged; I couldn't look further in because of the red laser shooting out of it, but is it possible to damage this input? Realize this sounds like a dumb question, but I seem to remember there being some sort of little flap or gate on the input and wondering if I accidentally snapped it off and got it wedged inside?

    Does anyone know if there's a fee or hassle to replace a box for this reason?

    Thanks!
     
  2. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to get a replacement if the optical output is broken. It's free if you have DirecTV's Equipment Protection Plan, otherwise it's ~$20 for shipping.
     
  3. MartyS

    MartyS New Member

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    Did you sign up for the protection plan? If so, and it is not working, they'll most likely replace it. But since you're seeing the laser. it might not be the door stuck in there...

    However, they will probably want to send out a tech just to be sure that it's the box. On a lark, have you tried a new TOSLINK cable? I had a problem with a TOSLINK, and when I did some maintenance on my entertainment unit, and plugged back in the cables, the problem started to happen on my DVD. Turned out that somehow I broke the fiber (or whatever) in the cable. Once I put on a new cable, it worked fine.

    You also might want to consider an HDMI/OPTICAL switcher. I have the Octava 4 port switch... http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI switch 4port_toslink.htm ...and it works like a charm.
     
  4. beer_geek

    beer_geek Legend

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    The little door broke on mine during initial installation. So I wouldn't be surprised. I was able to get it out and it works just fine.
     
  5. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    Jackson

    Do a menu restart and when all the lights go out, pull the power to the DVR. This way you can work on getting the optical door flap out without the red light blinding you. Also, go buy second optical cable, you can order very good quality ones for under $10 from monoprice.com. That way you arent constantly disconnecting it from the back. Personally, at the very least they should charge you the $20 S&H fee since you broke it from abnormal use. Those types of connections are not meant to be plugged/unplugged alot, they just arent designed for it and you can avoid it for the price of a $10 cable.
     
  6. beer_geek

    beer_geek Legend

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    Jun 14, 2007

    Or, in my case, once.
     
  7. mdavej

    mdavej Hall Of Fame

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    Decubs,

    If one of your devices and your receiver can handle digital coax (looks like an RCA jack), then it'll work just as well as optical and you won't have to swap your toslink cable all the time. You can pick up one for just a couple of bucks at monoprice.com.

    In any case, I'd get a needle or something and try to dig out that broken flap first, like beer_geek said, to avoid the hassle of a replacement.
     
  8. decubs

    decubs Cool Member

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    Jan 7, 2008
    Thank you all so much. I'll definitely try some surgery before I go and order a new box (especially since there's no other compelling factor to get a new box... yet).

    But if that doesn't work, I'll look into digital coax - can it handle 5.1 and all that, just like optical?
     
  9. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    The red light that you see is actually just a common red LED, not some sort of high powered laser bent on burning your retinas.
     
  10. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Digital coaxial is actually better than optical.
     
  11. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

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    Nov 13, 2007
    Oh, THIS I've got to hear...
     
  12. Spanky_Partain

    Spanky_Partain Active Member

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    Why?
     
  13. RobertE

    RobertE New Member

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    Maybe the shielding on the coax prevents all the captive 1's & 0's from trying to escape and return to the wild? Or maybe the 1's are straighter and the 0's are rounder or more oval, take your pick. ;) Other than that, I got nothing. :confused::lol:
     
  14. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

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    I wasnt going to be the 1st one to call him out, but I called shenanigans as soon as I read that.
     
  15. houskamp

    houskamp Active Member

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    I had the door break on one of mine too.. without the door the cable doesn't latch well.. I managed to hold it in place and get the cable in.. still have that dvr.. just been so long I don't remember which one it is anymore :)
     
  16. MartyS

    MartyS New Member

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    And, this is true because? Really, man... sometimes you can't just make a statement of "fact" without backing it up with any real facts.

    At least point us to a source to support that. If it's so much better, then why does almost any high end receiver have multiple optical inputs and maybe a single digital coax input? Could it be that optical really is better than digital coax? If not, why would respectable manufacturers make high end units that don't give the user the highest quality (per your statement) inputs and advise using digital coax?
     
  17. jeffshoaf

    jeffshoaf Icon

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    The optical link requires two additional conversion stages - once to convert the signal to optical, and then another to convert the optical back. Some folks believe any conversion affects the signal, so if you subscribe to that, then you'll think the coax is better.

    But I would think that the coax outputs and inputs are buffered to prevent damage if connected to an incorrect source; the buffering could possibly have just as much signal degradation as the optical conversion. If that's so, then it becomes device dependent - does a particular device use a better coax buffer or a better optical converter?

    The standard coax cables and connections are a lot more robust than the fiber optic cables and connections; but then again, the optical connections aren't subject to oxidation.

    All of that being said, I doubt there's enough degradation of the digital signal using either connection type to have a noticable affect for the viewer/listener. I believe it all comes down to convenience - what inputs/outputs are currently available on your system and what kind of cable do you have handy. ;)
     
  18. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    Greater bandwidth. Think of this in terms of the HDMI cable specs recommended for 7.1 audio. There's also a school of thought that says that "jitter" might be worse in optical cabling. Remember that Toslink is typically not some fancy LASER and optical grade glass fiber affair: Toslink is usually a cheap red LED and some sort of plastic fiber with not-so-sure connectors on it. Toslink is rated for UP TO 10' and beyond that, the light loss and diffusion MAY begin to audibly degrade the signal.

    The reason that there used to be fewer coaxial connections was that the devices that you might hook up didn't need the bandwidth for 7.1 channels of audio. If you look at some of the newer gear, the coaxial connection count is significantly higher than it used to be (just as the HDMI input counts run higher now). Yamaha has a coax jack for every optical port these days.

    The reason that it doesn't matter in the DIRECTV world is that the audio is at most DD5.1. DIRECTV's receiver feature table clearly states that the SD DVRs don't support DD5.1, but the manuals say otherwise.
     
  19. houskamp

    houskamp Active Member

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    And don't forget those "Monster" cables too... :rolleyes:
     
  20. Spanky_Partain

    Spanky_Partain Active Member

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    Good information! Thanks!
     

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