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Need Help on Installing HD DVR with A/V Receiver


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11 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   fredwooch

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 01:19 PM

We just installed the HD DVR (DirecTV HD DVR 20-700?) with our new HDTV (Sony KDL-46S2010). The HDMI cable from the DVR is connected directly to the HDMI input on the TV, and everything is fine when watching programs through the TV's speakers.

For movies and some other programs, however, we want to be able to watch the HDTV picture using our home theater set-up. We have a Denon AV-2800 receiver and six speakers. So in addition to making the HDMI connection directly from the DVR to the TV, I sent a Toslink cable from the digital audio output on the DVR to one of the optical digital audio inputs on the Denon receiver. When I switch the receiver on and set it to the corresponding setting for that digital audio input, nothing happens -- no sound from the receiver and speakers.

Our DVD player works fine through the receiver through a similar set-up (DVD's video out connected to the TV through component cables, and a digital audio out connected to one of the Denon's other digital audio inputs). I also tried to connect the digital audio out from the DVR to one of the other digital audio ins on the Denon receiver that is normally assigned for another a/v source (VDP), but that didn't produce any sound, either. I have switched the TV video sources to all the different inputs (including the alternative S-Video connection I made from the DVD to the TV), but none of them resulted in any sound moving through the Denon receiver and our home theater speaker system. I also can see red light coming out of the Toslink cable when it is connected to the DVD, so I think it's producing a signal.

Am I doing something wrong in the way I have tried to connect the DVD to the home theater system? Is it possible that the Denon receiver is "broken" in some way, or is it something with the set-up I'm using?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. We purchased all the new equipment with the expectation of watching HDTV movies on our great surround-sound system, but we can only use it with the DVD player for now.

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#2 ONLINE   Michael D'Angelo

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 01:22 PM

Did you turn dolby digital on in the HR20 menu?

#3 ONLINE   Michael D'Angelo

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 01:23 PM

BTW :welcome_s to DBStalk

#4 OFFLINE   fredwooch

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 04:38 PM

Did you turn dolby digital on in the HR20 menu?


Thanks for the welcome, BMoreRavens. No, I hadn't originally turned the dolby digital on in the HR20 menu, but I did so after reading your post, and it didn't make any difference -- the Denon still didn't seem to register anything from the DVR.

Is there any chance I should be running an audio cable from the "Optical Out" on the TV itself into the Denon receiver? Should that do anything?

Unfortunately, I don't know that much about how the receiver works, and the manual is inscrutable. For example, it appears that I can set each input to one of three "input modes": auto, PCM, or DTS. When I set it on "auto," a little box lights up that says "analog." When I set it to PCM or DTS, the box indicates "digital." And the receiver allows me to set it to apply its own internal Dolby decoder, but I am assuming I don't want to do that if the HR20 is going to be sending the signal in Dolby to begin with.

Any other ideas?

#5 ONLINE   Michael D'Angelo

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 04:42 PM

Thanks for the welcome, BMoreRavens. No, I hadn't originally turned the dolby digital on in the HR20 menu, but I did so after reading your post, and it didn't make any difference -- the Denon still didn't seem to register anything from the DVR.

Is there any chance I should be running an audio cable from the "Optical Out" on the TV itself into the Denon receiver? Should that do anything?

Unfortunately, I don't know that much about how the receiver works, and the manual is inscrutable. For example, it appears that I can set each input to one of three "input modes": auto, PCM, or DTS. When I set it on "auto," a little box lights up that says "analog." When I set it to PCM or DTS, the box indicates "digital." And the receiver allows me to set it to apply its own internal Dolby decoder, but I am assuming I don't want to do that if the HR20 is going to be sending the signal in Dolby to begin with.

Any other ideas?


No. The optical cable should be coming from the HR20 to the receiver. I know on the Denon receiver you can change the digital inputs to match up with different video inputs. Make sure whatever optical input you are using you have it set to the same video input. You can do that by going into the receivers on screen menu.

#6 ONLINE   Michael D'Angelo

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Posted 22 April 2007 - 04:45 PM

You can check and see if it is working by just flipping through the receivers inputs and see if you get any audio from you HR20 on any input. Then you will be able to tell if the optical input you are using is set for something different then you are trying to use. I am assuming you are trying to use the TV/SAT input.

#7 OFFLINE   rsblaski

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 12:24 PM

I have a Denon 4306 and I assume your 2800 gets set up in a similar manner. The Denons are incredibly versatile, but with that versatility, comes complexity. In this case, you have to assign which audio input you are going to use for each device you want to control.
Connect your optical cable to one of the optical inputs of the Denon (Mine has four, yours may have only three). Then go into your setup menu and select, I believe, the audio input submenu. At that point, you will see all of the available inputs, including, as Steve suggested, the TV/SAT. Cursor down to the TV/SAT and right click on your four way control switch on your Denon remote until you have Optical # displayed. (# being the optical input you plugged your cable into.)
You then back out of your setup menu and you should have your DD sound when you select TV/SAT on your Denon.
BTW, you can rename the input displays that will show up on the front of your Denon. IOW, you can change TV/SAT to read HR20. This makes it easier to know exactly what source you have chosen. In my case, I have two hr20s, so I have them renamed HR20-1 and HR20-2. It makes life a little less confusing.

Good luck,
Rick
Remember, when it comes to audio/video, more is always better. (This does NOT apply to remote controls!)

#8 OFFLINE   fredwooch

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 01:36 PM

Thanks, BMoreRavens and Rick. After playing around with different settings yesterday, I was finally able to make a connection that produced sound through our home theater system. The problem, evidently, was not in the way I had assigned the inputs to the receiver from the optical cable, but in the settings I had been using for the "input mode" on the Denon versus the "Dolby Digital" setting on the HD DVR (as BMoreRavens had initially suggested). I'm not sure exactly which settings I had originally, but -- for example -- when the Denon is set to "DTS," it would not produce any sound, regardless of whether the DVR was set to Dolby "on" or "off." When I set the DVR to "Dolby Off" and the Denon "input mode" to "Auto," I was able to receive the signal and send the audio out through our speakers.

Here's my next question, however, and I am hoping that one of you (or someone else on the forum) may be able to help out. I am handicapped by an almost complete lack of knowledge about how the Dolby decoders work on the different devices, so feel free to send me off to a "tutorial" link or something that might increase my basic understanding. In the meantime, however, I am wondering whether by setting the DVR to "Dolby off," I am losing the benefit of Dolby either for when I send the audio through the Denon receiver or, for more frequent and typical viewing, send the signal directly to the TV's speakers through the HDMI connection.

The Denon, in addition to the different "input modes," also has different "output modes" (for lack of a better and more technical term). That is, the Denon allows me to play the audio in several different "formats," including "direct," "Stereo," "5-channel stereo," "Dolby Digital," and some form of "simulation." We have a six-speaker set-up (including subwoofer), and it seems to me that the audio sounds best when I use the "5-channel stereo" setting. However, in playing around with the different configurations, it appears that I can only use this setting when the DVR is set to "Dolby Digital OFF." If the DVR is set to "Dolby Digital ON," I can press the "5-channel stereo" button on the Denon's remote as hard and as often as I want, but it won't switch to that setting. Instead, I appear to be limited to the Dolby Digital setting, the "Direct" setting (which is pathetically weak), and the "Dolby" setting, which seems to play the audio only (or at least predominantly) through the center speakers -- albeit with impressive sound separation. This is what happens when the "input mode" is set to "Auto." When it's set to "PCM," I seem to get a different range of "output mode" options, but none of them allow me to play in the "5-channel stereo" mode.

Does any of this make sense to either of you, and if so, is it possible to explain it to me briefly?

Also, if I keep the DVR in the "Dolby Digital OFF" mode, do I lose the advantages of Dolby when I am listening through the TV's speakers, or will the TV (a new Sony 720p Bravia) be able to provide the Dolby effects for me? In other words, do I have to keep changing the Dolby setting on the DVR back and forth when I switch between the TV's speakers and the Denon receiver, or can I just leave it on "Dolby OFF"?

I would understand if it is too much of a hassle to try to explain to me why my system does or doesn't work under these different configurations, but if anyone can spare the time for a brief explanation, it would be appreciated. I feel like I've got all this equipment, but I don't really know whether I am taking full advantage of it or not.

Thanks again for your help.

#9 OFFLINE   rsblaski

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 01:07 AM

Thanks, BMoreRavens and Rick. After playing around with different settings yesterday, I was finally able to make a connection that produced sound through our home theater system. The problem, evidently, was not in the way I had assigned the inputs to the receiver from the optical cable, but in the settings I had been using for the "input mode" on the Denon versus the "Dolby Digital" setting on the HD DVR (as BMoreRavens had initially suggested). I'm not sure exactly which settings I had originally, but -- for example -- when the Denon is set to "DTS," it would not produce any sound, regardless of whether the DVR was set to Dolby "on" or "off." When I set the DVR to "Dolby Off" and the Denon "input mode" to "Auto," I was able to receive the signal and send the audio out through our speakers.

Here's my next question, however, and I am hoping that one of you (or someone else on the forum) may be able to help out. I am handicapped by an almost complete lack of knowledge about how the Dolby decoders work on the different devices, so feel free to send me off to a "tutorial" link or something that might increase my basic understanding. In the meantime, however, I am wondering whether by setting the DVR to "Dolby off," I am losing the benefit of Dolby either for when I send the audio through the Denon receiver or, for more frequent and typical viewing, send the signal directly to the TV's speakers through the HDMI connection.

The Denon, in addition to the different "input modes," also has different "output modes" (for lack of a better and more technical term). That is, the Denon allows me to play the audio in several different "formats," including "direct," "Stereo," "5-channel stereo," "Dolby Digital," and some form of "simulation." We have a six-speaker set-up (including subwoofer), and it seems to me that the audio sounds best when I use the "5-channel stereo" setting. However, in playing around with the different configurations, it appears that I can only use this setting when the DVR is set to "Dolby Digital OFF." If the DVR is set to "Dolby Digital ON," I can press the "5-channel stereo" button on the Denon's remote as hard and as often as I want, but it won't switch to that setting. Instead, I appear to be limited to the Dolby Digital setting, the "Direct" setting (which is pathetically weak), and the "Dolby" setting, which seems to play the audio only (or at least predominantly) through the center speakers -- albeit with impressive sound separation. This is what happens when the "input mode" is set to "Auto." When it's set to "PCM," I seem to get a different range of "output mode" options, but none of them allow me to play in the "5-channel stereo" mode.

Does any of this make sense to either of you, and if so, is it possible to explain it to me briefly?

Also, if I keep the DVR in the "Dolby Digital OFF" mode, do I lose the advantages of Dolby when I am listening through the TV's speakers, or will the TV (a new Sony 720p Bravia) be able to provide the Dolby effects for me? In other words, do I have to keep changing the Dolby setting on the DVR back and forth when I switch between the TV's speakers and the Denon receiver, or can I just leave it on "Dolby OFF"?

I would understand if it is too much of a hassle to try to explain to me why my system does or doesn't work under these different configurations, but if anyone can spare the time for a brief explanation, it would be appreciated. I feel like I've got all this equipment, but I don't really know whether I am taking full advantage of it or not.

Thanks again for your help.


You should definately be able to set your hr20 to DD. That is the only way you will get it into your Denon. You should also get a signal no matter what you have the output set at. For example, you should be able to play a DD signal with your Denon set to 5-channel stereo. It should automatically balance the input/output of whatever source you are using.

That said, I'm going to check the settings on my Denon now. (OK, I'm back.)

The only thing I saw which MIGHT help is to go into Advanced Playback in the setup menu and make sure Auto Surround is "on".
I didn't see anything else that might account for what you are (not) getting.
If this works, let us know. If not, I can take another look and see if I missed something.
Like I said, the Denons are great, but they are very complex.
BTW, 5, or in my case, 7 channel stereo merely puts out a synthesized stereo signal to all 5 or seven speakers. It is mostly for background music for parties, not for critical listening. All the channels are more or less balanced in their output so no matter where you go in the room, you can hear the music.

Good luck,
Rick
Remember, when it comes to audio/video, more is always better. (This does NOT apply to remote controls!)

#10 OFFLINE   rsblaski

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 01:28 AM

I just reviewed your post again.
You say that you do get a separation when you have your Denon set to DD with the hr20 having DD turned off. Does the Denon front panel show that it is receiving 5 channels?
There was a time when the HR20 DD setup had the ON and OFF choices reversed. If you chose ON, DD would actually be OFF.
I think that problem has been resolved, but you can tell by looking at the front panel of your Denon. If it shows that it is getting five channels from the hr20, you are getting DD. If it only shows less than that, you may or may not. This presupposes that the hr20 is tuned to a channel broadcasting in DD. (Not even the HD channels are always in DD.)
Hope you sort it out. It will be worth it. I had a lot of head scratching time with my setup but now everything works as it should.
Remember, when it comes to audio/video, more is always better. (This does NOT apply to remote controls!)

#11 OFFLINE   CobraGuy

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 07:16 AM

I too have a Denon receiver. Denon may truly be the best in the world...but like was mentioned, it's very complex with all your choices....most of which most folks can't understand. I actuallyl had to just sit down and read the manual for hours and highlite things. Still, I get confused. But you found one item...you had it set to DTS. The only way you will get sound with that setting is if you are receiving a true DTS signal. I have two DVD's with that...that's it. Set your Denon to Auto. It will detect your signal and play it back for you in the format it receives. My Denon automatically flips to Dolby Digital on HD programs. During a commercial, or other SD programming, it automatically switches to Dobly Pro Logic II (or something like that!) which is what I have standard signals converting to. You do that in the Denon set up too. It converts standard sound to give you a more surround sound experience. But the choices seem to be endless with the Denon. Plus, you can set each input the way you want. Your satellite receiver can be different than your DVD player, etc. Thankfully, it remembers all these so you don't have to do it every time you use it.

By the way, when you have Dolby Digital for television and movies, you do get a lot of the sound coming from the center speaker. That's where most of the voice comes from. Since that's what most of tv is...voice...that's what you get. Your music and special sound effects should be moving through your surround speakers however.

One other thing to consider. I use my Denon for everything. It has to be on for DVD recording, playing, tv, etc. You might want to do the same. Run your HDMI cable from the HR20 to your Denon receiver, then another HDMI from your Denon to your TV. You can do the same with your DVD player. You can run HDMI from it to the Denon too. But if your DVD player doesn't support HDMI, that's ok...run component to the Denon. The Denon will up-convert the Component to HDMI for you and play it through the HDMI cable to the TV. The Denon will not down-convert from HDMI however. But that's not an issue for you here. Just remember, you need to tell the Denon what you have going where for your inputs. Once you get the hang of it's menus, that's not hard.

#12 OFFLINE   mikek

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Posted 22 May 2007 - 11:35 AM

You can try this setup that I am using if your TV has digital out:

I run an HDMI cable from my DVD player and HR20 to my TV. From the TV I run the Digital out to my receiver. By doing this I don't have to worry about changing inputs on my stereo receiver. I get Dolby Digital (or regular sound) on my stereo from whatever is on TV.

This setup is best if your TV has more than one HDMI input.

-mk




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