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Old 10-06-2019, 11:24 PM   #1
Hintermann Hintermann is offline
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Default Roundabout use of HDMI ARC?

I m upgrading my Home Cinema System and getting an all 4K UHD set-up. Other than UHD discs, I want the system to be able to play my older BDs as well and there is a problem with that.

I live in the UK and have a large collection of Criterion and a few other Region A locked BDs bought before Criterion came our way. For the past 6 years I have been happily playing them on my Panasonic DMP-BDT130, which was hardware ed by a local supplier. It works very well but those discs will not play on the new UK-spec 4K BD player that I plan to get.

The obvious answer seemed to be to keep the older BD player as well but I cannot connect it directly to the Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar that I am getting because the only two available HDMI inputs will be taken by the 4K BD player and the Satellite Box.

A possible alternative solution I thought is to connect the BDT130 directly to the TV's HDMI input and use the TV's HDMI selector to identify it. If I did that, will the ARC facility between the TV and the Soundbar be able to transfer audio to the latter? I don't know if the Soundbar's own input selector can be set to 'TV' to achieve this.
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Old 10-06-2019, 11:45 PM   #2
RodChester RodChester is offline
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It sounds like what you want to do should work. However, I cannot say for sure. Another solution to try if that does not work is to get an HDMI switcher.
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Old 10-07-2019, 07:46 AM   #3
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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ARC will limit you to lossy 5.1, you maybe should have a rejigging to prioritise lossless audio to the bar. I would assume your satellite box is the one most likely to have already compressed audio formats.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:28 AM   #4
Alister_M Alister_M is offline
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You can get HDMI switch boxes with multiple inputs to a single output. You could always run both players through that and switch accordingly.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:30 AM   #5
Hintermann Hintermann is offline
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Not sure. The Satellite Box is what is called "Sky Q 2TB" in the UK and is top of the range, supporting 4K.

The TV is Samsung QE55Q90RATXXU 55 Smart 4K Ultra HD and the soundbar Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar including wireless rear speakers. Both support HDMI eARC I believe.

On further thinking, I thought of a slight variation of my own query as follows:

* The satellite box is plugged into one of the soundbar's HDMI inputs
* The old 'worked on' BD player that is region free, is plugged into the other HDMI input of the soundbar.

The HDMI out of the Soundbar goes into the TV's HDMI 1. That way I'll have to use the input selector of the soundbar to choose between the two sources, keeping the TV on HDMI1.

* If then I plug the 4K BD player (Panasonic UB900) to the TV's HDMI 2, can the hi-speed HDMI connection between the TV and the soundbar's HDMI out use the ARC facility to make lossless audio come out of the speakers? In that event I'll have to choose HDMI 2 on the TV but am not sure what I have to set the input selector on the soundbar. Obviously, this has to be separate from the other two sources.
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:52 AM   #6
Alister_M Alister_M is offline
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OK so I did a quick review scan and apparently the TV you have can actually output lossless streams through the ARC (including Dolby Atmos), so you should be all good to just run the BD player straight to the TV.
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Old 10-07-2019, 06:48 PM   #7
Hintermann Hintermann is offline
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I decided that I would connect the Satellite 4k box and the 4K BD player to the soundbar's HDMI inputs and the HDMI out from the bar to the TV's HDMI 1.

With the older region-free blu-ray player, I'll connect it directly to the TV's HDMI 2. This may enable the audio to be sent back to the speakers via the ARC facility. If this does not work, I'll connect the older BD player to the soundbar with an optical cable while disabling the TV's speakers (have to do that anyway) and keeping the HDMI link for video only.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:27 PM   #8
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister_M View Post
OK so I did a quick review scan and apparently the TV you have can actually output lossless streams through the ARC (including Dolby Atmos), so you should be all good to just run the BD player straight to the TV.
No, you can't. Atmos via ARC is transmitted over a Dolby Digital+ core.

The only lossless you can run over ARC is 2.0 PCM.

Don't get confused with the new eARC which does offer lossless ARC. Both the TV and bar would need to be compatible with the newer eARC format for this to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hintermann View Post
I decided that I would connect the Satellite 4k box and the 4K BD player to the soundbar's HDMI inputs and the HDMI out from the bar to the TV's HDMI 1.

With the older region-free blu-ray player, I'll connect it directly to the TV's HDMI 2. This may enable the audio to be sent back to the speakers via the ARC facility. If this does not work, I'll connect the older BD player to the soundbar with an optical cable while disabling the TV's speakers (have to do that anyway) and keeping the HDMI link for video only.
You can do that, but as I say you will be limited to lossy surround formats from that player. If you are going to use optical if HDMI ARC doesn't work (it can be very flakey, when it works it's great, when it doesn't it's a nightmare) then I would definitely suggest using optical for the satellite box. With a soundbar as expensive as the Q90, you want to give it the best possible quality. Optical is similar to ARC in that it only has the bandwidth for lossy surround formats.

Last edited by oddbox83; 10-08-2019 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:19 AM   #9
Hintermann Hintermann is offline
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Quote:
QUOTE=oddbox83;16922331 No, you can't. Atmos via ARC is transmitted over a Dolby Digital+ core.

The only lossless you can run over ARC is 2.0 PCM.

Don't get confused with the new eARC which does offer lossless ARC. Both the TV and bar would need to be compatible with the newer eARC format for this to work.
I did a quick check and it seems like both the Samsung QE55Q90RATXXU 55” Smart 4K Ultra HD TV and Samsung HW-Q90R Soundbar with wireless rear speakers do have eARC facility.

Quote:
You can do that, but as I say you will be limited to lossy surround formats from that player. If you are going to use optical if HDMI ARC doesn't work (it can be very flakey, when it works it's great, when it doesn't it's a nightmare) then I would definitely suggest using optical for the satellite box. With a soundbar as expensive as the Q90, you want to give it the best possible quality. Optical is similar to ARC in that it only has the bandwidth for lossy surround formats.
The thing is, I'd rather have the lossy sound for the older BD player than the 4K compatible UHD Sky (Satellite) box. The older BD player is retained only because of my large collection of Region A locked BDs, most of them Criterion. But they are all old films, many silent, and the value there is the movies themselves, extras and so on and a good rather than exceptional sound quality is acceptable. But on the Sky Box, we will be watching modern movies and documentaries and so keeping the associated tech up to date would be more important.

In any case, I'll see if the ARC facility works for the older player when connected to the TV's HDMI 2. If not, I will have to be optical.

Last edited by Hintermann; 10-09-2019 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:05 PM   #10
oddbox83 oddbox83 is offline
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If you have eARC then you're laughing if it all works and should get lossless compatibility all the way. Samsung must have added eARC in an update if this is true.
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