High Def Forum
Thank you for visiting. This is our website archive. Please visit our main website by clicking the logo above.

Surround sound/Dolby Digital/HD question

08-13-2004, 09:15 PM
I don't really know enough about this high tech stuff to ask an intelligent question, but here goes.
I just got the Dish Network 811 receiver last week and a Winegard HD off air antenna for local channels today. I have a Kenwood HT-507 audio receiver. I just changed from the RCA type audio cable to an optic cable running from my video receiver to the optic input on the audio receiver. On both satellite HD channels and off air digital channels the receiver automatically displays the Dolby Digital signal is being output. On the non HD stations it displays the 5.1 CSR surround. I was watching the Olympics opening ceremony on NBC Raleigh local affiliate 17.1 when I noticed I was only getting sound from my front speakers, none from the center channel or the rear surround speakers. The same situation occurred with the other local off air digital channels and also with Discovery HD and HD Net on the satellite. TNT HD and HBO HD were showing movies and I was getting sound out of all speakers and audio receiver displayed the Dolby Digital signal. I thought all HD would be broadcast with 5.1 channels Dolby Digital, and would have especially thought the Olympic broadcast would be with 5.1 channel audio. What's the deal? Is that not so or do I have some kind of problem with my equipment? Can I go back to the RCA cables and get 5.1 channel? By the way, there is no comparison in the HD video with the regular analog stations. The flyover of Greek buildings, churches, historical sites and other architecture and natural scenes was stunning.

08-13-2004, 11:30 PM
It sounds like you are not at fault. HDNet almost always has 5.1 surround with everything they show. Discovery HD sometimes has 5.1, sometimes doesn't. There was just a post on this forum that the Olympics would be strictly 5.1. Your hookup seems ok.

Something I've learned with advertised HD broadcasts and 5.1 surround sound...don't believe it until you see it. I've seen many programs advertised to be in HD, yet when I turn my TV on to watch it, its not HD.

Speaking of this...is anybody actually receiving these PGA tour events in HD on CBS? The only golf tournament that has been in HD is the Masters, yet CBS has been advertising that 13 tournaments during this season will be in HD. Yet everytime I try to watch them on satellite or antenna, it's 4:3.

08-13-2004, 11:39 PM
Sorry, I forgot to finish my reply to you.

Does your receiver have any visual confirmation when you are receiving 5.1 surround sound? I couldn't understand from your post if you have been receiving true 5.1 at all. Is it some sort of enhanced surround sound you're hearing?

Also, always be sure to individually test your speakers with the test function on your receiver. I know its trite, but its helped me a few times to locate problems.

Something that just got me a few weeks ago...the balance. I don't know if my girlfriend or sister or whomever did this. But I thought my left speaker was blown. It was dead! I was contemplating what I'd buy as a replacement when I decided to check the balance on the receiver, and sure as shoot, the balance was all the way to the right. I don't know if they thought they were adjusting volume, eh, I try not to think about it. Next my convergence will be completely altered.

08-14-2004, 06:44 AM
Thanks for your reply micmax. Got up this morning and HD net was 5.1. When I realized the problem with just two speakers playing I think it was a talk interview that was on HDnet at the time so it may not have been done in 5.1. Another thing, DishNetwork has channel 9425 carrying Olympic coverage(probably just replays) and this morning it was replaying the opening ceremony and I was getting Dolby Digital 5.1 (at least according to my audio receiver). Could the two channel thing have something to do with the local over the air station even though the visual was definitely HD?

08-14-2004, 07:10 AM
I stand corrected. On the Olympic HD channel on Dish Network my audio receiver did not indicate I was getting Dolby Digital but it was outputting 5.1 CSR surround. I guess this must be "enhanced" surround since it is the same output signal when I watch analog stations. But I think I get true 5.1 when the audio receiver shows I am receiving a Dolby Digital signal and all speakers are working. At least I think that when I play DVDs with Dolby Digital and especially on the DTS setting. (my audio receiver has a DTS decoder). With HDnet this morning my audio receiver shows Dolby Digital signal and all speakers are playing. Still I only get two channels from local off air stations even though my audio receiver says I am receiving Dolby Digital signal. I am confused. I think I start to learn something about this stuff and I realize I know nothing.

08-14-2004, 09:19 AM
OK, things are making sense.

I'll try to catch some Olympics today and see if I'm getting 5.1.

I think the point you're missing is that Dolby Digital doesn't necessarily mean Dolby 5.1 Surround. Check some of your DVD's audio options. There's a 2-channel (left and right) Dolby Digital as well as a 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.

A lot of local stations only send out 2-channel Dolby Digital sound.

Your receiver should have a "Surround" setting that'll take the 2-channel and enhance it to send it to all speakers and your subwoofer. Thats the setting I leave my receiver on.