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Need help connecting HTPC via HDMI...

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Old 01-13-2007, 05:59 PM   #1  
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Default Need help connecting HTPC via HDMI...

Hi all,

OK...so I have an HTPC built with one of the new HDMI video cards. It works great when I connect the HTPC to the TV. However, this obviously only gives
me sound from the internal TV speakers on my Samsung DLP.

What I want to do is connect the HTPC via HDMI to both the TV and my home theater receiver. I want the sourround sound from the home theater speakers
and not the TV.

This is where I have a problem because my home theater receiver has one HDMI out and my TV has only one HDMI in. How do I go about doing this? Do I need an HDMI splitter? I thought splitters were to display on two TVs and not used for what I would like to do.

For a better understanding, here's how I currently have my setup...

Comcast HD Receiver - Connected to TV via component cables and the only optical audio port on my home theater kit is hooked up directly to the Comcast box.

HTPC - Connected to TV with just one HDMI cable. (but only have sound via TVs internal speakers).

How do I connect it to both the TV and home theater kit so I can have the PC sound through my home theater speakers?

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Thank you --mike
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:02 PM   #2  
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If you have a coax digital audio in on your receiver and out on your STB, you can use that instead of optical, and then send optical from your HTPC to your receiver. If that's not an option, you can buy an audio switch.

Honestly, I'd look at upgrading your receiver. The really nice ones have HDMI and component inputs with HDMI and component output.
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Old 01-13-2007, 08:35 PM   #3  
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Hi,
Thanks for the reply.

Honestly, I don't want to upgrade the receiver. This home theater kit is perfect for my needs, plus the rear wireless speakers work great.
That's not an option for me.

Now,
I did check, but found that I don't have that input on the receiver.

Can I just use an HDMI Switch instead of a splitter to solve this problem?

Thanks,

--mike
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:27 PM   #4  
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If your receiver does not have a coaxal audio input then I'd recommend connecting the stereo audio from the sound card to your surround receiver. It wont be digital 5.1 audio, just pro logic surround. But then it won't be TV speakers either.

If you have another optical input you could get a digital to optical converter, available at Radio Shack, and hook your digital sound output to it, if your sound card has one. Alternately you could buy a sound card with an optical output.
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Old 01-13-2007, 09:46 PM   #5  
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rbink,

Thanks, once again, for your help.

Hmm...
Now you've got me thinking. No, I only have one optical input on the receiver and is why I posted this message.

Yes, the HTPC does have an optical output that is actually connected internally to the HDMI sound card. That's where it gets both the video and sound via the one cable and how I was planning to connect it. The problem here is that I don't have a second optical input on the receiver. I'm curious about your other option though? I thought if I connect it via stereo, I would get sorround sound?

Can I simply get an HDMI switch to connect the receiver to both the TV and HTPC? My goal here was to elimate cable clutter and get the highest quality connection. Would an HDMI switch do the job in this case? I can get a low profile HDMI switch for about $80.

Your thoughts?

Thanks...
--mike
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:34 PM   #6  
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If you get a HDMI switch it will either connect to the TV or what? I think what you need is a optical switch to connect either the STB or the PC to the receiver.

Stereo audio will carry Pro Logic Surround, just not 5.1 surround. It is basically 4.1 surround. If you are not familiar with pro logic surround read this: Let's Talk Surround
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Old 01-13-2007, 10:59 PM   #7  
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Rbink,

You've actually narrowed it down to my main options here...an optical switch or an HDMI switch?

Here's the thing...

I want to take advantage of what HDMI has to offer and the one cable connection to the PC. Can I get an HDMI switch and plug in both the receiver and the HTPC to the TV?

Yes, I think an optical switch will work in this case, but that doesn't really make good use of the HDMI video card I have on this PC.

I can get a good optical switch for about $120 while a low profile HDMI switch can be purchased for about $80 without the need to purchase another cable in addition.

I guess what I like to confirm here is whether or not I can get an HDMI w/ remote and connect both the receiver and HTPC to the TV without any issues?

Thanks--mike
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Old 01-14-2007, 12:08 PM   #8  
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I don't know hou a HDMI switch is going to work for you. If the input to the HDMI switch is the PC and one output is connected to the TV and the other is connected to the receiver the output from the PC will be connected to either the TV or the receiver, but not both. It is a switch not a splitter. Now it may be that you could hook the switch up backward where you feed the two outputs as inputs and the input as the output to the TV, but the HDCP may not work. If all that is done in the switch is a dumb switch it could possibly work, but if the switching is done with electronics, I doubt if it will. But that requires a HDMI input on the receiver and you said it only has a single HDMI output. If you have a HDMI input and a HDMI output then you should be able to run the PC through the receiver.

If you do not have a HDMI input on the receiver then the only way to get digital audio into it would be through the optical input.

Last edited by rbinck; 01-14-2007 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:10 PM   #9  
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Rbink,
I thought about what you wrote and you're right.

Man, I'm so tired of researching to find a solution! Need some help!

What are my options? Does this mean that I would need both an HDMI switch AND an optical switch??

I'm thinking...
Even if I had a TV with two HDMI inputs, it still doesn't solve my problem. Like you said, all I'm trying to do is connect my receiver with one HDMI output to both the TV and PC. I'm not exactly sure how to do this? A switch, as you mentioned, will connect the PC to one or the other. There's got to be a way to connect these together?

I'm mentally exhausted from trying to find a solution. Any further help is apprecaited.

--mike
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Old 01-14-2007, 02:27 PM   #10  
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At this point in order to assist further, I will need the sound card, video card and the receiver brand and model. I'm not sure exactly what connections you have and where.
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:12 PM   #11  
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Default The setup...

Rbink...
OK, maybe this will help you...

First, the equipment...

Equipment
1. Comcast HD Receiver
2. Samsung HT-Q70 Home Theater Kit
3. Samsung HRL4266W DLP TV
4. HTPC with HDMI video card

Attached is some info with pics I just took of connections.
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File Type: jpg setup.jpg (91.1 KB, 16 views)
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:35 PM   #12  
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Ok the HTPC uses the SPDIF cable between the sound card and the video card. That make more sense than what was indicated in post #5 where you said, "Yes, the HTPC does have an optical output that is actually connected internally to the HDMI sound card. " With that confusion behind me, I have this suggestion.

You only have a single optical input on the surround receiver, so that is the only way to get digital audio into the unit. Therefore we will need an optical switch. But then you need an optical output from the HTPC. Radio Shack, amoung others, has a SPDIF (digital audio) to optical converter here: Cables To Go Coax-Optical Digital Audio Converter. Now I still don't know about your sound card, but no matter, if it has 2 SPDIF connections, then the 2nd one can be used to wire out to an optical converter. If it only has a single SPDIF connection it may be that you can splice into the existing SPDIF jumper or get a dual connection adapter. In any case you will need to make the cable that has a RCA on the converter end and the appropriate connection for the sound card.

BTW here is an optical switch: http://www.amazon.com/Digital-Optical-Toslink-Selector-Connections/dp/B000812QC6
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:50 PM   #13  
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Rbink,
Well, the good news is that this microATX motherboard comes with an internal to external optical output. See the picture attached of the adapter.

OK...so we've determined that I do need an optical switch. That's not a problem. However, I do have two more questions though.

While this takes care of the audio, what about the HDMI connections?
First, if I still connect the HTPC to the TV via the HDMI video card, will I at least get the video only this way and use the optical adapter in the pic I attached with the optical switch to get the audio?

Also, what about the HDMI out on the Samsung Home Theater receiver? Will I have to decide to use either the home theater or computer to play the DVD's? Don't see a way to use both.

THanks again for the help.
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:58 PM   #14  
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Oh crap, I forgot you only have a single HDMI input on the TV!

Yes you will need an optical switch for the audio and a HDMI switch for the video/audio.

Hopefully, you can connect both the optical adapter and the spdif jumper to your sound card. I'd try it at least. You may need a dual connection adapter at the sound card available at computer stores. The picture looks like there is two connectors on the adapter, so maybe one is for the spdif jumper.

A receiver with two HDMI inputs and a HDMI output would make this a lot easier.

Last edited by rbinck; 01-14-2007 at 04:01 PM..
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Old 01-14-2007, 07:10 PM   #15  
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Rbink,

OK...tried the HDMI to TV and optical to receiver. Seems to work just fine!

However, now I have another problem.

Computer will not play DVD's.

In Media Center, I get a decoder error. If I install the MPEG2 decoder, I don't get the error, but just get a black screen when attempting to play DVD.

If I try and play the DVD using media player, I get a copy protection error and it will not play it either.

How can this be fixed?
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