Playbase: TV that does not pass 5.1 out the optical?

  • 5 April 2017
  • 5 replies
  • 372 views

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Have a Panasonic TC-P50ST30 that apparently only passes the 5.1 signal unmolested from the internal tuner on the TV. Devices connected via HDMI to the TV set are downgraded to 2 channel when output from the TV's optical. Any workarounds besides a new TV others have found? Live with the 2 channel input to the PlayBase?

"*When audio from other equipment connected to this unit via HDMI is output using “DIGITAL AUDIO OUT” of this unit, the system switches to 2CH audio."

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5 replies

That must be frustrating. There are a lot of people who have posted on the boards about using an HDMI/Optical splitting device, in which they plug all of their input devices in tovia HDMI, and run a single HDMI from it to the TV, and then plug the optical out from the device to the Playbar, so that they can get the full 5.1 signal. While it does add another device that you'd need to control, it would provide you the opportunity to get the full surround experience from any device you connected, without having to upgrade your TV.

I don't use one of these devices, so it's hard for me to recommend one over another, but if you poke around here on this area of these boards, you'll probably run into several discussions where people who do have them talk about their relative merits.
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If I am not planning on using rear speakers or a sub in this setup and live with the 2-channel PCM output from the TV, will that passed 2 channel audio just be played back in stereo on the Playbase or will it create some sort of simulated surround?
Ah, good question. One I'm not certain of the answer. My guess would be that it tries to emulate as much as it can, but that's a guess. I can tell you that I was very pleased with my playbar before I got my surrounds and sub, but I don't recall that I did a lot of messing around with the input, since I'd been using a 5..1 AVR setup before hand. It sounded great to me without the extras, it just sounds greater with them.

Probably didn't answer your question, though. Sorry about that.
I have been thinking about buying a Playbase - but I am concerned that my old TV (a Samsung) has the same problem as listed above.
It states that '5.1 audio is available when the TV is connected to an external device supporting 5.1' which sounds positive but then goes on to say:
'When the TV is receiving a DTV signal, the TV will send 5.1 to the home theatre receiver. When the source is a digital component such as a DVD/Blu Ray / Cablebox/STB satellite receiver and is connected to the TV via HDMI, only 2Ch audio will be heard from the home theatre receiver. If you want to hear 5.1 connect the digital audio out jack from the DVD etc directly to the Home Theatre'
So I'm a bit confused, as it implies it does but only when using the build in DTV tuner - but will the Playbase work with only a Stero 2Ch output?

I might dig out my old surround sound system and see if if displays the input type (it does have an audio input)
But knowing the answer to the Stero question would be useful.

Thanks
Yes, it will work when getting the 2.0 output from the TV. But in your case, I'd consider getting one of those HDMI switchboxes with an optical output, so that you can have all your sources connected to it, and get 5.1 sound all the way around.