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Old 29-11-2012, 14:53
Geoff_W
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I've just bought a Sony HX853 TV and a BDP-S490 BluRay player. I also have an older Sony AV system, the STR-KS1300SS.

I had hoped to be able to dispense with the AV amp because of the sound bar on the TV, but I'm not impressed with it at all. It's OK with vanilla TV programmes, but anything else is useless.

So, questions...

1. I initially plugged the S490 into HDMI 4 but the TV insists on switching to HDMI 2 whenever the BD is powered up. Why can't I choose which HDMI input to use?

2. When playing a BluRay disc, I have to turn up the TV volume to maximum and it's still barely enough. What's the problem here?

3. Can I use the S490 with the AV amp, even though the amp's not 3D compatible? What is the issue with the HDMI connection?

4. Is it possible to connect the S490 direct to the TV via HDMI and the sound via optical cable to the AV amp?
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Old 29-11-2012, 15:09
chrisjr
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1/ Sounds a bit odd. There is some communication over HDMI between source (Blu-Ray) and destination (TV) so you would expect the TV to select the HDMI input the Blu-Ray is connected to. I presume that you don't see anything on the TV until you select HDMI 4?

2/ Usually the other way round! Especially the effects. Though if the TV and Blu-Ray are not on full speaking terms it could be the Blu-Ray is feeding the TV the wrong sound format. Or the TV is processing it incorrectly.

3/ It would only be a problem if you played a 3D disk. Any other disk will be perfectly OK. And even then a 3D disk might work. Just depends on how good bad or indifferent the pass through of the video data is on the amp.

4/ You could but you might not get full surround sound that way. The Blu-Ray may only send stereo to the TV which it would pass on to the amp. There is no reason why the TV could not pass on surround sound to the optical out, it just depends on whether you can persuade the player to send it over HDMI to the TV and get the TV to pass it on.
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Old 29-11-2012, 16:04
Geoff_W
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1/ Sounds a bit odd. There is some communication over HDMI between source (Blu-Ray) and destination (TV) so you would expect the TV to select the HDMI input the Blu-Ray is connected to. I presume that you don't see anything on the TV until you select HDMI 4?

2/ Usually the other way round! Especially the effects. Though if the TV and Blu-Ray are not on full speaking terms it could be the Blu-Ray is feeding the TV the wrong sound format. Or the TV is processing it incorrectly.

3/ It would only be a problem if you played a 3D disk. Any other disk will be perfectly OK. And even then a 3D disk might work. Just depends on how good bad or indifferent the pass through of the video data is on the amp.

4/ You could but you might not get full surround sound that way. The Blu-Ray may only send stereo to the TV which it would pass on to the amp. There is no reason why the TV could not pass on surround sound to the optical out, it just depends on whether you can persuade the player to send it over HDMI to the TV and get the TV to pass it on.
Thanks for your reply.

1. You are correct, nothing would be displayed until HDMI 4 was selected. If the BD was turned off and back on again the TV would revert to HDMI 2.

2. I'll have to have another look at the BD's AV settings. Some of them are quite confusing so I may not have it set up correctly.

3. I'll give it another try. It didn't work first time, but I I did on one occasion find that the HDMI cable wasn't plugged in firmly enough.

4. A bit more testing, I think.
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Old 29-11-2012, 16:23
chrisjr
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I managed to find the manual for the surround system you have, despite Sony not recognising the model number STR-KS1300SS at all!

Can't see any reason why you should not be able to connect the Blu-Ray to the surround system. I will assume you are not doing something silly like not connecting the HDMI OUT port on the surround system to the telly

I shouldn't think it would matter very much which of the three HDMI inputs you use, the labels on the sockets are there simply to associate them with the input select buttons on the remote. They don't mean you can only plug a Blu-Ray into the BD socket for example. So if it doesn't work on that socket try one of the others. Always possible to get a dodgy socket or switching chip.

I also see that it is telling a monster porky about it's power output as well. Boasting 1000W when it only draws 165W from the mains. Hmm, does Physics work differently in Sony land Mind you they are not the only ones to make ridiculously exaggerated claims about how much noise their products make.
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Old 29-11-2012, 18:37
Nigel Goodwin
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I managed to find the manual for the surround system you have, despite Sony not recognising the model number STR-KS1300SS at all!
I can never find ANY model on the Sony consumer website using the model search facility, I always list by category, and pick the model off that.

I suspect you need to exactly match the model number they used, including with or without the '-', and possibly any suffix letters on the end?.

It's really naff!
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Old 29-11-2012, 19:29
chrisjr
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I can never find ANY model on the Sony consumer website using the model search facility, I always list by category, and pick the model off that.

I suspect you need to exactly match the model number they used, including with or without the '-', and possibly any suffix letters on the end?.

It's really naff!
When I finally found what I think is the right thing it turned out to be the amp section of an all in one surround system.

http://www.sony.co.uk/product/hcs-ci...specifications

It doesn't seem to be listed as a model in it's own right.
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Old 30-11-2012, 08:47
Nigel Goodwin
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When I finally found what I think is the right thing it turned out to be the amp section of an all in one surround system.

http://www.sony.co.uk/product/hcs-ci...specifications

It doesn't seem to be listed as a model in it's own right.
No, because it's not a model on it's only, just part of a system.
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Old 30-11-2012, 10:09
Geoff_W
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Thanks for all your replies.

@ chrisjr Yes, you have identified the correct model and, as you say, it's an all-in-one system.

The TV switching to the wrong input was a red herring - when I tried it for the first time I don't think the HDMI cable was seated properly.

Everything works properly through the AV system although I now have nowhere to put the front and centre speakers as the TV is bigger than my old 32in.

If I dispense with the AV system and connect the BD player and my Humax HDR straight to the TV via HDMI leads I cannot get enough volume. For example, the HDR needs 80 on the TV volume and the the BD is still not loud enough at the maximum (100)!! Programmes straight from the TV require a volume of 50.

Also, the TV audio via the sound-bar base is really weird. There appears to be no 'centre speaker' so the sound is strangely disconnected and ethereal and there is very little bass despite this being set to maximum, so the overall sound has no weight to it. Is this to be expected from this kind of sound-bar? Am I being unrealistic in my expectations?
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Old 30-11-2012, 10:26
chrisjr
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Thanks for all your replies.

@ chrisjr Yes, you have identified the correct model and, as you say, it's an all-in-one system.

The TV switching to the wrong input was a red herring - when I tried it for the first time I don't think the HDMI cable was seated properly.

Everything works properly through the AV system although I now have nowhere to put the front and centre speakers as the TV is bigger than my old 32in.

If I dispense with the AV system and connect the BD player and my Humax HDR straight to the TV via HDMI leads I cannot get enough volume. For example, the HDR needs 80 on the TV volume and the the BD is still not loud enough at the maximum (100)!! Programmes straight from the TV require a volume of 50.

Also, the TV audio via the sound-bar base is really weird. There appears to be no 'centre speaker' so the sound is strangely disconnected and ethereal and there is very little bass despite this being set to maximum, so the overall sound has no weight to it. Is this to be expected from this kind of sound-bar? Am I being unrealistic in my expectations?
I would try and get the surround system working if you can. as that would probably give you the best sound.

Check the settings on the Blu-Ray and Humax and see what Audio output settings they are on. Try setting them to STEREO or PCM rather than any multi-channel option. See if that has any effect.

Also check for any volume control on the Blu-Ray and Humax. Make sure they are not turned down.

How have you got the sound bar connected? From what you have described it sounds like it is connected with a stereo analogue lead. What you describe is exactly what I would expect to hear if the earth connection on the audio link was disconnected.

What you then get is effectively Left minus Right. So anything that is equal in both channels virtually disappears, this would be anything that appears to come from the centre. Also a lack of bass is another symptom of this problem.

If there is a 3.5mm stereo jack plug involved then two things. Check it is pushed into the socket properly as that can also give a similar effect. And it is not unknown for the earth connection to come adrift from the plug.
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Old 30-11-2012, 10:50
Geoff_W
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@ chrisjr

I was hoping to de-clutter the lounge and reduce the number of remotes (currently 5), but it's looking like a forlorn hope.

The Humax is set to output stereo and its volume is max.

I've never come across a volume control for a DVD or BD player before. However, the BD works fine through the AV system, just not directly through the TV.

The sound-bar on the HX853 is the TV's stand and is connected via a captive cable which is plugged into a proprietory socket on the back of the TV. There appears to be two speakers in the sound-bar, left and right. High up on the back of the TV there appears to be another speaker but I cannot hear much emanating from it.
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Old 30-11-2012, 11:19
Nigel Goodwin
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High up on the back of the TV there appears to be another speaker but I cannot hear much emanating from it.
It's a sub-woofer - but as you can probably imagine from it's diminutive size, it's not a lot of use.
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:14
Geoff_W
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It's a sub-woofer - but as you can probably imagine from it's diminutive size, it's not a lot of use.
So no actual centre dialogue speaker, then. Presumably, the centre information is 'derived' from the left and right channels?
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:22
chrisjr
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If it is down-mixing a surround mix to stereo then the centre channel is simply fed to both left and right channels equally. Your ears and brain then concoct an imaginary centre speaker. Basically the way stereo has worked ever since it's invention. Anything appearing in both speakers equally and in phase will appear to come from the mid point of the speakers.

I wonder if the TV/soundbar is applying some sort of audio processing to the feed to try and create a surround effect and failing miserably. I would be tempted to dive into the TV menus and turn off anything that looks remotely like a sound processing option. Just feed the sound bar plain vanilla stereo if possible and see what happens.

And while in the menus have a look to see if there is any input level control option. There could be individual "trim" controls for each input connection to help balance out the volume when switching between sources. If there is maybe the Blu-Ray HDMI is turned down so cranking it up a bit might solve that issue.
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Old 30-11-2012, 12:38
Nigel Goodwin
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So no actual centre dialogue speaker, then. Presumably, the centre information is 'derived' from the left and right channels?
The TV is stereo - so there's no need for a centre channel, as it's only a two channel audio system. If you feed it Dolby 5.1 via the HDMI socket, it will simply mix it down to 2 channels (as pretty well all TV's do) - this is why it's quieter, as to maintain the dynamic range the volume has to be reduced (in order to squeeze 5.1 channels to 2).

I've no idea what the sound bar might, or might not, contain - there's no details of it in the TV service manual.

Incidentally, the speaker on the back is called an 'assist speaker' in the manual.
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Old 30-11-2012, 13:30
Geoff_W
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I wonder if the TV/soundbar is applying some sort of audio processing to the feed to try and create a surround effect and failing miserably. I would be tempted to dive into the TV menus and turn off anything that looks remotely like a sound processing option. Just feed the sound bar plain vanilla stereo if possible and see what happens.
The sound menu does have a 'Surround' option called S-Force Surround, but this sounds even more weird, so I've switched this off.
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Old 30-11-2012, 15:43
chrisjr
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I'm erring towards the soundbar thingy (which from a manual I downloaded appears to be a substitute stand rather than some separate unit isn't it?) is cream crackered.

Either that or the plug isn't inserted fully into the socket on the back of the telly. I assume that if you don't use the soundbar/stand thing and either listen to the TV's built in speakers or headphones that the sound is OK?

If the TV's own speakers or headphones are OK then chances are the TV is creating the audio signal properly. There is a chance it isn't getting to the soundbar/stand socket of course.

Trouble is testing that hypothesis would mean swapping the soundbar/stand for a new one. Or plugging your soundbar/stand into some one else's TV. Then from the results of this swapping around you should be able to work out if it's the telly or the soundbar/stand thingy.

I only skimmed the manual but does the soundbar have an alternative audio input on it of some sort? If it does you could plug something into that and see if it sounds similar to the TV sound or works OK.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:50
Geoff_W
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@ chrisjr

The TV panel does not have proper speakers apart from the 'assist' unit mounted on the back. I have no idea what this is used for. When used with the sound-bar it just seems to emit a faint chuffing noise together with tiny noises contained in the audio. The sound-bar has no connections other than a short lead which plugs into the back of the TV.

Anyway, the upshot of a whole weekend's testing is that I've abandoned the sound-bar as being utterly useless. I think the reviewer in What Hi-Fi needs his ears testing if he thinks the sound-bar 'gives the Sony an edge in sound quality over rival TVs' - it's the worst TV sound quality I've ever heard.

I could go through the faff of trying to get the sound-bar replaced as faulty, but I've simply reinstalled my Sony AV All-in-One and that sounds far better. The new TV also controls the amp much more reliably than my old 4000W which used to regularly lose the Control Over HDMI connection and also had trouble finding the video signal from my Humax HDR.

As regards volume level, using the AV system I can get sufficient volume from all sources, I'm just not used to having to turn things up so high.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:34
chrisjr
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I suspect the soundbar is faulty, or the connector on the back of the telly is. I would very much doubt Sony would build something that sounded the way you have described deliberately. And I usually take What HiFi reviews with the entire contents of the Cheshire Salt Mines much less a pinch. But I think even they would spot a dodgy sounding bit of kit

It is not uncommon for domestic kit to have audio levels all over the place. There do seem to be few agreed standards about such things. Does make hooking everything up to an amp or whatever a bit of a pain. Fortunately on my Onkyo AV amp I can adjust the levels of each input individually so that when changing source the sound level is more or less balanced from one to the other. Not sure if your system has a similar facility?
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:37
Geoff_W
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Fortunately on my Onkyo AV amp I can adjust the levels of each input individually so that when changing source the sound level is more or less balanced from one to the other. Not sure if your system has a similar facility?
No it doesn't, but when there is a substantial sound level difference between SD and HD programme material on TV and HDR sources, it's not a lot of use.
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Old 27-12-2012, 18:59
gustavmahler
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I plan to purchase a Sony 46HX853 tomorrow but am concerned about connection issues. I will be getting either a free 490B 3d bluray player or the 790b model.

I currently have a Sony BDV-E300 blu-ray system which only has a HDMI in, one optical and one coaxial socket. The BDV E-300 is not 3d compatible.

I will also be connecting a Virgin Media TiVO box which as an optical output and a media player which has a coax output.

I would like some advice on configuration as I hope to avoid the expense of getting a new home cinema system.
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Old 27-12-2012, 20:29
chrisjr
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I plan to purchase a Sony 46HX853 tomorrow but am concerned about connection issues. I will be getting either a free 490B 3d bluray player or the 790b model.

I currently have a Sony BDV-E300 blu-ray system which only has a HDMI in, one optical and one coaxial socket. The BDV E-300 is not 3d compatible.

I will also be connecting a Virgin Media TiVO box which as an optical output and a media player which has a coax output.

I would like some advice on configuration as I hope to avoid the expense of getting a new home cinema system.
There is no HDMI input on the Sony BDV-E300, only the HDMI output to connect to the TV.

The HDMI does not appear to support Audio Return Channel which would allow the TV to send audio back down the HDMI cable to the surround system. So you need a separate optical digital lead for this.

If the TV can take surround sound audio from it's HDMI inputs and pass this signal out of the digital audio output then that could solve your problem. You simply connect everything to the TV via HDMI and the TV sends the audio for the selected source to the surround system.

This assumes each source has HDMI and can output surround sound via HDMI. And that it gets passed on to the TV's digital out.

If the sources cannot do surround sound via HDMI and/or the TV cannot pass surround to the digital out then you will need an external switch box to expand the number of input selections available to the surround system.
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Old 27-12-2012, 20:52
gustavmahler
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HI Chrisjr

The HDMI on the E-300 is out, not in and is a type A.There is no reference to ARC.

My current set-up is TiVO to TV via HDMI, and optical out to E-300. Media player to TV via HDMI and coax out to E-300. The 853 has optical out but is 2 channel linear PCM.
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Old 27-12-2012, 21:09
gustavmahler
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These are the HDMI specs on the 853

HDMI IN 1, 2, 3, 4 Video (2D): 1080p (30, 50, 60 Hz), 1080/24p, 1080i (50, 60 Hz), 720p (30, 50, 60 Hz),
720/24p, 576p, 576i, 480p, 480i, PC Formats
Video (3D):
Frame Packing 1080p (30 Hz), 1080/24p, 1080i (50, 60 Hz), 720p (30, 50, 60 Hz), 720/24p
Side-by-Side 1080p (50, 60 Hz), 1080/24p, 1080i (50, 60 Hz), 720p (50, 60 Hz)
Over-Under 1080p (30, 50, 60 Hz), 1080/24p, 1080i (50, 60 Hz), 720p (50, 60 Hz)
Audio: Two channel linear PCM: 32, 44.1 and 48 kHz, 16, 20 and 24 bits, Dolby Digital
Analogue audio input (stereo minijack) (HDMI IN 2 only, common with PC IN)
ARC (Audio Return Channel) (HDMI IN 1 only)
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