HT Newbie Needs Advice

Geophysicist -- Tue, 05/24/2011 - 11:27

First, let me say that I've been a 2 channel audiophool for 40+ years. However, my knowledge of HT hookup, other than the simplest possible, is limited.
Here's the situation: I will shortly be receiving my first HDMI-input television (Samsung UN55D7000). I wish to be able to watch/listen through either the HT system, or though the TV's built-in speakers, depending on the situation. In other words, I don't want to have to fire up the HT for late night viewing, as an example. However, my satellite box has only one HDMI output. So, the question is, is there a way to 'pass though' the satellite feed through the receiver so that it's not necessary to power up? Or is there some sort of switch that would allow me to feed the satellite both to the receiver and to the TV? Or am I stuck using the component cables for the direct connection to the TV?
Hope this makes sense. I appreciate any and all advice.

Chris Martens -- Tue, 05/24/2011 - 12:27

Hello Geophysicist:
Question: Is there a particular reason you prefer not to turn on the A/V receiver late at night (or at other times)? I pose the question because common wisdom would ordinarily point in the direction of hooking up all A/V source components to your AVR, and then using the AVR as your master "input switcher" for purposes of providing video signals (via HDMI) to the television.
Some points in favor of always using the AVR (of A/V controller, as the case may be) include these:
1) Simplified switching arrangments--because all sources connect in one place to one component.
2) Better sound at all times of day (TV speakers are pretty marginal at best, especially to audiophiles with 40+ years of experience).
3) Potentially better options for late-night listening: many modern AVRs incorporate DSP systems with features specifically designed to hold volume levels in check for late-night listening/viewing. What these systems may lack in terms of purist appeal, they make up for with sheer convenience (not to mention maintaining the peace with neighbors, significant others, kids, etc., etc.). Best of all, you're in control--you can switch the late-night systems on or off at will.
4) Ability (in many AVRs) to apply room EQ, which can solve myriad sonic problems and thus make for a better listening experience. (This is particularly true in terms of getting subwoofers to integrate properly with main speaker systems.

Back to your original question:
If, after all is said and done, you'd still rather connect your satellite box to the TV directly and listen through the TV speakers, while still being able to use the AVR when you wish to, one fairly elegant solution would be to get a high-quality 1-in/2-out HDMI Splitter. With this solution, you would:
1) Connect the HDMI output of your satellite box to the input of the splitter.
2) Run one HDMI cable from the first of the two outputs of the splitter to one of the several HDMI inputs on your Samsung.
3) Run a second HDMI cable from the second of the two outputs of the splitter to your AVR. Then, run an HDMI cable from the AVR's HDMI monitor output to one of the several HDMI inputs on your Samsung.
4) When you want to go satellite-box-to-Samsung, just select the appropriate Samsung input and turn on the Samsung's speakers. When you want to go through the AVR, select the appropriate Samsung input and make sure you turn the Samsung's speakers off.

Best, Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Perfect Vision 

Geophysicist -- Tue, 05/24/2011 - 13:14

Hi Chris,
Thanks very much for the very quick and extensive reply. Your question is a fair one. The fact is that it is not myself who wishes this arrangement. My distinctly non-audiophile wife believes she wants the 'simplicity' of the TV only option. I'm hoping she'll change her mind, assuming that I can get a single remote programmed properly for all functions. Worst case - your splitter option seems relatively inexpensive and quite easy to implement. Thank you!
By the way, most of the rest of the system consists of components with which you are familiar: NAD T775HD, LSA 1 Statements for front L & R, LSA LCR Statement for center. Rears are, out of necessity for the time being, my old Gallo Micros. Next purchase - one of the new Oppo players to replace the aging but still decent Denon.
Best regards,

Chris Martens -- Tue, 05/24/2011 - 13:45

Hi Mike/Geophysicist,

Perhaps one point that might tip the scales in the direction of the "audiophile" approach is that it is actually easier to use the AVR to switch between sources, if you wish to do so.

Practical examples:

1) You start watching a DVD or Blu-ray movie early in the evening, but then want to finish watching much later in the evening.
2) You acquire one of the new Oppos which can directly access Netflix or Blockbuster On Demand and again decide--late at night--that you want to check out movies or other archived material via the Internet.
3) You want to sort through some digital photo albums, using the TV as your "viewer."

My point: the "go-through-the-AVR" approach let's you keep your options open, yet isn't overly complex to use.

With the satellite-box-to-TV approach, watching TV is (for self-evident reasons) pretty much the only thing you can do directly through the TV.

Without offering a personal endorsement of any kind, here are two useful resource links for possible all-in-one remote controls:


Universal Remote Control:

Best, Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Perfect Vision 

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