HDMI Terms and Troubles...

Having been lured in and taken the bait from a sales person that assured me I would be able to "grow" with a particular Sony unit...I now refuse to buy anything Sony as it.'s build out is simply stupid, therefore all things Sony must be the same. Besides, I am not a fan of having any one particular format forced into my home (ie BlueRay).
In all honesty though, the Sony does everything it's "supposed" to do...and it does it well...I made an error in trusting a particular sales person.

My questions start with HDMI terms...in respect to "pass-through" and "decoding".
Am I correct in presuming that the term pass-though is exactly that and nothing more? No processing of any kind happens to the signal and whatever your source is, that's also what comes out to your display?
Whereas decoding actually takes the signal and enhances or corrects it according to your setup?

My problem is this...my Sony has 3 HDMI inputs and NONE of them will allow me to get the audio from that signal and go to the surrounds. I have to install additional audio cables from each source and essentially double my cable mess. I just want a simple clean look.
My home is modest by most standards (under 1K sqft) and my wife and I almost never go to theaters anymore, so we try to enjoy our movies the best we can. I am seeking guidance in selecting a new center-piece for my setup. I do not need DSPs or separates, or any of the like... Just a simple tuner/receiver 5.1 unit with about 100WPC+/-, perhaps with THX and at least 4 HDMI inputs that WILL allow audio extraction to the surrounds.
I have seen the ONKYO TXSR806 suggested here and there. Then someone said the "805" is/was a better unit???
Perhaps the 706 unit?
I would like to keep the budget right about 500.00 for this as my sister-inlaw owes me a bit less than that from last year...so I am x-mas shopping a little for myself.

Any and all suggestions in the right direction will be appreciated.

It's hard to answer your questions without a little more information.

Are you using a Sony receiver to try to decode the new Blu-ray high resolution audio formats (such as dtsHD), or are you trying to have it process a Dolby Digital or dts audio stream via HDMI?

Any HT receiver worth its salt should allow processing of the audio signals via the HDMI connection alone. But not all can accommodate the Blu-ray-specific formats (and these can ONLY be transmitted via HDMI).

Which Sony unit do you have now?

Many Sony receivers came out with HDMI inputs that were merely 'pass-through' and incapable of processing audio or video. These required an additional audio connection from the player and, for the HD audio codecs, that had to be multichannel analog cables.

Sony was less than candid about this 'feature' and disappointed a lot of users. It was in the user's manual and, while such practices are rare on decent modern AVRs, I still recommend downloading/reading the manual before purchase.

A bit confusing .
Are you using an HDMI cable from your Bluray player to your AVR ?

Is your AVR HDMI compatible ie. does it accept the above mentioned cable and have the ability to process the signal ?

Are you trying to get the audio signal from a bluray disc ?

Is the audio signal in one of the HD formats ?

Good luck.
To be honest here we do need some clarification in order to help.

If these are recent purchases I’m guessing here they should all be 1.3A HDMI.

If so what you have is a configuration problem or a couple of bad or wrong connections in the speaker area.

My problem is this...my Sony has 3 HDMI inputs and NONE of them will allow me to get the audio from that signal and go to the surrounds. I have to install additional audio cables from each source and essentially double my cable mess.

I’M GUESSING AGAIN HERE, BUT it sounds to me like you have not configured the sources or receiver correctly. Or your sources aren’t compatible with the Receiver.

I just want a simple clean look.


I am seeking guidance in selecting a new center-piece for my setup. I do not need DSPs or separates, or any of the like... Just a simple tuner/receiver 5.1 unit with about

Why? Did you return the Sony ALREADY?

None of us know which model Sony you bought to begin with… or what level of HDMI it possesses, 1.0, 1.2, 1.3A, and the sajme thing on your other sources. Or how you did the configuration…. Yet.

To run the receiver as only 5.1 vs 7.1 the surrounds need to be connected to the surrounds…. NOT the rear surrounds. Then the appropriate config needs to be entered in the menu too… along with distance, type, cut off, etc…. UNLESS you went the Audacy setup way, using the microphone that came with the receiver.

BTW…. Not every cable channel or DVD has multichannel audio as a default.

I have both Sony and onkyo recievers. The sony es receiver does not have HDMI. The onkyo TX SR805 I own does. it is also 1.3A HDMI.

1.3A (if yours is as well) will decode the BR hi def audio and video signals. True HD... deep color (when available) etc. there shouldn't be any worries apart from the Sony rec you own perhaps, not seeing (hand shaking) with the other HDMI devices either…. If 1.3a is what they all are.

The owners manual will tell you what’s what for each device .
"Pass Thru" on my onkyo means the signal will be passed thru as is to the HDMI output device. Normally a display, TV, or projector that has HDMI. The audio however will be decoded by the way your audio outputs of the source device are connected. Mainly this is for video only. As if you have another video source connected in a non HDMI way, say via RCA or Svideo.

Check to ensure you picked the right setting here for your sources in the receivers menus.

if the audio outs from source to your Sony are done via coax or an optical cable the receiver will process them for you internally and output them to what ever compliment of speakers you have connected AND configured correctly on your receiver.

One of the things I liked about the Sony receivers was the AUTO FORMAT DECODE feature. utilizing or selecting this function enables the Sony receiver to automatically pick the audio format being supplied to it without your need to pick the right one. using this feature will be the easiest way to go... Just set it to that and forget it.

if the audio is 2ch... that's waht you'll get... if 5.1 Dolby then you'll get that... nothing else. UNLESS you go into the DSP menu and pick out another audio format you prefer over the default the receiver saw automatically.

Fill in the blanks for us and you’ll get better answers.
"My problem is this...my Sony has 3 HDMI inputs and NONE of them will allow me to get the audio from that signal and go to the surrounds"

What model "Sony" are you referring to in this statement? TV? Or receiver?
OK...here are all the details about my pieces in ensemble.

These items have HDMI output for which I need an input on the new reciever.
HD-DVR Cable Box (1080i)
HD-A2 Toshiba DVD Player (1080i /p with firmware upgrade)
SD-5000 Toshiba DVD Player (which I use for DIVX & WMA Discs from my PC) (1080i)
XBOX 360 Elite (1080i/p)?
Next, the TV is a Toshiba 51H84 (HD 1080i max) which has a single HDMI input.
Front speakers are a pair of Paradigm Monitors and the Center is also Paradigm.
The sub is a Mirage Omni12.
Rear Speakers are some misc JVCs I have had for many years that work well for my ears.
I will presume the HD-A2 player and Xbox mght have v1.3 HDMI but everything else may be too old.
The receiver is an STR-DG510

Typically I will use the AFD button to scroll through the different environments to find what sounds best based on the disc or input device selected.

Do not all devices with HDMI output include the audio signal in that cable?...as well as other optional outputs...?

It appears as though my answers would be solved by getting the ONKYO TXSR806 or similar... at 650.00 that number is something the wife can NEVER know...lol
Some side work will have to be done first ;)
So, Onkyo or step up to a base Integra that meets my input/power needs?

I know that I cannot compare with what most of you put into your homes...but I am trying to make the best of what is available to me.
Any further inputs?
It appears your selection, and or counsel for making your buying decision with this receiver and what your expectations for it’s performance weren’t entirely communicated properly…. Or completely. Or your expectations for this units flexibility for it’s price were a mite ambitious.

As I read the specs and overview for the 550 I see it saying it does not have the capacity to pass along audio via the HDMI interface. Although this is an oddity for many such HDMI capable receivers… for the $200 class, I suspect it’s about right. Sony has obviously built in an automatic ‘step up’ feature into their line up for those seeking greater compatibility of the HDMI interface.

The overview does indeed say a separate audio cable is going to be required and limits the HDMI BANDWIDTH for video to 1080i. Again, for an MSRP of $200 I suppose this is good enough. More money will give you a more fully featured apparatus, and more commensurate with your intentions and needs. You get what you pay for does seem to come into play dramatically here… as well as the note… “do your homework first”, I’m sorry to say.

If the window to return it has not closed… do so. If so, spend $15 at Walmart or elsewhere online, and get some optical cables to connect up your DVD player and cable boxes to the receiver. Your multi ch audio woes should disappear.

NOTE *- DON’T BUY A Blue ray player for use with this receiver…. Or an HD display.

This unit is merely an bare minimum entry level piece, and it’s abilities are commensurate with it’s price tag.
Well, I can't recomend a piece but I can give you some good advice. I don't know why you are not getting sound that is strange maybe the hdmi standard is different they have changed.

First piece of advice any processor or receiver will outdate every couple of years. Things change it is the way it is. This is a good and bad thing with seprates you don't have to replace as much but don't buy a receiver thinking you will keep it forever. at the $500 price range they are usally non upgradable.

For $500 don't worry about THX. It is a certification and really means nothing other than they paid alot for it and garentees some sort of sound standard, However that cost for the certification has to come form somewhere in the price and unless you are running pretty good stuff 5K+ speakers etc. THX really means very little.

Hope this helps a bit.


...not with this particular receiver. Not until another cable is used anyhow.

That part about the HDMI standard not passing audio got me too, until I read and re-read the overview for the piece.

I sort of think it's wrong to adv HDMI and then hamstring it so as to build in a reason to step up in their lines and spend more $$$. The Whole concept of HDMI is having a one wire solution... yet Sony says another cable for audio will be needed in addition to the HDMI!!!!