Can you run HDMI from your HTPC through a receiver?
I'm currently re-purposing an unused computer as an HTPC. I've run into a roadblock. I cannot get the HDMI output from my Radeon HD4850 to recognize the home theatre receiver it is connected to. I assume that it must be connected directly to a display.
So I'd like to know what is the best way to get my system working. I think I am going to have to buy a unit with an SPDIF output and then connect that directly to the receiver while I run the HDMI cord directly to the TV. Can someone confirm this is the best option please?
What would you recommend to output digital sound? I have found this Vantec USB external adapter that seems like it work and the price is reasonable.
Most motherboard sound chips and audio cards have a digital output. It may be coaxial (S/PDIF), optical (TOSLink) or both. It may need to be enabled in both the vendor's driver software and playback software. Similarly, audio over HDMI may need to be enabled in the driver and playback software.
There are a number of gotchas with PC HDMI. HCDP encryption may be required by some playback software but is not supported by some video chips. The Radeon HD4850 should be OK though. Handshaking can be also be an issue with some A/V receivers.
Thanks for the help guys I'm going to try your ideas this morning. One thing I should have been more clear about is that when the HTPC is connected to the AVR with just the HDMI cable I get no sound or picture. This is because I cannot select another display within the video options. It only ever shows the computer monitor, not the television.
How well does it work when connected directly to the TV? I would get it working correctly like that first and then debug the A/V connection.
Also, the Radeon HD4850 is designed more for gaming, not HTPC. It should work but is overkill unless you are planning on gaming. Something line an 4450/4550/4650 is better suited for watching video and HTPC, even Blu-ray.
Not a great workaround but you can run the HDMI from your HTPC to your TV and use TosLink/optic to the AVR from there. I was using a Sapphire 4570 card for this (one of the very few fanless ones) and am pretty sure I tried HTPC=> AVR (Pioneer VSX 819) => HDTV too and it worked. Both got 5.1 or maybe 7.1 sound (I've since sold the AVR and just use a 2 channel stereo amp these days). Currently using a Powercolor 5450 (fanless) and presume it it putting out 5.1 or 7.1 to the TV (stereo connector from there to the amp).
Your TV should be considered a second display device/monitor. Watch your screen resolution settings, if it doesnt detect the new device, try another port on your AV receiver. If you're able to enable the second monitor, that might be all you need to do (in addition to setting your hdmi out as your default audio device). If you see your second monitor/av receiver, right click it to enable if it is not.
HTPC handshaking sometimes takes a few seconds, it might flash a few times before it kicks in.
I ended up buying a USB sound card with a toslink port. The computer is hooked up to the the TV and the sound goes directly to the AVR through the optical cable. While not exactly what I wanted it seems to work fine. It's too bad that HDMI connections aren't as flawless as, say, an s-video hookup.