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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have just recently purchased an A/V receiver (Pioneer VSX-1020-K) and am looking for some advice to setup one feature --- ARC (audio return channel). My setup: HD antenna providing RF in to my TV, and a single HDMI cable between my tv and my receiver.

My TV is a Samsung LN46C750 with multiple HDMI inputs. HDMI Input 2 is labelled 'ARC', and the documentation indicates "The ARC function allows digital audio to output via the HDMI IN 2(ARC) port. It can be enabled only when the TV is connected with an audio receiver that supports the ARC function." Further, the manual simply states that by accessing the appropriate menu, you simply need to set the Receiver status to 'ON' (which I have done).

My Pioneer receiver is supposed to support the ARC function (http://hometheatergears.com/pioneer/pioneer-vsx-1020k-review/). It has 6 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. The output of the receiver is connected to HDMI IN 2(ARC) port of my TV. So, my thinking is that the audio is going out of my TV (via the HDMI ARC port), and my ARC capable receiver should be able to decode sound. However, I don't hear anything. If I turn ON the TV, sound comes from my TV speakers. If I then turn ON my receiver, the sound from my TV speakers mute, but no sound is played through my receiver. That tells me that the HDMI interface is working, as my TV can sense that the receiver is ON.

I am using the new HDMI 1.4 cables. I know this because I have a Samsung 3D Blu-Ray player, and 3D works via the same cable. I am thinking that the problem lies with configuration of the Pioneer receiver, but I don't see how the OUTPUT port is configured. There seems to be a lot of configuration for the INPUT ports, but I don't see any menu or option to configure audio coming back via the ARC. In fact the manual never really mentions ARC although all the reviews I've read indicate that this feature is supported. I sent an email message to Pioneer a couple of days ago, but no response.

One experiment I tried was to wire the HDMI cable to HDMI input 5 instead, and then select 'HDMI 5' on the receiver. No go. However, that may require something to be configured in order to get that to work also... I know my speakers work properly as I can select my BD input for my Blu-Ray player, and I hear all speakers working properly. So, my question is 'how do I confirm if the problem is in the tv or the receiver?' I can't really determine if the TV is indeed putting out the audio info, and I can't really determine if the receiver is configured to play out the ARC audio...

The whole idea of ARC is to eliminate the need for an additional audio cable. As far as I am concerned, I should be able to hookup my receiver to my tv via a single 1.4 HDMI cable and hear audio from the speakers on my receiver. Or am I missing something...?
 

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1020 in the US is equivalent to 1025 in Canada (Futureshop only). Canadian 1020, IIRC, doesn't have ARC.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I finally got a reply from Pioneer, and was informed that the VSX-1020-K does not support ARC. I was not aware of the Canada vs US differences. My research was to simply look at online articles about the specific receiver model (article: http://hometheatergears.com/pioneer/pioneer-vsx-1020k-review/ ). I even went to Future Shop to look at the side of the box to make sure I had the right model number.

Eventually, I had to install the digital optical cable for my return audio. However, I am regretting my decision to purchase the Pioneer receiver, as I am discovering that the HDMI interface does not work consistently with my Samsung TV and Samsung Blu-Ray player. Yes, I've read all the articles about how this seems to be inherent in the HDMI standard and not all manufacturers play well with each other. If I had to do it all over, I would stick with one manufacturer for everything, and forget about Anynet, Wiselink, Kurolink, etc. It seems that if you want to make everything work together, you need to stick with a single system.

BTW, I disabled all of the HDMI control functions between devices in hopes that things would work manually, but no go. Devices still don't handshake properly, and my dream system is starting to become less than ideal. I've tried every combination of power up order, and enable / disable HDMI control on all three of my devices, and it just doesn't work. Frustrating.
 

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without any intention to badmouthing Samsung, I've found (and the same result was also found by Monster Cables), Samsung HDMI implementation is the worst of them all.

This is also the reason that if you go to any A/V shows, Monster always use Samsung TV to show the difference between their cable vs others.

Regardless, what handshake problem are you having? maybe I can be of help.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I’m not sure if this is the right thread to post this particular problem, as the topic here is about the ARC function --- which I have had to resolve with an optical cable. My specific problem is with how HDMI handshakes happen between devices. I purchased a Samsung 3D TV, and a Samsung 3D Blu-ray player. Those two work great back-to-back. The Samsung Anynet feature is enabled, and the two boxes know when to turn ON or OFF, and the TV can automatically switch inputs as required. Although that is a convenient feature, I don’t mind manually switching things via a remote control if required.

The next box to purchase was the A/V receiver. I understand about the HDMI 1.4 spec. It is needed to carry the 3D signals. Also, I found out that HDMI 1.4 is needed if you wish to implement the ARC function. After doing a little research online, I thought that I had found a decent $800 receiver with the Pioneer VSX-1020-K. I checked the Home Theater review, and it indicated that it was 3D ready, and it supported the ARC function as well. After getting it home, and hooking everything up, I discovered that the ARC function didn’t work. I contacted Pioneer, and was subsequently informed that the receiver did NOT support the ARC function. Next, the 3D function also was not working properly….

It is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is going on here. If I hook up the two Samsung boxes back-to-back, everything works ok. I get my 3D. I have two HDMI 1.4 cables (tested them one-at-a-time). If I put the Pioneer receiver in the middle, 3D appears to work --- for awhile at least. I later discover that turning on the system again, I lose the 3D feature. I try a lot of different configuration changes, but nothing seems to work. However, if I disconnect the HDMI cables, and put the two Samsung boxes back-to-back, it works again. I put the Pioneer back in the middle, it works once or twice, but then it stops working again.

I have tried:
• Powering up in different order (read that the Pioneer needs to be powered up first)
• Enabling / Disabling HDMI Kuro link control on receiver
• Enabling / Disabling HDMI Anynet control on Samsung TV
• Enabling / Disabling HDMI Anynet control on Samsung Blu-ray player
• Updating my Samsung TV to the latest SW version
• Updating my Samsung Blu-ray player to the latest SW version
…and every combination of enabling/disabling of the above.

So, this is what I am doing: I get 3D to work by hooking up the two Samsung boxes back-to-back. Then I power everything down, and hookup the Pioneer in the middle (Blu-ray HDMI output to BD input on Pioneer, HDMI output on Pioneer to HDMI input on TV). I turn things on, and 3D works. I turn things off, and turn things back on in the same order, and confirm that 3D still works. Again, I turn things off and try it again. Within a few attempts, the 3D feature will fail. I cannot determine what is happening, as I believe that I am doing everything the same each time. Since I can always get things to work, by removing the Pioneer from the equation, I have to suspect that the Samsung implementation of the HDMI 3D specification, and the Pioneer implementation of 3D are different. The strange thing is that it will work if you ‘kick start’ things by hooking up the Samsung boxes back-to-back. That is, 3D will work through the Pioneer receiver, if you first get it working on the Samsung boxes alone.

My dilemma is that I don’t want to be moving HDMI cables every time I want to demonstrate the 3D capability of my system. Ok, ok, I know what the next suggestion will be. I should just hook up the Samsung boxes directly via HDMI, and use the digital optical cable for audio. I prefer not to do this because the digital optical output of my TV will only output 5.1 audio. I have listened to the 7.1, and there is a difference. Besides, it was one of the main reasons for purchasing the receiver with 7.1 audio. The only reason I installed the digital optical cable was for any non-HDMI sources (ie. RF).

Since I have witnessed things working through the Pioneer receiver, I know that it is physically capable of passing the 3D signals. I am hoping that there is some obscure configuration I can make on either the Pioneer receiver, or the Samsung boxes that will allow me to get 3D working --- without disconnecting / moving HDMI cables around. I don’t believe that the Pioneer has any facility to upgrade via the Internet, so I think I am stuck with whatever version is installed. I realize that 3D is a new feature, and not many people may have these experiences but any ideas / suggestions are appreciated…
 

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Fooman, since you're in Markham, would you like to borrow a couple of my HDMI cables and try whether it'll work. I know you mentioned that you've tried them individually, however, sometimes HDMI cables that work individually might now work when used back-to-back (ie player to receiver then to TV).

I think the problem is the cable. PM me if you're interested in borrowing my cables.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Wow. I just wanted to report that I may have made some progress... but difficult to explain. David's suggestion to replace an HDMI cable left me scratching my head, as the 3D function could be working through the Pioneer receiver, and by just turning things off and on, I would eventually see it fail. I couldn't see how this could be a cable issue. However, I borrowed another HDMI cable and started replacing one of my own. I disabled all the HDMI control functions (Anynet on Samsung devices), and got the 3D working again. Again, I began my ritual of turning things off and then on again. However, this time, I got through half a dozen attempts without fail...

Normally, it would have failed by now. Was it the cable??? I put back the original cable. Everything still works. Again, I tested it quite a few times to be sure. Now I try powering up the devices in different order. Guess what? The 3D function still works! At this point, I'm happy with this operational state. I don't know what the original problem was as I am certain that I had already tested things in this configuration.

My guess is that there may have been some cable intermittency, but since I have put back my original HDMI cables, I haven't seen the problem return yet. A related possibility is that there is voltage on a certain pin which is 'held' between devices. By simply disconnecting, it may have released the signal, and 'reset' the HDMI port.

The next theory is that the HDMI control on one of my devices may be doing something that isn't consistent with the menu selection. I've gone through the HDMI-CEC control menu numerous times, so I don't believe that I had it incorrectly set. I suppose my next test would be to begin enabling some of the HDMI control, and see if it breaks... I'll report back if I find something, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy the system...

Now if they would only start selling some 3D movies...
 

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It's pretty common that an HDMI cable don't grip as tightly as it's supposed to. I can't believe I didn't mention to unplug and replug the HDMI cables because that's usually the first thing I suggest before exchanging the cable with another cable (can be of the same brand and model).

Again, not condoning or promoting Monster, but their grip usually tend to be tighter. I now don't even use Monster, I import MPNS brand for my own use (usually a box of 50 at a time). They are far cheaper than Monster but the grip is as snug as Monster. This way I can charge my customer much lower price than Monster (I usually charge my cost -- especially since they already pay for my design) but without the headache of returning stuff since I tend to always have about 20 cables in hand. If one fail, I just go back to my car and exchange it with another one. LOL.
 
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