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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Over the weekend, I grabbed a sale priced Sony BDP-S370 first and am asking questions later.

Unless your AV receiver is recent enough to include an input for HDMI and an onboard True-HD and/or DTS-HD decoder, then you are like me, stuck with a receiver that has no input for HDMI or if it does, the HDMI is strictly a pass-through switcher.

So if you go to the video rental store and look at the jackets for the latest Blu-Ray disks, you will note that they all are made to output Dolby True-HD or DTS-HD along with some other selectable audio codecs.

Most of these disks include a secondary Dolby 5.1 soundtrack in a second language like french or spanish and a minority even include a secondary english 5.1 soundtrack.

But if you rent a disk where the only english soundtrack is in True-HD or DTS-HD, and your receiver can only process audio arriving by digital optical in or multi-channel analog in, then to hear the HD audio, you need a Blu-Ray player which internally decodes HD audio into discrete multi-channel analog.

The price of players which do this internal decoding cost as much as entry level AV receivers which decode HD audio via HDMI.

So if you are not prepared to buy the expensive Blu-Ray player nor upgrade your AV receiver, then like me, you are stuck wondering what kind of sound you can get out of the Sony BDP-S370 (or similar) player via the optical connection.

On page 23 of the Sony BDP-S370 user manual there is an option for setting the "BD Audio MIX Setting". If set to ON, then "(the player) outputs the audio obtained by mixing the interactive and secondary audio to the primary audio."

Does this mean that in addition to outputting Dolby True-HD on the HDMI, the player will create a lower resolution surround signal from the core soundtrack in HD and output it on the optical output?

If not, this and similar players may only offer stereo analog output, which is a sad compromise.

Any comments please.....

Thanks
 

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Does this mean that in addition to outputting Dolby True-HD on the HDMI, the player will create a lower resolution surround signal from the core soundtrack in HD and output it on the optical output?
With the appropriate settings (bitstream or raw or similar), the BD player will output DD5.1 or DTS5.1 on the optical cable, even if the BD itself has no such track (the HD audio is downconverted).

The SAP setting is really only for HD audio and needs to be turned off to listen to HD audio via HDMI.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks 57 for the clarification

So the best thing to do is to select the Dolby True-HD option on the disk's menu and let the player automatically create its own Dolby 5.1 equivalent which it will simultaneously make available on the player's optical out?

I can also tell my player that my receiver can decode Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby Surround (Pro-Logic) and DTS Neo 6. Will doing so allow for an improvement over the default Dolby 5.1 coming out of the player's optical out?
 

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1. I think that's OK, but if you hear no sound, then you may need to select the DD5.1 or DTS track as applicable/available. There's often an "audio" button which allows you to cycle through the various tracks by repeatedly pressing that button.

2. I don't see that this would improve things, but if you don't accept this setting, it may downconvert to PCM 2 channel? All of these players have many different settings and the operating manual is often useless. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would agree that it is best to configure the player to be aware of as many as possible of the codecs that the receiver can decode. The player will also know at worst that there is nothing attached to the other end of the HDMI cable and output accordingly. Or if I choose to connect the player via DVI to my TV, the player will also know that the TV has no provision for decoding surround sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm happy to report that my new Sony BDP-S370 Blu-Ray player will pull both DTS-HD and Dolby True-HD soundtracks off a Blu-Ray disk and send via the optical out to my older Sony receiver an equivalent of DTS-5.1 Discrete and Dolby Surround 5.1 or better.

Sometimes the Dolby True-HD is the only soundtrack listed in the menu but the player always finds the hidden default lossy 5.1 core signal to output on optical.
 

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this read may be of interest to you ..

These new high-resolution codecs are backwards compatible with existing decoders, but only in their most basic form. For the better sound you'll need either a player that decodes (and sends that audio out via PCM over HDMI or analog 6-channel out) or a receiver/processor that decodes the format, and a player that will output the bitstream of these codecs.
*credit home entertainment magazine.

here is the article in it's entirety
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your quote.

I am pleased that my 5 year old AV receiver is not obsolete by the connection of a Blu-Ray player.

The concensus of what I have read so far is that the sound quality available on the optical out of a Blu-Ray player matches or excedes that of a DVD disk, but never is quite as good as a loss-less HD version.

Cheers....
 
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