When people buy new devices, especially audio and video equipment, they often think their features are the most important thing. the better the specs, the better the audio/video playback. However, there is one thing that we all often neglect and that is the wiring. Using the right cables can significantly improve performance and bring you more pleasure.
one of the greatest achievements of modern technology, at least when it comes to audio/video equipment, is the introduction of the hdmi cable. It’s been with us since 2002 and many of you are probably using it constantly, especially when it comes to connecting your home theater speaker systems to a receiver or TV, but do you really know what it is and how it works?
why is hdmi so important?
hdmi stands for “high-definition multimedia interface” and can be defined as a standard for the digital transmission of uncompressed video and audio data. The progress made in the development of HDMI technology over the years is expressed by the number that follows the name “HDMI” and runs from 1.0 to the latest 2.1 and the incredible HDMI arc.
the goal of using hdmi is to replace multiple cables that carry audio or video data with a single cable that can do both at the same time. the newer versions have gone even further: they even have an ethernet channel and can transmit 3d data with a single cable. no mess, no mess, just great quality. pretty amazing, don’t you think?
this is exactly why hdmi is great, or should we say the best option when it comes to connecting a home theater system to a receiver, television, blu-ray player, game console, etc. in fact, there is an even better solution: hdmi arc. this little friend can do even more: plus, it can reduce cable clutter in your home. I wonder how?
the hdmi connection is the best way to connect all your audio/video equipment together
let’s say you have most of your sources (game consoles, stb, dvd players, etc.) connected to your avr via hdmi cables. so you have a single hdmi cable connecting your avr to your tv. The cable connects the receiver’s HDMI output port to your TV’s HDMI input. your avr receives all audio and video signals, separates the audio from the video, then sends the audio to the speakers and the video to your tv. it’s a nice clean setup.
now let’s say you have some video source connected directly to your tv via hdmi (a blu-ray player, for example). your TV is still connected to the receiver, but the connection goes from the receiver’s output to your TV’s input. So unless you use one more cable (either optical, coaxial, or some analog cable) to connect one of your TV’s audio outputs to the corresponding audio input on your receiver, the sound will come out of your TV’s speakers. . and your TV speakers just aren’t capable of creating any surround sound experience. they are poor quality speakers and you need the audio to go to the receiver and then to your home theater.
Fortunately, with an HDMI ARC cable, you will only need that one cable going from your TV to your receiver and this cable will transfer the audio from your TV to the receiver using the same connection that transfers video content from the receiver to your TV. Naturally, this only works if both your TV and your receiver support HDMI ARC. There must be an HDMI ARC output port on your receiver and an HDMI ARC input on your TV.
hdmi arc connection allows two-way communication between your TV and your receiver
Speaking of home theater systems and taking into account that our topic is related to surround sound, we think it is worth saying a few words about them just to make the following parts of the article more clear.
A few words about surround sound
Surround sound is an audio technique used to enrich the depth and fidelity of sound, achieved by creating a speaker system in which each speaker represents a different channel. the surround sound effect is achieved mainly through the distribution of the speakers in a room, depending on their position. the technique was first used in cinemas but has become so popular that many people wanted it in their own homes and with the advent of home theater systems (hts) this has become possible and in some cases quite affordable.
Depending on your preferences and of course your budget, you can choose between two types of home theater systems:
custom made home theater systems
When we say custom built, we don’t mean you have to create it from scratch; we mean you can choose the number and type of speakers you want to combine in a single system. each and every part of the system, including amplifiers, receivers, speakers, and subwoofers) can be purchased separately. the only important thing is to find the speakers and other equipment that create great synergy when used together.
However, you do not have complete freedom in this case as there are some limitations. for example, the minimum required number of speakers that can be considered a home theater system is 6 (5.1 system consisting of five speakers and a subwoofer). This basic system typically consists of a subwoofer, center speaker, front left, front right, surround left, and surround right speakers. said system can be further upgraded to 7.1, 9.1, etc. adding rear speakers, ceiling speakers, etc.
Whatever system you choose, you should know that your setup requires in-depth knowledge of audio equipment in general (to match speakers and receivers/amplifiers correctly) and room acoustics (to choose the size of the speaker that will deliver the right kind of sound for your apartment/house).
all-in-one home theater systems
this is the second type of hts and is also known as “home theater systems in a box”. As you’ve probably already guessed, these are much simpler than the previous type because all the speakers come in one package and you don’t have to search for the matching receiver. all that is expected of you is to connect them to the included receiver.
htibs come pre-paired: everything you need is packed inside one box
Some home theater-in-a-box systems include just a sound bar and a subwoofer (wired or wireless) used to enhance bass reproduction. they do not offer true surround sound, but some kind of virtual surround sound effect. either way, they’re cheaper and easier to use than real surround sound systems. In some cases, these soundbar-based systems can also include two wired or wireless surround speakers, bringing you one step closer to true surround sound.
soundbar based surround sound systems
how to connect surround sound to a tv without hdmi?
so now that we’ve explained the basic operating principles of home theater systems and hdmi cables that are crucial to achieving surround sound, we’ve reached a point where we’re supposed to explain what to do in In case I don’t have or I can’t establish the connection through the hdmi cable.
Truth be told, it’s extremely hard to imagine any of the devices that are supposed to handle surround sound not having the necessary hdmi ports, regardless of the type of receiver or home theater system, because there’s probably no television. or receiver today that does not have these ports. however, it’s more likely to have a broken hdmi cable, so let’s imagine you’re in this situation: guests come over to watch a movie, you realize your hdmi cable is broken, and you start to panic and wonder what to do .
if you start searching the internet, you will find several options, and using rca cables is one of them. however, we will not discuss it here. why? well, because rca cannot be used to deliver surround sound, only stereo sound. so rca is a viable option if you’re not looking for surround sound.
but how to achieve surround sound?
The only and best thing to do here is to use digital/optical cable (also known as toslink cable). it’s simple, fast, and provides quality audio connection and playback. Simply take one end of your digital optical cable and insert it, plug it into your TV’s digital optical output port. then take the other end of the cable and insert it into the digital optical input port on the receiver connected to your surround sound speaker system.
once the cable is connected, you need to open the setup menu on your TV and select the digital optical input as the source required to hear surround sound. the next step is to select the movie you want to watch and press play.
That’s pretty much it, folks. enjoy!