HDMI Cables, Speaker Impedance, HDMI Splitters
What's in a Number?
Will Blu-ray play through an HDMI 1.3 cable? I replaced a standard DVD player with a BD player and lost the sound. The cable is 1.3. Does that make a difference?
Bruce K. Dormanen
An HDMI cable rated for version 1.3 is perfectly fine for Blu-ray, even 3D Blu-ray, as long as it can accommodate a data bandwidth of 10.2Gbps, which is assured if it's Simplay-certified. Without more information, I can't troubleshoot your problem. What equipment are you using now? What were you using before? Were you using HDMI with the DVD player? If so, and you heard audio then, the Blu-ray player's HDMI output could be faulty.
Here are a few things to try. First, replace the HDMI cable with a different one; if you hear audio, the original cable is faulty. If that doesn't work, connect the HDMI cable to a different HDMI input on the receiver; if you hear audio, the first HDMI input is probably faulty. If that doesn't work, connect the Blu-ray player's optical or coax digital-audio output to the receiver and select the Dolby Digital audio track on a disc; if you hear audio, the player's HDMI output could be faulty.
I have a pair of Thiel CS 1.2 speakers that have a nominal impedance rating of 4Ω, but my Onkyo TX-SR507 receiver is spec'd at 75 watts per channel into 8Ω or 100Wpc into 6Ω. The sound I get when watching movies seems to be adequate, but when I listen to music, it doesn't seem to be the quality I would expect from high-end Thiel speakers. I haven't run into any overheating issues with the receiver up to now. Will this setup cause any long-term damage to the speakers? And when I have the budget, would you recommend upgrading to a higher-end receiver or simply adding a quality power amp to my current setup?
I suspect the Thiels' impedance is too low for the receiver, which is a pretty low-end model for these speakers. The speakers are trying to draw more power from the receiver's amps than they are comfortable providing, and the sound is compromised as a result. Also, the tweeters are susceptible to damage under these conditions because of high-frequency, high-power distortion from the amp.
Either solution you suggest would work, as long as the new receiver or power amp is rated to drive 4Ω speakers. I would definitely upgrade as soon as you can afford to.
Two for One
Are HDMI splitters any good? My Harman Kardon AVR 247 A/V receiver passes 1080p with lots of sparklies. I want to split the HDMI from an HTPC and send the video directly to the Panasonic TC-P54G20 plasma and the audio to the receiver.
I want to take the HD signal from my Dish 612 HD DVR and send it to two HD monitors. The cable run from the Dish receiver to each of the monitors is less than 8 feet. I am unclear on whether a simple HDMI "Y" adaptor will work or if I need a specific type of powered device.
Mark, have you tried connecting the HTPC directly to the TV to make sure the problem is in the AVR? If not, I recommend doing that before investing in an HDMI splitter. Also, how long is the HDMI cable from the HTPC to the AVR and from the AVR to the TV? If either one is longer than 15 or 20 feet, that could be the problem. If the AVR really is the problem, using an HDMI splitter as you describe might be a good solution.
Jeffrey, there is no such thing as a passive HDMI "Y" adaptor as there is for analog audio, because HDMI carries a complex datastream with bidirectional handshaking, which requires sophisticated circuits to handle correctly. There are plenty of good HDMI splitters on the market from companies such as Accell, DVIGear, and Key Digital. (Gefen also makes them, but I've had some problems with its splitters.) We use an Accell 4-in/8-out switcher/splitter in the studio with no problems at all.
If you have a home-theater question, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.