Do I Need Separate HDMI Connections for Audio and Video?

Q I bought a Panasonic DP-UB820 Blu-ray player and a Sony XBR-X900F TV thanks in part to the reviews of both in Sound & Vision. Here’s my question: Should I use both of the DP-UB820’s HDMI outputs, one connected directly to the TV for video, and the second to my Anthem AVM 60 preamp/processor for audio? I’d think it would be best for the Panasonic to handle video processing before sending the signal to the TV, and that the Anthem simply decode the audio, but I’m wondering if there are disadvantages to this setup. —Greg Strzalka

A There’s no reason why you should be hesitant to use your Anthem AVM 60 preamp/processor’s HDMI connections for both video and audio switching. The AVM 60’s eight HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.0a, a version that’s compatible with high dynamic range (HDR) formats. They also support the full 18.2Gbps bandwidth needed to pass 4K/60 video signals with 4:4:4 subsampling, though you’ll find few video program sources at present that actually push those limits.

Another consideration is that Anthem simply passes-through video signals; it doesn’t perform any additional processing or scaling that could degrade video quality. A main reason why you’d want to use both HDMI outputs on the Panasonic is when using an older processor or receiver with HDMI connections that don’t support the full range of up-to-date video features like HDR and 4K/60 pass-through. Your setup might also have unique installation challenges that require running separate HDMI connections to the TV or projector and audio electronics.

Aside from simplifying setup, another benefit to running both audio and video through a preamp/processor like the AVM 60 is getting to use its HDMI onscreen display. This gives you onscreen status feedback during setup and when you make adjustments (tweaking center channel level, for example) and switch processing modes. Otherwise, you’ll need to depend on the pre/pro’s comparatively tiny front-panel display for that.

WildGuy's picture

i didn't know what 4k passthrough means on the a/v receiver until i read this page. cool, good to know.

So, its better to use one hdmi cable to connect the 4k blu-ray player to the a/v receiver since its equally optimal as using the 2nd hdmi audio out from the 4k blu ray player to the a/v receiver. Beside its simpler and we get to save one hdmi cable too. i see. cool and nice to know.

Brandon Iron's picture

I just bought a Vizio PQ65-F1. I am getting HDCP errors on my Pioneer VSX-33 receiver. I have an Oppo BDP-93 with audio HDMI to receiver and video HDMI to Vizio HDMI 4 (2.0). I have a older Panasonic BR player with 1 HDMI to receiver. I have a Roku box HDMI to receiver. I have a single HDMI from receiver to Vizio (HDMI 5 which is version 1.4). I have a cable box with HDMI out to receiver. I do not have any Ultra HD players so I do not understand the copy protection problems.

boulderskies's picture

I believe he should also ensure that his HDMI cable supports Premium High Speed connectivity.