Post-WMC solutions

Home Theater PC
kevm14
Posts: 14077
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Post-WMC solutions

Post by kevm14 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:27 pm

To recap...

TV has 3 HDMI inputs. I have Fire TV 4K, my HTPC and NES Classic.

For audio, I do not, ever, use the TV's built-in speakers. ALL audio is handled by my receiver and the single input for that is optical TOSLINK. Actually my receiver has dual TOSLINK inputs....hmm.

If I get 5.1 via HDMI from my HTPC (ripped DVD or broadcast TV), it goes into the TV, and the TV passes it through to the receiver via optical TOSLINK. The blue light lights up and it's clearly 5.1.

However, with the Fire TV 4K (and probably any Bluray player), regardless of the audio coming into the TV on HDMI, the TV sends out stereo or 2.1 to my receiver. And this is due to HD copy protection. The TV is respecting it, as far as I can gather. So either people don't notice this is happening or some TVs don't respect the HDCP flag. OR, some TVs do pass through 5.1 due to some kind of licensing thing? Oddly this is still very unclear.

I did find this site so people do care about this stuff.

https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/inputs/ ... assthrough

Everything on this list seems to pass 5.1 through, but these are all 2017-2019 TVs. Not all pass DTS though. But I'm not even worried about DTS right now.

Probably the cheapest solution is this: https://www.amazon.com/J-Tech-Digital-E ... r=8-3&th=1

Assuming there are no resultant sync issues...and also my receiver only has one optical input so I'd need a switcher for that. This whole thing is stupid. A new receiver would solve it...but that's more expensive, unless.....used stuff on eBay (or a pawn shop lol).

bill25
Posts: 2569
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:20 pm

Re: Post-WMC solutions

Post by bill25 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 6:56 pm

Side bar - Did you play Metroid yet so you can play Super Metroid?

kevm14
Posts: 14077
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Post-WMC solutions

Post by kevm14 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:01 pm

OK so I brain farted. The HTPC sends separate optical audio to my receiver. My TV will not take 5.1 that comes in via HDMI and output it on the TOSLINK output.

https://www.soundandvision.com/content/ ... lasma-hdtv
If you expect to connect a soundbar and have the TV perform switching among HDMI sources such as a cable box and Blu-ray player, be advised that the ST’s optical digital audio output you’ll use to feed the soundbar downconverts all multichannel Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams to PCM stereo, which will bypass any DD or DTS decoder built into the soundbar and result in less-than-best sound quality. This practice is unfortunately common to most HDTVs today.
So we can blame the TV I guess. Wonder if my previous Samsung supported it.

The HDCP thing was a misdirection. The HTPC audio does not go through HDMI, as I said above. It goes straight to the receiver via the optical TOSLINK. I could probably tell Windows to send audio on HDMI and I get I wouldn't get 5.1 on my receiver. In fact I guarantee I won't.

But since the receiver has dual optical inputs, I should probably just buy that thing I linked before, connect the Fire TV stick to that, give that a dedicated optical input on the receiver, and everything else the TV gets will go through its own output. I guess that settles it.

kevm14
Posts: 14077
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Post-WMC solutions

Post by kevm14 » Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:19 pm

And one of these.

https://www.amazon.com/eSynic-Switcher- ... r=8-2&th=1

That way I can still use HTPC and audio for when I want to play a DVD rip or previously recorded TV.

Another $51...hope everything works. If it does I will be thrilled.

kevm14
Posts: 14077
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Post-WMC solutions

Post by kevm14 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:46 am

I have to get a few jabs in.

WMC did the followings things better as a DVR:
- Generally my 10 year old dual core machine with 4GB of ram was still more snappy when it comes to doing DVR tasks like playback, and skip forward/skip back. This makes sense because these are general computer tasks, manipulating large MPEG-2 files. Plus the GUI is through the Fire Stick, and that issues commands to the Recast. Data is streamed from the Recast to the Fire Stick before being displayed. All of that happened internally to my HTPC previously.
- WMC gave more options when recording new shows. The voice search on the Recast is nice of course but WMC gave you more control over what channel to pick (if the show is on more than one). The Recast lets you choose a network or all channels, but not a specific channel (if you get one network on more than one channel which is certainly possible). WMC also let you say new only or new and rerun. The Recast does not appear to have any controls for this, sticking to series or individual show.
- I don't seem to have zoom control of playback. I don't know if this is actually an issue but I would sometimes need to zoom/stretch subchannels on WMC.

I went through and tried to schedule all series recordings I had in WMC. Some shows aren't even on anymore but some are and just aren't airing within the guide timeline so I will have to go back and schedule shows as their air date approaches. This is similar to WMC.

The red LED on the front was blinking. Everything seemed to work fine but I restarted the unit with the app on my phone and that fixed it. I think a normal idle state is a white solid LED. Red solid means recording. Green solid means playback. I think blinking in general means something is wrong.

I continue to be happy with the Fire Stick 4K. I can "cast" a Youtube video from my phone to the Fire Stick (yes I could do this from my old Windows Phones and stuff, too). Have not had any issues with the wifi performance. I did connect ethernet to the Recast. I wonder if there is a Windows 10 app that I could install on my bedroom desktop and give remote access to shows and live TV. I would sort of expect that but have not looked into it.

The voice search covers a lot of sources which is a nice idea from Amazon, since sometimes you don't care where it comes from. So I like this generation remote with microphone and volume buttons. I guess this is new.

I wonder if I can point the Fire Stick to my HTPC and play ripped DVDs...eh, if it needs to be on may as well play direct.

I should get my HDMI audio splitter stuff today and hopefully enable 5.1 for Fire Stick source. I really hope there is no audio sync issue.

kevm14
Posts: 14077
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Post-WMC solutions

Post by kevm14 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:50 pm

I am thrilled to report that the HDMI audio splitter works perfectly and with no noted audio sync issues. I now get 5.1 to my receiver from the Fire Stick from all sources that offer it, including over the air TV. I also installed my TOSLINK switcher so I have 4 total optical inputs instead of 2. This is awesome. It beats buying a new TV or receiver, that's for damn sure.

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