Originally Posted by darinf
My laptop's video card does not support multi-channel output via HDMI. The only thing I can do is get it to output 2 channels via the HDMI out.
Ok. I thought I would summarize the results of my "project", as it might be helpful to others.
(1) The story begins with the recent purchase of my second Realiser, this time a current HDMI-enabled version. I also purchased a dual-HDMI-OUT Yamaha RX-V867 AVR to replace my current single-HDMI-OUT RX-V863.
The plan was that one of the HDMI-OUT ports on the 867 would go to my HDTV and the other would go to the HDMI Realiser (for use with decoded LPCM delivered via HDMI from Oppo player through the 867 and on via HDMI to the HDMI Realiser).
The 867 would also connect via its discrete analog preamp outputs to the discrete analog inputs of the HDMI Realiser, for use with other non-BluRay sources in my setup. These other devices are only capable of delivering still-encoded DD5.1 to the 867 over HDMI or optical/coax, so it would be in the 867 where decoding would occur and discrete channel analog output delivered from the preamp outputs of the 867 to the main analog inputs of the HDMI Realiser.
And my old analog Realiser would be re-purposed to a second watching/listening location in my house (at my HTPC). In theory, my current 863 AVR would also be moved to that second location, to support the old analog Realiser there just as it had been supporting it in its previous location next to my primary HDTV. I would then be able to watch HDTV and/or DVD/BluRay movies on that HTPC while listening to sound through the Realiser and headphones.
(2) So now I have two Realisers: (a) analog-only, and (b) analog/HDMI. This is part of my significant (and, shudder, very expensive!) hardware/equipment upgrade project over the past year which in addition to the recently acquired second Realiser and second AVR also included earlier acquisition of (a) external Audio-GD NFB9 DAC, (b) new Stax SRM-007tII amp, and (c) new Stax SR-009 headphones, not to mention two fairly expensive Stax headphone extension cords and two sets of fairly expensive XLR cables to feed my two Stax amps . My previous Stax SRM-T1S/SR-Omega amp/headphone setup had been re-purposed upstairs, where I had a 2-channel audio-only listening setup with real quality audio equipment.
My plan was now to have two separate Realiser-enabled viewing/listening locations: (a) downstairs based on Sony 34XBR960 HDTV, with source equipment of Oppo BDP-83 for BluRay and HDMI audio to the HDMI Realiser, Linksys DMA2100 Windows Media Center extender for HDTV (from my HTPC), and JVC DT100U DVHS VCR, all for discrete analog audio to the HDMI Realiser, and (b) upstairs based on my dual-monitor BluRay-drive-equipped HTPC, which would also be the source equipment providing both HDTV as well as BluRay/DVD watching if I wanted to, for multi-channel audio through the analog Realiser.
The downstairs location would be supported by [theoretically] the RX-V867 dual-HDMI-OUT AVR, the HDMI Realiser connected by both HDMI and analog to the 867, and the SRM-007/SR-009. The upstairs location would be supported by [theoretically] by the RX-V863 single-HDMI-OUT AVR, the analog Realiser connected only by analog to the 863, and the SRM-T1S/SR-Omega.
(3) My Oppo BDP-83 only has a single HDMI output. And my XBR960 only has a single HDMI input. The 863 has three HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. The 867 has five HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs.
My HTPC has a dual-DVI/HDMI ATI HD5770 video card to support dual monitors (I have an Eizo S2433W DVI-only 24" LCD as my primary monitor #1, and an Eizo HD2441W DVI/HDMI 24" LCD as my extended monitor #2), with one of those two monitors fixed at DVI (1920x1200) but the other monitor supportable via either DVI (1920x1200) or HDMI (1920x1080). The HDMI output can be used to deliver (a) digital video only over HDMI, say directly to an HDMI-capable TV or monitor, or (b) digital video and multi-channel digital audio simultaneously over HDMI, say to an HDMI-enabled AVR which then delivers HDMI digital video to an HDMI-capable TV or monitor while simultaneously handling the multi-channel sound requirements through multi-channel speakers, or via the Realiser and headphones.
Since only two of the three available connectors on the HD5770 can be used at one time, if you want to deliver digital audio over HDMI to an external AVR-based sound system then you also must use that same HDMI connection for digital video (i.e. the corresponding DVI connection is disabled), with HDMI output from the AVR then going to an HDMI-capable TV or monitor. But all three connectors on the HD5770 can actually be "wired" (for potential use in different configurations), as long as only two of the three get used at any one time.
So for one HTPC operational setup option, I actually have the two DVI outputs from the HD5770 cable-connected to the two DVI inputs on my two monitors, which enables me to have the option of running both monitors in 1920x1200 60hz DVI mode (which I really prefer, for working). For this configuration, my HD2441W is set for its input to come from DVI. At this time I also set "playback devices" on my sound card to specify "speakers" as the default (which makes use of the Realtek ALC1200 sound chip on my motherboard to feed my standard Altec-Lansing 641 4.1 computer speaker system). Windows Media Center displaying HDTV-in-a-window in DVI-mode on the HD2441W looks gorgeous, and the sound through analog Altec-Lansing speakers is perfectly fine (in fact it's excellent).
For the other HTPC operational setup option, when I want to listen to multi-channel sound on my HTPC via the Realiser (connected to the AVR), I have to send that digital multi-channel sound out via HDMI from the HD5770 to the AVR (where it gets decoded if necessary, and then delivered via discrete preamp output analog to the Realiser). And that means at that time I also must be using that same HDMI output of the HD5770 for digital video (rather than DVI), to feed video through the AVR via HDMI and back to the HD2441W via HDMI, which for this configuration must have its input set to come from HDMI. At this time I also set "playback devices" on my sound card to specify "ATI HDMI Audio" as the default, which now sends all digital audio (including multi-channel) from any source/program out from HD5770 over HDMI to the AVR. Depending on the source program that HDMI-delivered digital sound can either be (a) sent still encoded, e.g. DD5.1 from HDTV and Windows Media Center, or (b) still encoded DD5.1 or decoded PCM from CyberLink PowerDVD9 when playing DVD/BluRay, etc. Whatever audio format is sent to the AVR via HDMI, it will be handled correctly. And the digital HDMI video is HDMI-relayed from the HD5770 to the AVR and then back to the HD2441W.
So for "normal" dual-monitor DVI mode with analog speakers, I have the HD2441W set to DVI input, and the AVR and Realiser are both turned off (thus disappearing the HDMI connections everywhere). This absence of HDMI causes Windows and the HD5770 drivers to utilize the dual-DVI path from HD5770 to the dual monitors, and the "playback devices" for sound shows the HDMI Audio option as "disconnected, not ready". Instead, "speakers" is selected as the default sound output.
And for "multi-channel Realiser" operation, I have the HD2441W set to HDMI input, and the AVR and Realiser are both turned on (thus appearing the HDMI connection from HD5770 to AVR, and also the HDMI connection from AVR to the HD2441W). The presence of HDMI (and the disappearance of the DVI connection to the HD2441W) causes Windows and the HD5770 to disable that DVI connection and instead use HDMI for video to the HD2441W through the AVR. It also causes "playback devices" for sound to now show the HDMI Audio option as "connected, ready" and selecting it as the default output will send all digital sound from PC to the AVR out over that HDMI connection from the HD5770 (with no sound sent to the analog speakers).
Note that there is a visible difference in video quality when running the HD2441W in DVI (1920x1200 60hz) mode vs. HDMI (1920x1080p 50hz) mode. It actually works near-perfectly (other than the reduced desktop size, and a slight size reduction of the 1920x1080 display presentation within the physical LCD panel itself so that there are "black bars" on all four edges of the screen), but I much prefer DVI mode both in clarity and performance. Note that both HDTV, videos, and playback of DVD/BluRay is possible in both DVI and HDMI modes, but it really does look better in DVI mode (which again, is slightly larger since it fills the entire LCD panel at native 1920x1200 resolution).
(4) As multi-faceted and "complex" as is the setup for the HTPC (but which as implemented does give me my desired flexibility of (a) normal all-DVI-video and analog speakers when I don't want to listen through the Realiser, or (b) HDMI/DVI-video and multi-channel sound via HDMI from HTPC to AVR to Realiser) there is even more of a challenge trying to connect and configure the downstairs setup. This is due to the available number of HDMI inputs and outputs on the various devices, and also because the AVR is in the middle and being used used as an HDMI switcher.
The goal is to provide (a) digital video from Oppo over HDMI, (b) decoded LPCM digital audio from Oppo over HDMI, (c) digital video to XBR960 over HDMI, and (d) passed-through LPCM digital audio from AVR to HDMI Realiser over HDMI. But the setup must also support (a) encoded multi-channel digital audio from the other non-Oppo source devices to the AVR, and (b) decoded analog preamp output from AVR to HDMI Realiser via analog inputs, as well as (c) digital video from the source devices over HDMI and (d) digital video to XBR960 over HDMI when these other source devices are selected as input.
But... in order to get HDMI audio "passed through" the AVR, from Oppo to the downstream HDMI Realiser, the "HDMI pass-through" option on the AVR must be set to ON (or "enabled", or whatever it's called on the particular AVR). However, if with "HDMI pass-through" enabled the HDMI-connected HDTV is also seen by the Oppo (as it would be, if simultaneously connected to the second HDMI output on the dual-HDMI-OUT 867), then the Oppo will NOT deliver multi-channel digital audio out over HDMI since the "visible" HDTV can only accept 2-channel stereo. So the digital HDMI audio from Oppo to AVR to Realiser is not multi-channel, but instead is only 2-channel stereo. Obviously this a major show-stopper problem.
I tried both my XBR960 and also a second Samsung HDTV connected to the 867 via one HDMI output, but could never get anything but 2-channel stereo audio (from the Oppo, through the 867) sent to the Realiser out of the other second HDMI output.
Even more surprising, I disconnected the HDTV from the 867 and now saw that the Oppo WAS delivering multi-channel to the 867 (since the HDMI Realiser was handshaking that it could accept multi-channel), and yet the Realiser was still only receiving 2-channel stereo from the 867!!! This was completely unexpected and inexplicable, and suggested a defective 867. Why would it "strip off" the channels it was receiving other than L/R, and only pass on L/R?? How could this be?? Seemed impossible.
Anyway, I was NEVER able to get things to work properly with the 867... even without a TV connected via HDMI, when FOR ABSOLUTE SURE there was now only 2-channel stereo delivered from the Oppo because the "visible" HDTV (connected on the second HDMI output of the 867, with "HDMI pass-through" enabled on the 867) demanded that only 2-channel stereo be sent from the Oppo even though the also-connected Realiser could accept multi-channel. And I never could figure out why only 2-channels were coming out of the 867 to the Realiser even when there was no TV connected (and I tried all kinds of HDMI resets, pulling cables, pulling power cords and restarting to re-initiate HDMI handshakes, etc.). Yamaha says this should not happen, but it was happening. They blamed some unknown "HDMI compatibilty" with the Realiser as the "culprit".
(5) Since the 867 was apparently UNUSABLE as the AVR in the downstairs setup as I'd originally intended, I decided to just try the 863 in the same setup. Now the 863 only has a single HDMI output, but I thought I'd be able to use the HDMI Output of the Realiser to solve that problem (with the XBR960 connected to the Realiser's HDMI output, to deliver video). Actually, I really didn't want to end up this way, because I often turn the Realiser off to enable "analog bypass" so as to listen to TV via speakers when I don't want to listen through headphones. But... at least I wanted to see what would happen.
Well, remarkably, when the 863 was substituted for the 867 (no XBR960 connected to the Realiser yet, just as the XBR960 was temporarily disconnected from the 867 during problem sovling mode), and with the Realiser still connected via HDMI to the 863, sure enough the Oppo now delivered multi-channel LPCM via HDMI to the 863 which then "passed through" that same HDMI digital audio on out to the HDMI-connected Realiser. Put back the 867, with everything else remaining the same, just to reconfirm that the original problem was STILL PRESENT... and exact same "problem" story as before: multi-channel delivered from Oppo to 867, but only 2-channel stereo delivered from 867 to Realiser. Obviously, some kind of bug with the 867.
Ok, that means I only even have a "prayer" of making this work downstairs if I use the 863 downstairs. So, that was a significant (but painless, as it turns out) change of original plan. So in fact, I simply decided to use the 867 upstairs (where there was no problem at all, since there was no "HDMI pass-through" required since I was using an analog Realiser). Upstairs, "HDMI pass-through" is set to OFF, the HDMI handshake between HTPC and 867 agrees that multi-channel audio is supported over HDMI, and that's it. Analog output from 867 to the analog Realiser works perfectly, and the whole setup is problem-free (and dual-mode DVI/DVI/analog or DVI/HDMI/digital configurable as described earlier).
In other words, I need two AVR's for my two Realiser home. If the 867 works "perfectly" upstairs, and the 863 works "perfectly" downstairs (except for needing a still to-be-determined two-HDMI-OUT solution of some kind, to support an HDMI HDTV as well as an HDMI Realiser), well so be it. Use the 863 downstairs and the 867 upstairs, opposite to my original plan. Actually, I prefer still having the 863 downstairs since it has superior analog connectivity (i.e. it still has S-video) to the 867, and I want that S-video ability (for my old analog A/V equipment) if I can have it.
(6) For some reason (yet to be explained by Lorr, although further experiments and research will go on... probably this week), the HDMI OUTPUT on my Realiser DID NOT WORK! I was unable to get video delivered by HDMI through the Realiser. Just black.
Lorr provided a second Realiser to try, and the same failure of HDMI OUTPUT to work occurred. Nothing. Just black.
We tried two different HDTV's: my XBR960 1080i, and also my 22" Samsung 1080p, and both failed to display anything. Connecting both TV's to the AVR via HDMI, or even directly to the Oppo via HDMI, well they both display perfectly. But when either TV is connected to the HDMI OUTPUT of the Realiser while using either 867 or 963 as the AVR, nothing.
So, even though I really didn't even want to use HDMI OUTPUT on the Realiser to feed video to my HDTV (again, because I often have the Realiser powered off to enable analog bypass for sound), I at least was willing to use this if it was the only way I could use the 863... since the 867 was unusable downstairs because of the 2-channel stereo problem. But it wouldn't work.
So temporarily, my solution was to connect the XBR960 to the 863 using component video rather than HDMI. Then, I could use the one HDMI OUT of the 863 to feed HDMI audio to the HDMI Realiser. And since the HDTV was not "visible" via HDMI to the Oppo (even though "HDMI pass-through" was enabled on the 863, in order to be able to feed HDMI audio to the Realiser), the Oppo would deliver multi-channel LPCM via HDMI to the 863 which would then pass through that multi-channel LPCM via HDMI to the Realiser. This obviously was an undesirable but perhaps necessary compromise (at least temporarily), but the XBR960 does an excellent job of displaying component video so I could "live with it" (at least temporarily) if I couldn't find some other solution.
Still unresolved is why the Realiser's HDMI OUTPUT does not work in my setup. Lorr is "on the case", hopefully with some resolution. He's assured me that they tested this, that it works, and is even compatible with pass-through of 3D from its HDMI OUTPUT. And yet, it didn't work for me with either 863 or 867, and didn't work for me with either XBR960 or Samsung HDTV.
(7) Enter the recommended Monoprice 4x2 Matrix Switch, as my "HDMI port multiplier" solution to my single HDMI-OUT 863, when I need two HDMI outputs (one for HDTV and the other for the Realiser). This effectively adds a "dual simultaneous HDMI output" to my 863, matrixing the single output from the 863 into dual outputs from the switch.
And... it works perfectly, insofar as it was designed to "port multiply" one HDMI input to the two HDMI outputs for my situation!!! And it allows me to revert back to HDMI to the XBR960, rather than the component video arrangement I'd used temporarily.
Except that now the HDTV is once again visible through the 863 and matrix switch (with the Realiser connected to the other output of the switch)!!! And that means once again the HDMI audio handshake to the Oppo (through the 863) will once again see the "visible" HDTV which demands 2-channel stereo, and the Oppo will now once again deliver only 2-channel stereo to the 863 and on to the switch (and Realiser), because that's all the "visible" HDTV can see.
However, I discovered one very interesting "fortuitous quirk", and I'm not sure which component is actually responsible for this serendipity. But if I disconnect the HDTV from the switch (either by pulling HDMI cables, or just selecting a different output on the switch for that HDMI output) before everything is gets powered on and the overall network HDMI audio handshakes are initiated, when I then actually power everything on since the HDTV is now currently "invisible" and all other components queried can accept multi-channel, the Oppo agrees to deliver multi-channel audio out over HDMI to the 863. And the 863 will indeed then pass through this multi-channel audio out to the HDMI switch and then to the Realiser, which truly does receive the multi-channel input via HDMI as hoped.
And now, miraculously, if I "hot connect" the HDTV to the switch (either by plugging back in the HDMI cable, or by just selecting the HDTV's output of the switch for that HDMI connection) the Oppo WILL CONTINUE TO DELIVER MULTI-CHANNEL AUDIO OVER HDMI TO THE 863!! This is quite amazing, since the now-present and now-visible HDTV can NOT accept multi-channel audio and play it through its speakers (which doesn't bother me of course, since I'm not using the TV's speakers). So you'd think that the sudden appearance of the HDTV would also suddenly cause the Oppo to change from multi-channel audio output over HDMI to 2-channel stero output over HDMI. But it does NOT do that!
So, this indeed is a fortuitious blessing. As long as I get things going without the HDTV connected, I can get multi-channel audio from the Oppo to the 863 via HDMI and then multi-channel pass-through out of the 863 to the switch via HDMI, and then multi-channel out of the switch to the Realiser via HDMI... all of this while ALSO getting digital video via HDMI from Oppo to 863 to switch to XBR960.
And as long as I keep the switch powered on (so as to avoid starting all over again at power-on with a brand new set of HDMI audio handshakes, which would require that I once again make my HDTV temporarily "invisible" in order to convince the Oppo that multi-channel audio over HDMI is acceptable), that setting from the Oppo remains in effect... even when it is powered off and then powered back on and the XBR960 is still HDMI-connected to the switch and "visible"! I'm guessing that the switch remaining powered on is probably what is key to this "good luck", so that the whole set of HDMI audio handshakes doesn't get repeated. Whatever the explanation, this at least lets me avoid the nuisance of disconnect/reconnect for the HDTV, although I could certainly repeat without complaint it if I absolutely had to.
But in actuality, I really would like to be able to power off the switch when not in use, if I could do so relatively conveniently (i.e. without too much inconvenience when I power it back on). If only there were a "better way"...
(8) Ok, final tweak downstairs. Don't know why this idea hadn't occurred to me earlier (but sometimes you just have to sleep on it).
Actually, the only time there's really an issue with HDMI audio is when I'm wanting to use HDMI audio from Oppo to Realiser (through 863 and the switch), which is the only possible source device capable of delivering decoded multi-channel LPCM to the Realiser. All my other source devices are incapable of delivering anything other than still-encoded multi-channel digital audio to the 863, where it must be decoded and then sent out analog over its preamp outputs to the Realiser's main analog inputs.
So, for all of my non-Oppo source devices, I simply have to TURN OFF HDMI PASS-THROUGH ON THE 863!!! Once HDMI pass-through is disabled on the 863 then it is the 863 itself which is the other end of the HDMI audio handshake to the HDMI audio/video source device (e.g. my Linksys DMA2100 media center extender). And since the 863 CAN accept multi-channel audio via HDMI, the DMA2100 agrees to deliver multi-channel (still encoded DD5.1) audio to the 863 via HDMI. There it is decoded and sent out over the analog preamp outputs of the 863 to the analog inputs of the Realiser.
It doesn't matter whether the XBR960 is actively connected and "visible" to the switch and 863... it is a video-only device now, since HDMI pass-through on the 863 is disabled. So it does not influence the successful HDMI audio handshake that goes on between 863 and the DMA2100 which results in multi-channel audio being agreed to and delivered over HDMI from DMA2100 to 863.
Same story for my other non-Oppo source devices. As long as I don't need the Oppo (and decoded multi-channel LPCM to feed the Realiser via HDMI), I can leave the 863 with HDMI pass-through disabled. And HDMI video will go from source device to 863, out to the switch via HDMI, out to the XBR960 via HDMI, and there will be no multi-channel digital audio sent to the switch via HDMI (and therefore of course not delivered to the Realiser via HDMI).
But whenever I really DO want to use the Oppo, and listen through decoded multi-channel LPCM to the Realiser, I will have to then ENABLE the HDMI pass-through option on the 863. And that will require me to go through that whole HDMI audio handshake trick I described earlier (temporarily removing the HDTV from HDMI "visibility") in order to convince the Oppo to deliver multi-channel audio over HDMI. Then, "hot connect" the HDTV again (with no change from the Oppo's agreement to still deliver multi-channel audio over HDMI), and now I will be using that second HDMI output of the switch to the HDMI input of the Realiser, and I'm home.
I now, this was a long rant.
But I did want to share my experiences (both in objectives, problem solving, and resolution) to BOTH of my Realiser setups: one (downstairs) an HDMI-enabled situation with both BluRay (for decoded LPCM) and non-BluRay (for encoded multi-channel) as the source equipment to the 863, and the other (upstairs) an analog Realiser situation but fed from a Windows7-based HTPC with an ATI HD5770 video card providing multi-channel HDMI-audio and HDMI-video output as the source device to the 867 AVR.
Hopefully, this will prove helpful to someone out there facing the same or similar conditions.
Edited by dsperber - 8/30/12 at 11:38am