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Noob question regarding audio via HDMI

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by cb2222, Nov 22, 2012.
  1. cb2222
    Hey guys,

    I was thinking about putting my extra laptop (Sony Vaio Z series with HDMI out) to use and possibly hook it up to my entertainment system in my living room (my receiver is a Denon AVR-791). I have my desktop computer in my office that streams my files (movies and music) to my Xbox that is connected to the receiver. However, I am not overly impressed with the Xbox and it's lack of FLAC support. Most of my cds have been ripped using FLAC and I would love to play them on my Denon AVR-791 and headphones (Shure SRH440). Hence, I was thinking about using my laptop instead. My question is this...when using HDMI, will my soundcard in my laptop being to the digital to analogue conversion? Or is it handed over to the receiver to do the work? Also, will there be any degradation in quality by streaming the files over ethernet to my laptop? Or should I just simply load up my laptop's hard drive with my collection?

    Sorry for the noob questions but I couldn't really find a straight answer with my searching. Thanks very much for any input that you may have.
  2. shimm
    Using HDMI you don't use soundcard at all. In that case a videocard is "soundcard". Your music player (foobar or whatever) decodes your Flacs to PCM (a digital sound format that windows audio system, HDMI and your receiver can understand). So your music player send PCM over HDMI to receiver and the last one does digital to analogue conversion. Is HDMI better than Ethernet for sound quality? It depends on many factors and really hard to tell. IMO best way is to try etherything and make your own opinion.
  3. cb2222

    Thanks very much for your reply. That clears up a lot for me and I really appreciate your input. I think I may run some tests today and see if I can hear the difference between streaming through ethernet vs. a straight laptop to receiver connection via HDMI.

    Thanks again! :)

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