This is the kind of thing that drives me bananas.
Just got a nice, brand-new Sony HDTV, with several HDMI-in ports. I would like to get the highest resolution I possibly can out of my video components -- generally DVD. In the past, when I had an older, analog TV, I just used the stereo receiver as an A/V switcher, for which purpose it works very well. But now this functionality has been compromised by the new array of input/output jacks.
Here's the setup:
- The two DVD players I have (one "regular" and one multistandard) both have optical-out ports. I have an old laserdisc and an even older VHS player hooked up to the system, too, but I'm not terribly concerned about them right now.
- I have all audio and video components running through a good, but eight-year-old, Sony A/V receiver. LP/tape/VHS/LD are connected via regular old component RCA plugs, which are just fine. The CD player and the two DVD players can connect to the receiver with optical cables -- which I prefer to use whenever I can. They work well and provide good sound.
- The problem is that the new HDTV does not have any optical-in ports. (If it did, I'd just run the sound from the DVD players through the receiver, and the picture, via optical cable, right to the TV. But I can't do this.) It does have composite-in and component-in, but no optical-in. And the receiver has only composite-out.
The receiver I have is a Sony STR-DA 333 ES. The manual, in PDF form, is available on this page
; click "primary user manual" and go to Page 5.
The HDTV I have is a Sony Bravia KDL-46VE5. The manual doesn't seem to be online, but you can find the details here
by clicking on "Specifications." (The site will not allow me to access that page directly.)
- The upshot of all this (if you're still with me) is that my only current option is to run all video components into the receiver, and thence to the TV via a crappy composite video cable. Which would sort of defeat the purpose of the 1080p set that I just bought. (We don't have any sort of cable, satellite, or other TV, so this new HDTV is really just going to be used as a monitor for movies on the DVD players.)
What I would like to do is get the highest possible resolution (the HDTV can handle 1080p/24f) when I watch DVDs. Is there a simple, inexpensive way to convert the optical signal to HDMI?
I can imagine several options:
1. I find a magical converter device that can handle multiple optical inputs and output HDMI. This device would be a switcher, so I could run optical cables from both DVD players into it, and then a single HDMI cable from the switcher to the HDTV.
2. If it's cheaper, I certainly don't mind eschewing with the idea of the switcher box and just getting two separate optical-to-HDMI cables, one for each DVD player.
HOWEVER: the problem I foresee: What about the audio??
I want to run the audio from the DVD players through my stereo system, which has a nice 5.1 setup. HDMI handles both video and audio, right? So if I choose either option above, will I be locked into using the speakers built into the HDTV? Or would I then just add another cable, so that the setup would look something like this:
DVD optical out --> HDMI cable --> HDMI in to HDTV --> TV audio out --> receiver. (In which case the audio running from the HDTV to the receiver would be component, yes? Which would be a step downwards, yes?)
I am reasonably good with stuff like this, but the age disparity between the new HDTV and the older stereo system is giving me a headache.
What's the best, cheapest, most reliable way for me to get the highest-quality picture from the DVD players onto the TV, and still get the room-shaking audio through the stereo?
Should I just buy a new multistandard, HDMI-out DVD player? If I did, I could connect it right to the HDTV, but I'd still have the audio problem that I detail above.
Related questions, for masochists and/or AV geeks:
- Let's say I solve this problem above. I'm still left with an LD and a VHS, both of which I still use occasionally, that will be unconnected. Is my best bet with these just to run A/V to the receiver, and thence to the HDTV via component cables?
- I'd like to minimize the number of A/V component switchers. Ideally, I'd still like my receiver to be the one and only device that switches between ALL a/v components. And what's nice is that I can split the audio and the video signals -- that is, I can listen to the CD player while watching the signal from the VHS, if I so desire. Is there some way I can use this functionality to refrain from buying any further switchers?