5.1 surround sound from laptop... will this setup work?

jclayyy

Commendable
Nov 23, 2016
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I'm trying to set up a system where I can play movies from my laptop, sending the audio signal to a 5.1 Home Theater, and the video signal to my projector. I'm looking to buy a Home Theater, but almost every set I look at involves going through a DVD player (I have no DVDs) or a TV (I have no TV).

So I'm kind of confused about how inputs/outputs will work.
This is what I have in mind - do you think it'll work? Am I missing anything

- HMDI output from laptop to optical input in Home Theater
- HDMI output from Home Theater to VGA input in projector

I guess I'll need some adapter cables in there too (i.e. hdmi-optical audio, hdmi-vga), and maybe I'm making things more complicated than they need to be...

Really appreciate any help y'all can give me!!

 
1. You would need to add a USB to 5.1 channel external sound card to get it to work. That is the only input those speakers have for surround sound. The surround processing would be done in the laptop. Not ideal but still not expensive.
2. If you go used then if will depend on what equipment you can find. A DVD/HTS receivers are not very good so try to find a separate surround sound receiver with HDMI in. Doesn't have to be close to a current model.
If you can't find a complete 5.1 channel speaker system used it is important to get the front LCR channels to match. The rears can be different with little or no loss in quality. The sub doesn't have to match at all. If you start with a 3.1 system you can always add the rears when you find ones you like at the right price.
 
Don't buy a "home theater" they are for lazy people who don't want to think, buy the whole thing including speakers in one box, one expense, done. Right, that's how they sell it to you, but you come home with something that's very limited, not expandable, don't play nice with your existing.

Buy a boring AV receiver, some of these come with speakers as a package if you don't have favorite speakers in mind. The said receiver should have multiple HDMI inputs, and component (a 5-cables connection) and other analog video input should you have any legacy video equipment to hook up. You hook up your laptop to the receiver via HDMI, and from receiver to project, a HDMI to VGA converter. I cannot vouch for video quality of this converter thingy because I've never used one, but if you only have VGA input, you don't have a choice.

A low-budget alternative is, and this ONLY works for laptop-to-projector, and nothing else (no future expansion, can't use it for anything else): A HDMI to VGA converter between laptop and projector, and a surround, self-powered speakers set with Toslink, assuming your laptop has a Toslink out.
 

jclayyy

Commendable
Nov 23, 2016
13
0
1,560
0
Yeah, what you've described is pretty much my ideal setup, but my budget is pretty limited, so I guess I have two options...

1. A very simple 'home theater in a box' type setup (e.g. http://www.edifier.com/int/en/speakers/r501-t3-5.1-computer).
The lazy option, but also cheapest! Input via 6-cables and no output for video. I'm sure sound quality will not be great, but how bad do you think it will get?

2. Buy 2nd hand. If I come across one like you described, perfect, but so far my only option seems to be getting a HomeTheatre (e.g. https://www.cnet.com/products/sony-bdv-e280/specs/) and using the Blu-ray player as a receiver. As long as it has the inputs/outputs I need, that should work ok, right? By the way, do you have any tips on buying second hand speakers - other than making sure I hear them in action first?

(Versatility also isn't a huge factor for me here, I know I'll only need one input - from my laptop)
 
1. You would need to add a USB to 5.1 channel external sound card to get it to work. That is the only input those speakers have for surround sound. The surround processing would be done in the laptop. Not ideal but still not expensive.
2. If you go used then if will depend on what equipment you can find. A DVD/HTS receivers are not very good so try to find a separate surround sound receiver with HDMI in. Doesn't have to be close to a current model.
If you can't find a complete 5.1 channel speaker system used it is important to get the front LCR channels to match. The rears can be different with little or no loss in quality. The sub doesn't have to match at all. If you start with a 3.1 system you can always add the rears when you find ones you like at the right price.
 

jclayyy

Commendable
Nov 23, 2016
13
0
1,560
0
Great info, thanks!

I'm now looking at buying a second hand Onkyo receiver (TX-SR313). Any suggestions on buying speakers for it?

Again, I'll be buying second hand so my choices are limited - I'm not looking for recommendations of specific speakers, but an idea of the sort of things I need to consider to make sure the speakers (especially the front 3, as you mention) will work well with the receiver.

 
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