Question Connecting multiple devices (DVR, Blu-ray, Apple TV., gaming console) to soundbar or TV?


Jan 24, 2014

Although I am proficient with computers, when it comes to audio/video, I'm a neophyte. :)

I have the following equipment:

  • Sony XBR65X850E
  • Vizio sb3621n-e8 soundbar
  • Xfinity X1 4k DVR
  • TiVo Bolt (deactivated - only used to view previously recorded shows)
  • UHD Blu-ray player
I may decide to add an Apple TV 4k and gaming console in the future.

Currently, I have the X1 DVR, TiVo Bot and UHD Blu-ray connected to the TV via HDMI. I'm using a digital optical audio cable from the TV to the Vizio soundbar for sound. The Sony TV does have an HDMI ARC connection, but this Vizio soundbar model does not.

I'm considering upgrading my soundbar and a few questions are popping into my mind. One of them is whether I should choose a soundbar with an HDMI ARC connection along with one or two HDMI inputs to connect devices directly into it.

  • Is there a reason or benefit of using HDMI ARC instead of the optical cable? Is one "better" than the other for the types of devices I have?
  • Is there a benefit of plugging let's say the X1 DVR and Blu-ray into the soundbar's HDMI inputs versus connecting them to the TV?
  • If the soundbar only has one HDMI input, which of my devices would be best to plug into the soundbar?
  • Since the other devices would need to be plugged into the TV's HDMI connections, would I still be able to get sound from the soundbar for those devices?
  • Would an HDMI switch be an option to connect all the devices to a single HDMI input port om the soundbar?
Would I benefit from a different setup altogether?

Thank you in advance! :)


For multiple connections you want to either connect it all to the TV and use optical out to the sound bar, or get a A/V receiver and use that for audio with non-powered speakers. Other ways you are dealing with splitters, switchers, etc...

I have almost the exact same soundbar, but with rear speakers, from listening tests I did there are really no good upgrades for it. I tried some sound bars double the price and more, none were better than the Vizio. Different yes but nothing I liked better.
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