When I power on my system with Pioneer AV receiver and Samsung smart TV my receiver digital audio icon is always blinking and doesn't pass audio. I almost always have to switch to next HDMI input on receiver and then back to "wake it up" and get audio. Sources are all HDMI to TV and then 1 output to receiver. Only 2 or 3 inputs on receiver and 4 on TV so I have to use the TV. Wondering if I converted HDMI to optical or SPDIF would it be better coming out of TV. And can't determine if the Samsung output is not passing HDMI correctly or is it the input of the Pioneer. I use a Harmony remote which turns everything on at once. Wondering if I could delay starting one device to fix this as well.
You are using the TV as your source selector and HDMI-ARC to get audio from it to the receiver?
A delay or changing the order that the TV and receiver turn on may solve your problem. Not sure you could configure the Harmony remote to change the order or add a delay. You can try it and see. The Harmony remotes are excellent but don't have the flexibility of Pro remotes like the URC or RTI. These require profession programmer and can be configured for problems.
Using the TV optical audio output instead of HDMI-ARC will certainly work, solve your handshake issue, and sound just as good. If you used an HDMI-ARC audio extractor it should work but if you can use an optical direct from the TV it's just simpler and cheaper.
Actually, I checked and I'm using optical already from the Samsung breakout box to my Pioneer receiver. As it turns out there is no HDMI out on the breakout box - only a proprietary cable to the back of the TV. Samsung Breakout box has 4 HDMI in and 1 optical out. Still getting the muted audio with blinking digital light on the receiver 50% of the time. Only solution is switching inputs to "wake up" the Pioneer digital input. Frustrating.