Solved! TV / receiver / soundbar - where does switching & decoding happen?

Nov 21, 2018
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In my home theater sys, I have a fancy receiver. All signals go to it, and it does all the switching and decoding, sending video-only to the projector. I understand it. Now, I'm looking to replace my 20-year-old bedroom system. I haven't paid attention to TV in a long time, and with all the changes in available gear I don't know what to get and how to connect, because I don't really understand what happens where. I'm planning to get an LG 55C8, and either a new receiver or a soundbar (maybe a Vizio Atmos?) So, some questions.



  • If I use a receiver, does it do the switching, or would I use the LG TV to do that? It seems like, if all signals go to the receiver directly, then it needs to do the audio decoding itself and just pass video to the TV.

    If all signals go to the TV, which in turn sends to the receiver or soundbar via HTML ARC, does the TV decode the audio and just send the individual channel info, or does the receiver / soundbar still need to understand the difference between, say, Atmos and DTS and act accordingly?

    Which hookup is preferable - receiver or TV doing the switching / decoding?
Thanks, in advance, for any help or advice.
 
As you already mentioned, with a standard receiver, it does the switching and decoding, and this is the most flexible way to do things if u need to hookup multiple sources, game box, cable Tv, BR/DVD, turntable etc etc etc.

1. TVs can do switching but they cannot do surround decoding, so that job needs to be done by a standard AVR or a Surround Soundbar.

2. Curse the soundbars, we get tons of question here about SB, like we're salesmen. They are convenient, but not flexible, with limitations, not scalable, can't expect to be able to hookup multiple source to it like a AVR. U have to make sure they do your bidding, buy somewhere u can return easy, and don't expect it to be able to do MORE than what you originally bought it for.

IMO, you should go the soundbar route only if it's one-use, meaning something like TV built-in speakers obviously suck and you want better sound than that but u don't need full surround in the bedroom, and the wifey may object to a full set of stereo equipment in the bedroom, aesthetic and decor considerations blah-blah.
 
As you already mentioned, with a standard receiver, it does the switching and decoding, and this is the most flexible way to do things if u need to hookup multiple sources, game box, cable Tv, BR/DVD, turntable etc etc etc.

1. TVs can do switching but they cannot do surround decoding, so that job needs to be done by a standard AVR or a Surround Soundbar.

2. Curse the soundbars, we get tons of question here about SB, like we're salesmen. They are convenient, but not flexible, with limitations, not scalable, can't expect to be able to hookup multiple source to it like a AVR. U have to make sure they do your bidding, buy somewhere u can return easy, and don't expect it to be able to do MORE than what you originally bought it for.

IMO, you should go the soundbar route only if it's one-use, meaning something like TV built-in speakers obviously suck and you want better sound than that but u don't need full surround in the bedroom, and the wifey may object to a full set of stereo equipment in the bedroom, aesthetic and decor considerations blah-blah.
 
Nov 21, 2018
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Thanks, that's helpful. It is a small setup, and maybe a SB is adequate. The speakers I have are not great, so I may try a SB and see if it does the trick.
 
Most soundbars are pretty bad sounding and adding 2 upward firing Atmos speakers doesn't do anything to compensate for that. Since it's for a bedroom I suspect that you need clarity at low volumes rather than home theater bass.
The Sono Playbar does that well and you can add the Sub if you need to. At a lower price point the Cambridge Audio Soundbar and Soundbases are very good.
 
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