Musings in the key of HDMI

My home entertainment system is not very elaborate by many standards but what I do have is of good quality.

It consists of:

  • a Samsung Series 6 46" Full HD LCD TV (top of the range in 2008)
  • an Onkyo TX-DS595 AV receiver (high-end in 2001) driving a pair of excellent front speakers (large and custom-built)
  • an early-ish model Samsung Blu-ray player that came with the TV
  • a WDTV Live (new version)

We recently watched S4 of Game of Thrones, and the media files were encoded in 5.1 surround. That’s fine, I thought, I’ll set up the amp to direct all channels through the front speakers, given I have no centre speaker. Easy, right?


Nothing I did would make any difference. Many scenes with lots of dialogue (especially those with Tyrion Lannister doing the talking) I struggled to hear properly, yet the very next scene would be ear-bleedingly (and baby wakeningly!) loud. It became very frustrating for me, so I went a-huntin’. Found a cheap centre speaker, ordered it, and then discovered that it wouldn’t fit where I thought it would, so had to order a wall mount for the TV as well.

Fast-forward to last Saturday… I’ve pulled everything out and am unplugging everything in preparation for wall mounting, when I notice that the optical-out on the TV is connected to… the optical-out on the BD player. The only reason we were getting any sound at all through the amp is because I had analogue cables going to another input.

Well duh, that ain’t gonna work… so I plugged the BD player end into the amp, and oh lookee here! - Dolby DTS stream detected! So I bought a separate optical cable for the WDTV Live and plugged it into the other optical input, and that gives much better sound than daisy-chaining through the TV. Huzzah!

So I suppose we probably don’t strictly need that extra speaker now, but all the infrastructure is there so I’ll put it in anyway… and hear that sweet, sweet dialogue.

TL;DR: moufassa is having trouble believing that he was such a home theatre n00b.

Don’t sweat it, mate. We’re all n00bs at something in our lives.

You learned something from it, the end result was much better than when you began. I’d call that a success.


Very true… and there are many more things with which I am even more of a n00b.

If I hadn’t had it all out to mount the TV on the wall I wouldn’t have found the problem in the first place.

I just couldn’t believe that I’d put up with quiet dialogue for so long, when it was something I could have fixed at any time.

We have a Yamaha home theatre receiver and then about 10 speakers hooked up to it now (we have two speakers running into the sun room, which is a pretty cool feat and the design too my husband a week’s vacation to implement. I’m completely clueless about the whole thing except I know which buttons on the remote to push for the TV and Smart TV apps. (It was absolutely mad on our old TV and Blu-Ray, etc. Now we just have the cable box attached.

Before that we had an AIWA system that was pretty cutting edge in 2000 and we loved it, but, it wasn’t digital compatible and when we got our first HDMI TV it really showed. So the husband went and bought this Yamaha system which is pretty awesome because… it has an iPod dock. I click in my iPod, crank that sucker up and I’m cleaning my house as well as informing my entire neighborhood that I love Latin music or electric swing, whichever mood hits me.

I just handed Mark the manual and said in my best girlfriend voice, “Here, you do it! I don’t even know how to turn it on!” Which is why I don’t have wires all over my house and still don’t know what my attic looks like.

Like this??


Zackly! Insert devil horns here