How do you have your audio devices configured? Looking for ideas

This has not much to do with Tablo, except that people on this forum want the best TV entertainment at the least cost. I want to know how you do sound. I looked on the Roku forums but did not find anything on point. If you use the TV speakers, I don’t want to hear from you. In my main viewing room, I have optical audio coming out of TV and into a receiver. It rocks. Tablo, Netflix, Plex and my OTA Live TV have great sound. So far, so good.

In another room, I have some cheaper devices. My LG TV only has optical audio out, but my Insignia (low end Best Buy brand) receiver only accepts RCA. I found a digital to analog cable system for $16 and it does the trick for all Roku apps. Tablo, Netflix and Plex sound good. Problem is that this cheaper TV only outputs DD and the receiver only wants PCM. So, the Live OTA channels are static through the receiver. Yes, I can use the TV speakers for Live OTA shows, but I don’t want to.

I contacted local Big Box Retailer and they have ZERO sound bars that accept Optical audio input, even though most of the LG and other brand TVs ONLY have an Optical audio output. What they want you to do is plug your CABLE TV HDMI into the sound bar, then have an HDMI cord from the sound bar to the TV. Well, that doesn’t work for me. I know I can buy a more expensive TV that has multiple outputs or I can buy a more expensive receiver that accepts Optical audio input.

So, what do you do for sound?

What is the model of this LG TV? Most TVs have an analog audio output (aka RCA connectors). We can look up the manual.

32LN5300. Optical only but please double-check me.

My Sony sound bar accepts optical out (and HDMI, and RCA). Some of the LG sound bars do, as well. There are certainly models out there that offer optical inputs.

In both TV rooms I have a 5.1 surround setup using Yamaha receivers. In 1 of the TV rooms I like the VUDU app on the smart TV platform, so I have an optical out running from the TV to the receiver, then the HDMI out from the receiver going back into the TV. I have my Shield TV running into one of the HDMI In ports as well on the same TV.

With this method, I am getting quality surround sound whether i am using the Shield or the TV. On both receivers, I make sure my receiver is set to Dolby Pro Logic II when using Tablo so I get simulated surround sound.

Edit: I should mention that neither of my receivers are high end. I use a Yamaha RX-V377 which only cost about $200. When I got my Vizio M70-c3 I bought a 4K receiver, I think the Yamaha RX-V379 for about $250.

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Sonos soundbar is excellent (pricey) and only has optical input.

Highly recommend against a soundbar. Most soundbars are crap and the ones that are good (Sonos) cost as much as a basic receiver + speakers setup.

My set up is Shield TV connected to receiver via HDMI 2.0 then output to TV. The nice thing is that the TV has an ARC HDMI which allows for both CEC functionality and sending audio back to the receiver for the rare occasions that I am not using the Shield to handle audio output (N64, local antenna).

Basically, HDMI with ARC is a mandatory feature for me when it comes to buying a TV.

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While I’m not a fan of soundbars, I understand they have their place. It seems most I’ve seen have HDMI, Optical, 3.5mm or RCA. We recently bought a Yamaha for the in-laws and it has optical. I think you talked to the wrong sales associate/order taker.

Andrroid, back up and explain that to me. Shield TV is like a Roku only $199, correct? So you go from the Shield to the receiver via HDMI, then HDMI to TV? Then you have a 3rd HDMI that goes back to the receiver. This 3rd HDMI is from an ARC HDMI port. If I have this correct, your receiver has at least 3 HDMI ports, 2 are input and 1 output. Correct?

I have read that RCA audio is good, but Optical is better, but HDMI is the best. Is this your opinion, too?

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ARC is bi-directional. You plug the HDMI cable into the ARC channel on the TV and the ARC channel on the receiver. Both devices must support ARC.

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This is correct. If you can get ARC working it’s ideal.

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@DaveG has it right. HDMI ARC is pretty slick and the best performing option available these days. And helps minimize cables.