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Old 10-Jan-2011, 4:52 AM   #1
scott784
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how to get surround sound with OTA HDTV

I want to ditch my cable tv package soon and go with an OTA outdoor rooftop antenna. My current setup involves a digital set top box from Time Warner Cable. I use a HDMI cable from the cable box to my HD television, which obviously gives me the best video I can get through cable.

The Cable box also has a digital audio out jack. I currently use the digital audio out jack on the Time Warner box and run a single wire directly from the Time Warner box to the digital audio in jack on the back of my stereo receiver. With this setup, I get true 5.1 dolby digital sound on all of my cable channels that are in HD through my stereo surround sound system.

So how is this going to work with an OTA antenna? With the use of an outdoor antenna, the only option I know of is simply to use the coax cable from the antenna and take it directly into the back of the tv. This being the case, how am I going to keep my 5.1 dolby digital surround sound on the HD channels? I know there must be an easy answer to this but it's all new to me.

I have not used outdoor antennas since the late 70's when I was still a kid; however, I am very attracted to going with an outdoor antenna (versus keeping cable tv to save some bucks (that is after my initial investment is recouped). My television is a one year old Samsung 46 inch LED. The model is UN46B6000VFXZA. Any advice is appreciated on this sound issue.

PS On a completely different note: I have one other question. Will my highspeed wireless internet in the house interfere with the over the air antenna signal? I am assuming the answer is no. However, I just wanted to double check. I appreciate anyone who can address these issues.

Last edited by scott784; 10-Jan-2011 at 5:28 AM.
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Old 10-Jan-2011, 5:47 AM   #2
GroundUrMast
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Wireless Ethernet operates on frequencies in the 2 and 5 GHz microwave spectrum, no interference problems to worry about as far as OTA TV is concerned.

According to a quick search I just did, you should have an optical audio out port on you Samsung receiver... If your stereo receiver has an optical input, you will get the Dolby stereo or 5.1 or mono (depends on the broadcast).

OTA is the source used by the cable company for the local stations feeds, OTA users gets it first and best (sometimes the cable company feeds their customers a reduced bit rate version, never better though).
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Old 11-Jan-2011, 5:06 AM   #3
scott784
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I appreciate your reply on the sound issue. Yes, my Samsung tv has an optical audio out jack so I can use that to run a optical audio cord from my tv directly to my stereo receiver once I get the OTA antenna hooked up. In that way, I will maintain my dolby digital 5.1 surround sound on all channels broadcasting in that manner.

I am also glad to hear the signals generated from high speed wireless internet in my house will not interfere with OTA antenna reception from my rooftop antenna (which will be installed soon when the weather breaks).

One other question, since I want to get Netflix to supplement my viewing tv over the air, am I better off to have a hard wired ethernet connection running straight from the cable modem into my tv? Then I can just operate my internet PC from the other room wirelessly? I am just wondering b/c I would think streaming movies over the internet takes a terrific amount of speed to avoid pixelation and other issues. So even with 'turbo speed', which is Time Warner's highest internet speed, am I still better off to place the cable modem next to the tv and hard wire the tv itself with ethernet cable? Or does it not make any difference whatsoever? Many thanks for any additional feedback you can provide on this topic.

I am just trying to get ready for this transition of weaning myself off cable tv and want to make sure I am covering all the basis.

Last edited by scott784; 11-Jan-2011 at 5:09 AM.
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Old 11-Jan-2011, 5:41 AM   #4
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It sounds like your TV has internet connectivity, making it somewhat of a home theater PC.

802.11G, A or N should be more than enough bandwidth... My experience however, is that compared to hardwired connections, any wireless link is far more prone to errors and brief disruptions due to signal fade or interference. I run three Silicondust HD Homerun tuners on my home LAN. When viewing from a laptop using a hardwired link, I see virtually no evidence of Ethernet frame loss. However, it's not uncommon to see or hear evidence of Ethernet frame loss when viewing the same channel on the same laptop connected via wireless. For what it's worth, the LAN connected tuner is streaming up to 20 MB/s when tuned to a 1080i program and, the transport layer protocol is UDP which has no provision for re-transmission of lost data. I'm not 100% sure, but Netflix may use TCP instead of UDP, TCP does provide for retransmission of lost data. If that's true, a corrupted wireless Ethernet frame would be detected and retransmitted which could make for more reliable viewing if your WIFI link takes a few hits now and then.

I'm a retired LAN / WAN routing and switching guy. I use wired Ethernet on CAT-5e when ever possible. Especially for the HTPC link to my LAN. It's much more dependable. I can't depend on a wireless link when recording, the tuner is in the basement wiring closet and the HTPC need to be able to connect error free for the entire recording. CAT-6 is overkill unless you have a 10 GB/s LAN.

The industry standard for 100 MB/s Ethernet on unshielded twisted pair calls for cable lengths not to exceed 100 meters. So there is no need to place the cable modem or Ethernet switch adjacent to the HTPC, just with in 100 meters as the CAT-5e runs. Wired Ethernet will not shift speeds the way wireless Ethernet does.

My new(ish) microwave oven leaks enough RF in operation to totally disrupt my 802.11G (54 MB/s) WIFI link. Just another reason I avoid wireless if possible. As usual I'm long winded, sorry. The bottom line, web surfing over wireless will be far less frustrating than watching a movie over wireless.
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Last edited by GroundUrMast; 11-Jan-2011 at 6:18 AM.
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Old 12-Jan-2011, 3:20 AM   #5
scott784
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Thanks again for your reply. I don't know all the technological aspects of wired versus wireless. However, the feedback you have given has confirmed my suspicisions. That is, that highspeed wireless internet is still prone to more errors when streaming video. For that reason, as you suggested, I may be better off moving my cable modem into the living room next to my main television and just making my desktop computer wireless from the other room.

You are lucky to have a home which is fully wired with cat5 for networking. My stepdad wired his entire home with cat5 back in 2002. And although wireless has came a long way since then, he still has no regrets in going with hard wire throughout his house. On the other hand, my home is a story and a half (which is also on a concrete slab). So in my case, I'll never be able to network via cat5 (hard wired) throughout the house.

In any case, I will follow your suggestion and move the cable modem to my living room where my main television is. Yes, my Samsung has an ethernet port so I can at least hard wire that to the cable modem once I move the modem next to it. I'll just have to buy a wireless router so that I will still have internet access with my desktop computer from another room.

Last edited by scott784; 12-Jan-2011 at 3:23 AM.
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