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April 16, 2021 6:18 pm  #1

Does Anyone Watch TV with Surround System

I have always been a stereo enthusiast and even had a stereo decoder for TV before I had a stereo TV. That was soon after they started to broadcast TV in stereo. Over the last 35 years or so I have had the TV hooked up to my stereo systems on and off.

Have never really tested  surround music but want to explore it now. Only problem is that I don't have a receiver that accepts audio HDMI input and so SACD's ( which are the best and have a lot of surround/quad titles) are not an option. I will possibly take the Blu Ray route for audio surround. Also perhaps DVD audio.

Regarding the TV I have mostly used the analog RCA's outs from the cable box. Today I tried the optical out and noticed that a lot of the channels are broadcasting in Dolby Digital surround. This should enhance movies and also music programs that are actually recorded in surround.

Does anyone use the surround options for TV ?

Last edited by Fitz (April 17, 2021 10:31 pm)

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April 16, 2021 7:01 pm  #2

Re: Does Anyone Watch TV with Surround System

Hi Fitz - I have dabbled with surround sound on TV at home.  Having great sound on movies can be a big improvement in the overall experience.  Having the low frequency channel (the .1 in 5.1) is a nice benefit.  I used the optical output of my cable/Bell box to feed my decoder.  Generally speaking however, I have been disappointed.  For me, it has not been worth the extra effort of an external decoder, the careful placement of speakers, and wiring.  Your mileage may differ.  Many broadcasts make little use of the rear speakers.  Of note, virtually all digital broadcasts today are using Dolby Digital.  This does not mean that all content is in true 5.1.  Many broadcasts are synthesized wherein the stereo audio is artificially converted to surround sound.  This too can lead to a less than great sound experience. For me, I have gone back to using the built in stereo speakers on my TV, which by the way, is down-converting, or re-converting the 5.1 back to stereo.


April 16, 2021 7:07 pm  #3

Re: Does Anyone Watch TV with Surround System

When we built an addition to our house 14 years ago, we wired the new family room for 5.1 because... well, why not? I have a cable box feeding HDMI to my surround receiver, and when the 5.1 is done well (network entertainment shows, mostly), it sounds really good. It's not a fancy surround system - Denon receiver and the speakers from the former Sony surround-in-a-box system we put in back in '07 (the receiver died last year). Center speaker is mounted just above the TV, left and right front are on bookcases on either side of the TV, left and right rear are wall-mounted in the back corners, powered subwoofer is plugged into a floor outlet next to the sofa. 


April 16, 2021 7:33 pm  #4

Re: Does Anyone Watch TV with Surround System

Gave up on it after the last move ~5 years ago.

Have the typical mounted TV/Soundbar combo now. 

Given that I'm not really into the type of content 5.1 is best for (Drama, Action, etc) it didn't seem worth having all that clutter.


April 16, 2021 7:39 pm  #5

Re: Does Anyone Watch TV with Surround System

At one time I had a 7,1 receiver ,but I just used my system in a 5.1 set up.  Lots of wires.  When I moved I purchased a 5.1 soundbar system.  Only wires are for the back speakers and they come from the sub woofer which is also at the back.
While everything isn't in surround sound, when there is, it is very impressive.  Even commercials.


April 17, 2021 5:39 am  #6

Re: Does Anyone Watch TV with Surround System

Well I have experimented with the surround on Digital cable. I would say that over 60 % of the stations carry a surround compatible feed. Whether they carry true surround encoded programs is another matter.

I heard some interesting content. There was a movie on FX that had the dialog and music vocals on the rear left channel. There was a music doc about the Bee Gees on HBO that sounded nice but I am not sure if it was true surround. The audio on some commercials seems to pass the surround test.

I was able to preview some music docs on Rogers On Demand but none were in true surround.

Surround is not necessarily a game changer but a nice diversion. I have one surround music DVD and that is the Beatles 1 and I would say the same for that.
Edit: I have found 3 other music DVD's in surround that I had for gotten about.

Hope to get some surround Blu Rays by acts like Yes and The Moody Blues.

Last edited by Fitz (April 17, 2021 10:31 pm)

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April 17, 2021 8:08 pm  #7

Re: Does Anyone Watch TV with Surround System

I have a Sony 55 inch smart tv and an eight year old Sony surround system that has always worked flawlessly.