If geeks love it, we’re on it

Howdy, Stranger!

You found the friendliest gaming & tech geeks around. Say hello!

PC to Receiver to TV - SAVE ME A/V CLUB [Solved]

MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von PuttenhamCalifornia Icrontian
edited Feb 2015 in Science & Tech

General humans, I could use your assistance.

I have recently purchased a Denon AVR-S500BT (it's an A/V receiver). It's hooked up to some lovely little speakers, and I can run all my stupid devices through it to the TV, no problem. I've got all my devices paired to it via bluetooth so I can stream music. Basically, I have every device set up quite nicely.

Except one.

I decided as an afterthought 'hey, why not pave the way for a media server some day?' and attempted to hook up my laptop via HDMI.

Now, I can very happily play sound from my laptop, but for the life of me, I cannot get the television to display anything from the computer. Perhaps you can assist?

Things I have tried:
-Setting up the laptop via the Blu-ray/DVD setting and the Media Player setting (which entails plugging it in to one of two different HDMI ports in the back of the receiver... did this on a hunch, didn't actually think it'd matter).
-Two different television sets.
-Various resolutions - everything my graphics card supports. I know one of the television sets supports a very specific resolution, but the other should be versatile.
-Restarting all the machines (more accurately, restarting the lightdm service)
-Hunting through the various menus for some sort of pass-through option (it's on, but it only affects standby situations)
-Plugging the laptop straight to the HDTV via HDMI (it works after resolution change).

I am currently running stock ubuntu 14.04 on the laptop, an nVidia 560M graphics solution, and I am using the (up-to-date) nVidia drivers. The signal path is currently ubuntu > HDMI > receiver > RCA > TV.

My hunches:
-Maybe the receiver takes whatever data I'm sending to it and tries to expand it to a stupid resolution that the TVs don't support? I can't find anything in the setup or manual about this. (EDIT: just found a troubleshooting tip in the manual, 'make sure the resolution of the player matches the resolution of the TV,' leading me to believe the receiver does NOT try to blow up or otherwise adjust the image)
-Likely receivers don't work the way I think they do - they require some specific sort of input (for some reason the acronym PCM is floating around my brain), and I need to find a way to make VLC stream that input to the second 'monitor.'
-Maybe HDCP is somehow interfering? I literally know nothing about this.

I have never owned an A/V receiver before, so I imagine my idea of the system is very simplistic and flawed. Enlighten me?

EDIT:

@Ryder said:
Now, from what I understand, most A/V Receivers will not "change type". Meaning if the input to the Receiver is HDMI, then you have to connect the TV to the HDMI "Monitor out". You can't get it take HDMI input and then output it to RCA/Composite or component.

This was indeed the problem.

Comments

  • RyanFodderRyanFodder Detroit, MI Icrontian

    FYI, there are more than guys on IC ;)

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Uh, edited to reflect... I just type like I talk, man.

    midga
  • RyanFodderRyanFodder Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Just didn't think you wanted to exclude women off hand ;)

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    Any connection from the receiver to the TV should be labeled "monitor out" Whether it be RCA/composite, component, or HDMI.

    Now, from what I understand, most A/V Receivers will not "change type". Meaning if the input to the Receiver is HDMI, then you have to connect the TV to the HDMI "Monitor out". You can't get it take HDMI input and then output it to RCA/Composite or component.

    Do you follow what I mean?

  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX Icrontian

    Does Linux/NVIDIA have a projector mode? Perhaps the PC is detecting the receiver HDMI as a secondary display. On Windows, you'd hit WIN+P to activate cloning, extended, etc.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    @Ryder :

    I do follow what you mean - I'm curious about that, though... it seems like a really large shortcoming for any receiver that has both a slew of HDMI ports AND a slew of RCA ports. Does it work the other way, then, too? Like, if I have an old RCA device (N64, for instance) plugged into the receiver, I won't be able to see it on an HDMI TV?

    I have two monitor outs - one RCA and one HDMI. Is it common to have both hooked into the same television set to alleviate the 'no-change-type' problem?

    Either way, thanks for the idea - I shall try making both connections HDMI when I have a chance.

    @Thrax: yes, there's a way to mirror my displays. That's an excellent idea, I'll give that a shot too. But should that matter? Does it change the signal coming out of the HDMI?

  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian

    It is a major shortcoming and I have run into it many times. Yes the same applies to RCA input and then HDMI output.
    @Sonorous needs to be in this thread for sure.

    1 caveat to my post is that I haven't worked with a receiver that is less than 5 years old, so maybe they have found a way and I might be off base.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian
    edited Feb 2015

    I'm guessing by your signal flow that your TV does not have HDMI on it? Some mid to lower end receivers lack the ability to convert an HD signal and down convert it to your composite video out on the receiver. That's my best guess as to what is happening. What model TV are you using?

    Speaking to HDCP, new Apple laptops auto detect the type of cable you are using, ie hdmi or thunderbolt and encrypt everything out of that output. I haven't seen this particular issue with a PC or Linux disto though so I don't believe that is the issue.

    A simple solution if your TV doesn't have HDMI is to get a HDMI to composite converter like this

    I browsed the manual of your Denon and didn't see anything in there that would say what you're doing should not work. Maybe try setting the laptop resolution to 640x480 and see what happens. You may have to set the receiver to output a lower resolution as well. Sometimes mixing HD, ED and NTSC signals can give you really whacky results, or worse, none at all.

    Edit: I don't know how Markdown works.

    RyanFodder
  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    @Ryder said:
    It is a major shortcoming and I have run into it many times. Yes the same applies to RCA input and then HDMI output.
    Sonorous needs to be in this thread for sure.

    1 caveat to my post is that I haven't worked with a receiver that is less than 5 years old, so maybe they have found a way and I might be off base.

    It varies by receiver; many receivers include analog-to-digital (up)conversion but it appears that yours does not.

    In general, Linux notebook graphics, particularly with Optimus, are a train wreck. What exactly have you tried so far? I would try initiating a manual monitor discovery from the nVidia control panel to see if it detects you attached Denon/TV and then manually configure it if it does.

    midga
  • HeroHero formerly known as XGPHero Icrontian

    maybe a better cable... http://www.audioquest.com/hdmi/diamond ;)

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian
    edited Feb 2015

    @Sonorous said:
    I'm guessing by your signal flow that your TV does not have HDMI on it? Some mid to lower end receivers lack the ability to convert an HD signal and down convert it to your composite video out on the receiver. That's my best guess as to what is happening. What model TV are you using?

    You got it. It's an ancient flatscreen CRT that's too damn heavy to move. It's literally marketed as "Panasonic Color TV," and the product number is CT-32SX31E

    A simple solution if your TV doesn't have HDMI is to get a HDMI to composite converter like this

    Do these work fairly well? I've played with one or two HDMI - DVI adapters at a previous job and they were AWFUL.

    I browsed the manual of your Denon and didn't see anything in there that would say what you're doing should not work. Maybe try setting the laptop resolution to 640x480 and see what happens. You may have to set the receiver to output a lower resolution as well. Sometimes mixing HD, ED and NTSC signals can give you really whacky results, or worse, none at all.

    Resolution's the first thing I went to, I've run into issues like this before. So yeah, tried many different res's. Unfortunately, I know legitimately nothing about different signals - what my PC is putting out, what the TV expects, what is encoded in each... nothing. It's my upcoming reading material, I guess.

    @drasnor said:
    In general, Linux notebook graphics, particularly with Optimus, are a train wreck. What exactly have you tried so far? I would try initiating a manual monitor discovery from the nVidia control panel to see if it detects you attached Denon/TV and then manually configure it if it does.

    Oh, yeah, no, I have to piss with the nVidia powermizer bug every time I boot (I can NOT get any startup script to work properly). I definitely look over nVidia's shoulder every time I attach a new monitor... it spots the monitor, and I've tried various different manual resolutions 'n videoouts and 'n shit.

    Sorry for no update yet - I have to disassemble my PC and haul a different TV out to check on the HDMI-RCA thing... though that is pretty much what I'm banking on at this point.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Alrighty.

    After digging my computer's HDMI cable out from behind my desk and hauling the test TV back to the living room, I have surmised that the problem is indeed the HDMI-RCA crossover issue. Thanks, guys, I ABSOLUTELY never would have guessed that. One of those things that comes from never having played with A/V or studying signals, I guess.

    We badly need to replace the TV, but I've spent all the amazon gift cards this year on the receiver and a pair of speakers... so I think replacing the TV will wait. I may look into the HDMI-RCA converter, but I worry that they're kind of crummy. We shall see.

    More likely, I will defer any purchase until I have built a good, feature-rich media PC...

    Thanks again!

    RyderChooch
  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    Just a heads up, the issue with those converter boxes is HDCP compliance. Sometimes media will not pass through those if you are playing protected media or you device requires HDCP. Sorry I didn't mention that before.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian

    @Myrmidon said:
    It's an ancient flatscreen CRT that's too damn heavy to move. It's literally marketed as "Panasonic Color TV," and the product number is CT-32SX31E

    I just, sort-of assumed that that TV was going to be the first thing up against the wall when the revolution came. My bad.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    That's the marketing department.

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian
    edited Feb 2015

    I'm going to check to see if my slightly higher end Onkyo receiver will do this HDMI to composite down conversion. I'm guessing no. Don't feel bad though. I have been messing with this stuff for a decade now and still have the unavoidable "well no shit..." moments.

    Edit: Big fat NO.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Hell, I ain' even bothered. The TV is in fact going to go at some point, and I'll definitely have something with HDMI at that point. I bought the sound system to predominantly play music for when we have people over, so it's doin' 'er job for now.

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    Yup. Played with that a LOT when I first started plugging HDMI into my TV from my laptop.

  • Well shoot....

    Could it be the receivers inability to create the digital "handshake" required with your model HDTV for the HDCP?

  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian

    It's definitely the lack of a down converter in the scaler. It's most likely due to cost that companies don't include the hardware.

  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian
    edited Feb 2015

    @Sonorous said:
    It's definitely the lack of a down converter in the scaler. It's most likely due to cost that companies don't include the hardware.

    The presumption is that only a crazy person would want to downconvert from high-definition to composite NTSC analog. The conversion electronics would cost as much as a new TV that didn't suck. Moreover, @Myrmidon's receiver lacks analog-to-digital upconversion too so connecting any analog device in the future will require also connecting the TV's analog input to the receiver and switching TV input sources.

  • RyanFodderRyanFodder Detroit, MI Icrontian

    @drasnor I get the impression you don't care for @Myrmidon's TV. I don't have a TV. How does that make you feel?

    RyderMyrmidonJBoogaloodrasnor
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian

    Depends... does your receiver downconvert HD to composite?

  • MyrmidonMyrmidon Baron von Puttenham California Icrontian

    I have marked the topic 'solved.' Sorry, I should have done it sooner - I mentioned on 14-Feb that I tried an HDMI cable and it fixed the problem.

Sign In or Register to comment.

The 5¢ Tour