After my older soundbar died out as I posted previously, I decided to look at the equivalents in 2020. Seems the HW-T series were just that. I opted for the 650 for that 3.1 channel. What I read online from reviews is that Arc via HDMI is better than optical. I never have used Arc so I thought, let's try it.
My TV: 2016 Samsung KS8000 (great TV, amazing HDR)
As a gamer, I just wanted to make sure I have this setup properly because sometimes I have issues with Arc and am wondering if I am doing something wrong.
So HDMI4 is the Arc port on the KS8000 of the OneConnect. I plugged in a HDMI cable in there and the Arc port in the soundbar. In the audio setup of the TV, I changed the TV Speakers to the soundbar which is recognized "HW-T650...". I watch Netflix and Youtube from the in-apps of the TV, so far, no issues. Soundbar shows "TV Arc" on the display.
I turn on my Xbox One X, sound is just fine. I double check the audio settings of the Xbox, and confirm HDMI is set to "Bitstream" and Output is "Dolby Digital". Awesome. Launch Youtube on there as well, no issues.
Now it's time to play a game, as soon as I launch Forza Horizon 4, the input on the soundbar changes to "D.In" for no reason by itself. Now there is no sound. I hit the source on the soundbar to go back to "HDMI", then it displays "TV Speakers". I then go into the TV audio settings and it's on TV speakers. I switch back to HDMI Arc and still no sound. I plug in optical and sound is on. I switch back to HDMI Arc, sound comes on. I restart the game and same thing happens with the soundbar and TV switching on its own without my input. I try another game, Resident Evil Revelations and HDMI Arc works. What the heck is going on?
Why is it auto-changing? Can I turn this off? Is this some Game Mode happening? I thought that was for newer Samsung TVs. Mine is from 2016. I did notice when it swtiches to "TV Speakers", it will say "Game" for the mode. I really don't want to have to troubleshoot every single time I want to game and I have close to 300 games on the Xbox, so either it works or it doesn't. I didn't even try my PS4 Pro yet.
Can someone let me know is there any benefit to HDMI Arc sound vs. Optical? Will I lose out on some codec or format if I switch to optical? Why even purchase a expensive soundbar when only Optical is the one that works without issue?
Is optical connected when this occurs? Does this occur if you change the sound format on the Xbox back to bitstream? The games likely have different audio formats being used.
I am not changing anything on the Xbox One X, it sticks to Bitstream - Dolby. So the issue isn't there.
Only the soundbar and TV seem to change on its own when I launch this game.
It is possible each game has different audio, but majority of the games are in fact Dolby Digital, which this soundbar supports. So nothing should be changing.
I have optical off currently, but when this happens, I turn it on. Can you tell me if there is any difference in HDMI Arc vs Optical for this particular soundbar? I read HDMI Arc provides more formats over Optical. I know both support DTS and Dolby Digital. HDMI supports more right?
In any case, I will order a brand new HDMI 2.0 certified premium cable from Monoprice and see if that helps. Maybe the one I am currently using is an old version of HDMI? It says HDMI/w ethernet on it from Amazon, not sure of the version number. Also, not sure how this affects audio?
HDMI ARC and Optical Audio support different audio formats. HDMI is preferred for its ARC/CEC capability.
HDMI 2.0 has a different HDCP rating which could affect audio.