Monday, January 22, 2018

Tech Alert No. 738 (Sky Q Cabling)

Well, after having my rather gorgeous Yamaha RXA1060 AV Receiver for almost a year – and being super-pleased with it – I’ve discovered that after all that time, I had the main cabling slightly wrong!

Current configuration








Fig. 1

OK, all the connected tech had worked flawlessly – TV, Blu-Ray DVDs, Phone, Our Digital Music Library and Net Radio – everything that needed to - but then along came Sky’s new UHD TV series ‘Britannia’, and things began to unravel.

How so? Well, I downloaded the whole series, began to play Episode 1, and spotted immediately a GREAT picture but there was no sound! …and not just episode 1, but the whole series. Initially (given that everything else was working fine) I thought it was a technical issue with the download. Thirty more minutes of deduction later, I sadly concluded that the download was technically fine.
Sad smile
After more investigation, I learned that the only technical difference between this new series and others from Sky, was that Britannia was being transmitted with - an audiophiles dream - a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. I think this was a first for Sky, and after double-checking that all my Sky Q box settings were OK, I ignored the help messages built-into the Q Box, and tweaked the audio setting down a notch to Dolby Digital (from Dolby Digital Plus) – the result? I now had sound, so I was sorted!
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…Well, no actually, I wasn’t! …as I then discovered the output was NOT Dolby Atmos! On further reading of the Sky Help system, I noted that it confirmed that for Atmos to work, the sound settings HAD to be set to Dolby Digital Plus (the setting I had before I changed anything!). I promptly switched things back up a notch - and like before, NO SOUND!!
Sad smile
Talk about going round in circles!

A few postings to the Sky Help Forum revealed that with my current cabling setup (the one I’ve always used in the past for TV/Amp connectivity – Fig. 1), although functional, meant that the TV was doing the sound outputting and even though the it’s pretty-much top-end, it DIDN’T support Dolby Atmos! Forum wisdom then suggested, a subtle, but essential tweak of the cabling – Fig 2, so that the Yamaha now did the sound processing, rather than the TV.

Revised configuration











Fig. 2

An hour later, after dragging out the furniture to get access to the hi-fi cabling, everything was now as it should always have been. The job was done, but bizarrely, even though Britannia was behaving as it should, my 4K DVD player playing the Atmos-enabled 4K DVD Passengers still wasn’t triggering the ‘Atmos’ label on the AV receiver. I later learned that the Yamaha is so clever, it won’t display ‘Atmos’ unless the right number of speaker speakers are connected - that’s 7 or 9… and I’m behind the times with only 5!
Confused smile
Every day a learning opportunity ehh?!
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