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Question
I have a Panasonic SA-HT740 receiver and currently have it hooked up to my 70" Sharp Aquos and to my Motorola HDPVR630.  I have surround sound for my movies but was wanting surround for my regularly watched television shows.  I was told I could use a digital optical cable but unfortunately there is no optical out port on my receiver.  Do you have any suggestions as to how I might be able to get surround for my TV shows and not just the DVD Movies??  Thanks, Christopher.

Answer
There is no way to send a discrete surround sound signal (analog or digital) into that Panasonic system. So the only option for surround sound content is from DVD. However, having said that, the majority of television programming is not surround sound, so you are not "missing out" in the majority of cases (some higher-budgeted television programs (like Star Trek: The Next Generation) are Dolby Surround, which is a matrix surround effect, and some very new programming has adopted 5.1, however the bulk of programming (even if it sends a 5.1 signal in the transmission) is stereo or primarily stereo (so within a 5.1 signal the remaining channels are usually just silent or only play background music)).

However, the receiver in your system does support a variety of sound effects that attempt to simulate surround sound. Refer to page 28 of the owner's manual for more information (if you've misplaced your owner's manual, it's available online here: http://service.us.panasonic.com/OPERMANPDF/SAHT740.PDF). I wouldn't expect these effects to be comparable to discrete surround sound, but they may provide the effect you're looking for depending on the specific program material and settings you choose.

For some more information on Dolby Surround and discrete digital:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Surround
http://www.spannerworks.net/reference/10_1a.asp (while this article mentions Sony SDDS, there are no consumer-targeted commercially available decoders, nor are there any DVDs, HD-DVDs, or Blu-rays that feature SDDS soundtracks).


-bob  

Home Theater

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Bobbert

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Questions regarding HTPC integration to home theaters, and general purchasing advice regarding home theater and audio systems, including headphones. Please no car audio or over the top PA systems.

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General enthusiast, ~10 years as an audio and electronics hobbyist

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Engineering student, various DIY experiences, personal hobby

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