Sky + HD box IS outputting DD via HDMI!

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Hi, can anyone advise on this please? I have a Sky + HD box (the latest smaller one with the larger harddrive) connected to my Pioneer VSX921 receiver using a HDMI 1.4 capable cable ONLY (I am not currently connecting using a seperate optical or coaxial cable for sound) so the sound output is definitely being fed via HDMI.

When watching standard def channels outputting stereo signals, my Pioneer receiver (which is set to auto for sound selection), chooses Pro Logic and works fine.

When selecting a HD channel with DD output (as shown in the Sky banner as DD), my Pioneer receiver is auto changing its sound output to DD and the 5.1 speakers are lighting up on the receiver's display. Listening to the sound, I can confirm that it does indeed appear to be delivering a full 5.1 dynanmic sound.

What I don't understand though is how this can be! Every forum and online post, What HiFi mags reviews etc etc all say that DD sound can only be supplied via optical or coaxial lead (under you have a Sky HD box without PVR). I even just called Sky to see if they have recently released a software update: they didn't seem to know and just said if I'm getting DD via HDMI then be glad!

Am I missing something here? Has anyone else found they can receive DD via HDMI on a Sky + HD box?

And finally even though I do appear to be receiving DD via HDMI, are there any benefits to sourcing my DD sound via optical from my Sky+ HD box anyway?

Cheers

Dom
 
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Anonymous

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Hi, it was installed as a replacement for my old (faulty) Sky+ HD box on January 24th 2011.
 

daveh75

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Unless there's been a (very, very recent) hardware revision Sky haven't told anyone about, Then the Amstrad DRX890 (500GB model) and DRX895 (1.5TB) don't support DD5.1 over HDMI.

The newer single tuner 'SkyHD' boxes supplied for multiroom/as a SD 'Digibox' replacement (Amstrad DRX595) use newer chipsets and do support DD5.1 over HDMI
 

The_Lhc

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daveh75 said:
The newer single tuner 'SkyHD' boxes supplied for multiroom/as a SD 'Digibox' replacement (Amstrad DRX595) use newer chipsets and do support DD5.1 over HDMI

I believe the correct response here is "oooooooOOOOOOOOOooooooohhhh!".

Any news as to when they'll be implementing the ability to play recorded stuff from a +box to one of these single tuner things over the network?
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks for everyones replies. Yes, the box is a year old and was until 2 weeks ago connected to an old Denon AVR3801, using an optical cable for sound. I upgraded the receiver to the Pioneer VSX921 for upscaling and HDMI throughput as I had run out of HDMI sockets on my plasma. I cannot therefore confirm how long the Sky+ HD box has been capable of outputing DD via HDMI, but if my Pioneer is auto changing to DD and showing 5.1 speakers in use when a Sky channel with DD is selected must mean it is!

Still rather bemused at this though. I've just ordered a 1TB upgrade box and will be relegating the current Sky+ HD box to the multiroom location so will be interesting to see if I have the same functionality with the new 1tb box as well. I'll keep you all informed.

I would also love to hear what your Sky contact says when asked - do let me know please!

Cheers

Dom
 

Joe Cox

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Statement from Sky:

"At the time when we launched Sky+HD, we decided not to introduce a Dolby Digital capability over HDMI because the majority of our customers were connecting their set-top box to HDTV with no Dolby Digital support and many of the amplifiers being retailed did not include a HDMI interface. However time has moved on and the HD Digibox is the first to receive the Dolby over HDMI update. We are currently discussing the requirement to include Dolby Digital over HDMI update for other boxes at some point in the future."

Now looking to clarify which box they mean...!
 

daveh75

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They mean the single tuner 'SkyHD' box (Amstrad DRX595)

http://www.sky.com/helpcentre/export/sites/www.sky.com/helpcentre/__PDF/SkyHD_User_Manual-1.pdf_1646921913.pdf

Top of page 43:

"With the digital-audio outputs you can connect your SkyHD box to a compatible home cinema system and listen to programmes broadcast in Dolby®Digital audio. For this you need an optical cable (not supplied) or HDMI cable and you need to change the default settings on your SkyHD box:"

With the digital-audio outputs you can connect your SkyHD box to a compatible home cinema system and listen to programmes broadcast in Dolby® Digital audio. For this you need an optical cable (not supplied) or HDMI cable and you need to change the default settings on your SkyHD box:"With the digital-audio outputs you can connect your SkyHD box to a compatible home cinema system and listen to programmes broadcast in Dolby® Digital audio. For this you need an optical cable (not supplied) or HDMI cable and you need to change the default settings on your SkyHD box"
 

Andrew Everard

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I suspect what the OP is getting is Dolby Digital over the HDMI, but only in stereo, which IIRC has always been the case, hasn't it? That'd light up the DD indicator – and of course Dolby Digital is merely a container, and doesn't have to mean 5.1-channel.

The amp would still be procesing the signal it's receiving into 5.1 if the OP has Dolby Pro-Logic set as a default.
 

jacobmorrison

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Actual 5.1 broadcasts by Sky are surprisingly rare. Even when they intend to send 5.1 they can send 2.0 by mistake (see Battlestar Galactica final season). Most of the time the dolby digital broadcasts are 2.0 which Dolby ProLogic II can convert into a pretty immersive surround sound. FXHD seem to have the most 5.1 content, wierdly enough. Hopefully MadMen on Atlantic will be treated better than Battlestar.
 
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Anonymous

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Thanks again for all the replies! It seems the general consensus then is that I am not getting 5.1 from Sky but that my Pioneer receiver is doing a good job of delivering a surround sound experience.

To be honest, the surround sound when watching a HD channel with DD is very convincing. So much so that I'm still convinced that I am receiving a 5.1 sound. As soon as a select a non DD channel the receiver drops to Pro Logic II and there is a noticable loss in sound quality and little surround experience.

Anyway, I'm whilst I'm tempted to hook up one of my coaxial or optical leads, the 1TB upgrade box arrived today and is to be installed on the weekend. I'll report back on the sound experience with the new box and if I'm enjoying the same surround experience via HDMI.

Cheers

Dom
 
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Anonymous

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Hi,

I just spoke to sky to ask if anything had changed recently regarding output of 5.1 via hdmi. They confirmed that 5.1 is now available via hdmi.

In the sky sound setup, when you previously tried to turn on dolby, it would say "connect optical cable". Now with just an hdmi connection, it allows you to turn on dolby and select any output delay needed !
 
steviewidd said:
Hi,

I just spoke to sky to ask if anything had changed recently regarding output of 5.1 via hdmi. They confirmed that 5.1 is now available via hdmi.

In the sky sound setup, when you previously tried to turn on dolby, it would say "connect optical cable". Now with just an hdmi connection, it allows you to turn on dolby and select any output delay needed !

Which Sky+ HD box have you got? As far as I'm aware, this is a hardware limitation & unless Sky comes out with boxes with newer chipsets, it is not possible.
 

The_Lhc

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RobinKidderminster said:
Assuming then that some boxes have this hdmi/dd output, should we be removing the digital cables in its favour. Should better quality be expected?

I wouldn't see any reason why the quality would improve, it would just make the wiring and receiver config easier, although I might still be inclined to use the Optical to the amp and HDMI to the TV to allow Sky to be watched through the TV speakers. Or at least I would, if my TV had any speakers. My amp doesn't have HDMI either, so it doesn't really make much difference to me really...
 

RobinKidderminster

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I guess when Sky send TrueHD etc, next week, then I need to change settings to hdmi. Mmmmmm. Seriously, Sky dd quality/quantity seems to be up there with the best. When I changed from Virgin, I asked them, Virgin, when they were transmitting dd. They had no idea.
 

The_Lhc

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RobinKidderminster said:
I guess when Sky send TrueHD etc,

I don't think anybody suggested that was going to happen, that would require a lot more bandwidth, particularly DTS-HD which has far less compression. Even True-HD is something like 6Mb/s, compared to DD which is measured in Kb/s iirc.

next week, then I need to change settings to hdmi.

Well, check at least if the setting is available, as BB said Sky have been using an HDMI 1.1 chipset, that doesn't allow DD over HDMI, so unless you've got a very new box I doubt you'll be able to do it.
 

Silvertail

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daveh75 said:
Unless there's been a (very, very recent) hardware revision Sky haven't told anyone about, Then the Amstrad DRX890 (500GB model) and DRX895 (1.5TB) don't support DD5.1 over HDMI.

The newer single tuner 'SkyHD' boxes supplied for multiroom/as a SD 'Digibox' replacement (Amstrad DRX595) use newer chipsets and do support DD5.1 over HDMI

What chipset is used in the DRX890, is it the ST7111 or the Broadcom? Which chipset is the better if any difference?
 

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