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HDMI to Toslink Optical Audio Extraction/Splitter Devices

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  • HDMI to Toslink Optical Audio Extraction/Splitter Devices

    I'm considering buying a HDMI audio extraction/splitter device for my old 5.1 setup, but am not sure which devices are good and which ones need to be avoided. So I figured it might be worth a shot to start a topic here on Film-Tech just in case anyone here has experience with these devices.

    Here's the situation: I have an old Yamaha RX-V995 surround sound receiver that still works perfectly fine. Currently I have other priorities than replacing an aging but still working surround sound receiver. The unit is old enough that it doesn't have any HDMI inputs on it. I use SPDIF optical cables for audio connections between the surround sound receiver and devices like my Playstation 3 and satellite TV DVR. I connect the HDMI video feeds direct to the TV set. This approach has worked fine, but I've run into some issues with new streaming apps -particularly HBO Max.

    I have an HBO subscription via Amazon Prime Video channels and mainly use that app via my PS3. Any TV shows or movies that play on the regular HBO channels will play in the Prime Video app. HBO Max exclusives require the separate Max app. The HBO Max app isn't available to Playstation 3 (a PS4 or PS5 is required). I bought my 65" Samsung TV in 2014. The HBO Max app is available to Samsung TV models made in 2016 or later. I've been using my iPad Pro to run HBO Max with the iPad connected to the TV via a HDMI output dongle plugged into the iPad. That gets better results than trying to Chromecast it from my laptop or phone. But I'm limited to 2 channel audio with this approach. The TV isn't offering a 5.1 audio stream to send from the iPad connection.

    Anyway, the iPad approach is kind of a pain. It looks like I might need to get some other kind of stand-alone streaming device, such as a Roku or Amazon Fire TV unit. It looks like just about all these devices lack any optical outputs and only output the audio and video via HDMI. That's where one of these HDMI audio extractor/splitter gadgets would appear to be the solution. But some of these things look pretty cheap or cheesy. So I don't know. I don't feel like blowing $30-$50 on one of these little things if it isn't going to work.
    Last edited by Bobby Henderson; 02-02-2021, 09:46 PM.

  • #2
    Bobby, have you considered getting a ROKU? ROKU now supports HBO Max.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/...ku/3938073001/

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    • #3
      Yeah, HBO Max is now (finally) supported on Roku devices as well as Amazon devices. The problem is none of the models currently being sold have any kind of SPDIF optical output on the device. Digital audio is only output via HDMI. Hence the need for an outboard splitter device that extracts 5.1 audio data and sends it to an optical output.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bobby Henderson View Post
        Yeah, HBO Max is now (finally) supported on Roku devices as well as Amazon devices. The problem is none of the models currently being sold have any kind of SPDIF optical output on the device. Digital audio is only output via HDMI. Hence the need for an outboard splitter device that extracts 5.1 audio data and sends it to an optical output.
        My Vizio TV has optical out which I run to my external amp. That gives me 5.1 audio (but not DTS HD Master, Dolby True HS, or Atmos which requires HDMI). I use an HTPC (an old dual core machine with a low end Nvidia card with HDMI for audio and I connect to VGA In on the TV for video. That gives me 2K video with HD audio.

        Monoprice has the device you are looking for, but it is pricey at $100.

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        • #5
          My 65" Samsung TV will send DD 5.1 audio from its optical output, depending on the source chosen. But I can't load the HBO Max app on it since it was made before 2016. So that's out.

          I have an old notebook that is equipped with HDMI and SPDIF optical outputs. The HBO Max app won't install as an app in Windows 10; it's only available for XBox devices in the Microsoft app store. I can't seem to get either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome to output 5.1 audio when loading the HBO Max app in a browser window and using that for playback.

          In order to keep using that old AV Receiver (rather than blow around $1000 on a comparable new one) I have to consider buying some kind of Roku device along with an outboard audio splitter to get any DD or DTS 5.1 function.

          Amazon has a bunch of these devices in a wide range of prices from under $25 to well over $50. One that seemed to be well-reviewed is made by J-Tech. I'm not familiar with the company. It looks like a fairly straight-forward product.

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          • #6
            Check out "How to Get Windows 10 app of HBOMAX" at: https://www.reddit.com/r/HBOMAX/comm...app_of_hbomax/

            The comment that caught my attention was: "I've been able to get HBO Max in 5.1 using the Edge browser. Firefox and Chrome don't support it, but Edge does."

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            • #7
              5.1 support and output from the Edge browser appears spotty according to that thread. It's worth a try. But, still, it's kind of a pain to try hard-wiring a notebook PC to a TV and surround sound receiver via an optical cable and HDMI cable. It's going to be less cumbersome to have a little streaming box and small splitter device tucked under the TV and connected directly.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bobby Henderson View Post
                I'm considering buying a HDMI audio extraction/splitter device for my old 5.1 setup, but am not sure which devices are good and which ones need to be avoided. So I figured it might be worth a shot to start a topic here on Film-Tech just in case anyone here has experience with these devices.
                We've been using the HDFury Vertex for splitting audio out of HDMI streams for a while now. For consumer purposes, the thing may be a bit pricey though, but the thing actually works. We usually use it to split the audio component of the A/V stream to a separate HDMI output, but the device has an optical TOSLINK out too.

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                • #9
                  I use the a DVDO Edge video switcher for exactly the same purpose. It has multiple HDMI inputs, and one HDMI output to send to the TV. It also has a SPDIF output to send the selected input sound directly to an older audio receiver. The DVDO Edge is configurable to either route the sound to the SPDIF output, or send the the sound along with the picture to the TV via HDMI where the TV's SPDIF output can send the 5.1 sound back to the receiver. The only downside is the DVDO Edge pre-dates UHD, so no 4K/UHD will pass though it.

                  The DVDO Edge is long a discontinued model, but they turn up on eBay now and again. Make sure the remote is included and working, as there are no controls on the unit itself.

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                  • #10
                    I had to fix a similar issue running older gear in a bedroom with a 2013 Panasonic 1080p Plasma and a 2004 Denon 3805 Toslink/SPDIF Dolby Digital (not +) AV receiver feeding a Ruark Vita 120 5.1 system.
                    I was using a 1st gen Amazon 4K Fire TV, which had Toslink and DD+ to DD conversion but it was getting old and slow.

                    So what works for me is an Amazon Fire Stick 4K and a Prozor HDMI switch with HDMI to Toslink audio extraction that supports 2 and 5.1 EDID (pics attached).
                    The 4K Firestick has the option to force DD+ to DD in audio settings and the extractor will extract DD 5.1 to the Denon over Toslink.

                    Only glitch is the Firestick Netflix app won't consistently switch from 5.1 to 2 channel mode for Lt Rt Dolby Surround content so you get 5.1 with just L/R, not surround decoded.
                    My fix is switch to the clunky Netflix app on the TV for legacy LtRt content.

                    I believe the Android HBO Max app can be sideloaded onto the Firestick 4K.

                    If your AV Receiver is Toslink/SPDIF only for 5.1 then DD+ to DD conversion is probably vital.

                    Here's a link to an Amazon.com listing for basically the same extractor I have for USD 23.

                    3x1 HDMI Switch with Audio Extractor, Proster 3 Port 4K HDMI Switcher HDMI Audio Converter Include PIP IR Remote and 3.5mm Male to 2 RCA Female Stereo Audio Cable
                    by PROSTER US
                    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073TTS9QG...FREQQ?_encodin g=UTF8&psc=1





                    You do not have permission to view this gallery.
                    This gallery has 3 photos.

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                    • #11
                      The Roku Ultra will transcode DD+ to DD without any problems and output the picture via HDMI and the sound via TosLink if you configure it to do so. The Ultra is the only Roku model that will do this.

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                      • #12
                        The current Roku Ultra model being sold does not have a S/PDIF output.

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