Published on 12th March, 2014 by Cable Chick

Enjoy Digital & 3D - But Keep Your Old Receiver

Enjoy Digital & 3D - But Keep Your Old Receiver

You don't have to throw away your perfectly good analogue amplifier/receiver just to enjoy digital HD video and 3D content. Discover the best ways to bypass your old amp here!

Bypass Surgery

Here's the scenario: you have a new 3D television and a fancy 3D Blu-ray player to go with it, but your analogue home theatre receiver is stuck in two dimensions.

You may also be suffering from one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Your new Blu-ray player doesn't have any analogue video outputs
  • Your amplifier/receiver doesn't have any HDMI inputs or they’re only 2D
  • Your amplifier/receiver is fully analogue with no digital audio inputs

Well, we have good news! All of these problems can be solved in a variety of ways depending on your needs and budget. So long as you're starting out with a Digital/3D source and display device, we can work around your old-school amplifier.

All of our solutions boil down to bypassing your home theatre receiver to link your 3D source to your 3D display for video, while sending audio to the receiver separately. In the examples below, we use a Blu-ray player as the exemplar for a 3D source, but you can swap this out for a PC or games console as needed.

Alternate Audio Output (Option 1)

Receiver Bypass Diagram 1Many media players that support digital and 3D content already come with a variety of audio and video outputs. Step one is to check and see if your Blu-ray player has options for SPDIF audio via Digital Coaxial or Optical (TOSLINK) cables. These are your best options for keeping a multi-channel surround sound link – but your Amp has to support it, too.

If your source and receiver can share an SPDIF link, all that's left is to purchase the correct length of appropriate cable:

If digital is a no-go, perhaps your Blu-ray player has a 2RCA or 3.5mm Stereo output. You won't get 'real' surround sound with this option, but a good Amp will make very good use of 2.1 channel sound. You may not even notice much of a difference.

If your source and receiver share an analogue audio link, just grab the right length of cable that will join them:

Use your TV as a Media Hub

Receiver Bypass Diagram 2Except at the budget-priced end of the TV market, most 3D panels come with multiple HDMI inputs. Likewise, most modern screens also have Digital and/or Analogue audio outputs. If this is the case for you, your TV is already capable of picking up the slack from your non-HDMI amplifier.

In this solution, you would plug all of your source devices into the TV directly, and then use the TV to send the sound back to your amplifier. From now on, you'll only use your amplifier's remote control for on/off and volume, while your TV remote does your AV input selection.

As with the above solution, you just need to identify the common links between your TV and your receiver. If you have SPDIF via Digital Coax or Optical, all you need is the matching cable:

If it's an analogue audio link, then one of these will do the trick:

Don't fret if your TV and receiver don't share a common link! If your TV only supports digital audio output, and your amplifier is limited to analogue stereo, we have a Digital to Analogue Audio Converter that was made for exactly this purpose.
And what if your TV only has a single HDMI and you have a few games consoles to plug in as well as your Blu-ray player? Easy as pie - just use an HDMI switcher!


HDMI Splitting (Option 3)

Receiver Bypass Diagram 3First things first: If your receiver has HDMI but isn't 3D compatible, the cheapest solution is to have cleverly seen into your own future and purchased a Blu-Ray player that has dual HDMI outputs. Send one to the TV and one to the Amp - problem solved!

Oh, your Blu-ray player only has a single HDMI output and nothing else? That's OK, too. All you need is a HDMI splitter, or perhaps a Matrix if you want to support multiple 3D sources:

Our Splitters and Matrixes are 3D compatible, and your 2D HDMI receiver will simply ignore the 3D data and run the audio as usual. This is the same solution you might use for showing the same content on two TVs at once, but here we're using an output just for audio. Easy!

HDMI Audio De-Embedding (Option 4)

Receiver Bypass Diagram 4If you find yourself in a situation where none of the above solutions are suitable for your hardware, then there's really only one option left: Strip the audio out of the HDMI signal before it reaches your display.

This method is especially handy for 3D projectors which are generally located far away from your Blu-ray player and receiver.

We currently stock four products which feature HDMI decoding, and each of them have a unique extra feature which may make them more or less attractive to you depending on your needs:

Each of their individual product pages go into great detail about their extra features, but all of them accept one or more HDMI inputs and then offer separate HDMI and Audio outputs (in Digital and/or Analogue). Pair these with the cables linked above and you have a complete receiver bypass solution!

Still stuck?

When it comes to home theatre solutions, the only thing worse than having no options is having too many! If you have questions or comments about bypassing your non-3D receiver, please fill out the form on our Contact page.


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