Week 24, 2015: HDMI Audio return channel, Satechi travel charger


Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 24, 2015

Q. I have an LG 65-inch Smart TV and a Marantz 6008 receiver. When I want to watch TV, should I select “TV Audio” or “Cable/Satellite” on the receiver? Does the volume on the TV have to be on also, and to what setting?

-Leonard Chandler

A. The source selection on the receiver depends on how you have everything connected. You should have your sources (cable/satellite box, Blu-ray player, etc.) connected to inputs on the receiver, and then have a single HDMI output from the receiver going to an HDMI input on the TV.

There is an HDMI 1.4 feature called “Audio Return Channel” that allows for transfer of the audio signal from the TV to the receiver. This is used when the TV’s built-in tuner is the audio source. When you connect the TV to the receiver be sure to use the Audio Return Channel HDMI connections. When connected this way you will select “TV Audio” to play sound from the TV through your sound system.

As for the other sources, look at the back of your receiver. You will see that the HDMI inputs are labeled. Find the input where the cable/satellite box is connected. That is the selection you will use on the receiver. It does not have to match the type of component. For example, you could use the Game input with a Blu-ray player or cable box, or the Blu-ray input with a video game system. This is useful to remember if you don’t have a game system, but have two disc players, for example a Blu-ray player and a VHS/DVD combo player that upconverts over HDMI.

When you are using external speakers the TV’s volume should be set to 0. Otherwise you may get an echo.

Super travel adapter/charger/router: A tip of the Sound Advice hat goes out to eagle-eyed PR man Adam W., who saw my recent column about charging overseas and immediately introduced me to two great products sure to be appreciated by world travelers.

The Satechi Smart Travel Adapter is only $14.95. It is a small plastic cube with sliding switches that select the proper plug for the UK, Europe, or the USA/Australia. Over 150 countries are supported with the built-in plugs. The plugs retract into the cube to protect them and make it easier to pack in your bag. To use the adapter you simply slide the switch to the proper position and the appropriate plug pops out. It has a 2.1-amp 5V USB charging port and a standard USA outlet. It does not convert the input voltage for the outlet, but it will allow you to plug in your existing laptop and phone chargers with the standard USA plugs. As I mentioned in the last column, almost all chargers and laptop power supplies work with 120 or 220 volts so the charger will do the rest.

Even better is the Satechi Smart Travel Router with USB port. It sells for $39.99 and has a built-in wireless router in addition to the USB port and AC outlet. The router can be used to convert a wired connection to a Wi-Fi connection and also as a repeater to strengthen existing Wi-Fi signals. If your hotel room has a weak Wi-Fi signal this could very well solve your problem.

Satechi products are readily available on Amazon.com. You can learn more there or at www.satechi.net.