HDTV Surround Sound - HD Surround Sound Systems
When compared with analog television, the sound quality on HDTV is far superior due solely to the fact that HDTV
is a digital transmission whereas analog is what it name says. In fact, the analogy is comparable to the difference
between CD music and music played from audio cassette tapes.
However, the difference does not just end there because many HDTV programs are also broadcast in Dolby Digital
5.1 surround sound but, in order to take full advantage of this technology, it is necessary to have the right
Dolby technology was created by Dolby Laboratories, Inc., a company who are the most recognized provider of
digital audio technology in the world today. In addition, Dolby Laboratories is known for its reliable and superior
products, hence the reason that Dolby Digital Surround sound has become the defacto standard for High Definition
Having said that, there are some HDTV manufacturers who have substituted their own surround sound systems, which
are not quite up to the reputation and performance as that of Dolby. It is therefore in your interests to check the
specifications on any high definition television that you are planning on purchasing to ensure that it uses Dolby
Digital Surround sound
There are a number of options available when it comes to using Dolby Digital Surround Sound
You can purchase a television with Dolby technology built in that also has it's own high quality center channel
speakers, woofers and tweeters. With a complete system such as this, it is not necessary to purchase additional
equipment to take advantage of Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
Alternatively, you could connect an external set of surround speakers to the television. A complete surround
sound speaker system would consist of two front speakers, two surround speakers, a center channel speaker and a sub
When setting up this type of surround sound system, it is important that all of the speakers are placed
correctly otherwise the sound quality will suffer. The center channel speaker should be positioned either above or
below the center of the television. The two front speakers should be placed in an arc formation in line with the
center channel speaker. The two surround speakers should ideally be placed to the left and right behind the
listening position. The sub woofer can be placed anywhere within reason as this is for bass response and the human
ear cannot determine direction of bass frequencies.
Although not true surround sound, you can connect a pair of external front speakers directly to the HDTV. This
configuration is useful if there is not enough room to set up an external surround sound system or if the
television does not come with built in Dolby Digital Surround sound.
Connecting a DVD Player and VCR
The audio and video outputs of the DVD or VCR can be connected directly to the AV receiver’s video inputs. If
you have separate DVD and VCR players, one unit can be connected to the VCR1 connection and the other can be
connected to the VCR2 connection.
The AV receiver’s VCR video and audio outputs should then be connected to the audio and video inputs of the DVD
and/or VCR. In this way, the DVD and/or VCR will be able to record video signals that come through the AV receiver
and the VHS tapes and/or DVD’s will be able to be viewed on the HDTV.
To take full advantage of the Dolby Digital Surround Sound technology, one of the video outputs of the DVD
player and/or VCR needs to be connected to the AV receiver. The digital coaxial audio or digital optical connection
must also be connected to the AV receiver.
Connecting a CD player
If you want to be able to play CD's through your HDTV surround sound system, a CD player can be connected to an
AV receiver. It should be pointed out that most DVD players are also able to play CD discs, so you may not have a
need to connect a CD player as well. However, if you do, the CD player’s digital audio outputs can be used to
connect the CD player to the AV receiver.
A CD Recorder can also be connected to the AV receiver by using the audio tape record/playback, input/output
loop connections. In this way, the CD Recorder will be able to function much like a standard audiocassette
As well as the basic equipment required to set up Dolby Digital Surround Sound, you will of course need to have
the appropriate connection cables to suit the connections of the equipment that is being used. These include video,
audio, and loudspeaker connection cables. These cables need to be the correct length in order to set the speakers
in the correct position for optimal surround sound quality. It also pays to select good quality cables and
connectors as these can make quite a difference to audio and video quality.