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Not sure how to do this. I recently left the 90's behind and got a flat panel {Sony 60" EX500} and want to set it up with better sound and add a computer for internet video and music or radio when the TV is off.

I haven't bought a sound system yet {figured I'd wait until Black Friday} and not sure what I'll need to make everything work together. The computer has only sound output from the motherboard but adding a sound card is no big deal. There's a DVI output so getting a DVI/HDMI cable is easy. In playing with it I connected the computer to the TV with a VGA cable and the picture wasn't half bad so I'm certain DVI/HDMI will be a nice improvement.

I'm not an audiophile but I do want decent sound. Any recommendations for specific equipment? Any other questions I should be asking? TIA
 

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Welcome to the Shack.
IMO the easiest and best way to do this is by using an AVR. The big questions are: What is your budget? And what do you mean by "better sound"? Full on 7.1 system? 5.1? Stereo?

The output from the motherboard can work fine, that is what I use, but my M/B had a S/PDIF. Does yours?
 

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Thanks for the quick response, Mark. That part of technology has passed me by far enough that I had to look up S/PDIF. None on my MB, just 3 RCA plugs but as I said adding a sound card is no problem.

I may have some trouble with more than two speakers. The room is a good size but a strange configuration that may not let me run wires for any kind of surround sound. Judging on past experiences, stereo with decent quality equipment is probably adequate. Yeah, I'd love to have a zillion speakers in the room but it's just not practical.

Haven't decided on a budget for this yet but if I'm just adding an AVR and speakers I can probably get to around $700 or $800; more if I have a good reason for it.

Most of my confusion comes from a visit to a big box store to look at AVRs. Aside from the fact that every one of them is ugly, the "expert" I spoke with told me to make sure whatever I bought could handle two audio inputs, one from the computer and one from either the TV or directly from the cable box.

Does the two-audio-input requirement limit my choices?
Is there an advantage to plugging into an AVR from the TV or the cable box?
Is there other equipment I need? {I rarely watch DVDs so would probably use the one on the computer}

Sorry about the noob questions but thanks again for taking the time.
 

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Hmm, three RCA plugs??? What color are they? or how are they labeled? Most S/PDIF outputs that I have seen on motherboards are of the RCA variety. Would you happen to know what model your M/B is? For example, one of my computers has two RCA jacks on the back one is a S/PDIF in (red) and one an S/PDIF out (yellow). One of my others has one RCA S/PDIF out (yellow) and one TOSLINK S/PDIF output. Don't know that I've ever seen a motherboard with three RCA jacks before. Ya got me curious.

That budget gives you quite a few options for what you want and pretty much any AVR and any pair of bookshelf speakers would out perform the Sony's internal speakers. If you want to go that route I'm sure we could give you some gear suggestions.

By looking at the specs of that TV, it looks to have quite a few input/output options itself. You may want to consider a pair of powered speakers, which would eliminate an ugly receiver. Just hook the powered speakers up to your TV's audio outputs, your computer audio hooked up to the TV's audio inputs and the computer video hooked up via DVI/HDMI cable.

Yes, two inputs would limit your choices, fortunately the vast majority of AVR's come with a wide variety and many inputs and outputs.
Some advantages to plugging into an AVR are: It gives you a simple switching mechanism between your computer, set top box and TV so that everything can easily be output to the speakers.
No, no other equipment really needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmm, three RCA plugs??? What color are they? or how are they labeled?
Apparently I got my terminology wrong. What I read said the S/PDIF plug is for an optical cable. The three plugs on my computer are standard RCA jacks -- pink, lime green and blue. It may also help to know the computer is three years old.

Would you happen to know what model your M/B is?...Ya got me curious.
I'll have to open it up and take a look but that'll have to wait until tomorrow.

You may want to consider a pair of powered speakers, which would eliminate an ugly receiver. Just hook the powered speakers up to your TV's audio outputs, your computer audio hooked up to the TV's audio inputs and the computer video hooked up via DVI/HDMI cable.
That would solve a world of problems but raises a couple of questions -- would I have to have the TV powered on if I was only listening to music thru the computer? Are there powered speakers with good quality sound?
 

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Ah, that makes more sense, those are commonly referred to as 3.5mm stereo mini plugs.
Never mind on the M/B model.
I can't find enough info on that TV to know if it would pass through the audio if the TV power was off. Maybe someone else will jump in and answer that one. And yes, there are a number of powered speakers with good quality sound from the likes of: Mackie, M-Audio, Audioengine, Swan, Behringer and others.
 

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No that tv won't pass audio when it's off. Look into a decent avr, I would suggest a return from accessories4less.com to save some money and a decent pair of speakers or bookshelves and a sub.
 
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