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Will using an HDMI audio extractor/splitter reduce VIDEO quality?

brainmonster

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Currently I'm running my computer and ps5 through my 4k monitor. My monitor doesn't have an optical out, only an amplified "headphone/speaker out" with adjustable volume.

I'm a little disappointed by the sound quality I'm getting out of it.

So I decided to try an HDMI switch/audio extractor with a DAC/headphone amp to try to improve sound quality. I bought this HDMI audio extractor to be precise:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09B7LSW94?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1

Only problem is, today I just tried running my Xbox Series S through my DVR to my TV and received garbage video quality. I was surprised because I assumed passing a video signal would be pretty simple. Sound quality was noticeably better passing through the Xbox directly through the DVR, but it degraded the image quality.

Will this cheap audio extractor cause a similar issue? Am I overcomplicated things by trying to get better sound quality through my monitor?

This is the DAC I got (cheapo one)

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TW2JQNN?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1

Google issued no results on this particular question.

I checked and there is no image processing enabled on my DVR.
 

lkanies

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In general, modern game systems have higher quality video than, well, anything except some TVs. So, yes, passing video through anything will reduce its quality unless you are very careful.

I don’t know the Xbox consoles, but assuming you are getting at least 4K at 60hz with hdr, you should only ever use a splitter that supports hdmi 2.1 with 40gbps (or more?). I think these exist?

In practice… this is hard to come by. The only thing I can actually recommend is to buy a top end AVR from Denon, Onkyo, or one of their sub brands (I have my PS5 connected to a Pioneer, because that’s what was available at the time), and accept the mild reduction in audio quality (not noticeable except in the best rooms and the most specific circumstances).

It’s conceivable that one of those splitters will actually supports full video quality. But I would rather buy something I know will work and that I can get support on than suffer through the uncertainty and inconsistency. I had a similar hdmi switch in a previous setup, and I regretted it constantly.
 

voodooless

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So, yes, passing video through anything will reduce its quality unless you are very careful.
That is nonsense. These devices are passthough, and digital. They either work, or they don’t. What they can do is reduce the available bandwidth of the video signal. But that is done by telling the source what it is compatible with. So it’s the source that reduces the resolution or refresh rate if needed.

Having said that, you don’t need HDMI 2.1 to pass 4K 60Hz in HDR. The 18 gbps that is supported by the extractor should cope with that just fine. It’s other things like variable refresh rate that you’ll miss.

Maybe because the Xbox sees a different device it defaults to some safe values and you’ll just need to set it up properly again.

my TV and received garbage video quality.
Can you define this?

If you don’t want the device in your chain, use it as ARC connected to the TV, separate from your XBox.
 

lkanies

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That is nonsense. These devices are passthough, and digital. They either work, or they don’t. What they can do is reduce the available bandwidth of the video signal. But that is done by telling the source what it is compatible with. So it’s the source that reduces the resolution or refresh rate if needed.
That is technically and uselessly correct. The end result is still that the wrong device can and will reduce the video quality you see. If you want to argue I was wrong because the source is negotiating that reduction, rather than the device reducing it... ‍♂️. It still looks worse and has fewer features, which I expect is all the OP cares about.

Given how hard it is to find an HDMI cable that can pass the full signals from my PS5 and Apple TV, plus my own experiences with devices like these in previous tech generations (HD rather than 4k)... I absolutely do not believe it will be easy to find a device that does not compromise quality.
Having said that, you don’t need HDMI 2.1 to pass 4K 60Hz in HDR. The 18 gbps that is supported by the extractor should cope with that just fine. It’s other things like variable refresh rate that you’ll miss.
Yeah, the HDMI standard is a mess, and there's a solid chance a given non-2.1 config might work, but there's also a solid chance it will not achieve full quality (meaning the max quality the source + display can both do). That max quality is certainly my goal with all of my connections, but maybe isn't the goal of the OP.
 

voodooless

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We also can’t rule out that the extra cable is of lower quality, leading to less available bandwidth.

Given how hard it is to find an HDMI cable that can pass the full signals from my PS5 and Apple TV
Yes, HDMI 2.1 cables that actually work are hard to find :confused:
 

Berwhale

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My son's Xbox Series S (and sometime a Switch) is connected to his 27" 2K monitor via one of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01EHMU4CK - There is no discernible degradation in video quality.

I think the degradation you encountered with your DVR, is more likely to be the DVR's fault (maybe breaking HDCP?) or a problem with the HDMI cables.

And welcome to ASR!
 

lkanies

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We also can’t rule out that the extra cable is of lower quality, leading to less available bandwidth.


Yes, HDMI 2.1 cables that actually work are hard to find :confused:
Given I need 25’ foot cables to get to my TV… yes, they are hard to find. Short ones are pretty straightforward but you still need to be selective. Long ones are much harder.
 

voodooless

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Given I need 25’ foot cables to get to my TV… yes, they are hard to find. Short ones are pretty straightforward but you still need to be selective. Long ones are much harder.
I have an active optical one of around that length, certified and all, works perfectly. That wasn't the first try though.
 
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