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Plex HTPC HD Audio Video Tutorial

PrintOne of our awesome AV Rant Podcast Listeners requested a bit of a step-by-step tutorial on getting full, lossless HD Audio and Immersive Audio bitstreams from an HTPC to an AV Receiver, as well as how to play physical Blu-ray discs in full quality from a PC, and how to set up a nice media library using Plex.

Rob H. decided to take a stab at putting together a simplistic slideshow presentation and posted it to YouTube. It’s not exactly great production values, but some folks might find a few useful tidbits of information in there, so we hope you enjoy it!

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  1. Morgan
    August 17th, 2016 at 02:03 | #1

    Pardon but I’m having a problem with my left height speaker and my center speaker not producing sound. I’ve jiggled wires at the rear of speakers and back of receiver, the problem fixes for the session, but is continues every time I turn on my system the following day. If that doesn’t work I’ve cranked the volume and had the results correct. It’s as if the current isn’t strong enough to produce activity in the speaker. I’ve done the cranking in the the speaker level test tone menu of my Marantz sr5009. Is this a wiring issue or an amp issue? Please help guys. I’d loathe the idea of a receiver replacement. I don’t have that kind of expendable dough right now.

  2. Rob H
    August 17th, 2016 at 10:32 | #2

    @Morgan

    Hi, Morgan.

    If jiggling the speaker wire gets the speakers to work for some amount of time, then that has to just be a speaker wire problem. I’m not sure how you have connected either end of your speaker wire, but if it is just a bare wire connection at the AV Receiver end, it is very common to have a poor connection or a short circuit since the binding posts on AV Receivers typically require the speaker wire to bend around the central post that holds the plastic binding post cap. Many people just sort of shove the bare speaker wire end into the AV Receiver’s binding posts and tighten down the plastic end cap. In such cases, the speaker wire doesn’t always make good contact with the metal at the base of the binding post, or the speaker wire gets splayed out and potentially causes a short circuit.

    I also do not know the condition of your speaker wire or how thick it is – although the thickness wouldn’t cause any speaker to stop working entirely. But it’s surprisingly easy for a speaker wire to become damaged somewhere along its length – even if the speaker wire is run inside of a wall.

    So just to cover all bases:

    1) Remove the lengths of speaker wire going from your AV Receiver to your Left Height and Center speakers entirely. Examine each length of speaker wire and make sure it isn’t damaged in any way anywhere along its length.

    2) If you do find any damage, replace it with some 14 or 12 gauge speaker wire. I like to recommend the Belden brand wire available from Parts-Express because I personally like the option of either a black or a white outer jacket. But honestly, pretty much any 14 or 12 gauge wire will do.

    LINK: http://www.parts-express.com/cat/in-wall-speaker-wire/1618?N=18617+4294967118+4294966890+4294966892&Ne=10166&Nrs=collection%28%29%2Frecord%5Bendeca%3Amatches%28.%2C%22P_PortalID%22%2C%221%22%29+and+endeca%3Amatches%28.%2C%22P_Searchable%22%2C%221%22%29%5D&PortalID=1

    3) In order to ensure you have a clean connection to your AV Receiver with good electrical contact, I would suggest using banana plugs. My favourites are the Sewell Deadbolt: https://sewelldirect.com/sewell-deadbolt-banana-plugs-12-pair

    They are not too expensive, easy to install, accommodate very thick wire if you ever want it, and make a solid connection to any binding post.

    Typically, the binding posts on speakers give you a hole in the central, metal peg that makes it easy to insert bare speaker wire and get an excellent connection. So it usually isn’t necessary or any more convenient to use banana plugs on the speaker ends. You can if you want to, of course. But I mainly recommend them for the AV Receiver end of the speaker wire. It’s so much cleaner, easier, and more solid, so they’re well worth the reasonable price.

    I hope that’s of some help!

    – Rob H.

  3. wthomas69
    September 8th, 2016 at 06:01 | #3

    Great tutorial, already doing 90% of what you show. Having problem with powerdvd, guess my system is not BD compliant (powerdvd will not even play BD), according to cyberlink. HP Elite 8300 with AMD Raydeon R7 200 Series graphics card (with latest drivers) and Dell E2414H monitor (using DVI cable as monitor does not have HDMI). Trying to get correct title from disc through makemkv (lots of titles just like you show). Are there any other work arounds other than powerdvd and procmon?

  4. Rob H
    September 8th, 2016 at 08:05 | #4

    @wthomas69
    That’s strange that PowerDVD won’t play your Blu-ray discs. From what you described, the only thing I can guess is that your monitor is not HDCP-compliant. If it’s an older monitor, that is a possibility, since DVI existed several years before HDMI, and quite a few older DVI monitors existed before HDCP was implemented.
    Do you have any other display in the house that you could temporarily use as your computer monitor, just to see if that will allow you to play a Blu-ray disc using PowerDVD?
    I do not know of a different work around to find the correct title on the disc. That doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t one. I’m just personally not aware, is all.
    Sorry about that 🙁 But if you could temporarily connect your PC to, say, your HDTV using HDMI, just to check: that’s about my only idea, I’m afraid.

  5. wthomas69
    September 9th, 2016 at 09:40 | #5

    Thanks Rob, you are the best and right. Even though my monitor is relatively new 2012, it must not be compliant. I was able to roll my plasma near my pc (on a cart) and hook it up a behold powerdvd was able to play the BD. On a side note, would all new monitors with hdmi connections be compliant? If so, I will most likely order one so I don’t have to roll the plasma around every time I run into the same issue with makemkv

  6. Rob H
    September 9th, 2016 at 21:42 | #6

    @wthomas69
    So the super anal answer is that it’s theoretically still possible for a current PC monitor to lack HDCP support. But for all practical intents and purposes, if it’s got an HDMI input, it should be compliant 🙂

    Definitely don’t have to pay an arm and a leg these days if you just need something functional and basic.

  7. wthomas69
    September 18th, 2016 at 13:56 | #7

    Again thanks for the help Rob, I did purchase a nice HDMI 24 inch monitor for $99 on Amazon and it works well with power DVD. I do have a bit of a dilemma though, started watching my Blu-ray of the newly released now you see me 2 and was able to get the title number from Procmon, When I ripped that title using MKV for some reason The chapters were still out of sequence only a couple of them but still some were out of sequence.

  8. Rob H
    September 18th, 2016 at 15:57 | #8

    @wthomas69
    Do you happen to have AnyDVD HD or DVDFab Passkey installed?

    If so, ProcMon will report an incorrect title number. And unfortunately, even if you exit out of AnyDVD HD or PassKey so that they aren’t actively running, for some reason, just having either of them installed can be enough to mess up the reading of the proper title. They have to be fully uninstalled sometimes.

    If you don’t have either of those encryption-breaking programs installed, then it could be a BD+ issue. BD+ can update encryption keys dynamically. To be honest, sometimes it works best to make sure your PC is not connected to the internet at all. With no internet connection, PowerDVD is forced to use the default BD+ key in order to play the disc, which should allow you to use ProcMon to read the correct title!

    Lots of caveats, eh? haha

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