5 Ways to Get Audio From a Blu-ray Disc Player

Audio connection options for Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players

Blu-ray is part of many users' home entertainment experience. If you have an HDTV or 4K Ultra HD TV, it's easy to add a Blu-ray Disc player's video connection, but getting the most out of Blu-ray's audio capabilities can be confusing. Here are five ways to set up Blu-ray with audio output.

Not all of these methods are usable with every Blu-ray Disc player. Check your player's audio connection options to see what's available.

Wide Screen LCD / Plasma TV with Blu-ray Disc player
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Connect a Blu-ray Disc Player to a TV via HDMI

The easiest way to access audio from a Blu-ray Disc player is to connect the player's HDMI output to an HDMI-equipped TV. Since the HDMI cable carries both the audio and video signal to the TV, you'll be able to access audio from a Blu-ray Disc.

The downside to this method is that it depends on the TV's audio capabilities to reproduce the sound, which often doesn't deliver the greatest results.

HDMI Cable and Connections
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Loop HDMI Through a Home Theater Receiver

Accessing audio using an HDMI-TV connection produces so-so quality, but connecting a Blu-ray Disc player to an HDMI-equipped home theater receiver produces better sound results. For this to work, your home theater receiver must have built-in Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio decoders.

Many home theater receivers made after 2015 incorporate Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

If you loop the HDMI output from a Blu-ray Disc player through a home theater receiver to a TV, the receiver passes the video to the TV. It then accesses the audio and performs additional processing before passing the audio signal to the receiver's amplifier stage and on to the speakers.

HDMI Inputs Home Theater Receiver – Blu-ray

See if your receiver has "pass-through" HDMI connections for audio, or if the receiver can access audio signals for further decoding and processing. Your home theater receiver's user manual should illustrate and explain this.

Two HDMI Outputs

Select Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray Players have two HDMI outputs. Use one HDMI output to send video directly to a TV or video projector, while the second output sends audio to a home theater receiver.

OPPO Digital BDP-103D Dual HDMI Outputs

Use Digital Optical or Coaxial Audio Connections

Digital optical and digital coaxial connections are commonly used for accessing audio from a DVD player, but most Blu-ray Disc players also offer this option.

The downside is that these connections can access only standard Dolby Digital/DTS surround signals and not higher-resolution digital surround-sound formats, such as Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DTS:X.

However, if you're satisfied with the results you experienced with a DVD player, you'll get the same results when using a digital optical or digital coaxial connection with a Blu-ray disc player.

Blu-ray Disc Player Audio Connections - Digital Optical - Coaxial Audio Connection - Dual View

Some Blu-ray Disc players provide both digital optical and digital coaxial audio connections, but most only provide one, and usually, it's digital optical. Check your home theater receiver and Blu-ray Disc player to see what you have.

Use 5.1/7.1 Channel Analog Audio Connections

If you have a Blu-ray Disc player equipped with 5.1/7.1 channel analog outputs (also referred to as Multi-Channel Analog outputs), access the player's internal Dolby/DTS surround-sound decoders and send multichannel uncompressed PCM audio from the Blu-ray Disc Player to a compatible home theater receiver.

In this type of setup, the Blu-ray Disc player decodes all the surround-sound formats internally and sends the decoded signal to a home theater receiver or amplifier in a format referred to as uncompressed PCM. The amplifier or receiver then amplifies and distributes the sound to the speakers.

This is useful when you have a home theater receiver without digital optical/coaxial or HDMI audio input access, but can accommodate either 5.1/ 7.1 channel analog audio input signals.

If your Blu-ray Disc player also incorporates the ability to listen to SACDs or DVD-Audio Discs, and has 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio outputs, its built-in DACs (Digital-to-Analog Audio Converters) may be better than the ones in your home theater receiver. If so, connect the 5.1/7.1-channel analog output connections to a home theater receiver, instead of the HDMI connection (at least for audio).

Blu-ray Disc Player Multi-Channel Analog Audio Outputs
OPPO Digital

Most lower-priced Blu-ray Disc players don't have 5.1/7.1 analog audio output connections. Check the specifications or physically inspect the rear connection panel of the Blu-ray Disc player to see if you have this option.

Use Two-Channel Analog Audio Connections

The last resort is connecting a Blu-ray Disc player to a home theater receiver or TV using the two-channel (stereo) analog audio connection.

This prevents access to digital surround-sound audio formats. However, if you have a TV, soundbar, home-theater-in-a-box, or home theater receiver that offers Dolby Prologic, Prologic II, or Prologic IIx processing, you can extract a surround-sound signal from embedded cues present within a two-channel stereo audio signal. This method isn't as accurate as true Dolby or DTS decoding, but it provides an acceptable result from two-channel sources.

Many Blu-ray Disc players have eliminated the analog two-channel stereo audio output option, but some higher-end models still have the feature. If you want this option, note that your choices may be limited.

Blu-ray Disc Player Audio Connections - 2-Channel Analog Stereo Audio Connection

If you use a Blu-ray Disc player to listen to music CDs, try connecting the HDMI output and the 2-channel analog output connections to a home theater receiver. Use HDMI to access movie soundtracks on Blu-ray and DVD discs, then switch your home theater receiver to the analog stereo connections when listening to CDs.