I have a panasonic viera HDTV with a digital audio out connector and am a complete amateur. I want to have a set up with dolby surround 5.1 and am unsure if my tv even supports it. I am not intending on paying out a lot but need to know exactly what equipment I will need.
I also have a sony vaio laptop with blu-ray player which I occasionally connect to the TV using a HDMI cable. If I rigged up a surround speaker system to the TV would I get the benefits of 5.1 audio through the HDMI cable too?
Any help would be really appreciated. I never realised how little I knew on this subject.
HDMI provide both pictures and sound to the tv, so audio will come out of whatever speakers the tv is using. The only thing you may have to do is tell the laptop its output is now via hdmi rather than the internal screen and speakers, but it "should" do that automatically and if not, the apps in the system tray for video/audio should give you the necessary options.
You can connect your TV to the surround system with the optical audio output so you need to have this input on the 5.1 channel system you buy. You should be able to get surround sound on all your sources if you TV will output in 5.1 (check the audio setting menu). If you can spend enough to get a surround system with an AV receiver and self powered subwoofer you will get better quality of sound and more flexibility for future upgrades.