help me hook up my home theater soundbar

Sorry if this is in wrong forum. I think this has a factual answer. Maybe it’s GQ, or IMHO…anyway…

I bought a Sony Bravia soundbar. It is self powered (no receiver needed) and should work well for my needs. I am totally confused on how to hook it up. I know what the manual says but I don’t understand the why. I have a Tivo, a PS3, and a BluRay that I want to run through it. Right now, all 3 accessories are connected via HDMI to the inputs on the TV. I thought that I would connect the soundbar via the HDMI out or digital optical out on the TV and that would be it. I am used to hooking up speakers as the last in the chain.

The manual says otherwise. The manual says to run the 3 accessories to the soundbar via HDMI. Then connect the TV to the soundbar via ARC (2way) HDMI. I think that with this hookup the signal runs from (say) the BluRay to the speaker (where it only passes through), to the TV and back to the speaker for sound. Am I correct?

Why would I want to do this? Would my way work equally well or is there a reason to do it as the manual says? The reason that I ask, is that I have enough complication now. My wife and kids know how to select the input on the TV and work the devices. If I change so that I have to select the input via the speaker, I have to re-school everyone and it seems like a PITA.

Is there an optimal, preferred (and easy) way to hook up my stuff?

You are correct that it can be used as a passthru speaker system. I received the Sony Bravia Sound Bar for Christmas; so I feel your pain as I had the same concerns.

There are two ways you can hook it up… .as a pass through system for your HDMI components or leave your components attached to the tv. I followed the recommendations and moved all my hdmi imputs to the sound bar. If your tv was like mine, every time you wanted to use a different component you had to switch your tv input to hdmi1, hdmi2 etc. Now you’ll just do that with your sound bar instead. The drawback is that you can’t see what your doing as well. For example when I used to turn up the volume, the bar on my TV would show up an I could see where I was on the volume scale. Now when I press volume up or down I have to look closely at the woofer that came with the sound bar to see the numbers go up or down. The good thing though is that for each input you have on your soundbar you can set up a predefined ‘sound’ (i.e. more base for ps3 inputs, etc.

No matter what there’s going to be a learning curve and yes it’s going to be a PITA. You’re not going to get around that… after all you added another remote control to the mix. I also bough a Harmony remote and that makes it a lot easier for the family to use the system.

Good Luck