How to connect your PC to an AV receiver for surround sound

If you enjoy using your PC on a TV, there may be problems with the correct connection of the desktop to the AV receiver. Sure, with some receivers, you can just plug it in and play it, but for some of us it can be difficult to get a PC to work with surround sound.

How can I get surround sound from my PC to my AV receiver?

So if you are lucky, you can connect your PC to the AV receiver and get full video audio and surround sound without any hassle. However, depending on the model, there may be problems with connecting a computer.

I own a Denon AVR-S730H AV receiver, which is a decent mid-range model. It works well with any device except my PC. For some reason, if I connected the PC directly to the receiver, I have problems with flickering or dropping of the video. So, I kept my PC plugged into my TV, but ARC wouldn’t produce anything but stereo from the computer. This is a situation many PC owners may find themselves in as AV receivers are not typically designed with PCs in mind.

I am embarrassed to say that it took me a few years to find an uncompromising solution. I have tried audio switcher and splitter. I connected the PC via the optical output (TOSLINK) and found that I still could not set the PC output over the stereo. The solution hit me like a ton of bricks. If your computer has video issues when connected directly to your AV receiver, there’s a simple solution that requires little setup: a phantom monitor.

The idea is to get the audio for the AV receiver and video for the TV independently. This means that you can get a solid picture and surround sound without interfering with each other. The only requirement for this is that your video card must have at least two HDMI outputs, two DisplayPort outputs, or a combination of the two. One caveat about using DisplayPort is that you will probably need to get a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter ( like this one ) as most AV receivers and TVs only have HDMI inputs.

Once you have two HDMI cables sticking out of your computer, just connect one to an HDMI input and the other to an input on the AV receiver. Tune the TV to the input your PC is connected to and do the same with the receiver. If you get confused, you can refer to the awful chart above for a visual guide.

Once your PC is connected to both the TV and the AV receiver, do the following:

  • Right click on the desktop and click on “Display Settings”.
  • Scroll down to the header that says “Multiple Displays”.
  • Click the drop-down menu under the header and select “Duplicate these displays”.
  • If the drop-down menu above is not available, click “Detect” and the option should appear.
  • After that, you should be ready to set up surround sound.

To set up surround sound in Windows 10:

  • Right click on the sound icon in the system tray and select “Open Sound Settings”.
  • In “Related Settings”, you need to click on “Audio Control Panel”.
  • In the audio control panel, make sure the output to the AV receiver is set as the default device.
  • Right click on the audio output for your AV receiver and select “Configure Speakers”.

In the Configure Speakers menu, you should see more options for surround sound. Choose the one that fits your configuration and click “Next” to test the configuration. Subsequently, surround sound will be available with any source that offers it. Works with videos, music and games.

One thing to note is that sometimes if you switch to another input on the AV receiver and come back, your PC will have to do another HDMI handshake for that output to reappear and work. To do this, go to View options and click “Detect” in Multiple Monitors. This should bring up the backup.


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