No Surround Sound from Spectrum 201 DVR SOLVED
I received a replacement Spectrum 201 DVR from Spectrum after losing surround sound on my Cisco 8642 box. After hooking up the new 201 box and downloading all the necessary software, there was no surround sound to my surround speakers (only center channel and subwoofer). My prior Cisco 8642 box had perfect surround sound until it quit. Spent many hours trying different cables, reading on line, 3 trips to the local store and on the phone with customer support many times (they were very friendly), multiple box "reboots" to get "updates". No one really knew what to do and I suspect that not many Spectrum customers have true surround sound systems as the service rep said mine was the first call on this issue.
The fix is simple:
1) Select Settings button on the remote
2) Scroll down in the menu to "Devices"
3) Scroll up to "Audio: Analog Output" (note: NOT "Audio: Digital Output" which MUST be on HDMI if you are using an HDMI cable)
4) The choices are "mono", "stereo" and "Surround". If you aren't getting surround sound, you will likely find it is set to "Mono". Change it to "Surround"
5) You will now have full surround sound (Dolby Pro Logic or whatever you are using)
It is entirely possible that my Cisco 8642 box was not really defective, but had defaulted back to the "mono" setting after a reboot. If you lose your surround sound suddenly, a reboot may have re-set the "mono" selection. I will never know for sure, but I'm very happy with the very sharp picture and extra storage and tuners on the new 201 box, so all's well that ends well. Other cable boxes used by Spectrum (Time Warner) may have the same settings options available in the Devices sub menu, but I don't know for sure.
I would note that on another thread in this forum someone said this problem was "solved" by toggling between "Dolby Digital" and "HDMI" in the "Audio: Digital Output" menu, but that did not work for me and I can't see how that would work as a fix. Selecting "Dolby Digital" caused my sound to turn off completely when using an HDMI cable. I also read many threads saying that the DVR was somehow "selecting" whether to provide surround sound or not based on the TV or device the HDMI cable is connected to (i.e., TV at fault). That appears to be also false, based on the menu setting that you must select on your own. I suppose Spectrum is assuming that most customers do not have surround sound, and maybe defaulting to surround would cause issues with equipment not designed for surround sound output (like a basic TV). But I would have at least factory defaulted to Stereo, rather than Mono, as most TVs at least have that feature. Cheers! Dan