Atom and HDMI CEC

Hello everyone,

I've just joined the Naim fold, having picked up a HDMI equipped atom this afternoon. I've not really had the time to crank it up yet (young child settling to sleep) but will do so tomorrow however I've been testing some of the functionality, in particular the HDMI stuff. 

Up to now, I've been using a denon receiver from a few years ago (AVR 4311 if it matters) and in preparation for moving to a stereo setup, have set it up as I would the naim, HDMI to the ARC port on the TV and config'd for stereo (well, 2.1 but whose counting?). In this form, as soon as I (or my wife) turned the TV on, the denon would switch on within seconds and set it's input to TV/ARC. This worked well.

I've now moved the cables from the denon to the atom and I don't seem to be getting the same functionality. if the atom was set to it's HDMI input when it was switched off, then it seems to work. well, it takes the atom longer to switch on, and the TV's own speakers seem to work until the atom comes on, something that never happened with the denon. and I've already had it sit there displaying "no input" on HDMI with the TV clearly on once. It broadly seems to work though.

However if the atom was set to a different input when it was switched off, streaming for example, then when I turn the TV on, the atom sits there resolutely off. Are others experiencing the same behaviour? To me that doesn't seem right. the atom should recognise the CEC command and switch on and switch inputs no matter what the input was previously. In fact I'd say that no matter what input it's on, if I switch the TV on, it should switch to the HDMI input.

That's my expectation, and how the denon worked and it made life easy for my wife.

Have I configured something wrongly, am I mis-understanding something? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

I would ask naim directly, but it's a friday night so I've got some time to ask you guys before they get back into the office

Many thanks

Lounge: LG 55B6v, Lyngdorf TDAI2170 (USB+HDMI), 2x Anthony Gallo Reference AV speakers, M&K MX7000 Subwoofer, AppleTV4, some random Sony Blu-ray player from Curries

Office: Nuforce HDP headphone/pre-amp, Parasound Zamp, Monitor Audio CPW Gold

Original Post

The thing is, ARC and CEC has been remarkably reliable for me with the denon. It never worked with my pioneer kuro plasma, but when I changed to the LG OLED tv, CEC really came into it's own.

While I appreciate that the optical connection would work fine, I don't want to use it because I want things to be one-button easy, especially for my wife to use when I'm not there. Previously she just turned on the TV and the amp did "the right thing" automatically.

Being as Naim left out an IR receiver, I can't even program up a universal remote to do it all, hence the CEC/ARC connection has to be rock solid.

And lets not forget that the HDMI card is a £300 option that advertises ARC and CEC compatibility, so I bloody well want it to work!

I had similar issues with the HDMI/ARC on my Uniti Star and gave up in the end (reverting to optical). It has the added bonus of freeing up the HDMI port on the TV (which only has 3). Mind you, HDMI is standard on the Star. If I had paid £300 for the feature, I’d be a little peeved myself. 

ARC and CEC are proving to be unreliable when used with different brands of equipment. I have been researching this subject due to the impending purchase of a new TV. The opinion on various AV forums seems to be that multi brand implementation is a lottery and it is down to how the different companies have implemented the different features of CEC. 

I can only say that between a denon receiver from 2011, a LG tv from 2016, an appletv4 and a crappy sony bluray, it's all worked remarkably well for me. the only real problems I experienced were with the sony, and I think that was more down to it being slow.

I've emailled naim's uniti-support now so we'll see what they say.

HDMI-CEC is ‘a bag of hurt’, not specific to Naim or any other brand. From what I’ve read on AV forums, it might help to disconnect power on all equipment and take out all HDMI connectors, put them back in again and switch power on. That way the HDMI connections will do a new ‘handshake’ and that may or may not work. Like someone else said above, HDMI-CEC is a lottery.

Good luck! 

Hi,

If the Atom is set to HDMI then it will turn on and off with the TV however if it is set to an alternative input when it is turned off then it will not "follow" the HDMI connected device - this is intentional and is not an indication of incorrect or faulty operation.

Best

Phil Harris

Phil,

I'm interested that this is an intended behaviour and was wondering if there was a specific reason for this choice? also and more importantly, Is this something that could be configurable?

my hifi equipment needs to be easily usable by my wife and daughter and needing to use two remotes doesn't meet that need.

On another note, now I've got more experience of using the amp with HDMI, it's still problematic. I feel like I'm getting "no input signal" far too often.

Gazza posted:

Well a few weeks ago I did raise that Naim should indicate the fixes being worked on. Richard Dane forwarded the idea.......not heard anything since.

I'd really like to hear something. At the moment, I've not yet taken the protective plastic bits off the amp. If there isn't some news on this front soon, then I'll need to consider if I take the amp back and think about something else.

It's not that I don't like the amp, I do, but I need to be able to integrate it fairly seamlessly into a whole system.

It would appear that HDMI and CEC is a minefield.  Samsung TVs in particular seem to be a problem.  I beleive that Naim R&D have this on their agenda with a view to improving HDMI CEC performance but so many just don't stick with a standard so it's really hard to fix for everything.  No idea on timescale here, but it's firmly on the agenda to see what can be done.

On thinking about the reply from Richard, that’s a tough call for Naim as Samsung own a huge slice of the hifi business with the Harman Kardon group....jbl, Mark Levinson, arcam and many many more etc. Not sure they are going to change tactics.

Gazza posted:

On thinking about the reply from Richard, that’s a tough call for Naim as Samsung own a huge slice of the hifi business with the Harman Kardon group....jbl, Mark Levinson, arcam and many many more etc. Not sure they are going to change tactics.

Yeah and Arcam don’t work well (CEC and ARC) with Samsung TV either!

Richard,

So there's two challenges here. the first is that there are bugs in the HDMI operation. they may be bugs in someone else's product, but that doesn't really matter as ultimately Naim will be the one who has to work around them. but bugs can be fixed, and workarounds can be put in. That I could maybe wait for.

The bigger question for me is the intended behaviour. Richard, you said that the atom not switching on with HDMI when not set to the TV input when switched off (or not switching to the TV if it was on and set to another input) is intended behaviour. That means that it won't be fixed and that's a problem. 

Is there some leeway here? Would naim be interested, or able to make this something that could be configured on or off? I don't mind it defaulting to off if I could turn it on. This is what I'm really interested in.

There are a few similar threads on the Atom (and other new Uniti's) behaviour with HDMI ARC. I think most people who have tried the HDMI ARC option have not found success.

 

I upgraded my Atom (which also replaced a Denon receiver that just worked) to the HDMI version specifically to work with my brand new Sony TV but gave up in the end. It drops the sound regularly and doesn't reliably work when HDMI is selected on the amp. Sometimes it handshakes, sometimes it doesn't. The family have given up with it and TV sound is coming through the TV speakers themselves these days. Bit of a shame as the Atom has become the Elephant in our front room.

fordy posted:

There are a few similar threads on the Atom (and other new Uniti's) behaviour with HDMI ARC. I think most people who have tried the HDMI ARC option have not found success.

 

I upgraded my Atom (which also replaced a Denon receiver that just worked) to the HDMI version specifically to work with my brand new Sony TV but gave up in the end. It drops the sound regularly and doesn't reliably work when HDMI is selected on the amp. Sometimes it handshakes, sometimes it doesn't. The family have given up with it and TV sound is coming through the TV speakers themselves these days. Bit of a shame as the Atom has become the Elephant in our front room.

And that's what I don't want. if I can't get this to work, then it'll have to go back. it'll be a shame as I like the other aspects of it. the app is neat, the streaming excellent, the sound quality is very good, it even looks gorgeous.

The Atom is doing what Naim intended and the way Naim has implemented the CEC seems to be the way that most companies implement it. This may not be want you want but I believe this is the standard implementation and I have seen CEC work this way with other AV soundbars. 

I certainly have the same problems it comes and goes with a 2016 Samsung TV and interested to learn what is intentional and not.  I find Bluetooth much more reliable and for the little I watch TV fine.  But can someone tell me - is the sound quality the same or worse (even if my ears can’t really tell!)

Hello everyone, I just wanted to provide some closure on this thread.

I've been playing around with HDMI behaviour more and more and found it very variable. Sometimes I had to turn the atom off and on again several times to get it to lock onto the ARC signal. sometimes I'd press the input button and the atom would do nothing. I could navigate the rest of the menu, but the input option was just dead. What was particularly annoying was that if my wife turned the TV on and the atom stayed off, she'd naturally hear nothing and her first port of call was to raise the volume. This would raise the TV's volume but also de-select ARC as the audio output, so I'd then need to reconfigure the TV as well.

So I emailed all of this to the uniti support email listed on naim's website. I got an auto-reply email, a reference number and promise to reply within 24 hours. after 4 days of no response, I rang them up and no-one either knew anything about my email, or were able to even recognise the format of the reference number I'd been given. The support number for muso and the new uniti models didn't know they were looking after the uniti's and directed me to main naim support. I spoke to those guys, and forwarded on my email and there was a bit of back and forth.

They told me that there was a big update coming in March which would fix a bunch of issues with the HDMI port however I also got an email from Phil Harris confirming that the input switching behaviour (or lack of it) is intentional and while they could potentially make auto-switching an option, they had no plans to do so. I thought his email was a bit condescending tbh, saying that the atom isn't a soundbar and that auto-switching would not be consistent with behaviour of the rest of the device. I pointed out that while the atom is not a soundbar, by giving it a HDMI ARC port, they're asking it to do the job of a soundbar, which is to make TV audio better. Also, auto-switching inputs is exactly what airplay does, so it would be entirely consistent with that. lastly, Also all I asked for was that it could be an option, not default behaviour. needless to say I didn't get a response to that email

Anyway, I relayed all of this to my dealer who had their own conversations with Naim and it ended up with me returning the device for a full refund. It's a shame as I rather liked the little unit, it was good looking, good sounding, the streaming functionality was excellent etc, but if it doesn't integrate with my home system and is difficult for my wife and child to use seamlessly, then it's sadly not the device for me. It's an excellent streaming amplifier, but at the moment and IMHO, a poor HDMI device.

So thanks very much everyone for responding to my queries, but now i need to do some homework and work out what *is* the device for me...

 

 

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