Firestick and Blu-ray Player

firestick-blu-ray-monitor

Firestick and Blu-ray Player: a reader asks…

I have a Sony Blu-ray player model BDV-E3200 and a Dell Monitor model S2216H. I recently bought an Amazon Firestick and am having trouble figuring out how to hook everything up so it all works with 5.1 audio. Any advice?

First, I’m going to assume that your Blu-ray player is connected via an HDMI cable to the Dell monitor. That model of monitor only has a single HDMI IN port, so there’s no place to plug in the Firestick. Your Blu-ray player doesn’t have any HDMI inputs either, it’s a simple player with surround sound speakers attached. Your Blu-ray player does have a digital optical IN port, so all’s not lost. Here’s what you need to do:

First, you’re going to need to buy a few things. This is because your Blu-ray player is not a complete home theater system. A true home theater system would have a standard receiver/amplifier with multiple HDMI IN ports so you connect lots of different components. You’re going to need a combination box that extracts the digital 5.1 audio, and also passes the HD video from multiple inputs out to a single HDMI OUT port (which you connect to your monitor). Here’s what you need to buy:

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  1. hdmi-switch-extract-box-and-cablesHDMI switcher/extractor box such as this one for $30US: https://www.amazon.com/Extractor-Sourcingbay-Digital-Splitter-Optical/dp/B0797T494C
  2. Digital Optical cable such as this one for $5-7 (depending on the length you need: https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Digital-Optical-Audio-Toslink/dp/B00NH11H38
  3. An HDMI cable (if you don’t already have one) such as this one for $7-13 (depending on the length you need): https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-High-Speed-HDMI-Cable-1-Pack/dp/B014I8TC4E

With that in hand (and your Firestick and its’ remote), you’re ready to hook things up. You should do things in this exact order for the most trouble-free results:

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  1. First, unplug the HDMI cable from the monitor (the cable coming from the Blu-ray player) and plug that into one of the switcher/extractor (#1) box’s HDMI IN ports.
  2. Next, connect the HDMI cable (#3) from #1’s HDMI OUT port to the Dell Monitor IN port.
  3. Next, plug the Firestick into another one of the switcher/extractor box’s HDMI IN ports. Next, plug in the #2 cable from the switcher/extractor box’s Toslink port, and the other end into the matching port on the back of the Blu-ray player (labeled Digital In Optical with “TV” underneath).
  4. Next, plug in the power adapter that came with the switcher/extractor box into a wall outlet and the box itself, and turn on both the TV and the Blu-ray player.
  5. Finally plug the power adapter that came with the Firestick into a wall outlet and the MicroUSB port on the side of the Firestick.

many-universal-remotes-image-from-shutterstock

You’ve got three remote controls now (that’s not as many as other home theater owners!). These are one that came with your Sony Blu-ray player, the Firestick remote, and a small remote that came with the switcher/extractor box. This last one is for switching between the Firestick and the Blu-ray player, but you might not need it (the unit may very well auto-switch for you depending on which device you turn on and use). You first want to make sure everything’s working with the Firestick:
  1. Using the Sony remote, press the Function button till the TV setting is activated. That takes the audio from the optical cable and sends it out through the surround sound speakers
  2. Using the Firestick remote, press the menu button. This wakes up the Firestick and you can then navigate to various areas to adjust things if needed, or just start playing movies or whatever content you want. You should hear sound from the Firestick coming through your surround sound speakers.

When you want to switch to watching the Blu-ray player, you can press the Sony’s Function button to switch to Blu-ray, pop in a disc and start watching. If the switcher/extractor box doesn’t switch from the Firestick, press the appropriate button on the switcher/extractor box’s remote. You should hear and see the Blu-ray disc you’re playing. To switch back to Firestick, you may need to press the switcher/extractor box’s remote to switch back and then use the Firestick remote to navigate.

In all cases, the Sony remote’s volume control handles turning the sound up and down.

Your new switcher/extractor box has three HDMI IN ports so you can add another component (cable TV?) later on.

firestick-out-of-box

I should mention that if by chance you have (or get) a big-screen TV, you can use the same setup, running the HDMI cable from the switcher/extractor box’s HDMI OUT port to an HDMI IN port on the TV instead of the 23″ Dell monitor.

For other folks struggling with using a modern Firestick and an older or less capable surround sound system, you may need a slightly different switcher/extractor box (such as for coaxial versus digital connections), or a simpler extractor box (no switcher). Check out my other articles on this subject by searching this site (use the search bar at the top-right) for “Firestick”. Some of the many articles I’ve written have lots of follow-on questions for slightly different situations.

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