What Does PCM Mean On a TV?

Your TV is programmed to receive audio signals from input devices like game consoles and Blu-ray players, and send audio signals to output devices like speakers and headphones.

There are some conventional technologies for managing digital audio recordings on your TV; examples are the PCM, Bitstream and the Dolby Digital. You’d want to choose the correct audio format depending on the type of devices connected.

What is PCM?

Pulse Control Modulation, referred to as “PCM“, in television, converts analog audio signals to digital by using a modulation method.

PCM does this conversion by scanning the analog signal, sampling it and accomplishing a bit depth measurement before digitalization.

Generally speaking, PCM mainly applies to connected Input Audio devices using an HDMI cable.

If your input devices (the device connected to the HDMI port) have already processed the sound, but you want to hear your TV’s speaker’s sound directly, you need to change your input audio settings from Auto to PCM.  

This action converts the signal to 2.0 PCM through the TV. The only downside is that if you select PCM, even if you have a Soundbar, home theatre or any connected output audio device, the Sound System will only receive 2.0 channel sound.

Although the Sound System can produce multi-channel sound, the result will not be multi-channel surround sound.

Furthermore, when selecting PCM, your TV won’t need to process the audio again. Hence, the TV speaker produces quality audio.

If you connect your TV to an Output Audio like a home theatre, the settings are quite different because PCM is an uncompressed signal, and therefore the signal needs to be compressed to Dolby Digital.

If you’re getting sound delays, you should use PCM because the TV doesn’t need to compress the signal before sending it to the Soundbar, which eradicates delays.

It might be insignificant if you connect to a Sound System with more than two speakers because PCM can’t achieve a multi-channel effect.

Does My TV Have PCM?

Yes, most TVs have PCM; it is a standard option on TVs and most electronic devices.

Should I Set My TV To PCM Or Dolby Digital?

The answer is not straightforward, and it’s dependent on choice and the type of device connected.

If you’re not connecting any device that receives sound from TV, you should consider using PCM to avoid reduced audio volume.

However, we will only recommend PCM if the system does not support Dolby or if PCM is the only available option. This is because Dolby provides a multi-channel audio experience, as much as 5.1 channels of sound.

It’s compatible with an optical cable, and there’s enough compression. With this setting, you’ll enjoy the multi-channel sound from a sound system of up to 5.1 sound channels.

Choose the most suitable one for your current setup—putting in mind the goal: to match what the input offers to your TV.

How do I Activate PCM On My TV?

Go to TV settings, select Sound, choose Expert settings/advanced settings, select HDMI input Audio or Digital output Audio settings as the case may be, and choose PCM.

However, you should know that not all TVs can deliver this output; you might want to reference your Owner’s Manual or contact Support to see the possibility in your situation.

If you want to get the best out of your Sound System, the equipment is dependent on your TV’s ability to deliver results. Consider investing in high-quality products that provide a reliable output to ensure you get the best out of your home entertainment devices.