Virgin V6 and Sonos Playbar - no surround sound


Hi everyone,

New member here in need of some help. I've spent the last week trawling through the forums here and on the Virgin website, but can't seem to find a solution for my issue. My suspicion is that the problem is with Virgin, but I am posting this here in the hope someone might have already been through the same.

My setup: I have a Virgin V6 box and a separate media player (NUC) both connected directly into my TV (Sony KD77A1) via HDMI cables, to HDMI input 3 (ARC) and HDMI input 1 respectively. The TV is connected to the Sonos Playbar via an optical Toslink digital audio cable, as part of the Sonos 5.1 home theater system.

My problem: I only get stereo sound out of the V6, irrespective of the channel (SD, HD, 4K, etc).

Further details: The V6 audio output option is set to Dolby Digital (but I have experimented with PCM as well, to no avail). The Sony TV definitely passes through Dolby Digital via the optical cable. Indeed, I get full 5.1 surround sound out of the other media player in this setup. I have tried swapping the HDMI inputs between the V6 and the other media player, to no avail. The HDMI and optical cables are brand new and high quality (and, again, the fact that the other media player outputs 5.1 surround suggests none of the other components in the system are at fault).

All roads lead me to believe the issue is with the audio output from the V6 box.

Any idea how to get 5.1 surround sound from the V6 to the Sonos playbar?

Many thanks in advance for your help!

19 replies

As a diagnostic exercise, take the optical out of the TV and run it direct from the V6 to the Playbar and see what you get (with V6 output set to DD5.1). Obviously, make sure source is DD5.1 too.
Actually, to make the experiment more robust, please connect the V6 to your TV via HDMI to a non-ARC HDMI port.
Actually, to make the experiment more robust, please connect the V6 to your TV via HDMI to a non-ARC HDMI port.

Hi John B, many thanks for the prompt reply.

I've actually already tried different HDMI ports - as mentioned above, I swapped the ports for the V6 and my other media player (so the V6 went into the TV's HDMI input 1, which is non-ARC). The result was that I was still getting 5.1 surround from the other player, but still only getting stereo from the V6, even with the HDMI ports reversed.

As a diagnostic exercise, take the optical out of the TV and run it direct from the V6 to the Playbar and see what you get (with V6 output set to DD5.1). Obviously, make sure source is DD5.1 too.

Unfortunately I can't do this, as the V6 box is in the basement and I can't run an optical cable all the way to the upstairs TV. I'm transferring the signal via an HDAnywhere MHUB PRO (8X8) matrix, which "supports all audio formats, up to and including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X". And, again, it's clearly transferring the 5.1 surround from the other media player. It's only the V6 that is delivering stereo audio.

It's all rather puzzling and frustrating!
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I've read recently that MHUB can only transmit one audio source format across multiple sources. Can you try testing with only the Virgin V6 connected?
I've read recently that MHUB can only transmit one audio source format across multiple sources. Can you try testing with only the Virgin V6 connected?

Thanks for the suggestion - I just tried it, but it made no difference. Even if I have only the V6 connected to the MHUB and nothing else, what comes out on the other side is only stereo 😞
I have the VM V6 box too, first of all press the info button on the remote and scroll down on the left to the little speaker icon. It’s fourh down in the list. Here it will tell you what the audio output is on the channel/programme you are watching. Find a film etc with 5.1 DD surround sound OR better still goto Netflix on channel 204 and play a 5.1 DD movie.

Then open the Sonos App and goto the 'About my Sonos System' and check the PlayBar audio output.
I have the VM V6 box too, first of all press the info button on the remote and scroll down on the left to the little speaker icon. It’s fourh down in the list. Here it will tell you what the audio output is on the channel/programme you are watching. Find a film etc with 5.1 DD surround sound OR better still goto Netflix on channel 204 and play a 5.1 DD movie.

Then open the Sonos App and goto the 'About my Sonos System' and check the PlayBar audio output.


Hi Ken, many thanks for your suggestion. Actually, this was the first thing I did - indeed, that's how I identified the problem listed in my original post. In any case, I repeated the steps in your message again, just in case. Sure enough, the audio output on the channels and programmes was listed on the V6 as "Dolby English", but the Sonos app reports the Audio In to the Playbar as "Stereo". So the problem is indeed as I described it originally.

To recap:
1) programmes that are definitely broadcasting in 5.1 surround are reaching the Playbar only as stereo, this much has been tested and proven
2) there are three possible components in the chain that could be causing the audio downgrade: the TV, the MHUB, or the V6 itself
3) I think I have ruled out the first two, as they have been demonstrated to pass through 5.1 surround from my other media player

Therefore, going back full circle to my original post, the evidence leads me to believe there's an issue with the V6 audio output.

I wonder if anyone has managed to get 5.1 surround form the V6 to the Sonos Playbar (through the HDMI-optical combo going via a TV, not directly from the V6 via optical)?
Have you actually tried the Netflix channel (204) press red button and try playing a 5.1 movie like “the Hitmans Bodyguard” for example ... that definitely outputs 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio on my Sony TV... now I’m not using a PlayBar in my case, I’m just using a Sony Home Theatre System connected over HDMI-ARC, but definitely getting that type of surround output from my V6 Box and through the TV.

In my other room (Dining Room) I’m using a Beam that also gets DD 5.1 output from same film on Netflix, but (sadly) I’m not using a VM V6 box in that other room, the TV has its own built in Netflix App.

I’m still sure you therefore should be getting a 5.1 output from the V6 Box, so I personally suspect it’s your TV ... it’s probably not passing a 5.1 signal out from its HDMI connection over to the optical port... this can be the case with some older TV's... it just processes it as a Stereo output.
See also the attached screenshot I took a few moments ago from Netflix.com in regard to the VirginMedia V6 Box via this link ...
https://help.netflix.com/en/node/54872
Have you actually tried the Netflix channel (204) press red button and try playing a 5.1 movie like “the Hitmans Bodyguard” for example ... that definitely outputs 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio on my Sony TV... now I’m not using a PlayBar in my case, I’m just using a Sony Home Theatre System connected over HDMI-ARC, but definitely getting that type of surround output from my V6 Box and through the TV.

In my other room (Dining Room) I’m using a Beam that also gets DD 5.1 output from same film on Netflix, but (sadly) I’m not using a VM V6 box in that other room, the TV has its own built in Netflix App.

I’m still sure you therefore should be getting a 5.1 output from the V6 Box, so I personally suspect it’s your TV ... it’s probably not passing a 5.1 signal out from its HDMI connection over to the optical port... this can be the case with some older TV's... it just processes it as a Stereo output.


Hi again. Yes, I tried Netflix and no, it did not work - the output was still stereo. It's definitely NOT the TV, because as mentioned in the original post the TV IS passing through 5.1 surround to the Playbar via the optical cable from my other media player (not the V6). So both the TV and the optical cable obviously work. (Also, as mentioned, the TV is a Sony KD77A1, currently one of the most recent and highest spec Sony TVs available, and definitely passes 5.1 surround via optical, as tested and confirmed here https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/inputs/5-1-surround-audio-passthrough).

The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it's either a faulty V6, or the MHUB is failing to pass through 5.1 surround for some reason. There's simply nothing else that could be the problem.

I'll try swapping the two V6 boxes I have and digging deeper into the MHUB settings to see if that makes any difference.

Thanks for trying anyway; appreciate the effort.
Aff13,

See if this helps...

According to the VM Forum, channel 150 'CH5 HD' which is currently showing the MTV Awards, is in 5.1 surround sound and apparently that channel is the one to check for 5.1 audio output. Hope that helps.

If you run a 5.1 movie from Netflix off the V6 box (channel 204) and select pause and press the info button on the remote... then in top left hand corner on screen there is an icon that appears and a summary of the audio being received.

If you click on the icon itself, a menu slides in from the right... it shows here all the available audio options from the movie selected and playing ... see my screenshot from my V6 Box, showing the options for 'The Hitmans Bodyguard' in my example ... as you can see the 5.1 audio output is selected by default at the bottom of the list, perhaps check to see what you are getting on your TV screen.
Thanks Ken, I really appreciate your efforts. However, it's starting to become clear that the answer lies down a different path.

I am still investigating, but it seems that when the MHUB matrix sees only displays on the other side of the CAT5e line it automatically chooses to send through only stereo audio (to avoid displays without surround sound capabilities ending up without sound). So the trick, presumably, will be to force the MHUB to send the multichannel audio, rather than defaulting to the lowest common denominator of stereo.

I'll make sure to post an update if I confirm the above. Thanks again anyway.
Appreciate it’s now perhaps a little late at night (too late perhaps?), but what about swapping the media player and V6 cables over on the HDMI ports at the back of the TV...just to see if that makes any difference? Maybe try it tomorrow eh?
I've read recently that MHUB can only transmit one audio source format across multiple sources. Can you try testing with only the Virgin V6 connected?

It seems that this was actually on the right path! To be more accurate, it's an issue with all matrices, not just MHUB, and it has to do with the "lowest common denominator" principle, where the audio transmitted has to be suitable for all receiving devices at the other end. Whenever those devices include simple displays or TVs, stereo audio is automatically chosen, otherwise they could end up with no sound as they might not be able to process any multichannel audio sent their way. More details here: http://support.hdanywhere.com/tag/mhub-4k/

Thanks to all who replied - you might not have got the answer directly, but certainly nudged me in the right direction and helped me think through the problem at hand.

If I manage to finalise a solution, I'll make sure to write it up, for anyone else who might be struggling with the V6 - MHUB - Sonos combo.
Oh cancel my last post I see you’ve tried that already !! Sorry !

It does now look like the issue may lie with the HD Anywhere MHUB Pro then afterall, but it seems crazy that it’s falling back to PCM stereo. Maybe speak to their support desk to see what they may have to say about the matter.
Oh cancel my last post I see you’ve tried that already !! Sorry !

🙂 It IS getting late at night 🙂
Oh cancel my last post I see you’ve tried that already !! Sorry !

🙂 It IS getting late at night :-)

I did find this link that seems to be related to the issue ... http://support.hdanywhere.com/tag/mhub-4k/

Now I’m off to bed too ?
Oh cancel my last post I see you’ve tried that already !! Sorry !

🙂 It IS getting late at night :-)

I did find this link that seems to be related to the issue ... http://support.hdanywhere.com/tag/mhub-4k/

Now I’m off to bed too ?


Thank you Ken, for going above and beyond the call of duty, even late at night!

That's exactly the link I came across too, and I have contacted HDAnywhere about it. They are investigating at present. I will keep you posted.
That’s okay, glad to help. Hope I didn’t keep you from your sleep.

Having read briefly through that link it does look like the MHub is the root of the problem with the V6 audio. I see it’s rather an expensive bit of kit, so hopefully there is a workaround for it. In my skim-read of the page I got the 'impression' that switching everything off, then on again does a new 'handshake' with each connected device and at that point it chooses the lowest common denominator for the audio.. so my thoughts were to have all devices playing a 5.1 audio stream at the point when the handshake takes place. but....

If that were to work, I assume you would then lose sound for the regular stereo TV channels (sadly), but I did see something about a box/section on the signal manager labelled 'audio' which has a switch and can be set to number 2 to ensure a stereo link, but it goes onto say to never move that switch when any devices are switched on. I might be reading it wrong, but that’s the overall impression I was left with.

So I guess it’s best to leave well alone until the HDAnywhere support desk get back to you with a solution (hopefully).

Anyhow, I hope you get the matter resolved soon. ?

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