Apple TV 4th gen + Sonos Beam = No Dolby 5.1

  • 10 September 2018
  • 7 replies
  • 2975 views

I recently added a Sonos Beam to my existing Sonos setup.

I moved two Sonos Play:1 to create the surround sound group and connected the Sonos Beam via the optical adapter to a Samsung UE40H5303AK TV. The audio/video source is a fourth-generation Apple TV also connected to the Samsung TV via a HDMI 2.0 cable.

With the configuration:

Apple TV > HDMI > Samsung TV > Optical Adapter/HDMI > Sonos Beam

the audio input to the Sonos Beam (verified through status page on the iOS app) is always and only "Stereo".

If "Dolby 5.1" is forced on the Apple TV instead of "Best available quality", there's no audio output at all.
In this situation I assumed it was a problem of the television that does not have the audio passthrough on the HDMI.


So I decided to buy an SPDIF/HDMI splitter (that supports HDMI 2.0, 4K and 3D) in order to separate the audio from the video component before entering the TV.

With the configuration:

> Video HDMI > Samsung TV
Apple TV > Splitter
> Audio SPDIF > Optical Adapter/HDMI > Sonos Beam

the result is the same.
I tried all the combinations of Apple TV's audio settings (Best, Stereo, Dolby 5.1) and splitter switch (Pass, 2.1, 5.1) but there's no way. Sonos Beam always shows "Stereo" and if I play a Dolby 5.1 channel test the 2 front and the 2 surround channels are mixed together.

Has anyone managed to get a real Dolby 5.1 experience with an Apple TV 4th gen and a Sonos Beam?

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7 replies

I have an almost identical problem, except with a playbar instead of a beam. Having been told that there’s no DTS support because ‘everyone streams these days’ I find it a bit grieving. Makes me feel increasingly like I’ve been sold a bill of goods, so if there’s a solution I’d love to find it.
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Not the same as DTS is only for blu-rays and the OP was using an Apple TV

It is not a secret that DTS is not supported with Sonos, which is why it's always recommended to do research before purchasing. The workaround would be to use a player that can transcode from DTS to DD
My problem is exactly the same except that I am using a playbar instead of a beam.
Userlevel 3
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So are you using an Apple TV or viewing a Blu Ray?

the OP was using an Apple TV (which is a streaming device) and had a problem with passthrough. From your post it sounds like you are having an issue with viewing a blu ray that contains a DTS audio track, which Sonos doesn’t support. As such I said you would need a player that can transcode from DTS to DD
My problem is almost identical to the OP - I am streaming from an Apple TV to a Playbar rather than a Beam. I mention DTS only because Sonos tell us that we don’t need DTS support since everyone streams these days. Which makes it annoying that when I (and the OP) try to stream we still don’t get 5:1.

None of which explanation helps the OP or me fix the problem, of course.
Just set your Apple TV to Dolby Digital, rather than DTS or best available. It's in the audio settings screen of the "Settings" app.
Userlevel 3
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You made no mention of an Apple TV and only brought up having an issue with DTS. As such the response was based on the information given.

As above the Apple TV needs to be set to DD. In the case of the OP there was an issue with the TV that was causing further issues. If you provide the model of your tv further assistance can be provided