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Arc/Atmos - TV support for passthrough from Apple 4k?


 I’m a little confused. I have an Apple 4K going into a TV that’s older than a few years. Will the Atmos sound from the TV be pushed through the TV via the eARC/eHDMI connection even though Atmos isn’t native to the TV itself?

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Best answer by jgatie 7 May 2020, 19:32

 I’m a little confused. I have an Apple 4K going into a TV that’s older than a few years. Will the Atmos sound from the TV be pushed through the TV via the eARC/eHDMI connection even though Atmos isn’t native to the TV itself?

 

If your TV is older than a few years, it has no eARC.  eARC is barely on many brand new TV’s.  As for HDMI-ARC, if your TV has HDMI-ARC capability, then it is able to pass Atmos/DD+.

 

ETA: There are really no “Atmos native TV’s”, except for a few units that have built-in Atmos speakers.  Atmos is a codec, and only requires the TV to have ARC (DD+) or eARC (TrueHD) for support. 

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 I’m a little confused. I have an Apple 4K going into a TV that’s older than a few years. Will the Atmos sound from the TV be pushed through the TV via the eARC/eHDMI connection even though Atmos isn’t native to the TV itself?

 

If your TV is older than a few years, it has no eARC.  eARC is barely on many brand new TV’s.  As for HDMI-ARC, if your TV has HDMI-ARC capability, then it is able to pass Atmos/DD+.

 

ETA: There are really no “Atmos native TV’s”, except for a few units that have built-in Atmos speakers.  Atmos is a codec, and only requires the TV to have ARC (DD+) or eARC (TrueHD) for support. 

Thanks!  I’d love to upgrade to the the Arc but was unsure of my potential benefits. My Beam is underpowered for the room and my Playbar is under-featured. 
 

Yes, my TV has HDMI-ARC but not eARC. 
 

With the Apple 4K, this will be an excellent addition then. Thanks for the reply. 

Thanks!  I’d love to upgrade to the the Arc but was unsure of my potential benefits. My Beam is underpowered for the room and my Playbar is under-featured. 
 

Yes, my TV has HDMI-ARC but not eARC. 
 

With the Apple 4K, this will be an excellent addition then. Thanks for the reply. 

 

You do want to make sure your TV supports Dolby Digital pass thru.  There’s’s a list (though not comprehensive) here: https://www.rtings.com/tv/tests/inputs/5-1-surround-audio-passthrough

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I think the ATV will only output  Uncompressed original audio via LPCM which I don’t think the Arc supports (it’s not mentioned anywhere). At least my ATV 4K only outputs LPCM or downmixed to DD5.1 / 2.0. 

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I think the ATV will only output  Uncompressed original audio via LPCM which I don’t think the Arc supports (it’s not mentioned anywhere). At least my ATV 4K only outputs LPCM or downmixed to DD5.1 / 2.0. 

 

Its a strange ommision but perhaps an intended one.

It seems the Arc is designed for people who just watch Netflix/Apps on their TV and not for any who actually plugs any devices into their TV since it would appear many many popular devices are unsupported because they output LPCM sound.

 

At the end of the day, any Sonos speaker can only play what is handed to it. If the source device isn’t feeding the TV the correct data, or the TV isn’t feeding the correct data to the Sonos, there really isn’t much Sonos can do about it. 

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At the end of the day, any Sonos speaker can only play what is handed to it. If the source device isn’t feeding the TV the correct data, or the TV isn’t feeding the correct data to the Sonos, there really isn’t much Sonos can do about it. 

 

That’s not true. Why is it that most other manufacturers doesn’t have this problem. I will never believe this “there is nothing we can do”. Its an HDMI soundbar, it can handle every type of device sound output ever made if the on board processor is not useless.

 

LPCM is not even proprietary, there is no licensing fee so no DTS excuses will work here either.

Only explanation is laziness

The Sonos can handle everything that they say it can, if it gets to the Sonos device properly. I’m confused as to why you think they should be able to play data that isn’t presented to them. Would you be so kind as to clarify your statement? 

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The Sonos can handle everything that they say it can, if it gets to the Sonos device properly. I’m confused as to why you think they should be able to play data that isn’t presented to them. Would you be so kind as to clarify your statement? 

 

Ok, so why is it that when I present the Arc with LPCM it doesn’t play LPCM? You said it can play what it is given, I will give it LPCM so it must play LPCM.

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This is a 3 year old soundbar from a competitor

Howcome it can do LPCM with HDMI and Arc cannot. I thought you said the ARC will play what we give it??? Im confused Sir

 

 

Sonos has never said they could interpret those signals. I said “everything that they say it can” , and not everything. 

For instance, Sonos is still unable to accept a DTS signal and interpret it. 

Yes, there are other manufacturers out there that can accept different codecs. 

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Sonos has never said they could interpret those signals. I said “everything that they say it can” , and not everything. 

For instance, Sonos is still unable to accept a DTS signal and interpret it. 

Yes, there are other manufacturers out there that can accept different codecs. 


Yes but you also said there is nothing Sonos can do to fix it. Why can they not fix it, is there some flaw in the Arc that you know about and we don't? If it's down to a physical limitation like a poor sound processing chip then. I can understand but be ware the Arc is a premium product with a  high asking price so we would not expect them to use cheap alibaba components. DTS is not relevant to the conversation, DTs requires expensive licensing fees so I can understand why it's not supported but LPCm is free, no one has ever paid a penny for LPCM codecs - that's why LPCM is very popular because there is no licensing fee 

You’re interpreting what I said to an extent I didn’t intend. Sonos could, indeed, either pay the appropriate licensing fees to the companies who own those codecs, or add processor power / new inputs / what have you to their devices so that the devices could “read” the codec. 

Yes, anything can be “fixed”, with enough time, money, and intent. Sonos has made the choices for their company. I can’t change that. My point stands. Sonos will play the sounds they say the will, as long as they are sent to the Sonos device in that fashion. 

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What’s the point of yet again bringing a product to market that can’t support the majority of devices. I honestly don’t get it. It may be ok for people who will only watch streams via their internal TV apps, but at that price point this product is not aimed at them and TVs with eARC are few and far between. The omission of LPCM, uncompressed bitstream, and additional hdmi Input ports (again) is just ridiculous. I thought it was stupid when they launched the beam (I still bought one), but two years later the same again. 

As pure speculation, Sonos’ definition of ‘majority’ is different than yours. I certainly don’t know what numbers they look at, nor what marketplace they’re trying to hit. Perhaps if there is an AMA with Patrick Spence, you might ask him. 

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Just think that AppleTV, Xbox, PlayStation, Google Stadia (Chromecast) to Name a few all output LPCM. Why would you not support that? As much as I love Sonos, I’ll probably look somewhere else for an Atmos capable sound bar. 

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Just think that AppleTV, Xbox, PlayStation, Google Stadia (Chromecast) to Name a few all output LPCM. Why would you not support that? As much as I love Sonos, I’ll probably look somewhere else for an Atmos capable sound bar. 

 

Basically, if you are a gamer stay away from Sonos, thats the message I’m getting here.

If you just want a basic product that plugs into your tv and plays sound, Sonos is there.

They should have just kept making the Playbar and dumped the Arc.

I also think Sonos attempting to do surround sound was a mistake, they should just keep a 3.1 channel as standard with the playbar and sub and not add others into the “room”. Thats to make the product even more simple for the target market.

 

Personally I’m an all or nothing person and it annoys me when companies do things half 

 

 

Moderator edit: Removed profanity 

 

This does seem like a strange oversight. I had planned to use the following chain of devices: Apple TV 4K —> LG OLED TV (eARC) —> Sonos Arc. With the lack of support for LPCM, will that cause this setup not to work with Atmos?  Anyone know if the 2020 LG OLED TVs can downmix the Apple TV audio to something the Sonos Arc can accept, while keeping the Atmos track?

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Its a strange one alright - if S2 allows for high definition audio, you would have thought LPCM would be a no brainer considering there are jo licencing costs to speak of.

It would be interesting to here the engineer's take on that - are there any remainig technical reasons beyone bandwidth that would explain why LPCM isn't on the table?

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This does seem like a strange oversight. I had planned to use the following chain of devices: Apple TV 4K —> LG OLED TV (eARC) —> Sonos Arc. With the lack of support for LPCM, will that cause this setup not to work with Atmos?  Anyone know if the 2020 LG OLED TVs can downmix the Apple TV audio to something the Sonos Arc can accept, while keeping the Atmos track?

You will be fine if you have eARC.  The Apple TV will pass the Atmos to the Arc just fine, if using eARC.  Consider yourself lucky - for many people (myself included), our TV’s without eARC will not be able to send an ATMOS signal to the Arc because Apple TV does not use DD+ as a container, and thus what they do send is too large to send through the legacy HDMI arc connections.

I’ve read some rumors about it being dependent on the TV set too, some TVs will pass the Apple TV’s data, some won’t. I’m anxious to see if my Vizio’s will. And keeping my eye open on potential HDMI switches that will generate an eARC signal, so I can get TrueHD signals to the Arc.

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I’ve read some rumors about it being dependent on the TV set too, some TVs will pass the Apple TV’s data, some won’t. I’m anxious to see if my Vizio’s will. And keeping my eye open on potential HDMI switches that will generate an eARC signal, so I can get TrueHD signals to the Arc.

The biggest problem is Sonos jumping on the ARC/eARC bandwagon as the only way to get full hd sound to the an $800 sound bar. When the beam came out the single hdmi port made sense because its their entry level sound bar so simplicity is key for that market —heck they optical adapter even made sense because being limited to 5.1 was fine on a non Atmos device. That was a decision I could honestly get behind.

 

This device costs double that and is targeted towards a completely different market and they had 7 years to get things right since the playbar. Unfortunately without an hdmi pass through or any sort of eARC emulation on the Arc soundbar there is no way for the sound handshake to happen even with clever use of matrix switches or hdmi splitters. To make things worse ARC implementation by display manufacturers has always been spotty at best with many not properly supporting ‘common mode’ connection which is the ARC mode that allows for DD+ compressed Atmos. This means the vast majority of people wont be able to take advantage of the features they are offering on this soundbar. Bought a nice house with an older hdmi cable running through the wall —good luck getting eARC, got a cable run to the longer than 7-8 meters —you likely won’t get a common mode connection to support DD+ compressed Atmos, use a AV receiver as part of your home theater setup for hdmi switching and 12v triggers —yep not gonna be supported, own a pro grade display panel —screwed because they often don’t have speakers and this no ARC port, own a projector like an increasingly large number of home theater enthusiasts —once again you’re up a creek because projectors don’t concern themselves with audio and thusly don’t have an ARC/eARC port.

 

I agree that Sonos will decide to support what the decide to support and that’s rightly their decision but they have a lot of long time customers and home theater integrators that are going to be very disappointed when they realize there is no way to get the new Atmos sound they where waiting on so patiently because Sonos decided to fractions of a cent an extra hdmi port would have cost them. Sonos could have even released an optional an add on dongle that could be bough separately that plugged into the hdmi port of the soundbar and do an eARC handshake and pass the video out of a pass though hdmi port. Alas, now I will be scanning amazon every few weeks stuck hoping some entrepreneurial Chinese company see this gap Sonos has left and produces a device that can fix this shortcoming.

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I’ve read some rumors about it being dependent on the TV set too, some TVs will pass the Apple TV’s data, some won’t. I’m anxious to see if my Vizio’s will. And keeping my eye open on potential HDMI switches that will generate an eARC signal, so I can get TrueHD signals to the Arc.

The biggest problem is Sonos jumping on the ARC/eARC bandwagon as the only way to get full hd sound to the an $800 sound bar. When the beam came out the single hdmi port made sense because its their entry level sound bar so simplicity is key for that market —heck they optical adapter even made sense because being limited to 5.1 was fine on a non Atmos device. That was a decision I could honestly get behind.

 

This device costs double that and is targeted towards a completely different market and they had 7 years to get things right since the playbar. Unfortunately without an hdmi pass through or any sort of eARC emulation on the Arc soundbar there is no way for the sound handshake to happen even with clever use of matrix switches or hdmi splitters. To make things worse ARC implementation by display manufacturers has always been spotty at best with many not properly supporting ‘common mode’ connection which is the ARC mode that allows for DD+ compressed Atmos. This means the vast majority of people wont be able to take advantage of the features they are offering on this soundbar. Bought a nice house with an older hdmi cable running through the wall —good luck getting eARC, got a cable run to the longer than 7-8 meters —you likely won’t get a common mode connection to support DD+ compressed Atmos, use a AV receiver as part of your home theater setup for hdmi switching and 12v triggers —yep not gonna be supported, own a pro grade display panel —screwed because they often don’t have speakers and this no ARC port, own a projector like an increasingly large number of home theater enthusiasts —once again you’re up a creek because projectors don’t concern themselves with audio and thusly don’t have an ARC/eARC port.

 

I agree that Sonos will decide to support what the decide to support and that’s rightly their decision but they have a lot of long time customers and home theater integrators that are going to be very disappointed when they realize there is no way to get the new Atmos sound they where waiting on so patiently because Sonos decided to fractions of a cent an extra hdmi port would have cost them. Sonos could have even released an optional an add on dongle that could be bough separately that plugged into the hdmi port of the soundbar and do an eARC handshake and pass the video out of a pass though hdmi port. Alas, now I will be scanning amazon every few weeks stuck hoping some entrepreneurial Chinese company see this gap Sonos has left and produces a device that can fix this shortcoming.


it's like Sonos doesn't want to directly compete with anyone else. They know exactly what they are doing. They are trying to carve a new niche where there really shouldn't be one - a user who knows what Atmos is and wants it, but is also a noob and doesn't concern themselves with other entertainment products and is happy to just use Arc connected to their brand new tv to watch Netflix. It's a really odd Niche but ok

 

most audio manufacturers - when they target home theatre they go balls out and do it right so that most or all home theatre customers can use the product and get some value - but with the Arc Sonos wants to do home theatre but also narrow the target market down into a very small niche, cutting off a whole bunch of the home theatre market at the same time.

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Yep, it’s really strange. I have more Sonos speakers in my house than I’d care to admit because I love the simplicity, the sound quality is great, the components styling has held up very well over time, and despite the high cost compared to their competitors they are know for giving their components long lifespans allowing people to slowly build mixed systems over time as their wallet allows. I have also already ordered the Arc because I like the new look and I’m assuming it will have better sound even though my projector obviously doesn’t have and Arc hdmi port stranding me with 5.1. I know someone will tell me if I care so much I should just get a hard wired Atmos system but darn it I really love my Sonos gear 

 

I have to think Sonos is just trying to check off the Atmos feature box and counting on most purchasers being naive and just plugging it in and assuming it’s Atmos sound coming out not knowing any better. That’s really the only option I can think of that explains not including a passthough port or an eARC embedding adapter. Based on the forum posts just over the last day about a sound bar that hasn’t even come out yet I am guessing decent number of people are going to be confused and upset when they learn they aren’t getting a feature the thought they paid for due to limited ports on the soundbar, MAT containers, and codec issues and all kinds of other things they won’t understand and shouldn’t have to.

This does seem like a strange oversight. I had planned to use the following chain of devices: Apple TV 4K —> LG OLED TV (eARC) —> Sonos Arc. With the lack of support for LPCM, will that cause this setup not to work with Atmos?  Anyone know if the 2020 LG OLED TVs can downmix the Apple TV audio to something the Sonos Arc can accept, while keeping the Atmos track?

You will be fine if you have eARC.  The Apple TV will pass the Atmos to the Arc just fine, if using eARC.  Consider yourself lucky - for many people (myself included), our TV’s without eARC will not be able to send an ATMOS signal to the Arc because Apple TV does not use DD+ as a container, and thus what they do send is too large to send through the legacy HDMI arc connections.

Assuming the LG TV can pass through the LPCM audio through the eARC HDMI port, how would the Sonos Arc play the Atmos audio track if LPCM is not supported?

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