Blu Ray player that converts to Dolby Digital 5.1

  • 24 March 2016
  • 56 replies
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I am searching for a Blu Ray player that can convert DTS and other formats to Dolby Digital 5.1., so I can enjoy my DTS Blu Rays with full 5.1. via the Sonos Playbar (+ 2 Play:1). Sonos has recommened a line of Samsung Blu Ray Players in this thread: https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1945/~/maximizing-playbar-sound-from-your-television

Unfortunately most of these are not on the market anymore.

Can anyone recommend any Blu Ray players that can convert DTS and other formats to Dolby Digital 5.1.?

All Best
Anders, Denmark

56 replies

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If you can find most Oppo players they will do it. Oppo doesn't make them anymore but they made the best. The other routes, if you are massively upgrading, make sure your HDTV/UHDTV has that option for the optical output. I have a Sony 4k in my bedroom and that is what I rely on in there.
My BD-H6500 sounds fantastic with my Playbase even when it converts dts to Dolby.
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What double blind listening tests have you undertaken? Bet you will be completly, and utterly unable to tell the difference.
If my wife can hear the difference, anybody can :D

My wife can also hear the difference, particularly on the back channels, as DD's rear channels usually end up far more compressed than the front so they don't even have the volume necessary to equal what DTS puts out. To even it out, you can run the rear channels about 1-3 db overamplified. And this one is easy to do an A/B for, you can simply flip the audio track back and forth on a player.

However I doubt that on most material I'd be able to tell the difference on a playbar/playbase, they can't really reproduce enough detail to begin with ... but that's why all of my larger TVs go into AVRs with real surround sound systems tailored to the room in question.
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I thought I'd post my solution - thanks for everyone on this Forum who helped me. I bought a Samsung BD-J6300 to go with my Samsung UN50H6350 TV (2014). I fired it up, made the connections, removed the optical switcher from the mix and then applied the Dolby Digital 5.1 setting in the Audio Settings menu of the 6300. I got sound so, success in that regard. I attempted to apply the same DD 5.1 setting on my TV but, it remained grayed out no matter what kind of disc I put into the blu-ray player. My SONOS app continued to show that the Playbar was receiving/producing "Stereo" and not DD 5.1. I then set both blu-ray and TV to "PCM" and called it good. It appears that my "ancient" 2014 TV is the limiting factor. Or, my 61 year old brain. I currently have inquiries in to J-Tech and Flexson asking if their HDMI switchers work "on the fly" and will somehow get my SONOS to output The Full Monty and not something I need to settle for. A new TV isn't happening in the near term. Thanks to all who helped.
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I thought I'd post my solution - thanks for everyone on this Forum who helped me. I bought a Samsung BD-J6300 to go with my Samsung UN50H6350 TV (2014). I fired it up, made the connections, removed the optical switcher from the mix and then applied the Dolby Digital 5.1 setting in the Audio Settings menu of the 6300. I got sound so, success in that regard. I attempted to apply the same DD 5.1 setting on my TV but, it remained grayed out no matter what kind of disc I put into the blu-ray player. My SONOS app continued to show that the Playbar was receiving/producing "Stereo" and not DD 5.1. I then set both blu-ray and TV to "PCM" and called it good. It appears that my "ancient" 2014 TV is the limiting factor. Or, my 61 year old brain. I currently have inquiries in to J-Tech and Flexson asking if their HDMI switchers work "on the fly" and will somehow get my SONOS to output The Full Monty and not something I need to settle for. A new TV isn't happening in the near term. Thanks to all who helped.

My Samsung LED TV is 8+ years old, I ended up using a KWMOBILE EDID emulator on the HDMI lead from my Samsung Blu-ray (and another one for my Virgin Media Tivo).

This allows the Blu-ray/ Tivo to supply 5.1 over the HDMI.

Basically when connecting HDMI inputs they do a "handshake", and the TV reports itself as a Stereo device hence why the Blu-ray only feeds the TV stereo signals. The EDID emulator goes between the TV and Blu-ray and tells the Blu-ray that the TV is 5.1 compliant.

Maybe worth a try for you? (try one first).
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Keithmac... I just ordered that EDID Emulator from Amazon (via a German company). It it works with the Blu-ray, I might just get one for my cable box. Thanks again for replying to this thread. It was a big help.
Someone mentioned much earlier in this thread (> 1 year ago) that the recommended 4k player models were no longer made.

FYI - for others looking for a solution to the "DTS problem", I just purchased the Samsung UBD-M8500. It has the option to convert DTS audio to Dolby Digital. For this purpose, I recommend this model.
I can _finally_ listen to all of my Blu-ray (and DVD) disks that only have DTS!! (05/21/2019)

For those of us with a lot of DVD and Blu-ray (more than I care to admit) it seems a little absurd to have a $1800 surround sound system and have to go out and spend a couple hundred more if we actually want to _hear_ our DVD's and Blu-rays. < / Whining >

So I'll stop my whining and enjoy the setup!! (For music, the system has been great! Awesome flexibility for multiple rooms with stereo pairing setups!!)

-Brad
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Maybe a bit late in this old threat, but Oppo makes (made) some great Blu-Ray players that convert almost everything (both video and audio) in several formats, even over selectable types of connections.
Highly recommended.
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This thread has recommended BluRay players.

https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/home-theater-and-television-recommendation-megathread-6735001/index1.html#post15994648
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The manual for this current Samsung model says it transcodes blu ray to DD

http://www.samsung.com/us/video/home-audio/BD-J6300/ZA

I just looked at this one as it is a less expensive one - I'm sure many of the others do too.
Thanks a bunch Chris :-D

Your reply got me searching the newer Samsung models and I ender up buying the Samsung BD-J7500. Other Playbar users have recommended this as well. So I'm looking much forward to testing it, with my new Octava HDMI converter.

Cheers
Anders
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I think most of the Samsung do Dolby bitstream convert I have h6500 and it works perfectly....also when released in the UK I will be getting the ubd-k8500 which is the ultra HD bluray and this will also convert to dts to Dolby 🙂
Samsung BD-H6500 converts dts to Dolby 5.1. I’ve connected it to an optical splitter (CYP AUD-41) so that I can connect it directly to my Playbase. This is because my Samsung TV doesn’t pass the Dolby signal from the Samsung DVD player to the optical out. (However it does pass the Dolby signal from an Apple TV.) Unbelievable I know.
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What does the BF-H6500 sound like with the Playbar?, some reviews say the sound is a bit poor?.
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Worth mentioning that the conversion from DTS to Dolby Digital isn't lossless - it's much lower quality.

DTS 5.1 has about 256kbps per channel, Dolby Digital just 128kbps - so it won't sound anything like as good as the original DTS source.

Obviously this is subjective, it may be good enough for you, but in my experience converting to DD 5.1 is quite a compromise.
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Lipsync drove me mad for many years, using 2 different TVs. All resolved now I've replaced the PLAYBAR with a problem AV receiver.
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Worth mentioning that the conversion from DTS to Dolby Digital isn't lossless - it's much lower quality.

DTS 5.1 has about 256kbps per channel, Dolby Digital just 128kbps - so it won't sound anything like as good as the original DTS source.

Obviously this is subjective, it may be good enough for you, but in my experience converting to DD 5.1 is quite a compromise.


What double blind listening tests have you undertaken? Bet you will be completly, and utterly unable to tell the difference.
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What double blind listening tests have you undertaken? Bet you will be completly, and utterly unable to tell the difference.


I think it's well documented that the jump from 128kbps to 256kbps is quite audible. As the source becomes more complicated, the compression becomes more noticeable - e.g. a track with a single guitar would compress better than a guitar and a saxophone playing concurrently. When it comes to movie audio, you may often hear speech, car engines, explosions and music concurrently. This is extremely hard to squash into a low bitrate - like trying to fit a full orchestra into a lift.

If my wife can hear the difference, anybody can :D

In technical terms, they used to fit Dolby Digital onto a bit of magnetic strip at the bottom of the film in the cinema. As the projector shone the light through the frame, it also read the audio information back from the "tape". This tape didn't have enough quality for DTS, which had to be delivered on a separate audio CD which was played back in parallel with the movie. Not only was it higher quality, it also eliminated static clicks and pops that the tape source occasionally produced.
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In technical terms, they used to fit Dolby Digital onto a bit of magnetic strip at the bottom of the film in the cinema. As the projector shone the light through the frame, it also read the audio information back from the "tape". This tape didn't have enough quality for DTS, which had to be delivered on a separate audio CD which was played back in parallel with the movie. Not only was it higher quality, it also eliminated static clicks and pops that the tape source occasionally produced.
Actually, the pops and clicks were from a magnetic multi-channel strip on 70mm prints - a pretty esoteric format. Magnetics on film were and are a rare commodity.

Dolby Digital actually uses a 2D barcode to imprint the data between the sprocket holes (it's was the only space left on the film). It's actually digital, and contains error correction, so there are no pops and hisses or other issues. SDDS used the area outside of the sprocket holes, and DTS shipped separately on CDs and synced up using a timecode imprinted just inside of the optical audio tracks. Wikipedia has a great visual of it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Digital#/media/File:35mm_film_audio_macro.jpg
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Actually, the pops and clicks were from a magnetic multi-channel strip on 70mm prints - a pretty esoteric format. Magnetics on film were and are a rare commodity.

Dolby Digital actually uses a 2D barcode to imprint the data between the sprocket holes (it's was the only space left on the film). It's actually digital, and contains error correction, so there are no pops and hisses or other issues. SDDS used the area outside of the sprocket holes, and DTS shipped separately on CDs and synced up using a timecode imprinted just inside of the optical audio tracks. Wikipedia has a great visual of it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Digital#/media/File:35mm_film_audio_macro.jpg


Superb info, thanks - I appear to have merged two memories into one!
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My wife can also hear the difference, particularly on the back channels, as DD's rear channels usually end up far more compressed than the front so they don't even have the volume necessary to equal what DTS puts out. To even it out, you can run the rear channels about 1-3 db overamplified. And this one is easy to do an A/B for, you can simply flip the audio track back and forth on a player.

However I doubt that on most material I'd be able to tell the difference on a playbar/playbase, they can't really reproduce enough detail to begin with ... but that's why all of my larger TVs go into AVRs with real surround sound systems tailored to the room in question.


Indeed, ultimately on DD you've got 640kbps between 6 channels. It's not a lot. If you run the 3 front channels at 180kbps each (still lower than DTS) you've only got 100kbps left over for both rears and the sub. It's just not enough.

I guess in most cases, customers are more than happy with PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE as it's the best home cinema system they've ever heard. As the old James record Sit Down goes "if I hadn't seen such riches, I could live with being poor".
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My BD-H6500 sounds fantastic with my Playbase even when it converts dts to Dolby.

Thanks, they look a great buy for the money so will go with one (proven to downmix to 5.1 as well).

All I'm after is a nice clean simple system with a decent sound to it, not the best of the best!. I'm sure DTS on a full system is thing to behold but for my living room Sonos Playbar with Sub and possibly a pair of Play 1's will be more than adequate.
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My BD-H6500 sounds fantastic with my Playbase even when it converts dts to Dolby.

Thanks, they look a great buy for the money so will go with one (proven to downmix to 5.1 as well).

All I'm after is a nice clean simple system with a decent sound to it, not the best of the best!. I'm sure DTS on a full system is thing to behold but for my living room Sonos Playbar with Sub and possibly a pair of Play 1's will be more than adequate.


The point is that the full system costs less than the limited Sonos offering!

Anyway, if you're looking for a Samsung blu-ray, it's worth looking at eBay. I paid good money for a Samsung blu-ray that was Sonos compatible, then had to buy again when I wanted one which supported 3D. By third time around, when I wanted 4k, I decided to look at them on eBay - got one that was "nearly new" that may as well have been brand new when I got it. Saved about £100 vs. a new one.

My old one is likely to be heading to eBay soon. Actually, my 4k one may go back there as I'm looking at a player that supports Dolby Vision - none of the Samsung players do.
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Samsung BD-H6500 converts dts to Dolby 5.1. I’ve connected it to an optical splitter (CYP AUD-41) so that I can connect it directly to my Playbase. This is because my Samsung TV doesn’t pass the Dolby signal from the Samsung DVD player to the optical out. (However it does pass the Dolby signal from an Apple TV.) Unbelievable I know.
Not so unbelievable! My Samsung TV won't pass ANY signal from my Panasonic Blu Ray player to the Playbar. I've done the same as you and used an optical splitter. The TV will pass DD5:1 from Apple TV, Sky Box and just about anything else.
Even so, I still can't get DD5:1 onto the Playbar, only PCM as my Blu Ray won't convert, so I am now trying to make up my mind if I will get a new Blu Ray player. We do seem to mainly watch streamed stuff these days, but it would still be nice to have the option to use Blu Rays and get the best I can from them. Decisions, decisions!
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Not so unbelievable! My Samsung TV won't pass ANY signal from my Panasonic Blu Ray player to the Playbar. I've done the same as you and used an optical splitter. The TV will pass DD5:1 from Apple TV, Sky Box and just about anything else.
Even so, I still can't get DD5:1 onto the Playbar, only PCM as my Blu Ray won't convert, so I am now trying to make up my mind if I will get a new Blu Ray player. We do seem to mainly watch streamed stuff these days, but it would still be nice to have the option to use Blu Rays and get the best I can from them. Decisions, decisions!

At the end of the day, with Dolby Digital being rapidly deprecated, Sonos is going to have to do something. There is no requirement for DD on a Blu-Ray disc, or indeed any audio formats supported by Sonos - leaving you with transcoding only. Streaming services are also starting to drop DD in favor of DD+. It's just a matter of time. 🙂

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