Can't get 5.1 from external sources, but I can from my Smart TV -- Panasonic TC-P65ST60 with Sonos Amp

  • 5 March 2019
  • 3 replies

Hi All -- Thanks in advance for any ideas.

I have a Panasonic TC-P65ST60 from 2013, HDMI spec is "HDAVI Control 5" -- which is ARC and CEC compatible.

I get awesome sound through my Amp/Sub/pair of Sonos Play:1 setup -- but only when I use the Panasonic apps on the Smart TV. The Sonos app shows that the "Audio In" to the Amp is Dolby 5.1 in the "About My Sonos System" when I use it like this.

BUT -- I cannot get any content to play 5.1 from an external source -- not an AppleTV 4, a recent Amazon Fire Stick, or a recent Roku Stick. It always plays Stereo 2 channel from these sources, and that's what the Sonos app shows.

I set these sources up as inputs to HDMI 1 or HDMI 3 on the Panasonic TV. (HDMI 2 is the ARC port).

I've tried all the settings I can access on the TV menu tree, and nothing changes the output. When I force the source (any of the three I've tried) to go Dolby 5.1, there's no sound from content at all -- there is user interface clicking, but no sound playing content.

CEC works; the TV turns off when the source streamer tells it to, when it sleeps.

Any ideas? Is my TV too old to do the passthrough accurately? The TV firmware was last updated in November 2014, and my set is current with that version.

Thanks again!

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3 replies

There are some TVs out there that just don't have the capability to pass through a Dolby Digital signal. What I read from your situation, it certainly seems that you've got all the settings properly set up. You may want to check with Panasonic to see if they can pass through a Dolby Digital signal from an HDMI input.
Hi all —

I resolved this by getting an “HDMI Audio Splitter.” A terrific $26 solution. A little box (only needed 1080P) that has an HDMI passthrough and a SPDIF output jack (and a little switch to select audio format and also a pair of RCA jacks). With the switch in 5.1, I plug the Sonos SPDIF-to-HDMI adapter (my ex-Wife had an extra from her Beam, but Sonos will sell it to you for $50, IIRC) into the splitter, and then the HDMI to the Amp carries the Dolby 5.1 signal when it exists from the AppleTV. Stereo when it doesn’t (YouTube, for instance).

CEC doesn’t seem to be happening, so I may need a better splitter that passes it. Something like this is gonna work.

It’s clear that the 5.1 signal isn’t passed through on ARC from the 2013 Panasonic Viera television.

I’ll try to update again when I get CEC working again.

Cheers -
A much better solution that someone else, who was posting that they were going to look at replacing the TV. $26 is a good investment, IMHO. Glad you've got it up and working, enjoy your Sonos!