Question

Chromecast Ultra and DD5.1

  • 26 October 2016
  • 8 replies
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I have a TV that can pass through DD5.1 which works from PS4 but not Chromecast. I assume that's because Chromecast is DD Plus which Playbar doesn't support.

Does anyone know if Chromecast Ultra supports whatever's needed for it to pass the DD5.1 signal to the Playbar?

Also has there been any news on Playbar ever supporting DD Plus?

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8 replies

I'll answer question 2:

Sonos doesn't discuss future features, or whether they're even on the roadmap. It's possible that support for DD plus is coming in the next update, or it's possible that it will never be coming. We'll find out if/when it happens.

Sorry I can't answer your Chromecast question. Perhaps there is a spec page for it that you can look at to see if it can supply Dolby Digital in addition to Dolby Digital Plus?
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So there are a couple of possible ways things can work with these devices...

1. They can have a processor that is able to convert the audio of the source content to a specific format. The Xbox 360/One and Apple TV are examples of these devices. Both support having all surround audio being output in Dolby Digital, or even downmixed to stereo if that's your thing.

Or there's...

2. The device will pass through whatever audio format is available from the app/service, and leave it to the TV, receiver, or some other device to deal with it. Chromecast and Roku both do this. Roku does offer an option to downmix to stereo, but their only surround option is "Auto", leaving it up to the streaming service to determine the audio format. So it's Netflix's use of Dolby Digital Plus that causes Chromecast and Roku to produce DD+ audio signals when watching a Netflix movie. They just don't have whatever is needed to convert the audio to a specific format.
I have been having the same problem, I use chromecast to cast all my streaming services, Now I am stuck with using either the TV build apps, and in the case on HBONow my tv app does not support 5.1, So basically I cannot see Hbo videos using 5.1
Unless I buy a Roku device
https://support.roku.com/article/208754498-how-to-connect-your-roku-streaming-device-to-an-a-v-receiver

"Note: The Roku Ultra* provides an additional option to transcode Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital. This allows you to connect your Roku Ultra to an AVR or TV that supports Dolby Digital, but not Dolby Digital Plus, and still hear the audio in surround sound."
Which is +100$ device.
Given that I have sony tv, playstation 4, chromecast setup with 5.1 sonos setup(which I bought 5 days back).
I can get
DD 5.1 for bluray using ps4(Using optical out + setting bitstream mix)
DD 5.1 for netflix via ps4 netflix app, or my tv's netflix app.
Stereo for HboNow(since neither ps4 hbonow or tv's hbonow has 5.1)
Chromecast sents in DD+ 5.1 which my tv downcasts to stereo for the optical out.

I think the sonos's strategy of hiding behind the optical so that they dont have to deal with any of decoding/encoding is a good for them and their business.
But customers end up shelling out buy different devices to get the desired setup.
I guess I am going to wait untill chromecast does something what Roku is doing downcast. Or ps4 or sony tv hbo now apps start support 5.1

PS. My TV does sent DD 5.1 from hdmi to optical(verified it via Ps4->HDMI->TV->Optical->sonos).
But ps4 has a problem too, it does not convert DTS->DD 5.1 when sending output through HDMI(who knows why).
So I use optical whenever that is needed.

Great right? Its the 90's again.
Another Update: I had a roku stick lying around. So I tried Hbo Now on that, Roku's settings has the ability to force a particular audio format(I love this) first I tried Netflix and forced DD+ to my tv, hoping tv would transcode it to DD before passing it to optical, nope.
Then I forced DD, thinking may be roku stick would transcode DD+ coming from netflix to DD. Nope.
Summary I cant use netflix on the roku stick.

As for Hbo Now, i tried the above and when I forced DD to my TV, I got DD 5.1 from the speakers(confirmed via the sonos app).

So basically Hbo Now on roku stick is outputing DD, which gives me all the things I need.

I just need multi optical input(one from ps4 and one from my tv) into the speakers now, any suggestions for that?
A quick look on Amazon for "optical switch" came up with this:

https://www.amazon.com/ViewHD-TOSLINK-Digital-Optical-Switcher/dp/B00G188Z7A
Hey thanks for the link.
You're most welcome. I'd assume there are others, and perhaps Amazon may not be the best for wherever you happen to be, but at least it tells you that such a thing exists. 🙂
I used that switch with my Playbar for quite a while, when I had a TV that didn't pass 5.1. It worked very well. The IR extender was helpful for keeping the box out of sight, although the box is pretty small. CYP make one with 4 inputs and Flexson make (or brand) several types of switch for use with Sonos and are worth a Google.