Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus Support (Netflix, Vudu)

  • 3 December 2016
  • 4 replies

I've read the countless threads about DTS support and the fact there are no plans -- which to some degree I understand. I also read a similar thread from 2014 -- 2 years on and there's nothing?

Given that Netflix & Vudu -- two of the biggest streaming services in the world are predominantly using DD Plus 5.1 is there ANY hope that something to at least downmix to a 5.1 format (DD) would be added?

Things like Atmos & even DTS I can understand, but at this point given the $1500+ investment in a Sonos 5.1 setup -- being able to deal with DD 5.1 Plus seems like a big deal. It's hard to justify the investment if I have to default to Stereo on both Vudu & Netflix. If the bandwidth issues over optical are an issue there really should be some other solution that doesn't have us at Stereo from a 5.1 source.

Has there been any word on this? I'm thinking of returning the Playbar + Sub + Play 1s I got as I wasn't aware this was such a headache.

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4 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +22
I don't believe the current version is capable and don't forsee dd 5.1+ coming to the current Playbar (which is really Gen1 - Gen only current).
Not a true solution for most people but Roku's new players (P+ & Ultra) both will force a downmix to DD 5.1.

Has apps for Netflix & Vudu so that's helpful.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Xbox One will also downmix to DD 5.1 and has apps for both available, if you happen to have one for gaming. Apple TV has Netflix and will downmix... no Vudu though.
Userlevel 2
Badge +1
The core issue here is that DD+ is not transmittable over optical or, so any conversion to regular DD needs to be done at the source or by the TV that sits between the source and Playbar (assuming that's your setup).

As others have pointed out, various devices will do this conversion, including some game consoles and Rokus. The presence of an optical output on a device is a good indicator that it will do the work, but not necessarily that it will then send the converted signal through all outputs. That is, it may only convert the signal for output via optical and preserve the DD+ if you're using HDMI.

So, if the device converts DD+ to DD and is wired directly to the Playbar via optical or through an optical switch, you should be all set. If you're using HDMI through a switch, will depend on the source device. I searched pretty exhaustively for an HDMI switch that would do the conversion and found nothing, though I've since gotten a TV that does all of the necessary passing through and converts DD+ to DD in the process, so no longer have any issues.

It seems there's no perfect solution short of a next-gen Playbar with HDMI inputs (or some kind of purpose-made hub) and proper decoding capabilities.