Dolby Digital Plus update

  • 29 November 2018
  • 23 replies
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Userlevel 1
I have read posts over 4 years old about sonos playbar not supporting Dolby Digital Plus. I find it amazing that sonos does not clearly state this or even better found a solution. If a conversion process is not possible then the conection mechanism should be changed to hdmi.
I phoned sonos and the operatives are not really awarevof this issue. If sonos want to be in the 5.1 home cinema market this is a must!!!!

I would like to see some meaningful response from sonos that addresses the issue and does not just fudge the ussue since it was first identified over 4 years ago on this site.

23 replies

I totally agree, it's the same with DTS. They are pretending that it's because they focus on online streaming bla bla bla. Meanwhile, I want to watch netflix on my Nvidia Shield. However, Netflix uses Dolby Digital Plus so I don't have surround sound....

How is that for a system that's about 2000 euros...

It's just appalling and cheap to hide behind an excuse that is not even true anymore...
Userlevel 3
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The beam uses HDMI and it automatically down mixes DD+ as well as TrueHD/Atmos. For DTS, it does send stereo but i've found that it simulates surround fairly well using Pro Logic.

I imagine they will release a playbar that utilizes the updates that came with the beam.
Userlevel 4
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The Sonos Playbase and Playbar only have an optical connection. The Beam has an HDMI connection.

Due to bandwidth considerations, you need an HDMI v1.3 (or later) connection to deliver Dolby Digital Plus.

For the current Playbase and Playbar, either your TV or your STB (e.g the Apple TV) must extract the Dolby Digital core from the Dolby Digital Plus stream and transmit that Dolby Digital stream to your Playbase and Playbar.

The Beam currently supports only PCM stereo or Dolby Digital. It seems possible for Sonos to upgrade the Beam to support Dolby Digital Plus. This would permit direct playback of Dolby Digital Plus streams from streaming services including iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. It would also permit third party app developers (e.g. Infuse, Plex) to transcode in a perceptually transparent manner from lossless codecs like TrueHD and DTS:X (as well as lossy codecs like DTS that are unsupported by Sonos) to Dolby Digital Plus.

I cover this in detail here:
https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/feature-request-enable-dolby-digital-plus-e-ac-3-or-dd-for-better-audio-quality-6812870
Userlevel 3
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When using ARC there is a handshake to ensure it always receives the proper signal, and it automatically downmixes DD+ as well as TrueHD/Atmos.
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Hi, am slow to the scene but does it mean that Sonos PlayBar doesn't support the native surround sound format of Netflix (DD+) and will only playback the Stereo stream?
Userlevel 3
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Neither supports DD+ but when connected via ARC with the beam it uses the handshake to seamlessly down mix. Since playbar uses optical it would then come down to whether your TV supports that. You could also use an Apple TV or another box that allows for DD output.
I think it's your TV that does the down conversion for the Beam, as long as you're lucky enough to own a smart enough one! Unfortunately many of us still need to "upgrade" our panels in order to enjoy the true Sonos home theater experience using mainstream sites like Netflix after spending over $1000 for a minimal configuration of a Beam, Sub, and a couple of Play:1s. Try to find that fact on the Sonos website! Sadly for many of us, even with the Beam, the Sonos audio formats, and thus the Sonos experience, does not live up to the price point!
Userlevel 3
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That only applies when connected over optical, as stated above. When connected over ARC it will always ensure the proper signal is received and down mix other Dolby codecs.

When using HDMI-ARC, Beam will automatically request Dolby Digital 5.1 from the device it's connected to, which should convert Dolby formats for the best sound.

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/sonos-beam-now-available-setup-and-useful-information-6809808
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
It requests via HDMI handshake, yes, but it does not do the conversion. If your input device cannot do that, it is up to the input device what you get: either it will revert to stereo, or still send DD5.1+ in which case you will have no sound. I don't know the standards, so not sure what the default behavior should be in that case.
Userlevel 3
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When using ARC it will do the handshake to request the proper signal and then facilitate the downmix.

It would be purely up to the input device for DTS as it needs to be transcoded into DD, and if that is not possible then it will either output no sound or stereo.
Userlevel 1
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I may be wrong, but I think some people are giving the Beam's handshake capabilities more credit than deserved.

In my understanding, handshake is simply a feature enabling the Beam to request supported fileformats. The Beam supports PCM and Dolby Digital but not Dolby Digital Plus.

Handshake does not mean that the Beam can downmix Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital - the Beam cannot do that.

Handshake simply ensures that the TV will provide the best possible sound available that the Beam supports. Meaning that if e.g. Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital and PCM is available, the TV will send Dolby Digital to the Beam.

However, Netflix for instance does typically not include several types of audioformats in their streams. With Chromecast and most other systems, only Stereo and Dolby Digital Plus are available for Netflix.

In this case, handshake will ensure that the Beam receives the best possible, supported format being stereo (PCM).

Some people seem to be of the impressions that most TV-sets can downmix e.g. Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital and that handshake will force the TV to do so.

I have yet to find a single tv-set with this feature. In any price range. I even put up a specific thread to identify any TV-sets with this feature - but was out of luck.

Except for some Blu-ray-players, Xbox/Playstation and Apple TV, TVs and streaming-boxes (including popular choices as Chromecast and Fire sticks) are not able to downmix Dolby Digital Plus or DTS on the fly.

Some build-in apps on TVs only stream in e.g. Dolby Digital and avoids the problem this way, but generally - unless you use an Apple TV, Playstation, Xbox or similar - you will not be able to get full surround from Netflix and many other streaming services from a Sonos-device - including the Beam.

This is coming from a long-term Sonos-fan owning (and having done so since their respective dates of release) each of the Playbar, Playbase and Beam.

All of them are great products, but getting the most out of them is becoming increasingly more difficult with the widespreading of unsupported file formats.

Here is hoping thay Apple will continue supporting the excellent on-the-fly converting capabilities of the Apple TV (or LG/Sony releasing a decent Oled TV-set with similar capabilities!) - cause I am sure Sonos will not be changing their strategy on this. They never did on DTS and I do not see any sign of change in terms of Dolby Digital Plus.
Userlevel 5
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In my understanding, handshake is simply a feature enabling the Beam to request supported fileformats. The Beam supports PCM and Dolby Digital but not Dolby Digital Plus.

Handshake does not mean that the Beam can downmix Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital - the Beam cannot do that.

Handshake simply ensures that the TV will provide the best possible sound available that the Beam supports. Meaning that if e.g. Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital and PCM is available, the TV will send Dolby Digital to the Beam.

Thank you for confirming that I'm not delusional. This is exactly how I understood it to work - and read in several other places on this community.
It requests via HDMI handshake, yes, but it does not do the conversion. If your input device cannot do that, it is up to the input device what you get: either it will revert to stereo, or still send DD5.1+ in which case you will have no sound. I don't know the standards, so not sure what the default behavior should be in that case.
The different formats of Dolby Inc. are backward-compatible, however, I think the TV set has to support the conversion.


Is Dolby Digital Plus content backward-compatible?

Because Dolby Digital Plus is built on core Dolby Digital technologies, content that is encoded with Dolby Digital Plus is fully compatible with the millions of existing home theaters and playback systems worldwide equipped for Dolby Digital playback. Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks are easily converted to a 640 kbps Dolby Digital signal without decoding and reencoding, for output via S/PDIF. The 640 kbps bit rate, which is higher than the standard 448 kbps used on DVDs, is fully compatible with all existing Dolby Digital decoding products such as A/V receivers, and can provide higher-than-DVD quality from Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks when played back through existing systems.

https://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/dolby-digital-plus-faq.pdf
Hola
Yo creo que no hace falta Más, si lo que quieres es una barra de sonido. Sonos tiene el mejor decodificador de audio del mercado. Si quieres más tendras que comprar varios altavoces independientes y conectarlos a un amplificador av compatible con los ultimos formatos de audio.
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
Hola
Yo creo que no hace falta Más, si lo que quieres es una barra de sonido. Sonos tiene el mejor decodificador de audio del mercado. Si quieres más tendras que comprar varios altavoces independientes y conectarlos a un amplificador av compatible con los ultimos formatos de audio.
code:
I think you do not need More, if what you want is a sound bar. Sonos has the best audio decoder in the market. If you want more you will have to buy several independent speakers and connect them to an av amplifier compatible with the latest audio formats.

(sorry, I can't reply in Spanish)
For DTS, Dolby Atmos and the like, I agree. However, DD+ can now be found on streaming services, and Sonos has always been the Champion of streaming. It's likely they did not see this coming, because when the Playbar was released in 2013 and even now, for regular broadcast TV, DD 5.1 was and is the de-facto standard and they might have expected it to be for streaming as well.
Most modern TV's will be able to do the transcoding, but native support would be good for instance when streamed over Chromecast.


The different formats of Dolby Inc. are backward-compatible, however, I think the TV set has to support the conversion.

I understand the backwards compatibility, but the above is exactly what I meant. You still need a device that is capable to extract the DD "core" out of the DD+ stream. It's not like a non-DD+ device like the Beam will be able to just use the DD core and ignore the rest. It is of course true, that to comply correctly with the standard and the backwards compatibility described in it, a transcoding device should always deliver DD to the Beam when fed DD+ instead of reverting to stereo, so that may have been an oversight in my original post.

Like all Sonos A/V products, the Beam only has the capability to process DD 5.1, nothing more. Any sort of transcoding, or extraction in the case of DD+ cannot be done by the Sonos hardware. And as mentioned a above, a "handshake" is just two devices communicating on what they can and cannot do, it does not magically grant the ability to transcode anything.
Userlevel 1
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Most TVs output Dolby Digital. Check the output settings on the tv and select Dolby Digital. DTS or non-lossy formats won’t be possible to output from TVs until eARC becomes a standard with TVs and ancillary devices.
Badge +2
I totally agree, it's the same with DTS. They are pretending that it's because they focus on online streaming bla bla bla. Meanwhile, I want to watch netflix on my Nvidia Shield. However, Netflix uses Dolby Digital Plus so I don't have surround sound....

How is that for a system that's about 2000 euros...

It's just appalling and cheap to hide behind an excuse that is not even true anymore...
Badge +2
I have Netflix and its in surround. I have a Sonos surround Setup too.
Userlevel 5
Badge +9
Please enlighten us all on how.
What device are you using to watch Netflix? If it is an app on your TV, there's a good chance that the TV is feeding DD 5.1 to Sonos. If not, then I'd like to know how you've managed to convert the DD+ from Netflix to the DD 5.1 that Sonos needs.

Otherwise, I would ask you to confirm through Settings > About my Sonos system, that the audio is actually Dolby Digital 5.1 and that you're not actually listening to simulated surround from a stereo source, because I think it has been made abundantly clear that Sonos does not do DD+ on its own.
Badge +2
I stream Netflix through my Roku which is connect HDMI to the Samsung TV and then it goes from the TV optically to the Playbar. I do Have 5.1 surround confirmed also. I have a Samsung BluRay player that i can play DTS Blu rays in surround also. I had to go into the settings on the player and set it to convert the data from DTS or Plus to Dolby Digital... it sounds great. But I had to make sure i bought a player that would do that.
Userlevel 5
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So, as expected, there is always a device in between, doing the conversion from DD+ to DD 5.1.
I suspect that for Netflix, your TV is doing this, as it will not be able to output DD+ over its optical output.

This thread is about situations where this is not the case, such as some TVs that only bitstream and do no conversion, or people like me, that have a projector and an HDMI switch without the option of conversion..

You are lucky to be exactly in the target demographic for Sonos: your peripherals are doing all the work audio-wise.
Badge +1
I may be wrong, but I think some people are giving the Beam's handshake capabilities more credit than deserved.

In my understanding, handshake is simply a feature enabling the Beam to request supported fileformats. The Beam supports PCM and Dolby Digital but not Dolby Digital Plus.

Handshake does not mean that the Beam can downmix Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital - the Beam cannot do that.

Handshake simply ensures that the TV will provide the best possible sound available that the Beam supports. Meaning that if e.g. Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital and PCM is available, the TV will send Dolby Digital to the Beam.

However, Netflix for instance does typically not include several types of audioformats in their streams. With Chromecast and most other systems, only Stereo and Dolby Digital Plus are available for Netflix.

In this case, handshake will ensure that the Beam receives the best possible, supported format being stereo (PCM).

Some people seem to be of the impressions that most TV-sets can downmix e.g. Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital and that handshake will force the TV to do so.

I have yet to find a single tv-set with this feature. In any price range. I even put up a specific thread to identify any TV-sets with this feature - but was out of luck.

Except for some Blu-ray-players, Xbox/Playstation and Apple TV, TVs and streaming-boxes (including popular choices as Chromecast and Fire sticks) are not able to downmix Dolby Digital Plus or DTS on the fly.

Some build-in apps on TVs only stream in e.g. Dolby Digital and avoids the problem this way, but generally - unless you use an Apple TV, Playstation, Xbox or similar - you will not be able to get full surround from Netflix and many other streaming services from a Sonos-device - including the Beam.

This is coming from a long-term Sonos-fan owning (and having done so since their respective dates of release) each of the Playbar, Playbase and Beam.

All of them are great products, but getting the most out of them is becoming increasingly more difficult with the widespreading of unsupported file formats.

Here is hoping thay Apple will continue supporting the excellent on-the-fly converting capabilities of the Apple TV (or LG/Sony releasing a decent Oled TV-set with similar capabilities!) - cause I am sure Sonos will not be changing their strategy on this. They never did on DTS and I do not see any sign of change in terms of Dolby Digital Plus.


New models of LG Oled transcoding DD, DD+ and HE-AAC to DD output signal, so 5.1 should be played when watching netflix or other streaming services. I have asked to LG how new models are going to deal with atmos.

https://www.lg.com/ca_en/support/product-help/CT20098005-1437136302910-others
Userlevel 1
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I may be wrong, but I think some people are giving the Beam's handshake capabilities more credit than deserved.

In my understanding, handshake is simply a feature enabling the Beam to request supported fileformats. The Beam supports PCM and Dolby Digital but not Dolby Digital Plus.

Handshake does not mean that the Beam can downmix Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital - the Beam cannot do that.

Handshake simply ensures that the TV will provide the best possible sound available that the Beam supports. Meaning that if e.g. Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital and PCM is available, the TV will send Dolby Digital to the Beam.

However, Netflix for instance does typically not include several types of audioformats in their streams. With Chromecast and most other systems, only Stereo and Dolby Digital Plus are available for Netflix.

In this case, handshake will ensure that the Beam receives the best possible, supported format being stereo (PCM).

Some people seem to be of the impressions that most TV-sets can downmix e.g. Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital and that handshake will force the TV to do so.

I have yet to find a single tv-set with this feature. In any price range. I even put up a specific thread to identify any TV-sets with this feature - but was out of luck.

Except for some Blu-ray-players, Xbox/Playstation and Apple TV, TVs and streaming-boxes (including popular choices as Chromecast and Fire sticks) are not able to downmix Dolby Digital Plus or DTS on the fly.

Some build-in apps on TVs only stream in e.g. Dolby Digital and avoids the problem this way, but generally - unless you use an Apple TV, Playstation, Xbox or similar - you will not be able to get full surround from Netflix and many other streaming services from a Sonos-device - including the Beam.

This is coming from a long-term Sonos-fan owning (and having done so since their respective dates of release) each of the Playbar, Playbase and Beam.

All of them are great products, but getting the most out of them is becoming increasingly more difficult with the widespreading of unsupported file formats.

Here is hoping thay Apple will continue supporting the excellent on-the-fly converting capabilities of the Apple TV (or LG/Sony releasing a decent Oled TV-set with similar capabilities!) - cause I am sure Sonos will not be changing their strategy on this. They never did on DTS and I do not see any sign of change in terms of Dolby Digital Plus.
New models of LG Oled transcoding DD, DD+ and HE-AAC to DD output signal, so 5.1 should be played when watching netflix or other streaming services. I have asked to LG how new models are going to deal with atmos.

https://www.lg.com/ca_en/support/product-help/CT20098005-1437136302910-others


I actually have a fairly new LG Oled and I have that exact setting.

Unfortunately, this will not make the tv transcode any inputs.

The setting simply makes the tv choose the selected format when available. So build-in apps will play in the selected format and sources supporting the selected format will be requested to provided the selected format. However if an input source does not support the selected format, e.g. a Chromecast not supporting Dolby Digital, you will not be getting the selected format but rather PCM/stereo.

Again, I have yet to see one single tv-set that actually transcodes any input signal to Dolby Digital.

So if you are a Sonos-user with a full surround set, better choose your sources carefully: Use build-in apps, an Apple TV or an Xbox/PS4 as they will be able to convert audio on the fly and allow you to continue playing in good-old DD 5.1 while the rest of the world is moving on to DTS, DD Plus, Atmos and beyond - DO NOT use a Chromecast, Firestick etc.

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