DTS, Dolby 5.1 on Playbar, 2015 edition!

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Userlevel 5
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Save your money buy a soundbar that does work with dts and dolby you will be money ahead with fewer remotes and most likely better sound, as long as people keep buying these soundbars, no problems are solved. Unless its cable related which most time not your 5.1 audio problems can't be fixed whether its sonos problem or not. Plus many hrs saved and phone calls to support. If this thing worked as advertised 90% of these forums would't exist.
I would have thought that there must be quite a few cheap Blu-Ray players on the market these days that support, or are able to transcode DTS to Dolby Digital 5.1 or stereo, 'on the fly' ... which the Sonos PLAYBAR has full support for.

Surely limiting things just solely to DTS appears to be the fault of other manufacturers and perhaps people ought to throw any complaints they have, in their direction too.

Admittedly, I would like to see the next PlayBar (Gen 2) support many audio codecs, including DTS. The existing Playbar has been around now, I believe, since February 2013... and plenty of things have probably changed in the audio/video industry since that time. No one is standing still it seems and they are all chasing after their market share.

There are plenty of workarounds to solve the majority of compatibility issues raised here, involving the different types of hardware... The answer has to be to go and use some of the documented solutions, at least until there are some agreed minimum standards across the industry. It may take a while to see those standards put in place..

Be pro-active and try to fix these problems, instead of just displaying a totally negative reaction... The Blu-Ray player mentioned above by Nohrmann is a fine example of being pro-active and it sounds to me like he really is loving his A/V experience again... That's the way to do it.

I feel sorry for those who feel compelled to just sit and moan... you are missing out on the 'Nohrmann Experience' by not looking for simple and often cheap solutions to the issues (repeatedly) raised.
I have just purchased the Samsung BDJ5900 Blu-Ray player.
During the audio settings I choose to transcode output signal to Dolby Digital, voila ...
Now transcode the DTS HD master audio to DD 5.1 to Sonos. I love film again :)
Samsung player costs about $ 120
Userlevel 5
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beetle777 - I was not intending to insult you, your country or trivialise your point that the playbar doesn't work for you. I was merely suggesting, as politely as I could, that no matter how valid you believe your point to be, repeatedly stating it as often as possible on lots of threads just makes many people become frustrated, not sympathetic.

I hope you resolve your issues with the playbar as soon as possible as becoming bitter about it seems such a waste of effort.

Thanks for the offer of help looking into free speech.
Userlevel 1
@beetle777. Sad but basically true. While the Sons Playbar does enhance the TV sound, as a 5.1 surround sound solution it is sadly lacking. A surround sound system that can't handle DTS which in most cases means no sound when playing most blueray discs is next to useless. It is also very disappointing that Sonos do not make this clear to prospective customers. You would expect better from a professional business. Personaly I love my Sonos system when listening to my music around the house but wish I hadn't wasted my money on the Playbar. An expensive mistake.
Userlevel 5
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Stuart W I realize no DTS support but stop and think of the thousands of complaints on all these different forums customers have been very misled, I have new sony television that does support 5.1 dolby digital and with constant dropouts connected correctly. Sonos playbar sold but not as advertised and that is Sonos fault limitations or not, now try explaining that to the thousands of poor people who have purchased this product this does make sense no matter how you look at it. I agree this is my opinion only but it is a very legitimate one..
Userlevel 7
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Nick have you heard of free speech in the us check into it if you can't figure it out ask for some help.

You're joking right?

Seriously, you don't see any irony in in waving your 1st Amendment rights about? What, don't they apply to Nick?

Besides, I thought Legnum Nick was rather restrained - He made what I thought was a fairly valid point (Whilst your "Free speech" was just a moan.

That having been said the Playbar does have some limitations many of which are not helped by the TV manufacturers who have a very poor record of passing through Dolby Digital 5.1 to the Optical Output even though they receive audio in that format via HDMI. That's hardly the fault of Sonos except they maybe should have known/anticipated that.
Userlevel 5
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Nick have you heard of free speech in the us check into it if you can't figure it out ask for some help.
Userlevel 5
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beetle777, most regular users of this site are now very familiar with your feelings. Sonos offer a very good send it back option, or if you have had the equipment too long then maybe sell it and move on to a different system? Second hand values of Sonos stuff is very high so you shouldn't lose out by much at all.
Userlevel 5
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Sonos is for music they care nothing about television thats quite obvious the television problems been going on for 3 years with no end in sight just saying it works for television or movies etc gets a few more suckers to buy this very expensive equipment that can't produce accurate 5.1 sound totally worthless for video applications. These poor people think they are going to simplify their tv setup when in reality they have created more problem than they can ever handle. Shame on Sonos for misleading thousands of customers.
I am pretty sure it does but i dont want to "waste" $1,700. Does the VIZIO M70-C3 support 5.1 through the optical cable?


I'm going to have to side with the DTS people. I have certain movies on my plex server that have dts audio encoding, and having to downmix to simulated surround or stereo is silly.

You can argue all you want, but from a marketing standpoint, sonos is certainly in a grey area. They didn't technically do anything wrong, but it's easy to see how people would assume a $700 soundbar would support all the available audio formats. The website says that it only supports dolby digital and stereo, but what if you bought it in a store like I did? What reason would I have to believe that a high end soundbar would be silent with dts audio as a source? After all, they tout the 5.1 audio functionality...it's about time they start publicizing it's limitations as well.
Userlevel 1
@gji801. Fully agree with the points you make and suggested solutions. Sonos market the Playbar as a 5.1 solution, it isn't and the fact Sons says it is leaves a bad taste. No one likes to be taken for a fool. Like many people I have spent a significant sum of money with Sonos for a wireless multiroom system. In general I am very happy with that system and do not want to, nor do I see why I should have to buy a separate system for the TV. Particularly when Sonos continue to market the Playbar as a part of 5.1 system. SONOS listen to your customers, if it's possible, issue a update to the current Playbar, if that is not possible launch a sound bar 2 with a range of fit for purpose modern connections. Don't ignore your customers or you will loose them.

@jgatie. As long as Sonos continue to market the Playbar as part of a 5.1 solution we should keep rasing the fact that the Sonos Playbar has limited conectivity to alow people to make a fully informed choice when about which sound bar suits their needs best.
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My Samsung JS9500 converts DTS to Dolby 5.1 no problem
Userlevel 2
You've made your case, over and over and over and over for years now. As long as you persist in repeating your case, I will persist in pointing out the futility of your repetition.
You're confusing me with someone else. I've been a Sonos owner for 2 months and have made 9 posts. Please just ignore me and the others who would like to see this problem resolved. No need to comment back, I understand your position.
You've made your case, over and over and over and over for years now. As long as you persist in repeating your case, I will persist in pointing out the futility of your repetition.
Userlevel 2
jgate: Please, you post the same response over and over. I get it, you don't like me or others questioning and discussing DTS. But, this is a thread about that. Allow us to make our case to Sonos.
Or you can go buy another brand/type of hardware that does what you want it to and stop beating your head against the door here. But far be it from me to suggest a solution that actually is a solution. It must be so much more fun to keep doing the same thing expecting a different result.
Userlevel 2
A standard response to those who question Sonos' DTS position is usually "it's a dead issue", "Sonos has already explained this", "maybe this isn't for you", etc. There are many (myself included) who aren't satisfied with the explanation and would like to continue to push for change. The problem stems from Sonos' marketing, pricing and performance as a high end solution juxtaposed against what we see as a lack of basic functionality and a pretty lame explanation.
Sonos designed an $700 soundbar (or $1800 USD HT audio system) to use your TV as an A/V switch. Problem is, with few exceptions (we know what they are), those sources can't pass anything other than 2-channel stereo to the soundbar. . Is it unrealistic to think that if you buy something that is marketed as a 5.1 solution and you hook it up in the recommended manner that it should actually work as a 5.1 solution? Are you really satisfied with simulated 5.1 from a dumbed down stereo stream?
Sonos themselves realize this is an issue so they recommend sticking an HDMI switch in the mix to route native multi-channel audio to the soundbar. Problem #2 - Sonos didn't expect a Blu-Ray player (with DTS audio) to be in these setups? Really? C'mon, it's 2016, do they even sell DVD players anymore?
So here's the frustration - how hard can it be to make this issue go away? Whatever the issue is it can only be licensing, firmware or hardware. What's the cost of a DTS license for the product - a few bucks. Can't be much more as every $50 BD player and A/V receiver has this capability. Can't implement the decoding in the firmware because you need a DSP or other chips? Fine, release a soundbar 2.0 and I'll sell mine on ebay to someone who doesn't have the same needs as me. I'm naïve, we can't do that, things aren't that simple. OK, rearchitect the soundbar with HDMI ports and use it as the switch - like some of your $200 competitors. The rub for us "complainers" is that it seems so non-sensical to not do it.
Hi jgatie, I thought the whole sonos brand and product usp is built around effortless usability, high quality audio and bringing all music to your room. The playbar combined with pair of play 1's and a sub is being marketed as a 5.1. If the playbar only has optical input and the optical does not support DTS and therefore can't produce 5.1 then that seems poor for a combined price of £1500.

Actually Optical Inputs do support DTS. However it cannot support Lossless Formats such as DTS-HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD, etc, due to such high bandwidth.
Bought the Playbar at the same time as a new TV last year. Glad I read these forums as I made sure I got one that passed through 5.1 from my STB to its optical out. If I ever go back to Blu-rays I just need to buy a cheap Samsung player that changes DTS to 5.1. I am 99% happy with my SONOS kit for Music and TV - only issue is TV when the sound cuts out for a moment every now and then. (never happens with music) Annoying but not the end of the world

I can tell a lot of people are very upset that the Playbar can't accept DTS! Not an issue for me in terms of the sound quality but I am interested to know if there is a general move away from 5.1 to DTS - perhaps for 4k TV?? I am thinking about adding some SONOS stuff to other rooms for music but if there is a trend to DTS being the standard then SONOS will surely have to bring out a Playbar 2 and I might as well wait for that and use my current Playbar in another room for music.

I know nothing about this but from what I have read, the current Playbar will never play DTS due to bandwidth issues with optical audio. I assume the SONOS magic that makes it all work could be sorted to play DTS if the Playbar had a connection that could receive it? HDMI in to the Playbar and HDMI out to the TV for vision. Surely that has to be very simple??
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Thank you for your reply Ryan. In general I agree with the points you make.

It is good to know that Sonos is working on improving the in app user experiane, it is long over due, I'm sure it will be welcomed my all Sonos users.

I accept that with the correct imput he Playbar can offer a veru satisfactory 5.1 solution but it is not acceptable that it only works to the best of its capability with such a limited input source.

In both these case it is frustrating that development takes so long or is denied completely. The fact that in most situations my Sonos system works so seamlessly only serves to magnify that frustration. I hope Sonos is developing a Playbar with a modern anf flexible range of conectivity.
Userlevel 7
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Thanks for the feedback ukstewie. We're constantly working on improving the system in many ways, but we don't share a roadmap for what's coming next. There were just recently some huge changes with Spotify getting the service to match up with what you see through any device running the Spotify Web API. Though we don't have Spotify Connect right now, the experience is getting much closer than it was in the past, and we're looking to improve it more.

Just a note on the PLAYBAR, on its own it's a 3.0 speaker with dedicated right, left and center channels designed all in one as an array. I understand wanting to get the best sound possible out of the experience, and if your source is sending Dolby Digital 5.1 to your PLAYBAR the surround sound is great. There are a lot of device which will pass this natively, and for commonly used media sources, the format is in Dolby.

Generally speaking, the main time you can run into an issue with DTS is when you have a Blu-ray collection with only DTS audio streams. And in that case, you may be able to fix that with a one time setting to tell your player to convert DTS into DD 5.1 on the fly.

We appreciate you sharing your voice here and let us know if we can answer any further questions for you.
Userlevel 1
That is a very important point. Sonos market the Playbar and sub combined with two play1 as a 5.1 system when in most people's set up it won't work as advised.

Even a tec savy customer will find it a chalenge get to get a decent half working 5.1 set up.

Their advising is at best not clear, some might say misleading. Sonos pride them selves on producing high quality simple to use products. In this case the have missed the mark.

If you want a 5.1 system don't buy Sonos. This combination is cumbersome at best, there are better soumding and easier to use 5.1 systems on the market, many of them costing considerably less than the Sonos.

That said if you are happy with a 2.1 set up that integrates with the rest of your Sonos equipent then the Playbar and sub work well.

This is not the only compatibility issue I have experianced with Sonos, I am very frustrated by the limited Spotify interface from within the Sonos app. Also the lack of ability to cast directly from your device to the Sonos network, works well via Google play music but not with other apps.

Interestingly Sonos's response to these complaints is very similar to the their response on the dts issue.

Is this the price we pay for dealing with a relatively small player in the market?

A couple of years ago Sonos was about the only choice if you wanted a wireless multiroom set up. That is no longer the case.

It might not sound like it but I am generally very happy with my Sonos system and have spent over £3,000 with Sonos and would purchase a uplated Playbar if one was produced. However I am frustrated by the lack of development and fear thay are falling behind the competition.

Listen to your customer Sonos or they might not choose your product next time.
I read the other article about that so looks like the option and hope that x1 does some 4k work in the future.

It is a shame though that Sonos have marketed this as a home cinema solution and its clearly no longer the full solution.