DTS, Dolby 5.1 on Playbar, 2015 edition!



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I must say, I rate myself as an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to audio. I've invested in Sonos both at work and at home and would say we've spent close to about £5k on the kit in total. The most recent move was the playbar and sub, and went into it presuming it would just work, like all previous Sonos facilities.

I've got a samsung 4k TV which does output 5.1 over optical. I've found the about my Sonos feature and can happily report Netflix, sky, Amazon all doing what you would expect.

The punishment however is blu ray. If I stick something new in like inside out or the star wars boxset then all they have is DTS tracks. If I watch them in a different language then they have DD 5.1 but good old fashioned English I am treated to silence, until I disable the Sonos and use the TV speaker. Something I am capable of doing but the wife and indeed kids don't understand why, also the phantom menace pod racer scene is a whole load better with the rumble of the sub behind the couch, as we found out watching it through sky.

I've found a setting on the blu ray player that will convert but it seems to just throw it to 2.0 - I need to play with this more.

Now I do have a Xbox one but that's in another room at the moment. What's that going to bring to the party? Is it going to convert the DTS to DD 5.1 or just down to 2.0 like the blu ray player does?
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I must say, I rate myself as an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to audio. I've invested in Sonos both at work and at home and would say we've spent close to about £5k on the kit in total. The most recent move was the playbar and sub, and went into it presuming it would just work, like all previous Sonos facilities.

I've got a samsung 4k TV which does output 5.1 over optical. I've found the about my Sonos feature and can happily report Netflix, sky, Amazon all doing what you would expect.

The punishment however is blu ray. If I stick something new in like inside out or the star wars boxset then all they have is DTS tracks. If I watch them in a different language then they have DD 5.1 but good old fashioned English I am treated to silence, until I disable the Sonos and use the TV speaker. Something I am capable of doing but the wife and indeed kids don't understand why, also the phantom menace pod racer scene is a whole load better with the rumble of the sub behind the couch, as we found out watching it through sky.

I've found a setting on the blu ray player that will convert but it seems to just throw it to 2.0 - I need to play with this more.

Now I do have a Xbox one but that's in another room at the moment. What's that going to bring to the party? Is it going to convert the DTS to DD 5.1 or just down to 2.0 like the blu ray player does?


Yes the X1 converts DTS to DD5.1 I've tested this myself with the Star Wars Blu-Ray set. PS4 does not and shows as stereo
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.
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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.
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??
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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My Samsung JS9500 converts DTS to Dolby 5.1 no problem
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@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.
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.
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?

Thanks!

Bobby
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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.
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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.
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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
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.
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I do not know if you're disappointed with your purchase of the Sonos?

Just want to clarify that Sonos sound very, very good, both stereo and 5.1.
I have had the Bang & Olufsen for 30 years and certainly, Sonos is a little behind, but it is a young company with time surely mend their ways. If you do not like Sonos, there are other brands and solutions. I am very pleased.
The same strange reactions it if you like Apple. There is always someone who does not like certain applications. Life is too short to whine about DTS or not.
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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.

Wow....but of course we already new that
One way to enable DTS on your playbar is by using media server and install plex.
In my case i have LG Smart TV, i'm using synology as media server and i install 3rd party app, plex.
Plex fortunately has a feature that convert all movie with DTS audio into stereo automatically, so u can still watch your favorite movie
Without switching from internal TV speaker and External Speaker (sonos).
I have the Sonos 5.1 setup plugged in optically to my 55" LG 55EF9500. This is an awesome OLED TV, but I was not getting the 5.1 sound into my Sonos system. I had both my Cox Contour Box and AppleTV plugged into the TV via HDMI, all were pushing 5.1 sound, but the optical output was only Stereo. I called Sonos trying to find a setting in the Playbar, but the issue was NOT on the Sonos side. It was on the LG side. I then called LG and with my warranty (since it was a new TV) and they sent out specific tech to work on my TV.

The Tech arrived with a special remote that could access the manufacture setup side of the TV. He then was able to adjust my TV to AC3 from PCM sound. I then had to go back to the advanced setting menu and move my sound selection to Optical/HDMI Arc. I now have true 5.1 sound playing via optical out through my TV.

Problem solved!
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With all the people asking for days support for the sound bar could Sonos not test the best dots to dd converters that will work best with the Sonos so we know what is compatible. They could of course even make a Sonos product which I am sure would sell in the thousands.
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I am posting in case Sonos is still monitoring this thread. I am new to Sonos and purchased the Playbar with my new 4K TV. I am not an audiophile but I want and expect top quality video and sound. I knew Sonos' reputation and purchased a Playbar and Subwoofer along with the Sony XBR75X940D from Best Buy in August 2016. At no time did the sales person say, this soundbar will not play DTS sound. Most Blu-Ray discs (in the US) play in DTS. I would not have purchased the Playbar if I had known about this before hand. I am not a techie person so my workaround is using the DVD disc instead of the Blu-Ray, sacrificing image resolution just so I can hear the movie. I am disappointed in Sonos. This is not what I expected.
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As discussed in the other thread, your current best solution is the Samsung UBDK8500 4K bluray player. In fact, at the moment, it's your only solution. It will convert DTS to Dolby. At least there's one option. I expect, in another six months, there will be a few more.

(I'm not sure why you're resorting to DVDs - the playbar should usually still play bluray DTS - it will just output it as "stereo" or 2.0. Also, I haven't found "most" blurays to have only DTS. I think more than half still offer English Dolby.)