DTS, Dolby 5.1 on Playbar, 2015 edition!


Userlevel 1
Hi all

I am writing this post in the hope it may help those struggling with the above issue(s). The first topic which appears on this in Google is the post at https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/solving-the-51-dts-issues-with-the-playbar-34523, which is now out of date. For my part I wanted to set out what I did to "resolve" this issue (or more accurately, work around it).

Since the above post, Sonos have written a few useful notes. The most helpful is: https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1945/~/maximizing-playbar-sound-from-your-television.

A further note deals with the XBOX work around (https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2490/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xNDQxMjA4NzE0L3NpZC9JdER6cXR2bQ%3D%3D) and another provides the details for PS4 (https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3075/related/1).

The Issue

Playbar with 2 Play:1s and a Sub is a 5.1 Surround system. However, because the Playbar connects through a Digitial Out/Toslink/SPDIF, its limited bandwidth prevents it from EVER being compatible with DTS-HD, Dolby True-HD or any other lossless/HD audio. However, it is possible to play Dolby 5.1 providing your TV can output a Dolby Digital signal through the Digital Out.

People realise that they are only listening to Stereo when they go to About My Sonos System and realise that the AUDIO IN listed under PlayBar is STEREO. When its 5.1 it will say Dolby Digital 5.1, or when Dolby Digital 2.0, exactly that.

DTS

DTS will have to be re-coded as Dolby Digital to be played by the PlayBar, else it will be silent (displaying "Audio not supported"). There is no way of playing DTS itself.

Work arounds: My experience

I read the above post and went off to buy a switch (although, this one in the UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00DZIXIMQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00, called Portta 4x1 HDMI Switcher with Toslink and Digital Coaxial Port 3D Splitter with Remote and AC Adapter/ 3D 1080P). When I connected my BD-Player to this by HDMI, with my STB and TV, and connected the switch to the Playbar, it started to play 5.1. Result. However, this is a poor solution as you have to manually switch between inputs, have another remote, cannot use a magic remote or the input management system on the TV etc.

I thought about buying an XBOX (which my research indicted is the better media system when compared to PS4) it (with PS4) decodes DTS to DD 5.1 "on the fly.

I also thought about buying the OPPO BDP-103 for a whopping £400 as suggested by the post.

However, there are literally a handful of BD Players which also re-code DTS to DD (please see SONOS's own post). I purchased the Samsung BD-H6500 for a very reasonable sum and can now play DTS easily on the Playbar (obviously, recoded to DD5.1).

I have set my system up as follows. My LG 55EC930V is connected to the Playbar. This TV outputs Dolby Digital (and I think, even Dolby Digital Plus) via Digital Out. I have then connected my Virgin Media STB to the TV via HDMI (STB set to output Dolby Digital Audio) and the BD Player via HDMI, which is set to output recoded DTS.

My issue was that my wired Home Cinema system (Panasonic SC-BTT270) would not output DD as it only had an Optical In, so I had to buy a new player. I highly recommend the one I bought, it plays great.

Also, my Playbar also plays 5.1 from Netflix, Amazon Prime video and Live TV (though, not Youtube for some reason).

Other work arounds

You can also work around the DTS issue by connecting the Playbar to an XBox or PS4, or at worst, a switch.

I hope this helps!!! 🙂

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

136 replies

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 1
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.
Userlevel 1
Hi Toltec21. Not sure what you mean by ... troll the sonos community? I am a member of the sonos community, have sonos products and about to invest in more products this week. I am interested in whether Sonos will add ability to stream DTS as it would be a valued upgrade and save the need for hdmi/optical switches. Many people on the sonos community are enquiring about DTS so it must be something that people want.
New to Sonos and new to the forum. Love my Sonos but clearly DTS is a real issue to many. Clearly Sonos have no intention to solve this issue and Who can blame them when sales of their products are still strong. So I guess the answer is to stop buying their products. No company can survive without its customer base. Please Sonos read and act sooner rather then later. Your customers have spoken.
Userlevel 1
I am looking to invest further in sonos, but this stubborn approach over DTS is worrying me. Why won't you (Sonos) enable DTS format? At least explain why you won't.
Badge +1
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.

Can you explain why you have to troll the Sonos community if you aren't interested in the products? Sonos has consistently reported that despite your and many other requests for DTS, they are just not interested in DTS. If the connection options don't suit you either, just move on. Then you wont have to worry any more.
Will the BD-H6500 re-code, mvk or other files on disk/network, from DTS to DD? Or does it only do from the blu ray disc?
And finally I understand Sonos said they are not adopting DTS. I am interested in why not? What is the/their reason? And from this thread that goes back more than two years there are many who also feel the same way as me. I am not alone on this.

Regards ...


It has been explained why not: As I stated above:

The Playbar was designed to connect to an optical out on a TV, the vast majority of which do not pass DTS.


Now that explanation may seem illogical to you (and in some ways to me), but it is easier to understand when coupled with the fact that the Playbar was designed for ease of installation and use by non-tech savvy persons. Most people don't care about DTS/DD, HDMI, multiple cables, etc. The Playbar is one cable from the TV. Boom. Done. Unfortunately, that one cable approach has it's limitations. I suppose it is assumed people looking for that type of simplicity will find the pseudo-surround you get from PCM stereo when DD is not available to be sufficient. You and I may disagree, but I guess Sonos knows its market better than us.
SPDIF/Toslink has more than enough bandwidth for DTS and every other lossless audio codec. Blu-ray DTS streams at most around 1.5Mbps and Toslink has a is up around 125Mbps, so there's plenty of room. Xbox 360 and PS3 converted it to an LPCM (bitstream) to transport over Toslink, so it can be done.

This sounds like the same problem as the AppleTV 4. The problem isn't bandwidth, it's DRM. Toslink doesn't support DRM which means Sonos probably can't get the license for DTS. The way around is to use switches that can extract the audio stream from an HDMI cable and sends it to a Toslink output. Even then... most switches don't support DTS. I love my Playbar, but I really wish Sonos had given us a set of HDMI passthrough ports on it. I'd even consider upgrading if they ever released one.

Btw, most TVs only pass 2ch stereo on their optical out ports. Only a handful will pass a 5.1 stream.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
Its a shame that Sonos does not listen to his customers. We all want the DTS update for our Sonos playbar! Don't lie to your loyal customers just answer why Sonos why is there still no ____ DTS update for the Sonos playbar???
After all this time people ask the same question! We don't want dolby digital 5.1 we want DTS!! Please add the update soon I've been a true Sonos Fan from the start, I have buyed a lot of Sonos stuff (3000+euro). We just want the DTS update for the Sonos playbar that's all why does it have to take Sooo long?


Max P.: Posted edit due to Profanity.
Its a shame that Sonos does not listen to his customers. We all want the DTS update for our Sonos playbar! Don't lie to your loyal customers just answer why Sonos why is there still no fucking DTS update for the Sonos playbar???
After all this time people ask the same question! We don't want dolby digital 5.1 we want DTS!! Please add the update soon I've been a true Sonos Fan from the start, I have buyed a lot of Sonos stuff (3000+euro). We just want the DTS update for the Sonos playbar that's all why does it have to take Sooo long?


Lie? Sonos have never lied about about this subject? They've never spoken about this subject, so how could they ever lie about it?

It isn't taking Soooo long, it isn't happening, I would have thought that was blindingly obvious by now.
Why keep asking questions that have already been answered? If you can't accept their explanation now, why should anyone think further explanation is going to change your mind. The Playbar is not going to support DTS. PERIOD!

Please reread, i did attack the message. You speak out of both sides of your mouth. You criticized it for lack of DTS support and then criticize others for the doing same thing telling them to get over it. I bought a product that is inferior than described, i have the right to come here and voice my complaint about it without someone like you telling me how i should feel or deal with it. If you are sick of people complaining about it, stay out of the 'sonos and DTS' forums then. It is not like i came to a post you started and began complaining about it.


I will post what I want, when I want. As long as I adhere to the terms of service, I imagine I'll be just fine. I suggest if you cannot handle the discourse. maybe it is you who should leave.
Badge
After some further testing it seems the PS4 DOES NOT re-encode DTS to DD on the fly, but the X1 does!

Looks like the X1 has just become my default Blu-Ray player now.
Userlevel 3
Badge +2
Hahaha you must work for Sonos!
its time they realize that customers need the DTS support! Are they awake in 2016?
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.
Userlevel 1
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 2
Badge
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.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
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.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
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
Badge +2
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 4
Badge +11
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 5
Badge +2
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.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
If sonos labs and technicians wanted to truly get on top of the 5.1 dolby problem they would constantly be testing the major cable companies set top boxes with their famous soundbar and this includes dish and direct tv. Also a company with their value could also in their labs test at least 1 of all the major brand of televisions that come to the market such as samsung, sony,and lg. I really understand too many televisions come to the market everyday but at least the top players in the video market. I believe they use everybody's information hoping to solve their problems, they do know how to save their money by using yours I guess this is good marketing in their eyes.
Userlevel 5
Badge +2
Don,t care anything about dts I think you missed my point.