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Forced to connect my optical audio cable to directv box

  • 8 October 2017
  • 11 replies
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Hi, I'm a new Sonos owner (just received it yesterday!). I bought a playbase and 2 Ones that are on their way later this month. After setting everything up, I couldn't get audio to come out of my playbase while watching tv via directv. So after connecting the optical audio cable to the directv box (rather than the TV as the instructions say), the sound started working. The problem is that when I switch to my Apple TV, I can't get any audio to come out of the playbase at all (obviously because the cable is connected to the directv box). Does anyone have a solution to this? Do I need to buy an hdmi splitter? Ideally I want to connect my optical audio cable to my TV (like the directions say) so that no matter what input I'm on, the audio comes out of the playbase... but it seems like the cable box is posing a problem with this...
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Best answer by Jofee 17 October 2017, 04:54

Fingers crossed for you!

We ended up having to buy an HDMI extractor and an HDMI switcher to get everything to work. What a pain, but happy to have it all working.
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11 replies

I'm a DirecTV user myself, and you shouldn't be having any issues.

What kind of TV do you have?
Have you checked the DirecTV audio settings to make sure it's set to Dolby Digital?
Have you checked the TV's settings to make sure that it is set to Dolby Digital as well?

What you want to do is the correct thing, and it should be working, once you get all of the devices talking the correct language.

I'm assuming everything is connected to the TV with HDMI cables 🙂
I'm a DirecTV user myself, and you shouldn't be having any issues.

What kind of TV do you have?


I have a Sharp Aquos.

Have you checked the DirecTV audio settings to make sure it's set to Dolby Digital?

Yes, it is set to Dolby Digital.

Have you checked the TV's settings to make sure that it is set to Dolby Digital as well?

What you want to do is the correct thing, and it should be working, once you get all of the devices talking the correct language.

I'm assuming everything is connected to the TV with HDMI cables :)


Yes, everything is connected to the TV with HDMI cables. And my tv is also set to dolby digital.
Interesting. I'm assuming your using version 8 of the software/firmware.

A splitter like you speak of would certainly resolve the problem, but it just sounds to me like the TV isn't really putting out the appropriate signal.

Sorry to keep asking stupid questions, but this doesn't make any sense to me. Have you checked in the "About my Sonos System" in the app, to see what it says the PLAYBAR is receiving? I guess it's also possible that the optical output isn't working, which could be checked by looking at the end of the cable before you stick it in the PLAYBAR, to be sure that there is a red light shining out of it.

Finally, I'd also recommend that if you want more technical advice then my suppositions, you might want to submit a system diagnostic, and post the number here, for the folks at Sonos to look at.
Interesting. I'm assuming your using version 8 of the software/firmware.

A splitter like you speak of would certainly resolve the problem, but it just sounds to me like the TV isn't really putting out the appropriate signal.

Sorry to keep asking stupid questions, but this doesn't make any sense to me. Have you checked in the "About my Sonos System" in the app, to see what it says the PLAYBAR is receiving? I guess it's also possible that the optical output isn't working, which could be checked by looking at the end of the cable before you stick it in the PLAYBAR, to be sure that there is a red light shining out of it.

Finally, I'd also recommend that if you want more technical advice then my suppositions, you might want to submit a system diagnostic, and post the number here, for the folks at Sonos to look at.


You're definitely not asking stupid questions! It doesn't make any sense to me either haha.

I have no checked the "About my sonos", but I definitely will when I get home. Great idea. The optical output is definitely working, since I can get it to work after plugging it into my DirecTV box. It's possible that my TV's output isn't working, so I'll test that.

Thanks for all of your help / advice.
Yea, that's the optical I was suggesting you check, the TV's. Indeed, we do know the speaker works fine, as you've connected it already 🙂 It's down to some issue with the TV at this point, and I'm hoping it's a " D'oh!" thing, rather than a "I need to replace the whole damn TV" thing.
Yea, that's the optical I was suggesting you check, the TV's. Indeed, we do know the speaker works fine, as you've connected it already 🙂 It's down to some issue with the TV at this point, and I'm hoping it's a " D'oh!" thing, rather than a "I need to replace the whole damn TV" thing.

Ya, not sure. I plugged the digital optical cable into the back of my tv and there was a red light coming out of the other end of the cable... Hoping for the "D'oh" moment any second now!

For Sonos help: Diagnostic number 7936402
Fingers crossed for you!
Fingers crossed for you!

We ended up having to buy an HDMI extractor and an HDMI switcher to get everything to work. What a pain, but happy to have it all working.
I have a Sharp Aquos TV too. It is a few years old so I made sure to check it had an optical port that output Dolby Digital. But I had the same issue - no sound from the Playbase when connected optical cable to the TV. I spoke to Sharp support and was told that if anything is attached to the TV using any of the HDMI cables no signal will be sent thru the optical cable. Sounds like a very poor design that they still haven't redesigned on their newer TV's. I was so bummed because I do not want to buy a new TV to use the Sonos Playbar. Saw this post so checked on the inputs/outputs of my Dish receiver and connected it to the Playbar. It works fantastic. But can't add any other devices since it is connected to Dish. Can you share more info about the HDMI extractor and switcher i.e. manufacturers and models and how to set up or a web site to find more details? Thanks so much.
I have a Sharp Aquos TV too. It is a few years old so I made sure to check it had an optical port that output Dolby Digital. But I had the same issue - no sound from the Playbase when connected optical cable to the TV. I spoke to Sharp support and was told that if anything is attached to the TV using any of the HDMI cables no signal will be sent thru the optical cable. Sounds like a very poor design that they still haven't redesigned on their newer TV's. I was so bummed because I do not want to buy a new TV to use the Sonos Playbar. Saw this post so checked on the inputs/outputs of my Dish receiver and connected it to the Playbar. It works fantastic. But can't add any other devices since it is connected to Dish. Can you share more info about the HDMI extractor and switcher i.e. manufacturers and models and how to set up or a web site to find more details? Thanks so much.

I believe this was the extractor I bought: http://www.frys.com/product/8466218?source=google&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6ImQ3Ib41gIVQk29Ch22cwYJEAkYASABEgKom_D_BwE

And this is the switch: https://www.bestbuy.com/site/rocketfish-4-port-hdmi-switch-black/2947005.p?skuId=2947005&ref=212&loc=1&ksid=d833aa04-8728-4fe8-855f-442198d12401&ksprof_id=16&ksaffcode=pg252604&ksdevice=c&lsft=ref:212,loc:2&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvcLA8ob41gIV3rbACh1F0wxMEAQYAiABEgINBvD_BwE

We originally bought a Belkin switch and it was garbage, so we returned it.

Essentially, you plug an HDMI cable from your TV to the extractor, plug your optical cable into the extractor, then hook another HDMI cable from your extractor to your switch. Then plug all other devices to the switch. The switch comes with a little remote. So whenever you want to switch inputs, you'll use that remote.
Thanks for the info and the quick reply. Have a fantabulous day!