Question

How to provide Dolby 5.1 Input To Playbar From Sony TV??

  • 30 December 2016
  • 5 replies
  • 1556 views

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My Sony XBR65X900C is hooked into the Playbar via the optical cable. The 'audio source' shown on the app is "Stereo". How do I get Dolby 5.1 sourced to the Playbar?

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5 replies

First thing is to have an audio source that is 5.1 to begin with. Are you sure you have that? Most OTA TV broadcasts are only in stereo, for example.
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I've tried multiple shows and movies that I believe should be 5.1. Yet to find a single one that isn't sourced as stereo, never seen dolby 5.1 indicated.
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I apologize, I AM getting dolby 5.1 input to the Playbar. I did not realize that 'About My Sonos System' had to be refreshed before it would indicate the true input. If the input was stereo for a given show and I changed to another 5.1 sourced movie, it would continue to indicate stereo source until refreshed.
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Well, I've given it some time now but I still seem to not be getting dolby 5.1 input to the Playbar. I did see dolby indicated in 'About My Sonos System' on a Netflix movie (no idea what it was) the one time, and that lulled me into believing the system was operating correctly. I have never seen anything but 'Stereo' indicated since then on any movie I've watched. Can anyone tell me the movie title of some current Netflix movie that they're sure is inputting Dolby 5.1 to the Playbar so I can check it?
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On the Android TV based Sony TVs (of which my TV is also one), getting 5.1 on the optical output of the TV is highly dependent on the source. In sound settings, you need to make sure it is configured for external auto, and then set the output format to Auto1.

For all HDMI inputs, I find that it passes DD through to the Playbar just fine. It will not transcode DD+ down to DD, however, nor will it transcode DTS. It will pass those verbatim to the Playbar, which doesn't know how to decode them and you get silence.

For OTA (I have one of those cheap flat indoor antenna hooked up for OTA on mine), it's the same as HDMI. It will pass through whatever the show is broadcast with. Where I live, that works for most channels, except the ones that violate the ATSC spec and send DD+ instead of DD to reduce the bandwidth budget of the audio. (Sonos really needs to add support for DD+ to the Playbar. Yes, technically DD+ may be more bandwidth than the optical connection supports. But 99% of the usage of DD+ is for stuff well below the bandwidth of the optical port, as they are using it for the even higher compression rate it offers for the same number of channels over plain old DD.)

Now, when it comes to Android apps, things get a lot more dicey. Things like the Amazon app, NetFlix, and a few others will properly output DD. Most, however, including the main Google apps like YouTube and Play Movies & TV, will only output Stereo PCM no matter what settings you have due to software bugs and Sony and Google keep playing the finger pointing game on this instead of fixing it.