My work around 5.1 via HDMI, Playbar.

  • 16 September 2017
  • 42 replies
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Userlevel 5
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First off most of the information I have gleaned has come from here or the internet. This has worked for my setup and may not work for yours..

I wanted a seamless integration, no optical switchboxes, no new remotes etc.

You could be lucky and your TV may natively pass through HDMI 5.1 to TOSlink so try first before you buy any extras.

Basically the HDMI system does a HANDSHAKE when two items are connected, "most" TV's will be classed as a STEREO device because they only have two speakers; this is hard coded into the HDMI chip.. Anything connected to the TOS-LINK TV optical output after this is also classed as STEREO only including the Playbar/ Playbase.

When you connect a 5.1 capable source normally, it HANDSHAKES with the TV and the TV's HDMI EDID says "I've only got two speakers, pass me stereo only". This proves a problem when you own a Playbar..

I use a kwmobile EDID emulator, between the SOURCE (Blu-ray/ Set Top Box) and TV, when HANSHAKING now ths EDID emulator says "I'm a TV but capable of 5.1 surround".

The TV now has a full 5.1 sound input over HDMI and most can pass this through the Optical TOSlink to the Playbar.

With Blu-ray they are normally encoded with DTS which cannot be decoded with the Playbar, I chose to buy a Samsung BD-F6500 which has the option to downmix DTD to Dolby 5.1, it also has the Netflix APP which passes through 5.1 without issue from streamed content.

You will need one EDID emulator per HDMI input, but the beauty is you just use your TV as normal, no extra switches etc to control..

42 replies

Userlevel 4
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I've seen you mention these EDID emulators a few times. Do they require a power supply? Got a link for such a device?

Worth mentioning that my LG TV didn't pass through 5.1 but it took 10 seconds in the service menu of the TV to enable it - no adapter required for that.
Userlevel 4
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OK, answered my own question.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/kwmobile-Manager-audio-video-control/dp/B01M3SH3CL

So they don't need a power supply but you need a £20 adapter and an extra HDMI lead for every connection? You have a lead from the blu-ray player to the adapter and another from the adapter to the TV? Not what I'd call seamless if I'm honest.

I also notice it doesn't support decent HDMI 2.0 or 4K60. Is there a newer model that's more modern?
Userlevel 3
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Thanks Keithmac

I've heard of this device twice now and sounds promising.

I have a samsung tv that does not pass DD 5.1 from external sources via optical
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And as o have my tv and bar wall mounted with all cables behind the wall, i've been reluctant to get an hdmi splitter. This may solve my problem.

Thanks muck
Userlevel 5
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You do need an extra HDMI cable (forgot to mention), I bought some 30cm short ones for £3 a piece.

The boxes are small and once fitted you don't need to touch them again.

They do some 4k TV modes.

There are other EDID emulators about, I can't comment good or bad as I haven't used them.

The kwmobile units have been faultless for me so far.
Thanks for this info. I'm going to buy the "kwmobile HDMI EDID Manager to audio and video control" to try and get dolby 5.1 passed through my Samsung SMART TV from my sat box to my playbase. Will be a relatively cheap fix if it works.
Userlevel 5
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I use position "E", 1080p with 5.1 Dolby although it does pass through higher resolutions without issue.

Let me know if you need any help.
Userlevel 4
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I use position "E", 1080p with 5.1 Dolby although it does pass through higher resolutions without issue.

Let me know if you need any help.


It will allow 4k, but only at 30Hz. Most modern 4k applications, like games consoles and UHD blu-ray, use HDMI 2.0 and 4k/60 which this does not support.
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Got it, tried it, didn't work. Still stereo only, no 5.1. Sony 65" Class Ultra-Slim 4K Ultra HD LED Smart TV MODEL: XBR65X900C
Userlevel 4
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What did you get? What source are you trying to get 5.1 from?
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I get only 'stereo' indicated. Tried several movies on Netflix and a couple of OTA stations.
Userlevel 5
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What setting did you use?.
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Clicked through them all. On position 'E' at the moment.
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There doesn't appear to be a particular orientation that the device is installed. 'Audio in/out' is indicated on both ports. It can go either way. Am I interpreting that correctly?
Userlevel 5
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Yep in/ out doesn't matter, I have mine on E and it works well.

Have you got an Audio menu on your source device?, you'll have to select Dolby output in there as well (it will allow it as it sees the TV as a 5.1 device).
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I appreciate you taking the time to try to help. I'll go through the audio menus on both the TV and cable box ASAP to try to provide a comprehensive answer to your question. The cable box is set to the Dolby 5.1 menu option. One thing I do know is that once I have set the TV audio to the outside surround source, pretty much all other pertinent audio menu options can't be affected. I just get a message saying that it only is used for TV speakers.
Got my EDID emulator yesterday and connected it up on the HDMI line between my free sat box and my Samsung TV. Unfortunately it didn't work. Rather than getting stereo I got complete silence! In the audio settings on my TV I only had the option to select PCM or DTS. Dolby was blanked out. I tried unplugging the TV and the free sat box and tried every setting on the emulator A to M. I reversed the direction of the emulator and tried it in both HDMI inputs to the TV but could get absolutely no sound once so ever. I guess either the emulator is faulty (unlikely) or it just isn't compatible with my Smart TV. Any suggestions on what might be wrong? Once I plugged the free sat box back directly into the TV I had stereo sound restored. Very frustrating - €30 waste including postage on the EDID emulator plus additional HDMI cable.
BTW the Triax Free Set Box I'm using is set to Bitstream in the Audio Settings. The only other option is stereo.
Userlevel 4
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Got it, tried it, didn't work. Still stereo only, no 5.1. Sony 65" Class Ultra-Slim 4K Ultra HD LED Smart TV MODEL: XBR65X900C

Not a valid test
It didn't work for you because the TV's internal tuner (OTA) and the Netflix app don't run through a HDMI handshake. They're not external HDMI sources; they're internal to the TV and governed by a different set of rules. IOW, you changed the car headlamp bulb when the problem is a flat tyre. lol

The problem that Keithmac's solution fixes only affects sources connected to the TV by the HDMI ports. The problem is exactly as he describes; the TV presents as a 2 channel sink device, and so it receives only a stereo PCM signal from the source devices. That means that the optical only ever outputs PCM stereo.

A TV's internal tuner and its internal apps are independent of any HDMI handshake. The optical on most smart TVs will provide DD5.1, but only if the tuner or app is playing something with DD5.1 as the sound.

All sources are not equal
Freeview channels that carry DD5.1 aren't that common. Channel 5 HD does, but the audio stream can also be affected by the programme being played at the time. Not all programmes on Ch5 HD have DD5.1

Netflix picture and audio format is variable too. Partly it's down to the broadband speed but also governed by the player device's capabilities. I have read about higher-end TVs that only receive 720p with stereo audio because the manufacturers prefer to guarantee fairly stable streaming in preference to high resolution with multichannel audio.


RO53BEN's alternative solution of a tweak to the TVs service menu is interesting.
Userlevel 3
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The suggestion for a tweak to LG Service Menu isn't relevant to the newer models. Whilst it was necessary a few years back to have an engineer (or use the YouTube instructions) to be able to get the TV to pass through the audio (from an HDMI external device) it's certainly not needed for any of the recent models.

LG have made it relatively easy (and Sonos friendly) to pass through the audio untouched, and there is even an option in the menu to specifically pass it through as "Dolby Digital". What is weird, is that I can't get a single source to output DD+ from Netflix. LG TVs are DD only, same with Apple TV and same with PS4 (interestingly the PS4 used to do it until a firmware upgrade about a year ago where they decided it was more beneficial to spend the bandwidth on picture rather than the audio).

The handshake discussion is interesting because I feed one of my Playbars with a Zone 2 output from my AV amp in other room. If I play a Blu-Ray that was in DTS, then you obviously get silence. But if I play a Dolby TrueHD stream and turn on the LG TV, my amp does a handshake, realises it can't handle the audio, and so downgrades it down to Dolby Digital - which is quite neat (and you can see it change on the Amp display).

With regards to Freeview - BBC gives 5.1 (but iPlayer does not!), ITV refuses to do anything beyond 2.0. All the recent showings of the Harry Potter films and The Hobbits etc all broadcast in Stereo (even via Sky).
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Had to remove the EDID emulator device, with it installed I had to reboot the entire system every time I turned the TV on. Not very convenient. Sounds like there's next to nothing being broadcast in DD5.1 anyway, so I guess I won't worry about it. Kind of a disappointment though, sure would have liked to hear what DD5.1 sounded like from this play 3s, sub, and playbar Sonos system.
Userlevel 4
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The suggestion for a tweak to LG Service Menu isn't relevant to the newer models. Whilst it was necessary a few years back to have an engineer (or use the YouTube instructions) to be able to get the TV to pass through the audio (from an HDMI external device) it's certainly not needed for any of the recent models.


Interesting, my TV is only a year old but I believe the premium OLED models have something of a slower development cycle. I know when I bought mine, the LCD models already had newer software that wasn't available on the OLED. My TV had a 2015 (rev. A) and 2016 (rev. D) model, the latter added HDMI 2.0a and HDR support at hardware level. I believe the HDMI passthru was something of a licensing restriction so they added it to the service menu to allow it to be added by engineers later once the licensing was sorted.


LG have made it relatively easy (and Sonos friendly) to pass through the audio untouched, and there is even an option in the menu to specifically pass it through as "Dolby Digital". What is weird, is that I can't get a single source to output DD+ from Netflix. LG TVs are DD only, same with Apple TV and same with PS4 (interestingly the PS4 used to do it until a firmware upgrade about a year ago where they decided it was more beneficial to spend the bandwidth on picture rather than the audio).


I've been playing with this too, I believe it may be an app limitation however. Netflix currently supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for one of its movies, but I get neither of those when playing them on either the internal app, the app on my Samsung UHD blu-ray player, or my Fire TV 4k - although it's well known the latter supports neither. The internal LG Netflix app could support either but appears to support none. LIkewise the Samsung app appears very restricted, along with other apps like Plex.

If you don't get DD+ working, however, it won't work well with Playbar. The on board Dolby decoder will understand DD+ but it won't be able to handle the bandwidth required and will work for a few seconds until the buffer gets full and it starts dropping data.


The handshake discussion is interesting because I feed one of my Playbars with a Zone 2 output from my AV amp in other room. If I play a Blu-Ray that was in DTS, then you obviously get silence. But if I play a Dolby TrueHD stream and turn on the LG TV, my amp does a handshake, realises it can't handle the audio, and so downgrades it down to Dolby Digital - which is quite neat (and you can see it change on the Amp display).


I've seen similar behaviour and was somewhat disappointed by it. We were watching a DTS-HD Master Audio movie in the living room and my wife turned on the Samsung kitchen TV to watch the end of the film whilst she cooked. This forced something of a handshake and the living room started putting out only basic Dolby 5.1. I would expect the zone 2 feed to transcode on the fly for that output and not interrupt the main feed. Hopefully it may be an option in the settings that I haven't found yet - I haven't had any time to investigate since.


With regards to Freeview - BBC gives 5.1 (but iPlayer does not!), ITV refuses to do anything beyond 2.0. All the recent showings of the Harry Potter films and The Hobbits etc all broadcast in Stereo (even via Sky).


Yeah, as Lucid AV said, it varies a lot not just between channels but between programmes. Top Gear will be 1080p/DD5.1 but most programmes will be 1080i/PCM2.0. Sky Q will even do Atmos now on supported broadcasts.
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Had to remove the EDID emulator device, with it installed I had to reboot the entire system every time I turned the TV on. Not very convenient. Sounds like there's next to nothing being broadcast in DD5.1 anyway, so I guess I won't worry about it. Kind of a disappointment though, sure would have liked to hear what DD5.1 sounded like from this play 3s, sub, and playbar Sonos system. Dig out a DVD player or Blu-ray player (so long as it has Optical out) and play a movie.
Userlevel 4
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Dig out a DVD player or Blu-ray player (so long as it has Optical out) and play a movie.

Just don't watch The Big Blue 🆒
Userlevel 5
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I run Netflix through my Samsung BD-F6500 and there are plenty of series and films in 5.1 (all listed in the description).

As far as UK TV goes with my Virgin Media Tivo I've only really seen 5.1 on Sky Movies so far, Film4 and most "normal" channels are stereo..
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Had to remove the EDID emulator device, with it installed I had to reboot the entire system every time I turned the TV on. Not very convenient. Sounds like there's next to nothing being broadcast in DD5.1 anyway, so I guess I won't worry about it. Kind of a disappointment though, sure would have liked to hear what DD5.1 sounded like from this play 3s, sub, and playbar Sonos system.

OK, so I confirmed that the TV is passing DD5.1 to the Playbar. At least when playing a DVD. It's awesome. Does that mean that I've confirmed that my setup will pass DD5.1 from any OTA sources, if it's supplied as such?

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