New to Sonos Playbar world, how to get ROKU to do 5.1 sound

I have a samsung tv with optical out, HDMI in, exlink. I currently have my roku connected to my TV through HDMI, but I don't think its outputting 5.1 How Can I remedy this situation. Thanks for all the help!

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16 replies

I'd think that you might start by looking at Roku's help page:

Then I'd go in and check the audio settings on your Samsung TV to be sure that it's set to Dolby Digital on the pass through.
My samsung TV doesn't allow me to set on dolby digital, it is greyed out
Then I'd recommend you chat with the customer service folks at Samsung, and figure out why.
its a fairly common thing for tvs to currently not offer pass through 5.1, therefore I think I need a workaround, I don't think samsung will get me very far.
Hmm. That's news to me. I'd have thought most modern TVs would offer pass-through, though I'll admit I haven't shopped for a TV in a few years. There's quite a few threads around here about Samsung issues, but the search function on these boards are persnickety. Perhaps do a google search for others with your particular TV and Sonos, and see what comes up?

The alternate workaround, also mentioned in many threads on this board in many places, is a optical splitter/switch that is inserted before the TV, which takes HDMI input, pulls out the optical output, and then sends the video signal out to the TV via HDMI. Flexson makes one, but there are many here who use one made by a company that starts with an O (Optima? I just don't remember, since I don't own one). You could do a search on Amazon for HDMI Switch with optical out, and probably get a list of a few, and pick one that tickles your fancy.
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What's the model number of that Samsung TV? We can check for you if it's able to pass DD5.1 over optical.
Its Samsung un48h6350af, thanks for checking
Userlevel 7
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According to the review here that TV is unable to pass 5.1 from HDMI to Optical Out. From what I've seen, almost all newer Samsung TVs are able to do this though.

An HDMI switcher with an optical out would probably be your best bet. Have the HDMI sources go to that switcher and then have that wired to your PLAYBAR
Would this work? Sewell Direct SW-30537 Lightwave 3x1 Optical Toslink Switch With Remote

Connect my optical out from both my TV and ROKU to this and then connect that to the Playbar? or some other technique?
It looks like you (RYAN S) are suggesting something like this: Monoprice 5557 4X1 HDMI Switcher Toslink & Digital Coaxial Port 3D support

How does my audio from my tv go to sonos using this? Do I connect my HDMI out from my TV and HDMI out from ROKU to the HDMI in on this and connect only the optical out to sonos?
Userlevel 7
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That Monoprice one has been suggested a number of times on the community and I've seen it work well. And yes, that HDMI out from the TV to the switch should do it, unless all your sources are HDMI, and then you can just skip the TV and have them all go to the switch instead.
I use my TV antenna, and a ROKU, thats it.... somewhere I read something about ARC, it looks like the standard monoprice doesn't have it, will it work?
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The HDMI switch does need to support ARC in order to get the TV audio and then pass it along to the audio component (such as a PLAYBAR or PLAYBASE). You may need to look at an HDMI switch such as this one here. However, keep in mind that not all HDMI switches process audio at the same rate and that this switch allows for the optical output to be turned on and off (so an accidental button press can leave you without audio).
Userlevel 2
Given your setup, I'd probably opt for the optical switch over the HDMI one. I've used the Monoprice 5557 before and it was fine, but unnecessary if you only have one HDMI source and cleaner to not have to mess with ARC. Go for one that does not have auto-switching (meaning that it switches to the active input) or at least has an option to disable it as your TV will always be outputting over optical in this setup and it could make it tricky to get it to switch to the Roku.

Couple other important considerations here.

I'm assuming your Roku actually has an optical output as that's what you're proposing to use. Most of them don't, however, so confirm that if you haven't already - I believe it's only the last-gen Roku 4 and Ultra that do along with maybe some very early models.

2nd issue is that many streaming sources encode in Dolby Digital Plus rather than plain Dolby Digital. DD+ cannot travel over optical, so unless the device can do the conversion, you'll only be able to get stereo, defeating the purpose of this more-complicated setup. Assuming again that you have one of the few models with an optical out, you'll want to confirm that the box will do this conversion (I know the Roku Ultra has a setting to do so, but not sure about others). If the device won't convert DD+ to DD, there's no way to get 5.1 to the Playbar.

Only other scenario I can think of is if if you don't have an optical out on the Roku, but the Roku will do DD+ to DD conversion. Latest generation of boxes don't have the optical, but I'm not sure if they will do the conversion (I suspect not). If this is the case, though, you'll want one of those HDMI switches with optical out. I don't have any experience with ARC, so can't comment on how reliably you'd be able to get audio from your TV to go through that switch to the Playbar. One option would be the HDMI switch and the optical switch working together, but that's probably more complicated than you want.
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Going to correct myself here as I think the Roku Ultra is actually a current-generation model and appears to be the only one that has an optical out and the ability to transcode DD+ to DD. Seems to me that unless you have this model or an older one with similar features (if that exists), you're out of luck. Might be worth the $100 and change to get it, though, if it's the primary way that you use your TV.
I have the same problem with my new Roku Ultra. When streaming Netflix via my Roku Ultra (2017), my Samsung UN60KS8000F TV is unable to pass through a DD 5.1 signal to my Sonos Playbar. My Roku Ultra is connected to my Samsung via an HDMI cable, and my Sonos Playbar is connected to my TV via an optical cable. My Play Bar is also set up for 5.1 (Connect Amp and a Sub). My Sonos app shows a my Playbar audio in as "stereo".

When I stream Netflix via my TV app I am able to stream movies and hear DD 5.1, however, when I stream Netflix via my Roku Ultra, my Samsung does not recognize DD 5.1. When I stream Netflix via my Roku Ultra, my Samsung audio format only shows PCM and DTS Neo 2:5, The Dolby Digital and DTS is greyed out. Just wanted to know why this is happening, it is more convenient to use my Roku Ultra for watching live TV and Netflix, thanks in advance for any suggestions.