onos Playbar + Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019 = Dolby Digital 5.1 from Plex / Netflix / Prime Video / Kodi apps

  • 9 November 2019
  • 6 replies

[ X-posted from /r/sonos forum on Reddit ]


I'm a long suffering Sonos Playbar owner who has wasted a lot of time and money trying to get 5.1 surround sound working from my Nvidia Shield TV 2015 edition. From the number of posts on the Sonos and Nvidia user forums I'm clearly not alone.

Last week I picked up the new Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019 and I'm happy to report that the Sonos is now seeing DD 5.1 from all of the sources I mentioned above. This is confirmed both by my ears but also via the Sonos mobile app > System > About My System > Playbar TV > "Audio In: Dolby Digital 5.1"

My hardware setup: Nvidia Shield TV Pro 2019 : HDMI Out --> HDMI In : Samsung TV UA65F9000AKXXS : Optical Audio Out --> Optical Audio in : Sonos Playbar

The new Shield TV Pro 2019 has new audio settings that the old model didn't and it is handling the conversion of pretty much any surround sound format into whatever audio formats the connected device can support, which for the Playbar is just AC3 (Dolby Digital). For me this just worked out of the box for the Netflix and Prime Video apps and with a few audio settings changes for Plex and Kodi.

Shield TV > Settings > Device Preferences > Display & Sounds > Advanced Sound Controls > Available formats:

  • Auto: Use the formats your audio device reports supporting (recommended)

  • Manual: Select which formats to use

  • None: Never use surround sound

I'm using the default "Auto" selection but if you select manual then you can toggle these options:

  • Dolby Atmos

  • Dolby MAT

  • AC3 (Dolby Digital)

  • E-AC3 (Dolby Digital Plus/DD+)

  • DTS

  • DTS-HD

  • AAC

  • Dolby TrueHD

Source Android TV app audio settings:

  • Plex - Username > Settings > Advanced > Passthrough: HDMI

  • Netflix - defaults

  • Amazon Prime Video - defaults

  • Kodi - System > System > Audio > Audio Decoder > Number of channels: 5.1

  • Kodi - System > System > Audio > Audio Passthrough > Allow passthrough [On]

The new Shield TV remote is also able to control the volume on the Playbar via the IR blaster built in to the remote and the setup for that was also straight forward.

If the Nvidia marketing team happens to read this you would be well served by making all of the above explicit in your product marketing materials because elegantly handling conversion of surround sound formats is a significant USP for this device.

6 replies

Dear rossveitch_2, thank you for this very interesting post.

I have too a Shield Pro 2019 and a Sonos Beam with 2x Play 1 as surround and I confirm that it’s working perfectly and well supported as Dolby Digital 5.1 for NetFlix but unfortunately, under Plex, it’s working only with AC3 or E- AC3 movies.

Any DTS movies are still converted as Stereo under the Sonos app and not Dolby Digital 5.1.

This is not the case with Apple TV but with the Shield, any DTS movies are in Stereo and not Dolby Digital 5.1. grrrrrrrrr. I have well activated the HDMI pathrough on Plex, but no chance.

If someone can help me, that would be grateful.


I’ve been waiting for a post like this for years. Thanks!!!!

me too but still in stereo with Plex if movies are DTS encoded. 

Absolutely would like to see this. I haven't been able to figure out the optimal solution here. 

This would have to be fixed by Plex but I never found a fix on Plex’s forums…. If anyone can help us, that would be grate. 

Userlevel 2

I reverted back to using the settings I did on the Old Shield to force 5.1 on DTS using the settings from this thread:

Followed the rest of whats on here and glad to see better 5.1 support over the Optical cable.