PlayBar needs to support Dolby Digital Plus!

  • 2 April 2014
  • 32 replies

Why does the PlayBar not support Dolby Digital Plus decoding? Is this a hardware vs software issue? It pains my soul to have to go into the Netflix audio settings and select stereo output when I'm sitting here with this glorious PlayBar that should be capable of delivering the beauty of full blown surround. Is it possible to do some sort of a software update that would enable the decoding of DD+ from Netflix via the Roku (which is sending the signal as a passthrough)?

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32 replies

I've said from the beginning the Playbar is good for a bedroom TV, but it is no substitute for a true Home Theater application. Then again, I'm of the opinion that any type of soundbar is not a true Home Theater application, so I'm pretty much a purist. Doesn't stop me from using a Playbar in the bedroom for its excellent sound, especially compared to the tiny speakers in most flat panels.
Ya I guess so..probably I would do that and replace my old surround in my bedroom and move on. Gives me a reason to look for the latest home theater with reasonable cost 🙂 . Just wanted SONOS team to read this feedback as its such a good system to have but a pity of its inadequacy on streaming certain well known formats out there.
I just bought the sony hw65es and I am looking for a 5.1 wireless setup. I own a sonos play1. I like how well the sonos system works so I thought of getting the 5.1 sonos system, but looks like I have to looks elsewhere
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I see this as "plenty of blame to go around". Supporting DTS would be prudent from a blu-ray perspective. Why the hell my Roku won't convert DD+ to DD annoys me too. My Netflix app built in to my LG TV puts DD to the Playbar just fine. Use the TV Netflix app and I get true 5.1 surround. Use the Roku and I get stereo. If my TV is handling the conversion I wish it would do it for HDMI. DD 5.1 was a standard for a reason. It annoys me equally that devices can't output it as an option in their setup. Lots of AV receivers getting obsoleted by this nonsense as well.
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These "brochures" pointed to also give the direction the industry is going with audio in the A/V arena and thats HDMI concetivity, thus leaving Sonos behind with their current offerings.

Either Sonos need to catch up with the rest of the A/V industry or stick to streaming stereo audio, and make it clear that they don't fully support home theatre setups.

Quoting TOSLINK as not having enough bandwidth just shows the short sightedness of the Sonos development team.
The PLAYBAR does not support Dolby Digital Plus because it cannot be transmitted over optical, the bandwidth is too high.  Dolby Digital Plus can only be transmitted via HDMI.

Because Dolby Digital Plus is built upon Dolby Digital, many devices are capable of outputting both formats.  Additionally, there are a number of televisions that will automatically convert from Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital when outputting the source via optical.

I understand the confusion, this Wikipedia page appears to be inaccurate. Here's the whitepaper published by Dolby on Dolby Digital Plus:

Under the section labeled Connectivity and Compatibility you'll see what's supported.  There's also another paper published by Dolby here:

Which states:
What type of connector is required to transport Dolby Digital Plus content?
A high-bandwidth HDMITM 1.3 digital interface will transport Dolby Digital Plus bitstream signals directly to advanced digital A/V receivers equipped with Dolby Digital Plus decoding. Multichannel Dolby Digital Plus signals decoded inside the player can also be transported to a connected A/V receiver via analog outputs. Dolby Digital Plus signals decoded to PCM inside the player can be transported via HDMI 1.1, HDMI 1.2, and HDMI 1.3 connections, and the majority of Blu-ray players support this capability. 

Hope this helps clear it up, it just looks like there's an issue with the Wikipedia entry for TOSLINK.

Agree with other commenters. The 5.1 setup isn't fully realised with the Sonos system and this isn't fully publicised when buying the units! (Unable to watch Netflix through Chromecast in 5.1).

Sonos, could you please suggest a decoder/transcoder/solution or stop advertising as 5.1 compatible? 90% of the content I watch has to be downgraded to stereo!
The Roku Ultra (2016) will convert DD+ to DD, and Netflix and other Roku apps then get 5.1 audio through playbar. Thats the only Roku thats supports the conversion though. The newest 2017 ultra model does not do it.