PlayBar needs to support Dolby Digital Plus!


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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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.

The same whitepaper also states that dd+ can be easily converted to dd 640 kbps bitstream without decoding and reencoding. This i what my TV does to be able to send it on the toslink. I'm afraid that Sonos only proofed their functionnality up to DVD audio bitrates of 448 kbps and thus packets are occationnally lost and we get aufio drop outs. Great sound mixed with dead silence. So when Sonos claims they support dd5.1 they really mean dd5.1 used on DVDs. I'm gonna get me a audio card for my computer that has toslink and start testing. I'm tired of never getting a reasonable answer.
Yeah, this is a really bad answer.  The smoke-and-mirrors response that, "many devices are capable of outputting both formats" is FUD.  Most TV's don't convert, regardless of what Sonos says, and lack of DD+ and DTS support is untenable in a product of this price range.  I have yet to get a reasonably priced workaround piece of hardware that will convert an HDMI input from DTS or DD+ to DD5.1 optical out...unless it's a full-blown AVR costing nearly as much as the Playbar itself.  Junk response and poor forward thinking by product development.
Despite the fact that we are all cry babies and whine about the fact that the PlayBar does not support DD+ ... (and a variety of other industry standards)

Yes, i would like to hear DD+ coming out of my PlayBar when using Netflix on my MacMini...
My MacMini can only convert to stereo or pass the signal "as is", so does my Sony Bravia, now i have a problem...

Now Sonos, yes and i have seen you advising people 'not to use Sonos' for such a setup...

Please come up with a real solution, something like:
'buy this fancy schmancy hardware converter from company X that does the trick'
or even better...
shove a $300 SonosTM device down our throats... (win-win i would say, sure buy)

But come with something other than "Sonos might not be the product for you" that is just a lame answer... (note this was an actual official answer on a related topic)
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Dear SONOS,

Have to agree with my fellas here above... We are big fans or we wouldn't be here... Level-up, fix it DD+ & DTS, make us buy something again but stop producing outdated excuses. We are end 2015 and you support dvd's formats... Come on SONOS, show respect to your buyers... And don't tell us it might not be the product for us... We bought it already!
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I am in the same boat as the others. Sonos needs to release a PlayBar 2.0 that allows HDMI input for multiple devices, and then HDMI output to the TV for the video signal. One that works with the existing Sub and Play:1's I have for my existing 5.1 setup. I put a lot of money and faith into the Sonos setup, and have been disappointed whenever I buy a new streaming device that I can't listen to in 5.1 surround because it outputs the audio in DD+. I feel that Sonos has let me down that I have had to make purchase decisions (and return devices) because Sonos is incompatible with the technology. I have waited year after year in hopes that Sonos will release a new PlayBar to address this physical limitation of their choice to go with only Optical-In for their original PlayBar.

When it works, I love my Sonos setup. But I don't like that Sonos limits my choice of devices to use. I am getting tired of waiting.

A trade-in/up program would go a long way for your early adopters who bought into your 5.1 setup.
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Yeah this is pretty ridiculous. I admit I was a mug to go buying a full Sonos 5.1 system without doing my research fully, but the responses from Sonos as to why things that ought to be software updates are not supported (DD+ at least, if not DTS) are very disappointing.

I just want 5.1 out of Netflix. I was actually lucky in that my TV can pass through DD5.1 from HDMI to optical; a lot do not. I originally thought that no DD 5.1 was a limitation of the Netflix Android app, but it looks as though it is playing in 5.1 but using DD+, which my TV transcodes to stereo before passing it to the PlayBar.

I've reverted to illegally downloading whole seasons of the shows I want to watch from Usenet despite having a paid Netflix account, because then I can play the MKVs off my NAS through Kodi and transcode the audio to AC3, which my TV will pass through just fine.

Good job Sonos; your backwards-ass product is making it very difficult to go legit.
I have play 1s connected as surround with playbar and a sub.

OK, that's different. You hadn't stated that before.
Sorry was not really clear on that.
My humble opinion SONOS is not ready for home theater surround system application and they are not really catching up on this and in fact rather falling way back. They have the advantage of good sound but will eventually fall out sooner or later due to such limitations. I'm ok with no DTS but DD5.1+ is also not supported is very dissapointing.
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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:

http://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/dolby-digital-plus-data-sheet.pdf

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

http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/dolby-digital-plus-faq.pdf

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!
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I'm just grateful Sonos decided to support Stereo, after all, many old songs and b&w films are in mono. My old Denon receiver (AVR-F100) bought 14 years ago supported DTS over optical - a format supposedly too demanding for optical. Sonos is all about botching things together - AirPlay Expresses for apple support, errr a poor remote app for limited Spotify, an hdmi or optical switch and a transcoding Bluray player for surround sound. "It's all about the botch", as the recent song goes. Perhaps Sonos should start an accreditation programme for all the extras we need to buy to give us what we want. We just have to accept that at some point, Sonos will release Playbar 2.0 which will hopefully address all these problems and have Spotify Connect and AirPlay from day one. I hope they offer a very generous trade-in programme. Until then, let's celebrate that they gave us stereo and DD5.1 (only)!
Come on Sonos..more issues I'm coming across and what an expensive mistake of purchasing it..
1. Playbar does not support DTS and my TV does not output 5.1, bought an HDMI switch with SPDIF output to resolve this. That's fine.
2. Trying out netflix via chromecast, found out that DD+ is not supported either due to TOSLINK protocol.

Since I 'm in Malaysia and prices here are way more costly and no options of returning my sub and playbar,
I'm stuck with only stereo whilst playing on netflix.
Could you guys buck up or sooner or later you will be having stiff competition with the cheap chromecast audio released and more system having playfi enabled devices.
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
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. https://forums.roku.com/viewtopic.php?t=96623
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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.
Ok thanks for the info.  Apparently my TV, the Samsung UN60ES6100 is not one of them because the only way I can get audio from Netflix through the PlayBar is to select stereo output rather than DD+.  Guess I will need to harp on Roku to decode rather than pass through. 
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This is really disappointing.  I just bought a whole Sonos 5.1 surround system, every component.  I can't enjoy dolby on Netflix?  I wish I had seen this post before I purchased this a few weeks ago.  Why does the Playbar not have HDMI input then?  I spent way too much money on this for this answer 😞
Userlevel 3
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.

Netflix dd+ uses less than 640 kbit/s so it should be ok. It's just the max spec that's higher. Don't think many streaming services use the high bit rates.
Userlevel 3
Sonos have a 90 or 100 days return policy...
Would an PS4/Xbox convert the signal if you used the app via that?
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.

This isn't true a TOSLINK optical connection should be able to handle dolby digital plus :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOSLINK

TOSLINK (from Toshiba Link[2]) is a standardized optical fiber connection system.[3] Also known generically as an "optical audio cable" or just "optical cable", its most common use is in consumer audio equipment (via a "digital optical" socket), where it carries a digital audio stream from components such as CD and DVDplayers, DAT recorders, computers, and modern video game consoles, to an AV receiver that can decode two channels of uncompressed lossless PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound such as Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. Unlike HDMI, TOSLINK does not have the bandwidth to carry the lossless versions of Dolby TrueHDDTS-HD Master Audio and LPCM.

So you are gimping the DTS intentionally and the Dolby Digital Plus due to what?  
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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.

Well, dd+ does have a specified maximum bit rate that is higher than toslink spec. It's just that no streaming service would use that high bit rates for band width reasons.
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.

netflix works fine for me? Apple TV does the conversion
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Yeah, this is a really bad answer.  The smoke-and-mirrors response that, "many devices are capable of outputting both formats" is FUD.  Most TV's don't convert, regardless of what Sonos says, and lack of DD+ and DTS support is untenable in a product of this price range.  I have yet to get a reasonably priced workaround piece of hardware that will convert an HDMI input from DTS or DD+ to DD5.1 optical out...unless it's a full-blown AVR costing nearly as much as the Playbar itself.  Junk response and poor forward thinking by product development.
Tell me when you find a decent transcoder. I just bought an xbox one to test if netflix will work through that one.
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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:

http://www.dolby.com/us/en/technologies/dolby-digital-plus-data-sheet.pdf

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

http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/dolby-digital-plus-faq.pdf

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.
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I have one local OTA station that, while a violation of ATSC, is using eAC3 instead of AC3 for their audio. This is for the same reason many streaming services use eAC3: its capable of the same sound quality as AC3 using less bandwidth. They are using it to squeeze as much bandwidth out of the ATSC channel as possible, so get an extra sub-channel in.

I've also done testing re-encoding a movie with various settings in Handbrake. You can do AC3 all the way up to 1.544mbit (which is actually again a violation of the spec, which says AC3 should be no more than 640kbit) and the Playbar will play it back fine. But encode it as eAC3 and remain within the 1.544mbit of TOSLINK (even well below it, like choosing 640kbit) and the Playbar cannot decode it.

And my TV (a 2015 850C series Sony) does not transcode eAC3 down to AC3. So I'll add that I, too, would really like to see the Playbar support eAC3 file format, since a lot of streaming services are using it at well below TOSLINK max bitrate because it reduces their bandwidth charges and saves them money.