Playbar & Sub With Sky HD Setup

  • 10 January 2017
  • 26 replies

Badge +1
I have a Playbar & Sub with Samsung Tv (it doesn't pass through digital audio) connected to the Playbar optical input. Sky HD, Bluray DVD and Apple TV all connected to the TV by HDMI's.

All Audio In received by the Playbar is Stereo but I'm looking to get the best audio possible and aiming for DD 5.1 assuming that will improve the audio quality for my set up? I'm not looking to add Play 1's as rear speakers at least not in the foreseeable.

I've played around with the digital optical plugging Sky directly into the Playbar and get differing results depending on the audio format of the programme being broadcast. In cases where DD 5.1 is received by the Playbar all is good, however, when Stereo or DD 2.0 is received the audio is out of sync with the TV.

I have ordered a dual optical in switch with single out to connect the TV and Sky to the Playbar but given the syncing issues I wonder whether it's worth it and indeed whether the audio will be noticeably improved for my current set up.

Any advice you could offer would be very much appreciated.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

26 replies

Badge +2
Hi No1Miller,

That pretty much exactly mirrors my setup (Samsung TV, Playbar, Sub, Sky HD, Apple TV, PS4) and for me the optical switch has solved any issues I had and allows quick and easy selection of optical audio sources with no sync issues (that I can notice).

I would go ahead with the optical switch and make any adjustments for sync issues when everything is connected.

Badge +1
Hi Greg

I've thanks for the reply. I've also got Apple TV & Bluray DVD attached but 90% of the time watch content from Sky so I want to concentrate on getting that sorted.

As a test I attached the optical out from a Sky direct to the Playbar with HDMI to the TV. With DD5.1 content everything worked perfectly but with lower quality feeds audio and video are out of sync. I don't want to have to continually adjust syncing depending on content quality so unless I can find a permanent fix for all I'm thinking I might have to stick with stereo audio and the tv optical direct to the Playbar.

Obviously will give the optical switch a go but I'm not hopeful.

Any ideas?

The Sky box could be responsible for the difference in latency between 5.1 and 2.0 from its optical out. In my experience PLAYBAR's latency doesn't change significantly with source.

It must be a substantial difference for you to notice though. It's pretty hard to discern a change of 20ms.

If the Sky box is that variable, one solution might be to use an HDMI switcher with built in audio extractor, instead of an optical switch. All HDMIs would go to the switch, with a single feed to the TV. An optical from the switch then goes to the PLAYBAR.
Badge +1
Hi Ratty
Thanks for the reply but the tv doesn't pass through digital sound so I'm guessing the HDMI suggestion probably wouldn't work for my set up?

I'm thinking I may have missed an obvious solution :-

Optical from Tv & Sky to Optical Switch to Playbar then if there's a sync issue on certain content from Sky I switch to TV on the Optical Switch. Does that sound plausible?


the tv doesn't pass through digital sound so I'm guessing the HDMI suggestion probably wouldn't work for my set up?
My suggestion was that you extract the audio from the HDMI before the TV. If you also play in-TV sources -- its tuner or apps -- you'd still need an optical from the TV as well.

If your TV has ARC (Audio Return Channel) on the HDMI you could use that instead, for both in-TV and extra-TV sources (Sky etc.).

Optical from Tv & Sky to Optical Switch to Playbar then if there's a sync issue on certain content from Sky I switch to TV on the Optical Switch. Does that sound plausible?

That could also work. You'll want to keep the PLAYBAR's lip-sync adjustment at minimum (the default), and dial up a bit of delay in the Sky box to suit your taste.
Userlevel 7
Badge +22

ratty's suggestion is fine - that is exactly what I do - Obviously if you collect all your input sources into an HDMI switcher and output the audio directly into the Playbar from the switcher then what the TV does to audio pass through becomes irrelevant.

I also get some issues with lip sync that I notice between TV audio sources (My Samsung Will pass DD5.1 via ARC to the HDMI switcher) and my satellite PVR (Which is basically the equivalent of your SKY box) - I find I have to change the audio sync on my Sonos Playbar and also on the PVR
There is another option for the delay-sensitive: an S/PDIF switch with per-input delay settings. I use the Felston DD740. However they're not cheap.
Badge +1
Hi Stuart, Ratty,

Thanks for the explanation...every day's a school day :-)

You given me a few options there so I'll stick with it and see how it goes with the optical switch (seeing as it's just been delivered) and if that doesn't work try a few more suggestions.

I'll get back to you if I get stuck...which I probably will!

Userlevel 3
Badge +1
After trying several options, I've ended up with a One For All SV 1620 HDMI switch ( and a Neet audio extractor ( which sits between the TV and the switch and is then connected to the Playbar.

As long as all your devices support CEC the SV 1620 seamlessly switches between them (no UHD/4K support though). Other switches I tried either didn't auto-switch or did but also auto-powered off and sometimes didn't wake up.

Now I have no lip sync issues on any source (Humax Freeview box and Apple TV) and full 5.1 when it is available.
Badge +1
Thanks for that Jack. That gives me another option. I was on the verge of packing in and accepting lesser quality audio but I'll preserve now. I can't watch TV out of sync though it's more than a tad irritating!

Badge +1

Having installed the Optical Switcher (Sky & TV Optical Outs to Optical Switcher + Optical Switcher Out to Playbar) then adjusting the Digital Audio Delay on the Sky Box, testing so far appears to have resolved the lip sync issue I was experiencing.


You mentioned ARC. My TV does have this capability so keeping the above set up, if I attach my Blu Ray DVD via HDMI to the HDMI ARC on the TV will that give digital output from the Blu Ray to th Playbar? If so do I need to specify a particular audio output from the Blu Ray?


You also mentioned using ARC with your Samsung TV. How do you use it?

Many thanks for helping me sort the lip sync issue so quickly.


Userlevel 7
Badge +22
One of the HDMI inputs on your TV should be ARC compatible - this means that the TV will pass audio from the TV Tuner or on-bard apps when viewing back down the HDMI cable that links the switch to the TV.
Badge +1
Hi Stuart
My TV does have an ARC but I'm using an Optical Switch - Sky & TV connected to the switch so I'm not sure this would work for me unless I change to an HDMI switcher.
Userlevel 2
Badge +1
Hi, I had the same issue and went for a cheap HDMI 4 to 1 Switch with Toslink Optical out. all devices in to the HDMI, HDMI to TV and Optical out to Playbar. Works a treat though I some time need to manually select the HDMI source. Only issue i have and it is a SKY issue. the output is noticeably low(10 to 15db)
Hope that is helpful. It is great when it works
Badge +1
Thanks gavingks

I bought a decent 2 to 1 optical switcher which is doing the job perfectly for Sky and depending on content I'm getting DD5.1 which sound great. I've still got Apple TV (optical version) and Blu Ray (which doesn't have an optical out) connected to the TV by HDMI so I only get stereo sound but I can't say we use them that often. To be honest we listen to music and watch TV through Sky most of the time so I can live with the current set up.

I guess in time I might upgrade to a 4 to 1 optical switcher which would sort Apple and get a Blu Ray with optical out. In the short term I might give the HDMI switch a go.

Badge +1
Hello folks

Just purchased a playbase to add to an existing sonos system, and now banging my head against this Dolby signal issue too. My TV doesn't pass on the Dolby signal from my sky box, so the playbase is little more than an exhorbitantly expensive ghetto blaster.

Long term we will look to find a TV that does pass on the DD signal, but for now will content myself with getting a DD signal from the Sky box. I've read what sounds like people running HDMI and optical out of their sky box, HDMI carrying picture to TV, Optical carrying sound to Playbase/bar. But when I try that it doesn't work, picture goes to TV fine but no sound to the Playbase. Is this set up possible and I'm missing a setting / option, or is it impossible and I've misread?

Any advice will be hugely appreciated, I'm normally fairly savvy at this kind of thing but this has stumped me, and is massively at odds with the usual plug-and-play Sonos joy.

Cheers, Matt

As a complete guess, I'd suspect that you haven't set the audio settings on the SkyBox device. I'd guess that it is sending something other than Dolby Digital to the PLAYBAR/PLAYBASE.

I'd also recommend, as a side thing, that you submit a diagnostic in this thread: and get the latest beta release, which seems to be resolving some issues with dolby digital encoding.
Badge +1
Hi Bruce

Thanks for the reply. I've tried a number of options:

Option 1 - SKY HD to TV via HDMI / TV to PLAYBASE via Optical

The problem here is I cannot get the TV to even RECEIVE a DOLBY DIGITAL signal from the SKY HD box (let alone pass it on to the PLAYBASE). Taking the PLAYBASE out of the equation for now, I've connected my Sky HD box to the TV using HDMI. The TV HDMI Setting is set to DIGITAL, and the SKY HD box audio output settings are set to HDMI - DOLBY D, but there is no sound coming from the TV speakers. If I set the SKY HD HDMI output settings to ANALOGUE, then sound comes from the TV speakers.

This suggests to me that the TV is incapable of receiving a DOLBY DIGITAL signal over HDMI (let alone passing it on via Optical). And yet, on the front of the TV's Operating Instructions, there is a DOLBY DIGITAL logo, which would suggest that the TV IS capable of receiving and processing a DOLBY DIGITAL signal. I've raised this one with Panasonic.

In this configuration, and now connecting the PLAYBASE, if I do set the SKY HD HDMI Output to Analogue, the TV receives a signal and does pass it on to the PLAYBASE via Optical, but it's only a stereo signal, which makes the cost and complexity of the PLAYBASE kinda pointless.

Option 2 - SKY HD to to TV via HDMI AND via direct to PLAYBASE via Optical

The problem here is that there is no sound at all. The picture goes to the TV fine, but the PLAYBASE is receiving nothing from the SKY HD Box (this is confirmed when checking the system status in the SONOS App - No signal). The SKY HD Box Optical Output and HDMI Outputs are both set to Dolby D, but it is either sending nothing or the PLAYBAR is receiving nothing. If I change the Optical output to 'Normal', still nothing. If I change the HDMI output to Normal then sounds comes from the TV speakers, but still nothing from the PLAYBASE.

Does any of that help or sound familiar?

I have sent the diagnostic as suggested and will go and log the number in that thread now

Thanks again, Matt
Userlevel 3
Badge +3
It sounds like you're doing everything correctly, so this is all very odd. Your Option 1 sounds like an issue with the TV; does your TV have internal apps like Netflix you could test? It may pass 5.1 internally only, and not from external devices.

For your option 2 - Sky generally plays well with a TV signal being sent via HDMI and sound via optical (indeed quite a few years back it was the only way to get DD5.1). Sounds like either your Sky box is faulty or your optical cable is faulty - can you try a different cable?
Badge +1
Hi D33p5t3r

Option 1 is definitely a TV issue, which I've contacted Panasonic support about to see what Dolby Digital capabilities the TV has (if any), and also of any of their newer models have capability to pass a Dolby Digitak signal through from HDMI to Optical. I will update the relevant threads based on their response

Option 2: well, that's reassuring that I'm setting it up right at least. I'm currently on a verrrry long online chat with sky to get an engineer out to check the box and replace it if faulty. I've also ordered another optical cable to double check that.

Will keep the thread updated!

Cheers, Matt
Badge +1
As a quick update....

I ordered this off amazon yesterday:

It arrived this afternoon and has sorted the issue. The Sky+ HDMI-out now runs into this little £20 plastic thing, which sends picture to TV via HDMI and 5.1 sound to PLAYBASE via Optical. The Sky+ "Digital Audio Output-HDMI" is set to Dolby D.

The PLAYBASE has completely come alive.

It's satisfying to have 'solved' the problem, but still utterly ridiculous that a £700 PLAYBASE, £700 sub, £600 TV and £50/month SKY box require a £20 bit of Chinese plastic to make them work properly.

But there you go...

I'm convinced the direct route of SKY+ > optical > PLAYBASE should work without the need to engage 3rd party plastic switches, so will keep working at it. But if anyone else is suffering the same issue, buy the thingy from Amazon. It works.
You know, I'm just a Yank, so I'm not familiar with Sky much, but from what you say, I agree, it sounds to me like there's something wrong with the Sky box. If it is indeed set to Dolby Digital, then connecting the PLAYBASE directly to it should indeed get your sound, irrespective of the TV set.

Have you perchance had an opportunity to reboot the Sky HD box?

Indeed, I don't think you're doing anything wrong at all, and yes, that box will likely do the trick....assuming the Sky box is working properly and sending a Dolby Digital signal through the HDMI. I just think that is the potential issue here.
Userlevel 3
Badge +3
I agree that it is crazy that you need to buy extra stuff to get everything to work after spending so much on the Sonos gear. The only other suggestion I had if you're getting nowhere with Sky's engineers, do you have an Apple TV you can use to test? It's the easiest thing to test with Sonos as it does a simple DD output (not DD+ etc etc). That should help you narrow down very quickly whether it's your Sky Box or the optical cable.
Badge +1
Hi Bruce and D33p5t3r

The optical cable is working fine between the plastic splitter thingy and the PLAYBASE, so seems the problem is probably the Sky box. There must be something in there that makes the optical output override (or tandem with) the hdmi output to enable optical to carry the audio when both HDMI and optical are being used. Whatever that is, it doesn't seem to be working, despite numerous reboots. The Sky box is only sending audio via HDMI, not optical. Sky are sending an engineer out next week to have a look and fix or replace the box - will update again!

Cheers, Matt
To quote Mr. Spock, fascinating. Look forward to hearing what they have to say.