I have a Playbar, and a Samsung TV that won't pass through 5.1 from its optical out if the input is HDMI. Our Motorola cable box is connected to our TV using HDMI, and I want to get the 5.1 when I watch TV.
I've looked through the questions and answers posted here and elsewhere, and it seems like some people have used an HDMI switch from Monoprice with an optical out to get around this problem. The suggestion is to connect the HDMI source to the HDMI switch, and the HDMI switch sends out the full 5.1 audio through the optical out and into the Playbar. (I'll call this the "HDMI switch" approach.)
The other approach is to connect the cable box's optical out directly to the Playbar. (I'll call this the "cable box direct" approach.) This works, but I don't like this approach because we leave our cable box on at all times, and when we turn off the TV, the Playbar still plays audio from the cable box, as the Playbar has no idea that the TV's been turned off. It's an inconvenience that I don't want to have to deal with.
Note that with either approach, there is no physical connection from the TV to the Playbar.
Having said all that, the main issue for me is that we use the TV's built-in Netflix and Amazon Video apps. If I went with the HDMI switch approach, then, when we watch Netflix, there will be no audio sent to the Playbar.
I looked into HDMI switches and ARC (using ARC to send the Netflix audio back to the HDMI switch, then out to the optical out), but this doesn't seem like it's been tested.
I also thought about using an optical out switch, where I could switch between optical out sources. However, to do this, I would have to get an HDMI switch with optical out, then connect that optical output into the optical out switch, then to the Playbar. That seems like a lot of work/money/effort.
Samsung TV won't pass through 5.1 on optical out if input is HDMI, need suggestions
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I am considering purchasing the Playbar but I'm worried that I may encounter silence at any time e.g. from blu-ray discs or from the Netflix app or Amazon app on the TV.
Will I merely get stereo for now (I am not purchasing a sub yet or any surround speakers)?
I used to have a Yamaha digital sound projector connected but moved that upstairs since it didn't have 4K passthrough.
I hope to expand the Playbar in the future but I've seen on other review sites that DTS is a big issue for the Sonos systems.
Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks.
The TV should too. That is set in settings> sound. Look at the TV manual for optical output options.
yes, the problem is that many devices use EDID info coming from your TV to decide what audio data to feed to the TV. Almost all TV's report in EDID that they can receive only 2ch stereo (part of HDCP policy and copyright agreements .. yes, stupid, I know). You need to fake the EDID data to fool the source device to start to feed surround sound to your TV. But of course, in some cases, the TV really can't pass the surround sound to the digital audio output (HDMI ARC or Optical). But it's worth the try.
You can use HW devices to fake the EDID data (see the replies above).
On Windows the EDID data can be faked by SW - no HW box needed between your Windows HTPC and TV. Just use utility "Custom Resolution Utility" (search the web and download, it's easy to find) and create your own EDID according to your needs (create Custom extension block - add Audio formats 5.1, add Speaker setup 5.1, add HDMI support with "Support audio information" checked) and restart Windows. Then you'll be able in Windows speaker setup to choose 5.1 to be fed to your TV.
- SWJunkie -
Thank you this solved all my issues with HTPC based surround sound 🙂
I have three HDMI inputs into my Samsung plasma and use the optical audio out from the TV to my Playbase. I just added two Play 1s for surround sound. Unfortunately, Dolby Digital is grayed out on my TV audio settings. It can only output PCM, which is 2.1. Sonos converts the signal into 5.1, but it's a matrix, like Dolby Pro Logic. Generally it's okay, but I can't stand hearing dialog from the surround speakers when it should only be coming from the center channel.
Note: I don't own, nor have I ever owned a Samsung TV set.
Here's my setup:
- AppleTV 4k HDMI In (not ARC)
- Samsung 4k TV
- Sonos Beam + Sub + 2 Play:1's (plugged into TV via HDMI ARC from Beam)
I banged my head against the wall forever trying to get the any of the Dolby audio output settings to become "un-greyed". Finally, after reading Peep's posting, I played a newly-released episode from a new episode series (so i could be sure that it was true 5.1 content. For the first time yet, the Dolby Digital 5.1 setting on my Samsung 4k tv was no longer greyed out. When I put it to another type of content (in my case, DirectTV Now app on apple tv), the Samsung audio output switches automatically back to only PCM and DTS options (Dolby greyed out). I return to the Netflix 5.1 content, Dolby is no longer greyed out and, best of all, when i go to More > Settings > About My Sonos in the Sonos App, the audio input to the Beam is finally sweet, sweet Dolby 5.1.
So no Monoprice necessary, it was just a matter of the content being output from the original source, the Apple TV4K. Until DirectTV Now supports 4k/Dolby content i'm sort of lost in terms of just watching TV, but I have an answer to something that was sort of irking me for a while. Thanks Peep.
My next option was to try a HDMI switch. I needed something that didn't require external power supply (lack of free plug sockets) that would ideally let me feed sound from PS4 directly to the Beam and so bypassing TV, but also feed sound from TV so I can still use tuner and built in apps. My setup was Optical out on PS4 using the HDMI adapter from Beam > HDMI Switch. Arc socket from TV > HDMI switch and then HDMI switch > Beam. It's a manual switch and when I set it to the PS4 side of the switch it worked perfectly. All I had to do was change sound on TV from receiver to external. Unfortunately when I change the switch to get sound from the ARC port all I get is silence - Beam reports no audio. I'm guessing this is an issue with how the audio is passed through the switch. The TV seems to recognise the Beam when Anynet is enabled it displays Sonos Beam and lets me change volume If I change HDMI source on TV to the ARC one I can see the pattern that comes up on screen so some kind of signal is getting through just not the audio - very frustrating!!
Not sure whether to try a different HDMI switch but struggling to find any that definitively say they will passthrough the ARC signal.