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Setting up Beam with Direct Tv, Bluray player, and audio extractor

  • 13 January 2020
  • 10 replies
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I currently have a Samsung Q60r 43” television connected to Sonos Beam via HDMI ARC.  Direct TV Genie and Samsung Blueray player are connected to television via HDMI.  I remedied a lip-sync problem by turning off Dolby Digital on the Direct Tv Genie menu and switching the Samsung television to PCM.  But now, like others on this site, I only get stereo on the Beam.  When I turn Dolby Digital back on in the Direct Tv Genie menu, I get Dolby Digital thru the beam, but the lip sync problem (audio is slightly ahead of video) comes back (albeit ever so slightly). Other posts on this site suggest using an audio extractor so that the audio is in sync with the video.  I bought one and tried it out but couldn’t get it work properly.  Anyway, I was thinking about trying again, because I would really like to take advantage of the Dolby Digital capability of the Beam. 

My questions are these: What are the proper setup/connections for the extractor?  I understand that the Direct TV Genie and the Blueray player should connect via the HDMI inputs on the extractor, but which HDMI output on the extractor goes to the Beam, and which one goes to the television?  (PS- the extractor I was going to buy has an HDMI-ARC output and a regular HDMI (audio only) output) in addition to a Toslink output.   Any help would be much appreciated
 

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Best answer by Airgetlam 13 January 2020, 23:02

The test between the TV’s speakers and the direct connection to the Beam wouldn’t be valid. The TV would be playing a stereo signal, whereas the Beam would be playing the Dolby Digital signal, which go through different paths in the electronics of the TV set. 

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Again,thank you for your assistance.  I will post when the the new tv is set up.  jimg

I’ve had a three Vizios, at least two of them were M series, I think the other is a P, but have never had an issue. Set up a new P series for a friend last Black Friday, no issues with his either. 

I have to wonder why these TV manufacturers have so much trouble allowing a straight pass through. Every single person who has come back and posted after adding an external device to pull the audio out before it hits the TV has said it works perfectly for them. That’s what I base my assumptions on, but it is only anecdotal. 

A switch is much cheaper than a new TV, but it does add more complexity to the setup. I think you’ll be happy with an M series. 

Good luck!

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Dear Bruce,

Thanks to you and others for all the information thus far.  I appreciate it very much.  I really don’t want to go the switch route, but may do so in the near future.  I’m going to try a Vizio M series tv first.  I’ll just sell the Samsung if that works out.  Too bad, but the sound of the Sonos is worth enough to me to give it a try.  I will try and post after I receive the new tv.     jimg

No, I can’t. I’ve never needed to use one, so have no experience to work from, sorry. The key to these devices is that they just pass through what is sent to them, so you have to set the genie to Dolby Digital. You’ll have trouble with most Blu-ray players, they tend to default to DTS, and that signal can’t be interpreted by Sonos. 
 

in the grand scheme of things, it goes:

  • source device to switch input via HDMI
  • switch output to TV via HDMI
  • switch optical output to Sonos (via adapter if you have a Beam)
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Can you recommend a hdmi switch that will work with two inputs (for the Genie and the Blueray player.  I tried one of the more high end ones (HDview) but couldn’t get it  to work at all.  It even had an ARC output.  I’m pretty sure I hooked it up correctly, but again, no success.  I gotta tell ya, right now I feel like buying a Vizio M-series tv so I hopefully wouldn’t have to mess with all this stuff.  

Then my guess is it is the TV’s electronics that is delaying the Dolby Digital signal. I have two DirecTV génies hooked up to Vizios, and experience no delays. I’d recommend that a far cheaper option than replacing the TV would be to use the HDMI switch/extractor that melvimbe suggested. 

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I tried the optical adapter to the Beam and connected it to the optical port on the tv, and it was of no value.  In fact, the problem seemingly got worse.  That is, audio was further behind video.  Problem solved when I removed the adapter.  Again, when I turn Dolby Digital On in the Direct TV menu, the problem recurs. Off and the problem goes away. 

I too have wondered about whether or not the improvement in sound is worth the trouble.  The Sonos sound is pretty darn good in stereo, I just liked the Dolby Digital sound a bit better and wondered if I could get that feature working without the audio delay.  jimg

The test between the TV’s speakers and the direct connection to the Beam wouldn’t be valid. The TV would be playing a stereo signal, whereas the Beam would be playing the Dolby Digital signal, which go through different paths in the electronics of the TV set. 

Agree with Bruce here.  I think the first thing I would try is using the optical cable and adapter between the TV and Beam first.  That should allow you to receive dolby digital the same as you do with HDMI-ARC, but wouldn’t be surprised if the delay is still present.

 

One test you should do is to just disconnect the Beam and play audio through the TV speakers as dolby digital if possible.  Do you get a delay?  If so, then you know the Beam isn’t the issue, it’s the TV or your Genie.

 

If you do go the route of the HDMI extractor, then you have to use optical to the Beam and HDMI to your TV.  HDMi-ARC is a two way communication, meaning there needs to be ‘smart’ devices on both end, usually a TV and a audio playing device.  Your switch is likely not a smart device, it would only be capable of passing through a HDMI-ARC signal, not actual communication.

 

To be honest though, if you don’t have any rear speakers, I don’t know that you get much difference in audio between PCM and dolby digital to spend too much time on this.

I’m not sure this will work, if I understand the way these extractors work. I am more comfortable with the optical output, since it’s less ‘sensitive’ than HDMI-ARC to hook up, but if you can post a link to the particular switch / extractor you’re planning to use, it might be easier.

The issue you’re facing is that an a HDMI-ARC is created by electronics in the TV, and not by any of the source devices  so, if you’re just using HDMI-ARC to generate the sound from your DirecTv and Blu-ray player (more info on issues with that later), you’re going to end up with the same lipsync problem as before, because

your TV is still the device creating the ARC signal.

My recommendation is to skip the connection to HDMI to the Beam, and use optical to the adapter instead. Sound quality is 100% the same.

Some caveats here….first, I don’t have this set up, so my knowledge is theoretical. Second, getting an HDMI-ARC capable switch is great for getting audio from the TV’s smart apps back to the switch. But I don’t know the priority in the switch as to pulling the sound. Does it take the HDMI input first, or the HDMI-ARC input? I’d rather be careful than sorry, especially when spending my money. 

Finally, the Blu-ray player will potentially be an issue, since they’re generally set up to use DTS rather than Dolby Digital, as are most discs. There are some rare cases of players that can change the codec from DTS to Dolby Digital, but they are very few and far between. Some discs have the option to play a Dolby Digital soundtracks, but not all. I have never seen an HDMI switch / extractor that changes the codec. So, if you play a DTS signal to a Sonos, you’ll get silence.