Sonos Beam Lip Sync Issue (Charter Spectrum)

  • 3 December 2018
  • 14 replies

Hoping someone here can help me figure this one out. I am having lip sync issues with my video provider, Charter Spectrum, for their basic US cable package - for both Live Programming, and DVR'ed programs (interestingly, the lip sync is even more pronounced on DVR, but it is pretty bad as well on live feeds). Here is my basic setup:

Cable Box: Spectrum 201 (it's Spectrum's latest gen box)
Television Set: Samsung QN49Q6F (QLED 4K UHD 6 Series Smart TV 2018)
Sonos Beam Set-Up: Optical directly from the Beam to the Television

Things I've attempted:

1. I've tried a variety of setting combinations on both the Cable Box (my only options were to toggle audio output between "Dolby Digital", "HDMI", or "Other"), and on the Television. Nothing has helped, or seemed markedly better than the other combination.

2. Had a Spectrum technician come over - he said my only option to resolve the lip sync issue is to connect the optical directly from the Spectrum 201 to the Beam - this would be of course pretty annoying as I view television from a host of different, non Spectrum sources.

Anyone have any ideas or help to resolve - or even have a good workaround? This is as anyone who has gone through this process very frustrating - would love to keep using the Beam in this set up...

Thank you!

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14 replies

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I wonder if this is what I might be having?
I just bought a new LG 4K TV. The Beam is connected via HDMI ARC.
I have a Spectrum Humax 101-T box (these are very new).

I did not notice a lag with the Panasonic TV I just replaced. I also don't notice lag while using Netflix and Amazon Video apps through the TV.
This is a known problem after I've done some more research. And Sonos doesn't seem all that helpful. I'm going to try calling Customer Care this week. I love Sonos, and want to use the Beam, but this is troubling.

I have a Sony XBR49X900F set up in the other room, and tried that set as well. Same lip sync delay. And my lip sync delay is only on while watching Spectrum Cable.

As a test while watching Spectrum Cable

1. I connected the Spectrum STB directly to the Beam via optical - no lip sync delay
2. I turned the Beam off, used the TV speakers - no lip sync delay

I suspect this issue I'm facing is on Sonos' end, not Charter or the TV manufacturer (I've now tried as mentioned 2 TV sets).
The video is ahead of the audio, and it looks like the Sonos Beam's hardware is doing something that takes time to process the sound, and that creates the lag. People have posted a lot about workarounds (e.g. try and set your TV to output to Stereo PCM, not Dolby, unfortunately neither of my sets has this option) - but nothing has been resolved at all.

2 Questions:

1. Sonos Engineers - lil help? This is super frustrating. I love the Beam and Sonos generally, but this is not working out and I've (and others) have spent a ton of time trying to figure this out on our own.

2. Sonos Engineers / Community - I am not a technologist, so bear with me - if I put a 1 to 2 HDMI splitter in the back of the Sonos, and had 1 HDMI cord going to the Spectrum Box (via the optical attachment), and the other going to my TV's HDMI ARC, will that solve my problem? So I'll always have the option to have audio delivered directly to the Beam via Spectrum, and for all other use cases (where I don't have lip sync) just have it go through the TV.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
Are you using optical from the TV to the Beam, or ARC?
Badge +1
Are you using optical from the TV to the Beam, or ARC?

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This is a known problem after I've done some more research. And Sonos doesn't seem all that helpful. I'm going to try calling Customer Care this week. I love Sonos, and want to use the Beam, but this is troubling.

I have a Sony XBR49X900F set up in the other room, and tried that set as well. Same lip sync delay. And my lip sync delay is only on while watching Spectrum Cable.

This is upsetting, since I was thinking of moving the LG to another room and getting this Sony model in 65" for this room.
For my setup - have tried both the Optical and ARC - both had the same lip sync issue

On my #2 above (HDMI Splitter) - think I may have answered my own question - don't believe that would work, and I need to setup some kind of optical audio using a device like this:

Anyway - my *current* solution which is definitely inelegant, but hey, it works - have my Beam connected to the TV via HDMI ARC - when I watch Spectrum Cable, I just unplug the HDMI ARC input from Beam to TV, and defaults back to TV Speakers.... and plug back in when watching TV from any other source.

(Because my TV is mounted and all the wires are strapped in close to the set, this is actually not that horrible, but still, would really love to hear from Sonos Engineers themselves if there has been any progress on what is clearly an issue for many folks!)
I have a Beam hooked up to an LG OLED and also use Spectrum. I originally had an older cable box (from before Spectrum took over Time Warner) and wasn't experiencing any issues, but last month I swapped in for a new Spectrum box and noticed the same issues you're all describing above. For me, switching from ARC to Optical (in the back of my TV, not the set top box) did nothing to help the issue. I did, however, find two semi-workarounds. First, switching the audio from ARC-Auto to ARC-PCM largely fixed things; unfortunately this comes at the cost of sound quality. The second, and better fix, was to buy an Apple TV 4K, which allowed me to download the Spectrum app and stream its content (instead of feeding via cable). This completely fixed the lip sync issue, but with a few small drawbacks: (1) when streaming Spectrum you can't generally rewind/fast forward live content as you would with a standard set-top box; (2) DVR is not accessible via the Spectrum app; (3) streaming content is always around 30-90 seconds behind the real-time airing of content on a set-top box...not generally a huge issue for me; and (4) the video quality of Spectrum's streaming app is usually pretty good, but doesn't quite match the quality of the cable connection, especially when first turning on a channel or watching quick-action programming like live sporting events.

FWIW, out of concern that the Beam was the issue, I tried installing a Bose soundbar, but also encountered lip sync issues with the Spectrum set top box when connected via ARC. The Bose seemed to work slightly better but the lip synching was still noticeable enough for me.
SB26 - thank you so much for the response, super useful! First, a question:

First, switching the audio from ARC-Auto to ARC-PCM largely fixed things

I am googling around and having a hard time finding this - how do you switch? Is this switching on the Beam, or on the TV Set? Any insight would be useful (I have a SONY, but would love to hear if you switched on LG OLED, how you did it.)

Second - I had a Spectrum guy over to my house and we walked through the lip sync issue. For the most part, it seemed like the only direct resolve is to connect Optical from the Spectrum receiver directly to the Beam -- otherwise, a workaround is necessary. Did you talk to a Spectrum person, and/or have any other thoughts on this? Also, any sense of what is actually going on?

Sonos Engineers - be also GREAT to hear your thoughts on this! Sounds like it's not an issue on Beam's end, but would be cool to understand what you think is going on...
I too am experiencing the same issue. I spoke to Sonos tech support this morning. They had me launch the youtube app and test the sync with the ball and red flash. use this video to test. My playbar was in sync and thus ruled out the tv and playbar as the culprit (according to the tech support person)

Spectrum 201 Set top box
TV = Sony xbr900f
sonos playbar, sub and 2 play ones for surround which are not installed yet

i just ordered a toslink in hopes that will solve my problem and be switchable via a multifunction remote such as a logitech.

I have 3 devises plus a future gaming device which will need switching
I have an Apple 4kTV
a Blueray player
and spectrum 201 STB

the plan is to plug all 3 optical cables into the toss link and 1 main optical going into my sonos playbar. I'm praying it works and in which case, it'll only be a $25 gizmo plus programing of my logitech to switch everything properly. I will report back.
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Does anyone else have the Humax HD: Spectrum 101-T box? These are pretty new to Spectrum.

When I experience the issue, it seems to get better if I turn the box on and off.
The addition of toslink was the fix. no more lip sync issues. As a shareholder and customer who has spent close to $5,000 on sonos products, i'm just pissed off more than anything else. I still have yet to add my surrounds but im praying that doesn't alter anything. What sucks is i had to buy the toslink switch which financially isn't a big deal ($25) but now i have to switch stuff around and try and program my logitech remote to work seamlessly. Then, because i have apple 4k TV w/ no optical outlet, i have to buy a $45 hdmi / optical spliter and install that. Just a pain in the ass!!!!!!!!! Sonos to play music is basic plug, play and enjoy. Sonos for TV / HT = a PITA

On a side note, i'm leaving spectrum and going back to directv. Sepctrum Picture quality SUCKS!!!!!
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Exactly what did you do?

I have an LG TV. Spectrum Box and an PS4.
Beam + Sub.

I've got a similar sound sync issue, but only with Spectrum's cable box on a Sony OLED XBR65A9F using a Sonos Playbar.

Enabling PCM lessened severity of the sync issue less, but as others have said—there is significant quality loss. Adjusting Lip Sync slider in Sonos app settings makes the sync issue even more delayed and prominent.

Tested on BluRay player, Chromecast, Apple TV, and onboard Android TV smart apps (Netflix) and there is no sound sync problem from either built-in speaker or Playbar.
Spectrum's cable box has sound issue whether using built-in speaker or Playbar.

Playbar is connected to TV via Digital Audio Optical cable (or maybe ARC HDMI? I can't recall at the moment), and Surround Sound enabled using a Sonos Amp to power rear in-ceiling speakers.

Everything works fine but the garbage Spectrum box. I can't figure how this could be sourced in TV or Sonos.

Any ideas or suggestions?
Optical from Spectrum STB to Playbar is not something we'd want to do.
Thanks all!
If it were me, I'd be calling Spectrum. Get another cable box, of a newer design. If everything else works fine, as you've indicated, it's obviously some sort of issue in the cable box.