Question

Surround PLAY:1's not working while watching TV but work with Netflix & music streaming

  • 21 February 2016
  • 15 replies
  • 1528 views

I just set up my second playbar with two PLAY:1's as surrounds. The PLAY:1's seem to work when listening to streamed Pandora music or when watching Netflix but don't seem to have any sound when watching cable TV. When watching cable TV, the playbar seems to be the only sound being generated. Is this normal or is there likely something wrong with my setup that is causing my surrounds to not work when watching cable TV? Thanks in advance.

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15 replies

The cable TV channels are likely to carry very little audio that can be sent to the surround speakers. With a stereo soundtrack PLAYBAR has to synthesise surround channel information, which is usually limited to ambient sounds.
Thanks ratty. So if I'm interpreting you correctly, the cable TV Channels I'm watchung are simply not producing sounds that would utilize anything more than the PLAYBAR which is why I'm not hearing anything Co.ing from the PLAY:1 surround speakers. Thank you!
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I have the same set up, you may find during cable tv broadcast, some commercials may come thru the rears ( car commercials for example).

Occasional you may get some ambient noise but it's pretty low volume, ( nfl football game) so I guess this can be considered normal.

Otherwise netflix , amazon and other services work far better for surround.
Thank you guys a ton for the responses. I'm going to stop worrying about this moving forward since it sounds like it's not an issue with my setup. Thanks again!
One thing that always comes out the surrounds is the background engine noise on the Enterprise in Star Trek NG.
Lol. I'll have to give Star Trek a whirl and test it out.
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Good answers here everyone. Just so you know where to find it, I'm moving this thread over to the Home Theater board.
Is there anyway to fix this ? I bought the Sonos equipment so I can watch tv with surround sounds. Can the cable company help ?
Userlevel 7
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Is there anyway to fix this ? I bought the Sonos equipment so I can watch tv with surround sounds. Can the cable company help ?
Surround sound speakers will play audio that's meant for the rear in dedicated 5.1 streams. Usually, these are most noticeable in action sequences and with soundtracks. Some action will take place from sides too.

We also will take a stereo signal that comes in and mix it so that you get audio out of the surround speakers. Again, mostly noticeable with action and soundtracks.

"Talking heads" such as news broadcasts and sports games are going to be playing almost entirely out of the center and front channels. This is by design of how surround sound is supposed to be working. You shouldn't get mirror images of the front audio playing out of the rear.

You can check the signal hitting your PLAYBAR or PLAYBASE by going to More > About Sonos and check the audio line entry for that speaker. It should say either Dolby or Stereo. If you're only seeing Stereo, you may need to check that your TV and other devices are all passing Dolby Digital, and that the source is Dolby too.
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Is there anyway to fix this ? I bought the Sonos equipment so I can watch tv with surround sounds. Can the cable company help ?
Surround sound speakers will play audio that's meant for the rear in dedicated 5.1 streams. Usually, these are most noticeable in action sequences and with soundtracks. Some action will take place from sides too.

We also will take a stereo signal that comes in and mix it so that you get audio out of the surround speakers. Again, mostly noticeable with action and soundtracks.

"Talking heads" such as news broadcasts and sports games are going to be playing almost entirely out of the center and front channels. This is by design of how surround sound is supposed to be working. You shouldn't get mirror images of the front audio playing out of the rear.

You can check the signal hitting your PLAYBAR or PLAYBASE by going to More > About Sonos and check the audio line entry for that speaker. It should say either Dolby or Stereo. If you're only seeing Stereo, you may need to check that your TV and other devices are all passing Dolby Digital, and that the source is Dolby too.


I think that adding multi channel stereo option would allow people to enjoy their surround speaker more (with TV stereo sound) . Can it be suggested to the Sonos engineers?
Thank you
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I'll suggest it along. I think it might offend some purists but they still listen to requests 🙂
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I'll suggest it along. I think it might offend some purists but they still listen to requests :)

Thank you Ryan!
Just another information because I would like to buy the playbar (maybe a v2)...
When in surround configuration with play 1 (or play 3) when it plays music, only the play 1 are playing music or also the playbar as well?
Because the same i would like to use both for ambient music.

Thank you
Camillo
I just needed to update the setting on my cable box. Now most of the channels come through surround sound.
Camillo ,

If I may answer your question, since I'm betting Ryan is pretty busy right now.

When in a surround setup, the PLAYBAR and the surrounds are both playing the music (when not on TV). There is a setting in the advanced settings of the controller app that allows you to chose whether the surrounds are support for the PLAYBAR, or a full set of stereo speakers in addition to the PLAYBAR. This can be set up for just music, and they will continue to work as surrounds when processing TV Dolby Digital signals.
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I'll suggest it along. I think it might offend some purists but they still listen to requests :)

Hi @Ryan,
I just discovered that it was asked many times in this forum by many people, it is a common and old request:

https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/how-can-i-switch-to-full-tv-surround-6487238

https://en.community.sonos.com/wireless-speakers-228992/full-stereo-option-when-watching-tv-audio-please-6341426/index4.html

I think something can be done by Sonos to fulfill this request.

Thank you
Camillo