TV's cannot passthrough Dolby Digital from external sources - common problem?

  • 10 January 2019
  • 3 replies

Badge +3
Hi All,

I have been researching soundbars for the first time ever the past couple of weeks and had come to the decision to purchase a Sonos Playbase or Beam.

However, during my research today I red about TV's being unable to output Dolby Digital from any external sources, so they will output DD on any TV broadcast but not from any source plugged in via HDMI (Apple TV, Fire TV, DVD player etc).

Is this a known and common problem?

And does this apply to optical out only or does it also apply to HDMI ARC?

I have a Panasonic TX-40CX680B TV and I spoke to Panosonic customer support today who could not confirm if the TV would output DD from the optical output for external sources.

I primarily use a Fire TV Stick to stream content, which outputs DD to my TV, but if my TV cannot pass the DD signal to the Playbase or Beam then obviously there is no point in me making the investment.

Does anyone have experience/expertise on this subject, and if so please can you advise?


3 replies

Userlevel 1
This is a common problem on older TVs, not so much newer TVs.

It is also more common for them to be unable to pass 5.1 through optical, rather than HDMI.

If such is the case with your TV, you would need to buy a switch or some other in-line device. Not the worst thing in the world
Badge +3
If such is the case with your TV, you would need to buy a switch or some other in-line device. Not the worst thing in the world

Thanks for the reply.

My TV is from 2015 so it’s not ancient, but it seems Panasonic doesn’t have a great record for supporting pass through...

To confirm what type of switch would I need and how exactly would it work?

And is there a switch solutions that would work both for the Playbase and the Beam?

Also, if using a switch with the Beam, presumably I would lose the ARC/CEC support?
Userlevel 1
So the main thing is, you want to use HDMI to send pictures to the TV, and at the same time, get an audio signal to the Beam/Bar without going to the TV. If you use the Base, it only supports optical, so the audio will need to come via optical.

This one as an example, would do exactly just that

I'm not sure if the switch will pass information required for ARC/CEC.


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