Watching 5.1 netflix with the BEAM, what channels are getting passed to the beam?

  • 29 October 2018
  • 7 replies
  • 1468 views

Hi guys,
If i am watching a 5.1(netflix default audio option) show/movie through the beam ONLY - what audio channels will the beam pass? Will the rear surround channels be lost? Or does it somehow convert it to L,R and Center channels only automatically.
Secondly, if i manually change the the audio setting every time to stereo, will i only be utilising the L & R speakers within the beam.

Thanks in advance

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7 replies

Userlevel 7
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As far as I'm aware the BEAM doesn't pass any audio. The BEAM takes an audio INPUT but there is no way to pass that audio onto another device.

You need to take the audio, as per the product guide, directly from the TV's HDMI if it has ARC or the optical audio out with adapter if it doesn't have ARC.
Sorry Stuart that should've read

If i am watching a 5.1(netflix default audio option) show/movie through the beam ONLY - what audio channels is the beam playing? Will the rear surround channels be lost? Or does it somehow convert it to L,R and Center channels only automatically.
Secondly, if i manually change the the audio setting every time to stereo, will i only be utilising the L & R speakers within the beam.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I imagine if you play a 5.1 source you won't lose the rear channels if you only have the Beam.

If you have a stereo input the Beam attempts to convert it into a pseudo surround. In other words it will sound much better with a 5.1 input even if you have the Beam only
I’ve never seen any information on this subject, but I would personally assume that the Beam Receiver would intelligently down-mix the rear left and rear right channels to the front left and right channels, otherwise there might be some strange audio effects in a movie being watched on screen.

I’m thinking, perhaps as an example, a helicopter sound starting in the rear left channel and then getting louder and moving over to the front channels... if the rear channel was entirely discarded, then that helicopter sound would suddenly appear loud, out the blue, on the front speaker.

So my thoughts are the channels are down-mixed, but it would be nice to see something that confirms or refutes my own thoughts on this.

If you do switch the TV output to PCM/Dolby stereo output, then I think the Beam just uses the FL and FR speakers and switches off the one centre speaker to help provide a degree of better audio separation in the room.
In fact it appears I’m wrong on the aspect of stereo separation with the Beam when it is sent a stereo only stream. I just received the following from Ratty, another community user, who has far greater knowledge of these matters... he says (in summary):

The center speaker on the Beam also carries a mix of L+R, probably high-pass filtered audio.
Thanks Ken, so quite probable a stand alone beam would output the same audio with a 5.1 or stereo signal. L, R and center speakers all being used
Thanks Ken, so quite probable a stand alone beam would output the same audio with a 5.1 or stereo signal. L, R and center speakers all being used
Yes I think so ...give or take.

I purchased the Beam for my Dining Room and later added two Play:1’s. ...

In my personal experience, for normal terrestrial stereo TV channels, there isn’t much difference with the added surrounds, but the 5.1 surround sound from Netflix and Amazon Prime is a big difference with the rear surrounds attached. I certainly noticed that... I think however it’s mostly having the extra audio hitting the listener from different directions, rather than there actually being any significant difference in actual audio content.