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Amazon Firestick 4k not sending 5.1 to playbar

  • 6 September 2019
  • 20 replies
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Hi!

I have a new Amazon Firestick 4k. It is attached to TV via HDMI. Tv out to playbar via TOSlink optical.

The best audio I can get (according to About my system > Audio in: is STEREO.

Music plays fine - but dialog is muddy and breaks up at any volume high enough to hear over the background music of SFX.

When I go to the firestick audio setting, I have to select "Best Available". If I select any variant of Dolby - NO sound is emitted from playbar. And Settings say SILENCE.

BUT - If I switch my TV antenna to an HD OTA antenna - I get crystal clear 5.1 audio out of the playbar and settings reveal 5.1.

Any help would be appreciated!
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Best answer by n8400lb 12 September 2019, 22:28

Update 2 - replaced the extractor with a 4K model from J-Tech Digital. Works like a charm. Aside from the massive jumble of wires and little boxes I need to hide behind the screen that is.
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What make and model of TV? Some don't pass 5.1 through to the optical out without downmixing to stereo.

There's an article with some tips, along with a link to a relevant community thread.
https://support.sonos.com/s/article/1920
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It's a Seiki 4K SE50UY04 - but as I mentioned in original post it plays a 5.1 signal when I switch inputs to an OTA antenna.
By 'OTA antenna' I assume you mean the internal tuner. Typically this yields 5.1 for relevant HD broadcasts even if the TV won't pass 5.1 through from the HDMI.

I'm not familiar with Seiki, though a glance at Wikipedia suggests they're a budget brand. I suggest you do a search on this board for any similar reports.
If the TV stubbornly refuses to pass through 5.1, one option -- which a lot of users exploited in the wake of Playbar's launch -- is to get an HDMI audio extractor and an optical switch. You'd plug the Firestick into the extractor, with the 4K video carrying on to the TV. The extractor would strip out 5.1 as optical, bypassing the TV. A little IR-controlled switch would then let you toggle between the TV audio and the HDMI extractor.
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By OTA - I mean "over The Air" antenna attached also via HDMI. So I know the TV can pass a signal it receives via HDMI. Thanks for the info! Ill look into the extractor.
By OTA - I mean "over The Air" antenna attached also via HDMI.
Over-the-air (terrestrial) broadcast reception, using an antenna, typically plugs in via a coaxial connector. If you're saying the antenna is "attached also via HDMI" are you talking about a separate set-top box?
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Yes you are correct - the antenna connects via Coaxial. so i guess the question is does this bargain TV support 5.1 out via HDMI.
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On the TV menu, under Audio - I have the option of PCM stereo or RAW. Raw should forward the 5.1 signal, no?
So it was explicitly set to PCM? Yes, try the other option.
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It WAS set to PCM. But changing ti to RAW has no effect. Still only reading STEREO on sonos app.
I looked up both a review by CNET, and tried to find the manufacturer's website. The review didn't touch on audio at all, and the manufacturer's website appears to be a spam site....I was concerned enough to not want to click on any of the links I found there.

Not to jump in on ratty's troubleshooting with you, but do you have another device that can send a dolby digital signal through HDMI, like an old DVD player, or something? That could be used to troubleshoot whether this TV can pass through a true 5.1 Dolby Digital signal.

I'd also be looking pretty heavily at the audio settings for the Firestick, which you haven't mentioned at all yet.
The OP said the Firestick was set to "Best available", which is the default. I don't suppose the Firestick is at fault (I have one); it could just be that the TV is stuck with stereo. There were many such situations a few years ago, when Playbar first debuted.

BTW, jump in wherever and whenever you see fit.
Well, the CNET article wasn't terribly complimentary, but was completely focused on the video aspect, and had no discussion whatsoever on audio.

Which is why I'm suggesting something that is 'certain' to send Dolby Digital....but as you have a Firestick, I'll go away, since I don't have one (well, I do, but I never actually connected it).

🙂
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Thanks guys for all of the input! I tested the audio on Xbox and it says stereo as well. All documentation on TV says it outputs 5.1 but it doesn't appear to be doing so. I got this set as an early adopter of 4K for use as a reference monitor connected to my Mac for video editing. Never really thought about audio. My bad!
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Here's the best specs I can find (I think the company has since gone out of business). If im reading it correctly it does not support surround.

Though I wonder what the point of having a "RAW" audio output option (along with the option of PCM) if it it can't pass on 5.1.

https://4kfilme.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/SE50UY04_UHD.pdf


Oh well. Thanks again!
Here's the best specs I can find (I think the company has since gone out of business). If im reading it correctly it does not support surround.

Though I wonder what the point of having a "RAW" audio output option (along with the option of PCM) if it it can't pass on 5.1.

https://4kfilme.de/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/SE50UY04_UHD.pdf


Oh well. Thanks again!


If this is the TV manual (see below link), I could not find any mention of Dolby Digital audio either, just for your info.

http://static.highspeedbackbone.net/pdf/Seiki%20SE50UY04%204K2K%20LED%20HDTV%20Manual.pdf
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Update: I was able to get 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 by using an HDMI audio extractor from amazon. The only issue I see is I am no longer getting 4K (now only 1080p signal being passed). I guess the extractor is limiting it somehow?
That's a good guess, and where I'd be looking. There are (I think) some extractors out there that do pass a 4K signal, might be worth checking on Amazon.

But that does suggest it's an issue with the TV set. Which is really odd to me.
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Update 2 - replaced the extractor with a 4K model from J-Tech Digital. Works like a charm. Aside from the massive jumble of wires and little boxes I need to hide behind the screen that is.
Well, that's the joys of high tech stuff, right? :)

Glad you got it resolved, hopefully over time tech will progress so that it's less of an "ugly" solution for you.

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