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BEAM HDMI INPUT QUESTION

  • 12 February 2019
  • 28 replies
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Is it possible for the BEAM to accept an HDMI signal directly from a source (cable box/ dvd. etc) instead of the HDMI arc or optical out to hdmi converter
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Best answer by Keith N 12 February 2019, 23:08

pmecchi: Actually, it's a little more complicated than how I originally posted. When it comes to ARC and setting up the Beam, the Beam needs to be plugged into an ARC port if using HDMI. My original answer was missing a crucial point of how ARC works. Before we used HDMI-ARC, we were able to plug in any source (via optical) and it would come through without hassle. Now using HDMI-ARC, the Beam is looking for a handshake (over the Audio Return Channel) from the source via specific pins on the HDMI cable before even getting an audio signal.

While I understand you did not want to use an HDMI-to-optical converter, I wasn't sure if you knew the Beam already includes an HDMI-to-optical adapter. It's much smaller and snaps right onto the HDMI cable, rather than most "breakout-box" style HDMI converters. This would require your source (older AppleTV's, Xbox, cable box) to have an available optical audio port. Just now, I tested this with my own Beam setup and wasn't able to set up my new AppleTV via HDMI (no optical port), but my Xbox was able to use optical to finish TV setup and it was able to pass an audio signal to the Beam.
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Hey there, pmecchi. In theory, yes. The Beam will accept an HDMI signal from anything that gives it. It does not necessarily need to be a TV or HDMI ARC port. Keep in mind, if you were to plug a cable box into a Beam, you wouldn't be able to see anything and you'd simply be testing audio. Personally, I've done this to test if TV's were passing Dolby Digital 5.1 properly.
Thank you - That is what I assumed - p
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pmecchi: Actually, it's a little more complicated than how I originally posted. When it comes to ARC and setting up the Beam, the Beam needs to be plugged into an ARC port if using HDMI. My original answer was missing a crucial point of how ARC works. Before we used HDMI-ARC, we were able to plug in any source (via optical) and it would come through without hassle. Now using HDMI-ARC, the Beam is looking for a handshake (over the Audio Return Channel) from the source via specific pins on the HDMI cable before even getting an audio signal.

While I understand you did not want to use an HDMI-to-optical converter, I wasn't sure if you knew the Beam already includes an HDMI-to-optical adapter. It's much smaller and snaps right onto the HDMI cable, rather than most "breakout-box" style HDMI converters. This would require your source (older AppleTV's, Xbox, cable box) to have an available optical audio port. Just now, I tested this with my own Beam setup and wasn't able to set up my new AppleTV via HDMI (no optical port), but my Xbox was able to use optical to finish TV setup and it was able to pass an audio signal to the Beam.
ok - so the source need to be optical out or HDMI+ARC - thank you for following up
Is there any chance there will be some sort of firmware upgrade that would fix this problem? Specifically, allowing a standard HDMI feed without ARC to provide audio? The signal is obviously still there.

I have a computer in the living room that we use for playing music and sometimes some videos that we're watching. I like the fact that the Beam has great sound, a wifi connection, Alexa/Google, a compact form (22" and no external power supply, fits right under a monitor).

The lack of Bluetooth was a concern, but I thought I could run the Computer Monitor via Displayport and run the HDMI output to the Beam for sound. But it doesn't seem to work. There is no optical link on the computer.

The only other option seems to be buying some sort of converter box to change the HDMI signal to HDMI plus optical, then use the optical to HDMI-ARC adapter. But this obviously isn't a very "clean" solution.
Is there any chance there will be some sort of firmware upgrade that would fix this problem? Specifically, allowing a standard HDMI feed without ARC to provide audio? The signal is obviously still there.

Since it's not a "problem" then I would think the answer is almost certainly "no". Although the signal is there it's on different HDMI pins. The player is designed to be fed using ARC.

Your best bet would indeed be an HDMI audio extractor box, with optical data then connected through the Sonos optical-HDMI dongle.
Recently my beam stopped working due to hdmi connection. I reset all cables and it still does not recognize the HDMI arc connection. The beam works for music, just doesn’t work with tv. Any thoughts?
Try unplugging your TV from the wall for two minutes, then plug it back in.
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Following up on some of what was asked/answered above....If I have an older TV without ARC but has 2 HDMI ports, will that not be sufficient enough for setting up Beam?
No, it is not. All Sonos products that accept HDMI are using HDMI-ARC only, and not a normal HDMI signal. There has to be a device (normally the TV) that reflects the audio signal from the normal pins to the ARC pins.

Is there a hardware solution to convert an HDMI signal to an HDMI-ARC signal?  S/PDIF doesn’t support Dolby Digital Plus which Netflix uses for 5.1.   

I’m using a projector and Beam and want to send video to projector and audio to Beam.  The problem is that the audio signal isn’t HDMI-ARC.  I can use optical but only for stereo in some cases.

Any ideas?

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As you may know HDMI-ARC and optical TOSLINK both use the S/PDIF protocol, only over a different physical interface. Not sure if there are separate devices that can do what an HDMI-ARC TV does, but you are in the right direction with optical.

 

I have a projector and a Playbar myself and use an HDMI splitter with an optical audio out.

 

There is no need to consider that S/PDIF doesn't support DD+, as Sonos doesn't either - anything you send to it should be stereo or DD5.1, which is fine over S/PDIF.  Making sure that the signal is DD5.1 and not something that Sonos or the cable cannot handle, should be done before the signal is sent on its way, at the source. 

As you may know HDMI-ARC and optical TOSLINK both use the S/PDIF protocol, only over a different physical interface. Not sure if there are separate devices that can do what an HDMI-ARC TV does, but you are in the right direction with optical.

 

I have a projector and a Playbar myself and use an HDMI splitter with an optical audio out.

 

There is no need to consider that S/PDIF doesn't support DD+, as Sonos doesn't either - anything you send to it should be stereo or DD5.1, which is fine over S/PDIF.  Making sure that the signal is DD5.1 and not something that Sonos or the cable cannot handle, should be done before the signal is sent on its way, at the source. 

 

Thank you.  That makes sense.   The problem seems to be then that the Nvidia Shield TV isn’t scaling the Netflix DD+ signal down to DD5.1 so that Sonos can handle it.  The PS4 does this.

 

The Nvidia Shield TV doesn’t have an optical out so I’m running the HDMI source through a 4x2 matrix which is then extracting video over HDMI and audio over optical.   Presumably at some point the DD+ signal has to be converted to DD but if the NVIDIA Shield isn’t doing it, what can.  

 

I’m probably getting myself confused and making little sense but appreciate any help!

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It depends if the Shield "knows" what devices it should be catering to. According to the DD+ spec, a DD+ capable device should downconvert DD+ to DD5.1 if the downstream device cannot handle DD+.

You might need to force the Shield to output DD5.1 through its settings.

I restricted the Nvidia Shield to use AC3 (DD) only. 
 

Good news is Netflix has sound on the Beam without having to select the audio stream on each piece of content (before it clearly thought that the Beam supported DD+ and defaulted to it, so I’d have to select a stereo stream to get any sound).  


Bad news it is stereo.   Looks like there is no way to get DD 5.1 from an Nvidia Shield TV on Sonos (without something in the middle).


Any other ideas anyone?

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It depends on the TV. The Shield could be wanting to send DD 5.1, but if the TV says it can’t accept it then the Shield will down convert to stereo. Check if your TV supports DD 5.1 pass through over optical on rtings.com.

There are often ways of forcing broken TVs to accept DD 5.1 over optical even if their engineers misread the HDCP spec and blocked it, but first you need to make sure the Shield is capable of sending it.

It depends on the TV. The Shield could be wanting to send DD 5.1, but if the TV says it can’t accept it then the Shield will down convert to stereo. Check if your TV supports DD 5.1 pass through over optical on rtings.com.

There are often ways of forcing broken TVs to accept DD 5.1 over optical even if their engineers misread the HDCP spec and blocked it, but first you need to make sure the Shield is capable of sending it.

 

Thanks but as per previous post I’m using a projector not TV.  HDMI into matrix with audio extracted out through optical to Sonos.  

It depends on the TV. The Shield could be wanting to send DD 5.1, but if the TV says it can’t accept it then the Shield will down convert to stereo. Check if your TV supports DD 5.1 pass through over optical on rtings.com.

There are often ways of forcing broken TVs to accept DD 5.1 over optical even if their engineers misread the HDCP spec and blocked it, but first you need to make sure the Shield is capable of sending it.

 

Thanks but as per previous post I’m using a projector not TV.  HDMI into matrix with audio extracted out through optical to Sonos.  

I have the same problem with my sonos beam, xiaomi mi laser projector and nvidia shield. I don’t know if the problem is that the projector only accepts stereo from nvidia shield and the projector send it this stereo signal to the beam…

Apart from this it would be helpful to add a simpler option to see the type of audio input that arrives at the beam sonos from any source than the one currently available via "About"

 

 

 

 

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Apart from this it would be helpful to add a simpler option to see the type of audio input that arrives at the beam sonos from any source than the one currently available via "About"

Preaching to the choir on this one. Thats why my Sonos apps show the exact type of music source right in the Now Playing area. No idea why Sonos bury it in About, same reason they bury Alarms I guess.

 

 

 

 

Same thing here:

 

I have APPLE TV 4k, Sonos 5.1 with Beam and an Optoma Projector. Using Airplay 2 you only get Stereo sound on Sonos for movies and it sounds bad. You can’t understand well the dialogues due to the channels distribution.

I bought a splitter which has 1 HDMI in and 1 HDMI out and a 1 Audio Optical out. I’ve put the Sonos adapter from Optical to HDMI into the Beam and… It didn’t work. I had the audio coming out again from the projector instead of the Sonos.

 

So, Does anyone knows which HDMI splitter hardware would work? I’ve seen on which has 1 HDMI in and 2 HDMI out to replicate simultaneously the signal. https://www.amazon.es/gp/product/B07DW2445X/ref=ask_ql_qh_dp_hza

Would this work maybe?

 

Any thoughts?

 

cheers

I think your running in to the difference between HDMI and HDMI-ARC. Source devices generate  HDMI, but not HDMI-ARC. Most frequently, the function that switches from one to the other is in the display device. So your cable box sends the HDMI signal to the TV, and the TV reflects it back out using HDMI-ARC. This is why it’s called ARC, Audio Return Channel. 
I think there are other external devices out there that can do that transfer, but I’ve never looked in to it specifically, as I don’t happen to use ARC myself. Call me a Luddite, but the whole HDMI-CEC spec is poorly defined and there’s too much variation in the implementation, IMHO. 

Also, if you’re using that splitter to send an optical signal to your Sonos, you must be sure that the signal is Dolby Digital. In that case, there’s no signal being sent back to the source to tell it what to send, so you need to define that in the audio settings of your source. 

Thanks Bruce, let’s see if other users suggest which devices would work.

It’s annoying to have a 5.1 sound system at home for a projector based home cinema and so far I just have the option of Stereo Sound.

I don’t mind spending some more €€€ in any device in between the Apple TV and the Sonos to have proper sound. So far, the sound for films is bad.

@Cartxo - I have a similar problem. I have the Optoma Projector HD31UST - which only has regular hdmi / hdmi mhl. What are my options to use this machine with my Sonos Beam? There is no audio optical out. 
 

diagram attached. 
 

thanks for any help. 

You need to get a splitter that HDMI in, HDMI out, and optical out.  That needs to be between your source and the projector (HDMI) and the source and your beam (optical).

 

You also need to make sure that the source is transmitting audio in a format the Beam supports, which is either PCM stereo or dolby digita.

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