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BEAM HDMI INPUT QUESTION

  • 12 February 2019
  • 17 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
Userlevel 7
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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.  

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