Don't want to return Beam, but want Dolby Digital surround (Rokku Ultra 4660X + Netflix or Nintendo Switch, Panasonic TC-P50S60)

  • 14 March 2019
  • 7 replies
  • 358 views

Greetings! I have a Rokku Ultra 4660X running Netflix, and a Panasonic TC-P50S60 TV from around 2013. I bought a Beam as the first piece of a surround system. (It's a great little speaker, with very good sound, and like the music integration.)

Unfortunately, Netflix on a Rokku Ultra 4660X can output either Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) or PCM stereo. Unlike the earlier 4640X, it can't convert DD+ to DD. And the Panasonic TC-P50S60 has HDMI ARC but it doesn't seem to be able convert DD+ to DD.

Pretty much every combination I've tried gives me stero audio (according to the app), but not Dolby Digital surround. The only exception is if I unplug the Rokku, take an older DVD player that outputs regular DD, connect it via HDMI to a "TESmart Ultra HD 4x1 HDMI" extractor, and hook the optical audio output into the Beam. This gives me Dolby Digital on the Beam. But the TESmart can't convert DD+ to DD before sending it over the optical connection.

My ideal goal here would be use the Rokku Ultra 4660X to watch Netflix, and the Nintendo Switch to play games, and to get surround output via the Beam. I'd be perfectly happy to use an HDMI extractor, convertor or switch.

I've seen extractors like this http://www.kanexpro.com/item/?id=HAECOAX3 , but it's hard to tell whether they can convert DD+ to DD. Has anybody found any HDMI boxes that can convert DD+ to DD, so I can get surround sound with Netflix? This seems like a really basic feature, and I guess it must work with certain TVs.

Thank you to anybody who can provide me with some pointers, so that I can avoid returning my Beam!

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7 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +21
As far as Netflix goes, are you completely against dropping Roku for another streamer, such Amazon fire TV?
Thank you for your reply!

We really like the Roku, and we already have it set up for Netflix + Amazon Video + Plex + a bunch of other stuff. So it would almost certainly be easier to exchange the Beam for a system that supports DD+ and other surround formats natively than it would be to redo all our Roku integrations.

Similarly, we're not especially looking to replace the TV, because the TC-P50S60 fits the space exactly and it has unusually good colors and blacks for a 2013 TV.

Streaming services seem to be standardizing on DD+, and Netflix in particular doesn't do DD. (Neither does the Nintendo Switch.) It's regrettable that the Beam only supports PCM and Dolby Digital, but surely somebody must make an audio extractor than can convert other formats to DD and output either optical or HDMI ARC?
Userlevel 7
Badge +21

Streaming services seem to be standardizing on DD+, and Netflix in particular doesn't do DD.


This is not true. I'm able to stream netflix in DD through my TVs smart apps and fire tv all the time.

I don't know of a switch that does the conversion you want, but if it does exist, there is a good chance someone here knows about it.
Thank you for your reply.

This is not true. I'm able to stream netflix in DD through my TVs smart apps and fire tv all the time.
This is because the FireTV and some smart TVs support DD+ to DD conversion. And even the Roku Ultra 4640X could do this. However, the Roku Ultra 4660X cannot convert Netflix's DD+ to DD, as I mentioned above. Similarly, the Nintendo Switch can output uncompressed 5.1 LPCM, but not Dolby Digital.

This appears to be well-known, long-standing issue with Sonos products. Here are many example threads:

https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/feature-request-enable-dolby-digital-plus-e-ac-3-or-dd-for-better-audio-quality-6812870
https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/warning-beam-does-not-support-dolby-digital-plus-that-is-a-big-deal-6815161
https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/dolby-digital-5-1-plus-support-netflix-vudu-6761921
https://en.community.sonos.com/setting-up-sonos-228990/roku-playbar-surround-setup-6745076

I've looked at a lot of HDMI audio extractor boxes, but nothing seems to be able advertise DD+ support and extract DD over either HDMI ARC or SPDIF.

This is really disappointing. I'll be packaging up my shiny new Beam and returning it this weekend, if no solution can be found before then. 😞
Userlevel 4
Badge +3
Go into your Roku audio settings. Select hdmi arc settings. Make sure that you have selected Dolby digital, not Dolby digital +. Do not use auto select. Dolby digital should play from Netflix.
Go into your Roku audio settings. Select hdmi arc settings. Make sure that you have selected Dolby digital, not Dolby digital +. Do not use auto select. Dolby digital should play from Netflix.
Thank you! I already tried all the settings on that menu, including the "Dolby Digital" (not "Plus") setting.

As I understand it, this would have worked on the Roku Ultra 4640X, which had built-in support for converting DD+ to DD. But on the newer 4660X, DD+-to-DD conversion has never been supported. See this discussion:

That support page should be updated. Only the Roku Ultra 4640 (with optical audio port) supports transcoding DD+ to DD. The Roku Ultra 4660 does not have this transcoding capability.

The problem is that:

1. My TV has no support for transcoding surround sound.
2. The Beam only supports plain Dolby Digital and PCM.
3. Many source devices (including the Roku Ultra 4660 and newer, the Nintendo Switch, and the Chromecast Plus) are unable to convert other surround sound formats into DD at the source.
4. All the HDMI audio extractors I've seen are unable to convert DD+ into DD.

Basically, the Beam only supports surround sound if it's plugged into the right TV, or if it has source devices that produce DD. Many common source devices, including many popular streaming boxes, can't produce Dolby Digital. I was hoping that somebody here was aware of an HMDI extractor that could advertise DD+ support (and ideally LPCM) over EDID, and convert to DD.
Userlevel 1
Badge +2
This is really worrysome. The DTS issue is one thing, but that Sonos cannot keep up with standard 5.1 streaming formats is very poor and may lose a lot of customers.