Audio Delay - Dolby Digital 5.1 from HDMI (PS4) to TV (TCL 55R617) to Soundbar (Sonos Beam)

  • 14 April 2019
  • 2 replies

Hey everyone,

I should start this off by saying that I am posting this for community awareness for anyone with a similar setup to me, and to request Sonos' help with contacting TCL as I don't believe this is entirely (if at all) a Sonos-related issue.

I have a TCL TV (55R617) setup with a PS4 connected to one HDMI port, and a Sonos Beam connected via HDMI 3 (ARC), but have noticed significant audio delay (around 300-400 ms) from the PS4 when I try to play Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Playing 2ch Linear PCM audio is fine, and I believe this is similar to the audio delay issues previously posted in these forums with other TVs (such as LG).

Tests performed:
  1. I've tested Dolby Digital 5.1 from the PS4 to the TV via HDMI-ARC, Optical S/PDIF, and to just the TV speakers (disconnecting the soundbar) and all three experience a very noticeable audio delay with Dolby 5.1
  2. I have also tried every possible audio config option in the TCL Roku TV's settings menu (Settings>Audio) including "Auto Detect" and solely "Dolby 5.1" (but I've tested the other options too, such as "Dolby, DTS", etc.) which all exhibit no difference.
  3. Playing Dolby Digital 5.1 sound from built-in TV apps such as Netflix or Plex, have no delay. The delay is only from HDMI devices connected to the TV.
  4. I don't have any other HDMI devices that support Dolby 5.1 to test with, but testing Dolby 5.1 from a PS4 to another TV (Hisense) to the Sonos beam there is no delay, which further makes me believe that the issue is a TCL software problem with its audio handling.
  5. If I disable "Game Mode" on the TCL TV then the Dolby 5.1 audio and video more closely line up, but the input lag makes gaming not possible.

Expected Behaviour:
The TV is stated to have Dolby Digital 5.1 pass-through, which if it was passing the audio through to the HDMI-ARC soundbar without any processing, then there should be no delay.

As the Sonos Beam only supports Dolby Digital 5.1 for surround sound, the only possible option to remove the delay is to use LPCM. Connecting the PS4 directly to the Beam would not be practical as I mostly use my TV's apps for content, which would not allow me to use a HDMI switch with optical out.

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2 replies

So I have the TCL 55P605 and have the same issue. I tried to open a ticket with TCL, but that went nowhere after all of the suggestions they sent along (reboot tv, reboot router, factory reset tv, etc). I had to resort to forcing all my equipment (xbox one, cable box) into Stereo only. My AppleTV 4K would also see the same delay...even though it was a bit less it was still noticeable. Unfortunate since I was half way out the door to get two more Play1's for rears. Doesn't make sense now that I can only play stereo.
I have a Samsung Q6, and have the same issue. I ended up getting this HDMI Switch, and am able to play in full surround sound with my PS4.

My current setup is as follows to get full surround with my PS4 using Beam and 2 Play:1s:

PS4 (Audio Settings set to Dolby Digital) -> HDMI Switch -> Optical Out to Beam, HDMI out to TV
TV -> ARC Channel to ARC Port on HDMI Switch

On the above HDMI Switch, you can turn ARC on or off. To get full surround with PS4, turn ARC off on the HDMI switch. To then get sound from the TV using the built in apps such as Netflix or YouTube (or other devices hooked into the TV), turn on ARC on the Switch. It's not ideal, but it's the only solution I've found that works.

From the research I found when looking into this issue is that it's a limitation with the Beam as it only supports Stereo PCM, and quite possibly a current limitation of HDMI-ARC (but will potentially be fixed with HDMI-eARC).

Hope this helps.