Question

Beam Lip Sync Issue

  • 22 February 2021
  • 8 replies
  • 76 views

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Hi,

I have recently added a Beam to my setup but the sound is lagging the picture. It’s only a fraction but enough to notice the voices don’t match the lips. Looking online this appears to be a very common problem caused by the TV not being able to process the audio quickly enough to send to the soundbar. This seems a common problem regardless of the brand of TV. I have this problem whether I’m watching TV or a Blu-ray. I have experimented changing settings to PCM and this solves the issue but I have various ways I can achieve PCM. My equipment and settings are as follows, all connected over HDMI.

Samsung TV

Audio delay Setting - 100 (default value)

Digital output - options are auto, pass-through or PCM

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Virgin Media V6 Cable TV Box

Options are Dolby Digital or Dolby Digital to PCM

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Blu-ray Player

Dolby Audio - options are Bitstream or PCM

DTS/DTS-HD - options are Bitstream or PCM

 

My question is which combination of settings is best to use and what do I lose by going with these? The sound is definitely louder when in Dolby Digital mode but I haven’t done any serious comparing of the two modes. Not having the lips in sync is a deal breaker really so I have to prioritise that.

Doing a search first, I found this thread of someone with the same problem only using Sky TV instead of Virgin TV. Changing Dolby Digital to DD to PCM resolved it here as well but you lose DD in the process. This user decided to connect over optical instead which gets around it at the price of convenience.

I can’t wrap my head around buying a premium soundbar and not being able to run it Dolby Digital through it over HDMI.

Thanks for any help.


8 replies

Hi.  What is wrong with running Dolby Digital over optical?  You lose CEC control but not much else.  And CEC is something of a mixed blessing.

This isn’t a complete solution, but try running the optical cable from the Virgin Box (if it has optical out, which I think it does) to the supplied adapter and connect that to the Beam.  Set the box to output DD.  What is the sound like?  How about the lip sync?

 

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I have this problem and will never but a Samsung TV again

 

 I solved it with a remote control optical switch and that solution works very well. I get Dolby digital with no, the only drawback is having to switch the remote but most of the time I’m watch Sky and that has most apps. I only switch to the TV for the Amazon Prime app. 
 

 Next step is a better TV

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Hi.  What is wrong with running Dolby Digital over optical?  You lose CEC control but not much else.  And CEC is something of a mixed blessing.

To be honest, I hadn’t really considered it until reading the Sky users thread and now your post. I assumed that HDMI ARC is the way to go given it is the one that’s promoted everywhere. 

I don’t use any voice services / voice assistants or music streaming services. If I connected it using Optical instead would it auto wake when sound is played and could I control the volume using the TV remote? They are the only features I need from the remote.

I will try your suggestion direct into the Virgin box as a test but as you say it wouldn’t be a complete solution.  The TV has an Optical out connection so in theory (at the minute) would that work to pass Dolby Digital from all my devices to the Beam?

I am going to have an experiment with it tonight. Would you be able to advise me on the settings on the TV and Blu-Ray player?

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I have this problem and will never but a Samsung TV again

 

 I solved it with a remote control optical switch and that solution works very well. I get Dolby digital with no, the only drawback is having to switch the remote but most of the time I’m watch Sky and that has most apps. I only switch to the TV for the Amazon Prime app. 
 

 Next step is a better TV

I think this issue is common regardless of the brand of TV.

So in my case, I would connect the Optical out from the TV, Virgin Box and Blu-Ray player into 3 separate inputs on an Optical switch, and then connect the output from the switch into the Beam, and then change the inputs on the switch depending on whether I’m watching Netflix (TV app), TV (Virgin) or a Blu-Ray?

Hi

HDMI can do more than optical, but not for the most part things that the Beam can do.  It would be a significant difference for the Arc, but not for the Beam.

The switch approach mentioned by @bockersjv  is where I was headed.  The aim is to bypass the TV for audio, because it is the TV that is the problem.  I think you will find that simply changing the TV output from HDMI to optical will not cure the lip sync in itself, although it is worth trying.  I suggested connecting from the Virgin box rather than from the TV to check you could cure the lip sync that way.  You can try each output separately before getting a switch.

Not sure I can advise on the TV settings - except if there is a DD or DD5.1 option, select it.  Blu-Rays can be problematic because Sonos soundbars are not compatible with the DTS format commonly used.  What brand is your BRP?

Incidentally I agree with your assessment that a new TV would not necessarily solve the problem. 

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For me the delay is introduced whne feeding the Beam sound that has come from an external source and is being directed by the TV.  Sources on the TV (such as the Nateflix app on the tv or Digiita; terrestial broadcasts from the TV tune) work fine with no Lip syn.  But play a Sky Box or DVD player and the lip sync is present.  Only when using Dolby setting for output to the Beam.

“So in my case, I would connect the Optical out from the TV, Virgin Box and Blu-Ray player into 3 separate inputs on an Optical switch, and then connect the output from the switch into the Beam, and then change the inputs on the switch depending on whether I’m watching Netflix (TV app), TV (Virgin) or a Blu-Ray?”

Yes, this is correct and how I have mine set up.  Works very well.  Samsung do seem to suffer more than most with this issue.

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Sorry for the delay both.

I have now carried out a number of tests and my problem is exactly the same as @bockersjv - When the sound originates on the TV, so in my case, the Netflix app or USB media, then there is no lag when using Dolby Digital. When the sound comes from either the Virgin TV box or the Blu-Ray player there is a lag when using Dolby Digital. I repeated the tests using the TV’s Optical out instead and the results were the same. In all cases, the sound sounded better in Dolby Digital than in PCM Stereo 2.0. I used the Sonos App on my phone to tell me what the Beam was receiving.

I connected the Beam directly into the Virgin box and there was no lag when using Dolby Digital, so the problem lies with the TV not being able to process incoming sound quickly enough.

Using the optical port on my TV meant I could not change the volume using the TV remote anymore and given the Beam does not have a remote that is quite a problem.

I guess an Optical switch would work around this issue. I’m not sure how the volume control would work then, but to be honest my partners head would explode if I put in an Optical switch and asked her to press a button when changing the source on the TV given that it’s worked “fine” until now. She can only just about work the TV as it is :joy:

Regarding the settings, pass-through on the TV does not apply in my case as it only applies to eARC devices. Auto will output Dolby Digital and PCM will output PCM. I can leave the TV set to auto here. I’ll have to keep my Virgin box on Dolby Digital to PCM and my Blu-Ray player on PCM too. There is no lag on these settings but the Beam only receives PCM Stereo 2.0. Bitstream on the Blu-Ray player will output Dolby Digital but with the lag caused by the TV.

I know a £600 TV is near the bottom of the food chain when it comes to a 4K TV but it should still be able to perform it’s actual functions properly. This TV even has an eARC port yet it cannot process basic ARC functionality properly.

I’ve had it less than a year, and there is a very bad bright spot in the top left corner which you can notice when watching dark scenes so I might see if I can return it. But I have no idea whether Sony TV’s perform better on this issue.

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Now I know what I’m dealing with, I’ve just Googled and found this little write up which explains a bit more about it and that it is very common.

My TV is a 2020 model but the audio delay option only applies to devices connected over eARC, so changing the default value of 100 to 0 has no effect on my setup. This wouldn’t even help me really, not unless I changed it before watching a Blu-Ray and changed it back to watch Netflix, which would just be annoying.

Looks like using a mixture of DD and PCM is the best of a bad situation…

How to fix that annoying audio delay on your soundbar (msn.com)

 

Edit: I’ve found this thread on the Samsung forum of another person with this exact problem, who has linked to many many more with the exact same problem. Sigh.

 

Edit2: Article here by Sonos saying to use PCM mode on the source device to remove the processing delay.

 

Edit3: An interesting thread where someone has actually calculated the delay on a Samsung TV using PCM and Dolby Digital.

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