completely frustrated, returning entire 5.1 system tomorrow

  • 23 March 2013
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Userlevel 3
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I just bought this TV along with a Playbar, Sub and the two Play 3's. The TV will output Dolby Digital or PCM through the optical out from any of the HDMI inputs. When playing TV via Media Center, most of my cable channels are DD so I get surround, but when I play a Bluray via PS3 I get no surround. Is this simply because the Playbar won't decode DTS? Or should I be able to get surround from a Bluray with this setup?
Userlevel 2
I too have been bitten by the "no dd 5.1 output from my tv." I have a 2011 panasonic p65vt30. I read the manual and everything I could see says Dolby Digital through digital optical out. Hooked up my $2000 sonos set up (playbar, sub, 2x play 3). While it *does* sound amazing, compared to my preivous panasonic htb520 soundbar set up, the surround audio created is a bit distracting! (a little loud, sounds kind of fake. I'm assuming it's the dolby pro logic II creating *fake* surround sound from the stereo).

Anyway, reading every word in the panasonic manual three times carefully, it seems the optical digital out will only do 5.1 from ATSC sources, whereas NTSC sources will only output PCM. (which, of course, means TiVo and Apple TV will only be PCM/stereo).

So, I've looked at the various switchers people have suggested, but I'm concerned about the "auto off" features of the playbar. I only have a TiVo premiere and an AppleTV connected via HDMI to my TV. The Tivo will never stop sending signal over the HDMI (or optical out, for that matter). So, bypassing the TV for that, isn't really a great option, since there is no "off" for the play bar (or even a remote sequence) that the play bar would accept from a remote to turn off the incoming audio when the TV is off. (I know i can change the input using my sonos remote software.. But, that kind of defeats the "simplicity" argument). I *really* hate having to use mutliple remotes to turn something on, or off, or to change inputs. I use the TiVo bluetooth remote so the Tivo is in another room, as well.

So, to keep the simple 1 remote functionality, it really seems that the audio should come from the TV, rather than an external source. (And that's likely what Sonos intended... The play bar is not a multi-input receiver, afterall).

My panasonic plasma does support ARC over HDMI. And, that's how I previously had the panasonic htb520 sound bar connected. I have seen some HDMI to optical (Toslink) converters for reasonable prices. Does anyone think that would be a good way to go? (I realize at that point, the TV would be providing a variable audio output... But, I've already switched the audio remove commands coming from my Tivo remote for the sonos to work and not see the "Speakers Off" notification on my TV. so, I figure I can set my TV audio at a good level and still use that set up so the TV isn't varying the audio level).

I've scoured the forums, third-party reviews, and AVS forums. I realize that everyone has their own opinions, and viewing preferences are not consistent, etc, etc. But, I'm a bit indecisive at this point.. I've already shelled out $2k for the sonos audio set up.. Do, I spend more, live with the simulated surround with the added play:3s, or ditch them and keep the *still amazing* audio of just the playbar and sub?

Bottom line, I'm not interested in purchasing a new TV at this point.. So, should I:

1. try an HDMI to optical converter and use the HDMI/ARC output of the TV so I can get 5.1 to my Sonos setup? (not really interested in an HDMI switcher due to increased complexity and concern about being able to shut off audio from the TiVo when the TV is off).

2. repurpose my 2x play:3s to some other part of the house (my home office, for example)

3. just suck it up and find a suitable 65" - 70" TV replacement for my 2011 Panasonic plasma that will *absolutely* output 5.1 over optical (from all sources that provide it).

I should say the following:
I'm an avid sonos user. Have been since 2006. This playbar set up is in my bedroom. So, true *5.1 surround* is not critical... I have never had that in that room, and I have a 7.1 set up in my main viewing area. I Have 5 different zones in my house (not including the new Surround zone I've set up)

Thanks for anyone's input. :)


Any update on this? I have Apple TV and TiVo premiere connected, and was really interested to extend my 7 sonos zone system to the TV, but just can't see a reliable setup for reliable, easy 5.1 viewing.

Thanks so much for posting your issues and research. Saved me a lot of time. I'll wait for a solution before getting involved.
Userlevel 2
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Any update on this? I have Apple TV and TiVo premiere connected, and was really interested to extend my 7 sonos zone system to the TV, but just can't see a reliable setup for reliable, easy 5.1 viewing.

Thanks so much for posting your issues and research. Saved me a lot of time. I'll wait for a solution before getting involved.


I went ahead and purchased the following:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5557&seq=1&format=2

It's been perfect. Now, my TV is like a typical home theater monitor set up. It only ever gets signal from 1 input. The monoprice switcher takes input from my TiVo on Fios, and my AppleTV.. It sends video via HDMI to my TV, and audio via optical to my Sonos Playbar. True 5.1 on the full playbar set up (with sub and 2 play:3 surrounds) sounds *much* better, and more realistic than the simulated surround before I put in the switcher..

The switcher has it's own IR remote. So, I just programmed my TiVo remote to control the input on that, rather than my TV, and all is good!
Userlevel 2
aasun,

Do you have an issue with audio delay? I have the exact same switch as you, and I think the Playbar processes the audio from the optical faster than my TV processes the video from the HDMI. I turned off audio compression in Sonos and set the delay, but I can't get the lip sync perfectly. One tick mark on the Audio delay is too much, and another tick mark is too little. And to top it off, it changes for various sources. Some HD channels seem to sync perfectly, other channels (HBO) have it off quite a bit. If I watch a BD on my ps3, it changes again. Starting to drive me crazy.
Userlevel 2
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aasun,

Do you have an issue with audio delay? I have the exact same switch as you, and I think the Playbar processes the audio from the optical faster than my TV processes the video from the HDMI. I turned off audio compression in Sonos and set the delay, but I can't get the lip sync perfectly. One tick mark on the Audio delay is too much, and another tick mark is too little. And to top it off, it changes for various sources. Some HD channels seem to sync perfectly, other channels (HBO) have it off quite a bit. If I watch a BD on my ps3, it changes again. Starting to drive me crazy.


Hmm.. I would be very sensitive to that.. I haven't seen anything like that. We're not watching any BD in this set up (only Tivo and AppleTv). We have Fios, and have watched broadcast, Cable, HBO and Showtime frequently, and haven't seen anything like that.

How old is your TV? Is it possible that the TV is trying to do any conversion from the different video sources, which could be why the "processing" may be faster or slower depending on the source?
As an industry, the program providers and transport companies (the cable company) don't care much about audio. In my experience lip sync can vary from channel to channel and program to program. The movie channels tend to be better managed than anything else.

A constructive trend that I am seeing is that devices, such as some receivers, are beginning to compensate for their own video processing latency. If the video is delayed a few frames, the unit will insert a matching audio delay. Exactly where this delay is inserted is not specified. (before or after the HDMI takeout point? TOSLINK output? Analog output? Digital processing?) This does not, however, compensate for issues caused up the chain at the production studio or cable company.
Userlevel 2
TV is from 2012 (Sharp Aquos LC-80LE632U). Internal speakers are turned off. Have U-Verse wireless STB. All HD content OTA should be 1080i, and PS3 should be 1080p. I don't think the TV should be doing any converting. Signal being sent from source is what should be displayed.
Userlevel 2
I've tried multiple sources through my tv or directly into the play bar but no matter what I do the app always reports a stereo input.

For example optical direct connection from a ps3 straight into the playbar.

Audio out settings on the ps3 are set to digital 5.1 not dts.

What should I expect to see? What am I doing wrong or does it only really do stereo?
does it only really do stereo?
If Playbar sees a 5.1 signal it will do 5.1. There have to be satellites (sub, surrounds) to reproduce the relevant channels of course.

The PS3 will only be able to output 5.1 if the original content is in that format. If it's in stereo then, despite the 5.1 audio setting, stereo is what you'll get.
Userlevel 2
Its back ordered right now but it did work for you?

Look up B003L14WB8 in amazon.com
Userlevel 2
I just bought this TV along with a Playbar, Sub and the two Play 3's. The TV will output Dolby Digital or PCM through the optical out from any of the HDMI inputs. When playing TV via Media Center, most of my cable channels are DD so I get surround, but when I play a Bluray via PS3 I get no surround. Is this simply because the Playbar won't decode DTS? Or should I be able to get surround from a Bluray with this setup?

I'm still playing with the settings but assuming your menu is similar to mine there's a setting in the Audio section called BITSTREAM that has to be on for 5.1 to be passed as an output.
Userlevel 2
I've tried multiple sources through my tv or directly into the play bar but no matter what I do the app always reports a stereo input.

For example optical direct connection from a ps3 straight into the playbar.

Audio out settings on the ps3 are set to digital 5.1 not dts.

What should I expect to see? What am I doing wrong or does it only really do stereo?



...funny thing is when I'm obviously getting 5.1 by connecting the Amazon box to the PlayBar (at least I assume I am because I can hear a helicopter in a movie go front to back and then left to right) my ABOUT shows my PlayBar's input as ..... BLANK.
Userlevel 2
Is ANYONE getting TRUE 5.1 out of a playbar using either a TV or a receiver?

My Sharp LC60LE757U does pass DD 5.1 from HDMI input through the optical out.
Badge +2

So, I've looked at the various switchers people have suggested, but I'm concerned about the "auto off" features of the playbar. I only have a TiVo premiere and an AppleTV connected via HDMI to my TV. The Tivo will never stop sending signal over the HDMI (or optical out, for that matter). I *really* hate having to use mutliple remotes to turn something on, or off, or to change inputs. I use the TiVo bluetooth remote so the Tivo is in another room, as well.


Thanks so much for posting this set-up. It's the same as mine and i'm glad you were able to program the tivo remote to turn off the switcher. that was my solution and wasn't sure if it would work - glad it did....
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The switcher has it's own IR remote. So, I just programmed my TiVo remote to control the input on that, rather than my TV, and all is good!


Did you program the TiVo remote to control the switcher input AND control the switcher Power. I'd figure that the switcher needs to be turned off to cut TiVo audio to the soundbar. I want to use only my TiVo remote, and i know the remote can power two devices. So if I can get it to change switcher inputs and power of the switcher and the TV power i'd be all set.
Any update on this? I have Apple TV and TiVo premiere connected, and was really interested to extend my 7 sonos zone system to the TV, but just can't see a reliable setup for reliable, easy 5.1 viewing.

Thanks so much for posting your issues and research. Saved me a lot of time. I'll wait for a solution before getting involved.


I went ahead and purchased the following:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5557&seq=1&format=2

It's been perfect. Now, my TV is like a typical home theater monitor set up. It only ever gets signal from 1 input. The monoprice switcher takes input from my TiVo on Fios, and my AppleTV.. It sends video via HDMI to my TV, and audio via optical to my Sonos Playbar. True 5.1 on the full playbar set up (with sub and 2 play:3 surrounds) sounds *much* better, and more realistic than the simulated surround before I put in the switcher..

The switcher has it's own IR remote. So, I just programmed my TiVo remote to control the input on that, rather than my TV, and all is good!


Can you tell me/us what brand/code you set the remote to when setting up your Tivo remote to power the monoprice splitter on/off? I would love that solution so I don't have to introduce yet another remote to the family (or replace my beloved Tivo peanut).