HDMI 5.1 dolby digital to optical cable

nickj1000

Member
Hi Guys. I wonder if anybody knows of a proven device that converts the sound from an HDMI cable (Dolby Digital 5.1c) to Optical Cable (Dolby Digital 5.1). Problem is my Panasonic TV is 10 years old and does not recognise 5.1 inputs via HDMI although it does output it via the apps like netflix. As the TV is 10 years old it will not recognize the 5.1 etc from my Amazon Fire stick and my surround system does not have HDMI, only Optical Input. Hence I want to connect and HDMI cable from my Fire Stick to a device that can have an optical output that carries 5.1 to my surround system. I have seen a few things on the internet but I am a bit wary about what they can do. Any advice would be great. Cheers
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
I've recently been trying to get around a similar problem only using a Roku rather than Firestick. The issue I have seems to be down to DD+. If I stream a 5.1 movie on Roku's own TV channel (that I'm assuming uses regular DD and not DD+) then the optical out on my HDMI splitter will send 5.1 sound to my old pre-hdmi amp. However, if I try the same thing with Netflix that I know uses DD+ then I get no sound, despite Dolbys own website saying DD+ should be backward compatible.

I've read up a lot about it and it seems many Roku users have had the same problem but some say it works with a Firestick, so if I get a chance tomorrow I'll try it and let you know if it works.
 

nickj1000

Member
I've recently been trying to get around a similar problem only using a Roku rather than Firestick. The issue I have seems to be down to DD+. If I stream a 5.1 movie on Roku's own TV channel (that I'm assuming uses regular DD and not DD+) then the optical out on my HDMI splitter will send 5.1 sound to my old pre-hdmi amp. However, if I try the same thing with Netflix that I know uses DD+ then I get no sound, despite Dolbys own website saying DD+ should be backward compatible.

I've read up a lot about it and it seems many Roku users have had the same problem but some say it works with a Firestick, so if I get a chance tomorrow I'll try it and let you know if it works.
Ok much appreciated ! Thanks
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Ok much appreciated ! Thanks

I've just realised I left my Firestick at my mums. I will be taking shopping to her tomorrow so will grab it then. I'm in the middle of reconfiguring my system and determined to get round this problem myself so with any luck I'll have an answer for you by Saturday.
 

nickj1000

Member
I've just realised I left my Firestick at my mums. I will be taking shopping to her tomorrow so will grab it then. I'm in the middle of reconfiguring my system and determined to get round this problem myself so with any luck I'll have an answer for you by Saturday.
OK cool, thank you Timmy, much appreciated !
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
‘Dolby Digital Plus bitstreams are not directly backwards compatible with Dolby Digital decoders, but Dolby Digital Plus decoders can decode Dolby Digital bitstreams.’.


Joe
 

nickj1000

Member
‘Dolby Digital Plus bitstreams are not directly backwards compatible with Dolby Digital decoders, but Dolby Digital Plus decoders can decode Dolby Digital bitstreams.’.


Joe
Hi Joe. My Yamaha seems to have quite a mixture of Dolby Digital (Excoder), Pro Logic 1 and 11 DTS-ES Matrix 6.1 and other things that mean nothing to me. I know it separates sound in 7 speakers but I guess that does not mean much. I trying to find out if I use a splitter from my Fire Stick if the HDMI surround signal rather than a stereo signal can then be carried from the splitter on my Optical Cable. I think Timmy is going to try this out with his Fire Stick tomorrow night. He has had trouble with his Roku doing this but some friends have suggested to him that it works with Fire Stick. You helped me one time before with this when you told me that the older TV's did not accept a surround signal from HDMI and then I realized that I had the Netflix app on my TV so I could use optical cable for the surround to my amp. Because the TV is old i haven't got the Amazon App so hence I am looking hopefully for a solution with a splitter for my Fire Stick and hoping that Timmy comes up with good news ! Cheers
 
Last edited:

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
‘Dolby Digital Plus bitstreams are not directly backwards compatible with Dolby Digital decoders, but Dolby Digital Plus decoders can decode Dolby Digital bitstreams.’.


Joe

Hi Joe. Thanks for your input. I figured you would be able to help better than anyone but now I'm even more confused!

Does this not contradict the info in your link or have I misunderstood things? Cut and pasted directly from the FAQ in the link underneath.


" Is Dolby Digital Plus content backward-compatible? Because Dolby Digital Plus is built on core Dolby Digital technologies, content that is encoded with Dolby Digital Plus is fully compatible with the millions of existing home theaters and playback systems worldwide equipped for Dolby Digital playback. Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks are easily converted to a 640 kbps Dolby Digital signal without decoding and reencoding, for output via S/PDIF. The 640 kbps bit rate, which is higher than the standard 448 kbps used on DVDs, is fully compatible with all existing Dolby Digital decoding products such as A/V receivers, and can provide higher-than-DVD quality from Dolby Digital Plus soundtracks when played back through existing systems."

 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
OK cool, thank you Timmy, much appreciated !

Success! In a nutshell, it can be done!

It's now 3.30 am and I've been messing around with this since 10pm and finally got it working. Netflix in 5.1 from an old 1080p Firesick, plugged into an old Gefen HDMI splitter with an optical out into an old, non DD+ Arcam processor.

Without going in to all the things I tried that failed, it seems it was an update to the Firestick software that did it. So it seems the Firestick can do something the Roku can't, which is what I'd read in various very old threads but wasn't sure if it were still true today.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_20210220_032531.jpg
    IMG_20210220_032531.jpg
    30.8 KB · Views: 15

nickj1000

Member
Success! In a nutshell, it can be done!

It's now 3.30 am and I've been messing around with this since 10pm and finally got it working. Netflix in 5.1 from an old 1080p Firesick, plugged into an old Gefen HDMI splitter with an optical out into an old, non DD+ Arcam processor.

Without going in to all the things I tried that failed, it seems it was an update to the Firestick software that did it. So it seems the Firestick can do something the Roku can't, which is what I'd read in various very old threads but wasn't sure if it were still true today.
Hey Timmy, well done, you are a dedicated man and you have won the challenge. I am going to order my splitter today and set it up. Hope my amp does the job but regardless now that I know it can be done it is worth the punt as the cost of the splitter is low. My Firestick is a 4K one si I guess has pretty up to date software onit. Thanks very much indeed to you and to Joe of course for his input. I will keep you posted on this thread of my results over the next few days. Cheers !
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
The only issue you may run into is something Joe Fernand can explain far better than I can and it's to do with EDID. Despite years of messing around with this kind of thing, I'm still not sure exactly how it works, particularly when it comes to the audio side of things and whether or not different sources handle things differently. Fingers crossed it won't be a problem for you though.

As far as getting it to work otherwise, set the Firestick to output Dolby Digital and not Dolby Digital Plus in the settings. I know that doesn't seem to make sense seeing as Netflix and I assume Prime only use DD+ but it seems to only work that way.

One final unrelated question. Is your 4k Firestick quick and easy to use like a regular modern TV or is it a bit slow to respond to remote commands and for apps to load? My old one is slow and annoying so now I know this works I'm wondering if I should buy a newer one.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on.
 

nickj1000

Member
The only issue you may run into is something Joe Fernand can explain far better than I can and it's to do with EDID. Despite years of messing around with this kind of thing, I'm still not sure exactly how it works, particularly when it comes to the audio side of things and whether or not different sources handle things differently. Fingers crossed it won't be a problem for you though.

As far as getting it to work otherwise, set the Firestick to output Dolby Digital and not Dolby Digital Plus in the settings. I know that doesn't seem to make sense seeing as Netflix and I assume Prime only use DD+ but it seems to only work that way.

One final unrelated question. Is your 4k Firestick quick and easy to use like a regular modern TV or is it a bit slow to respond to remote commands and for apps to load? My old one is slow and annoying so now I know this works I'm wondering if I should buy a newer one.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on.
Hi Timmy. Thanks for all the info. One thing I know wit amps and connecting devices you cannot be 100 per cent sure how they will behave but it is good to know that it can work so well worth a go for me. I take your point about only using Dolby Digital and not +. I have ordered the Amazon splitter on the basis that you would think that this would be the most compatible for Fire Stick
 

nickj1000

Member
The only issue you may run into is something Joe Fernand can explain far better than I can and it's to do with EDID. Despite years of messing around with this kind of thing, I'm still not sure exactly how it works, particularly when it comes to the audio side of things and whether or not different sources handle things differently. Fingers crossed it won't be a problem for you though.

As far as getting it to work otherwise, set the Firestick to output Dolby Digital and not Dolby Digital Plus in the settings. I know that doesn't seem to make sense seeing as Netflix and I assume Prime only use DD+ but it seems to only work that way.

One final unrelated question. Is your 4k Firestick quick and easy to use like a regular modern TV or is it a bit slow to respond to remote commands and for apps to load? My old one is slow and annoying so now I know this works I'm wondering if I should buy a newer one.

Best of luck and let us know how you get on.
Regarding the speed of Fire Stick etc. Mine is about a year old and is the 4K version. It is very fast and I would say faster than any other device that I have including my lap top. I do not use wireless on it though even though my broadband is good in case the signal drops out. I use TP Link plugs and get speed on these of around 22 Mbps although it was higher before lock down. This speed is enough to run YouTube Netflix etc 1080p. My TV is 1080P but I have streamed some 4K stuff through the device and although it cannot produce the 4K picture on my set, it does seem to stream ok. So essentially I would recommend it to you. Cheers
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
EDID is the device at the replay end of the chain (Sink) letting the Source know it’s capabilities to enable the Source to select an Output format the Sink supports.

Once you stick a device (Repeater) between the Source and Sink things can get complicated pretty quickly as the designers of the Repeater device have a few options in terms of passing the Sink EDID, combining the Sink+Repeater EDID or outputting a ‘preferred’ EDID (no matter what the Sink capabilities are).

You can use a computer with DVI or HDMI, or devices such as most of the HDFury range, to read the EDID with and without the Repeater (your AVR) in the signal path and see what is being presented to the Source, the HDFury devices are handy if you want to then present something different to the Source as they have user definable EDID.

DD+ - it sounds like your Source can transcode DD+ to DD.

Joe
 

nickj1000

Member
Hi Timmy and Joe. Good news. I set up Amazon Basic's splitter and it works well be both picture and sound. My Yamaha has Dolby Digital and DTS and the Amazon Basic Plug ad Play seems to have Digital DTS and Dolby Digital even though it is I guess over 10 years old now. There are a lot of settings on the Yamaha which seem a bit overboard but a tried it on normal surround which worked but with very quiet rear speakers. I then used some of the Amps extra settings and settled on Surround Enhanced and a secondary setting PL II Movies which works a treat. No more boomy voices through the centre speaker now from Amazon broadcasts and a really good cinema sound. All for 17 pounds and a little help from my friends ! Cheers and thanks guys.
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
Hi Timmy and Joe. Good news. I set up Amazon Basic's splitter and it works well be both picture and sound. My Yamaha has Dolby Digital and DTS and the Amazon Basic Plug ad Play seems to have Digital DTS and Dolby Digital even though it is I guess over 10 years old now. There are a lot of settings on the Yamaha which seem a bit overboard but a tried it on normal surround which worked but with very quiet rear speakers. I then used some of the Amps extra settings and settled on Surround Enhanced and a secondary setting PL II Movies which works a treat. No more boomy voices through the centre speaker now from Amazon broadcasts and a really good cinema sound. All for 17 pounds and a little help from my friends ! Cheers and thanks guys.

Glad you got something going that you are happy with! Sadly in my case, I've discovered my Gefen spliiters will pass the 5.1 signal over optical but I get the occasional but annoying flicker on my picture and my Octava splitters give a rock solid picture but refuse to play ball with 5.1 sound so I'm back to square one for the time being. Bought another splitter (to go with the 5 I already have!) so hopefully when that arrives I may have more luck!
 

nickj1000

Member
Glad you got something going that you are happy with! Sadly in my case, I've discovered my Gefen spliiters will pass the 5.1 signal over optical but I get the occasional but annoying flicker on my picture and my Octava splitters give a rock solid picture but refuse to play ball with 5.1 sound so I'm back to square one for the time being. Bought another splitter (to go with the 5 I already have!) so hopefully when that arrives I may have more luck!
You are between the devil and the deep blue sea ! I wonder if one splitter does the job but another one does not, but how can you know until you test it ? Put Passengers on on Amazon tonight and the Amp flashed up Dolby Digital just to confir what I already knew. Thanks again Timmy and good luck yourself
 

nickj1000

Member
OK guys. One hitch so far. When you have watched anything from the Fire Stick on 5.1 the splitter takes over your volume control on your TV. What I mean by this is that the volume control on the TV wants to control your home cinema sound and not the TV and the menu items from the sound settings on your TV disappear. This is rectified by pulling the USB out of the TV and switching the TV on and off again. Not a deal breaker as I mainly watch cinema sound stuff anyway. Bit of a strange one which I guess you would be able to stop by buying a power supply and so avoiding the power connection with the TV. I will keep you posted of any other revelations like for example once I switched the splitter to 5.1 the rear speakers do not seem to work. This could be because of the movie possibly although it was the maze runner on amazon but I will be running some checks . Cheers
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
This sounds like something to do with HDMI control. Look in your TV or firestick settings to see if there's anything you can turn off. Maybe labelled as CEC or Viera Link or EZ sync on your Panasonic.

If you turn it off you may have to manually turn down your TV speakers when using your av amp otherwise you may end up with sound coming from both.
 

nickj1000

Member
This sounds like something to do with HDMI control. Look in your TV or firestick settings to see if there's anything you can turn off. Maybe labelled as CEC or Viera Link or EZ sync on your Panasonic.

If you turn it off you may have to manually turn down your TV speakers when using your av amp otherwise you may end up with sound coming from both.
Hi Timmy, found these things and tried them but no luck. But them you made me think and I went into Vieira Link and turned it off. Hey Presto, I am back in control of the TV. Still not fathomed out the Fire Stick only working on 3 speakers when playing 5.1 nomatter what the amp setting although regardless the sound is much better than the over basey sound from the centre speaker before. If I turn the Splitter to two channel the pseudo 5.1 produced by the amp is very good as well and much better than before. Maybe a trade off here which I am happy with regardless but a little more experimentation required. Cheers and thanks
 

nickj1000

Member
OK, it is official. I can only get Centre and front speakers with digital 5.1 streams. I had it set on digital when a preview came on an amazon movie and all 5 speakers were working. Got excited for a minute nad then put the film on to see and it was 3 speakers. I guess the preview was in fact a stereo signal which my system split into 5.1. So the trade off is either a 5.1 sound signal from the splitter which translates into Centre and Front Left and Right speakers which is top quality sound and immersing or go for 2 channel signal form the splitter which my system splits into Centre, Front Left and Right and Rear Left and Right which is also a very good sound but not quite the clarity or punch. Netflix I have on my TV so I get proper 5.1 so that is ok and so is my Sky Box. Think quality is the key and will settle for Amazon 3 way speakers until I get a new TV in the distant future. Regardless of the setting there is a dramatic improvement in the sound so I am still very happy with my low cost purchase and the help. Cheers
 

Timmy C

Distinguished Member
That's a bit odd. Just for the sake of testing and process of elimination, have you tried Netflix through the Firestick? If the Firestick is set up right, Netliflix will show 5.1 in the tv show/film info before you play it but if there's a problem it will just say HD, or it will say 5.1 but you won't get sound at all.

I must admit, although I got my processor to show 5.1 from the Firestick, I hadn't even switched on the power amp that powers my rear speakers so have no idea how well it was working!
 

nickj1000

Member
That's a bit odd. Just for the sake of testing and process of elimination, have you tried Netflix through the Firestick? If the Firestick is set up right, Netliflix will show 5.1 in the tv show/film info before you play it but if there's a problem it will just say HD, or it will say 5.1 but you won't get sound at all.

I must admit, although I got my processor to show 5.1 from the Firestick, I hadn't even switched on the power amp that powers my rear speakers so have no idea how well it was working!
I share netflix on my brother account and i have lost the password so have not tried that yet but I take the point. There is a setting apparently on the fire stick specifically for dolby digital so i am going to try that today. I have read a coupe of reviews on the amazon splitter saying that they can only get 3 speakers working but other say that it works fine. The conundrum of connecting kit ! I am also going to buy another splitter to see if it does the same thing, i is easy to return the amazon basic if this is the problem. Keep you posted. Cheers
 

nickj1000

Member
That's a bit odd. Just for the sake of testing and process of elimination, have you tried Netflix through the Firestick? If the Firestick is set up right, Netliflix will show 5.1 in the tv show/film info before you play it but if there's a problem it will just say HD, or it will say 5.1 but you won't get sound at all.

I must admit, although I got my processor to show 5.1 from the Firestick, I hadn't even switched on the power amp that powers my rear speakers so have no idea how well it was working!
OKay, I had a new plan to test it. I changed the connections to my blu Ray player and put on a bond movie. No sound at all with two way signal from the splitter but there is sound when switched to 5.1. I guess this is because of the particular digital sound on the disk which is DTS which shows on my amp.. Regardless though still 3 speakers, rear speakers do not work. So it does not do 5.1 with the fire stick or the blu ray so I think that confirms it. Sound still very good though when the signal is digital 5.1. I think I may send it back and try another.
 
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

65-inch LG C1 Review coming soon to AVForums
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Sennheiser Consumer Electronics acquired by Sonova
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Freeview Play viewers get Android TV homescreen update
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Hisense announces US TV and soundbar ranges for 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 5th May 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
AVForums Movies Podcast: 4th May 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom