Issues with Google TV surround sound when using a TOSLINK audio extractor with a 5.1 soundbar... How to properly switch to ARC?

I'm having a bit of trouble with my surround sound setup. I recently switched from a fire stick to Chromecast with Google TV and surround sound doesn't work like it did before. With the fire stick the sound bar would see Dolby digital.

Equipment (I know this is not good equipment, but it's what I have and I want it to work):

• Old Samsung TV with HDMI, but no surround support

• Vizio 5.1 soundbar system with ARC and TOSLINK inputs.

• 2-in-1 HDMI switch and audio extractor



With my current setup I have my HDMI sources connected to the audio extractor, which sends TOSLINK to the soundbar and HDMI video to the TV. This worked with the fire stick, but with the Chromecast it won't work. I tried:

• Toggling the EDID switch on the audio extractor between "pass" and "5.1".

• Manually configuring surround audio formats in Google TV settings.

• Trying multiple apps



Is this because the Google TV is not able to down-convert the Dolby Digital Plus feeds supplied by the streaming video providers to regular Dolby Digital, but the fire stick supported this?

The best I was able to do was get the Google TV to recognize "Dolby Digital" as a supported format. But no matter what, the sound bar only sees stereo over optical. I figure maybe it's a bug with the Google TV because optical audio extractors are probably fairly rare because most users don't know better.

So I would like to try an ARC connection instead. Unlike some sound bars which have two HDMI ports (input, and output to the TV), mine only has one labeled "ARC to TV". But remember I have my sources connected to the audio extractor and not the TV because the TV doesn't support surround.

My current audio extractor only has one output labeled ARC. I don't think this product will work with my setup. I'm guessing that this option allows the extractor to extract the audio from the ARC feed back to itself from a compatible TV, rather than just extracting it from the signal directly. But I can't see how that would be beneficial?



I think I see two options to get what I want:

• Replace the audio extractor with a 4x2 HDMI matrix. Connect the first output to the TV. Connect the second output to the sound bar's single HDMI port labeled "ARC to TV", but not using ARC at all. This port should still work okay receiving a regular HDMI signal, rather than ARC from a TV, right?

OR

• Replace the audio extractor with a device such as this one that basically mimics the HDMI connections a TV would have built in, where the ARC port is one of the INPUT ports (rather than the arguably useless ARC OUTPUT port on my current audio extractor). The sound bar would be connected to this ARC port and the switch's output port would be connected to the TV. I would just lose one of the input ports since it's being used for ARC. 4x1 HDMI 2.0 Switch with HDMI ARC & CEC (Switch41-HD20)



What does these options work and would one of them be better?

And another reason I want to switch from TOSLINK to ARC is that unlike the fire stick, the Google TV only supports having one device powered on and off via IR from the Google TV remote's power button. Because TOSLINK does not support CEC, only the TV shuts off when I press power, but the audio keeps playing through the soundbar after the TV shuts off because the audio extractor is upstream from the TV. I guess I could use a Harmony remote to remap the power commands but this is definitely not something I want to get into.

I also read that some devices support better formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, over ARC, if using a good quality HDMI cable. (Even though this is not officially supported). Is it common for this to work and which devices support it? I thought ARC was technically limited to the same formats as TOSLINK.

I'm usually really good with AV stuff but ARC kind of confuses me sometimes. Why is it so complicated to get proper surround sound when using an older TV?

Thank you for the assistance and insight.
 

Dolus

Active Member

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
DD+ > DD - as you say is not supported by all streaming devices.

'This port should still work okay receiving a regular HDMI signal, rather than ARC from a TV, right?' - not necessarily, there are a new 'breed' of Soundbar which have an eARC/ARC Only 'HDMI' socket which will not work with a regular HDMI signal. SONOS and BOSE started the trend - I'll need to look up the Vizio Soundbar to confirm it follows that trend, do you have a link to the User Manual?

'I also read that some devices support better formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, over ARC, if using a good quality HDMI cable' - the 'quality' of the HDMI cable is irrelevant, it is an option a few devices offer but it is pretty rare.

'Why is it so complicated to get proper surround sound when using an older TV?' - because they were not designed to support anything other than 2.0 or 5.1DD just like they won't support video formats such as HDR, DV etc

Joe
 

The latest video from AVForums

Maverick UK Premiere IMAX Review + Top Gun, Tom Cruise, Tony Scott and 4K + Movie/TV News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom