Question Netflix App DD+ audio not working through Integrated Amplifier

Discussion in 'Panasonic TVs Forum' started by NicoWhite, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. NicoWhite

    NicoWhite
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    Hello AV people

    I have an ongoing issue I am struggling to solve, I'm hoping you can assist me.

    I have the Panasonic Smart TV (Model: TH-50AS700A ) plugged into my Rotel RA-12 Integrated Amplifier via an Optical Cable.

    Audio plays perfectly through all Apps (Youtube, ABC iView etc) except for Netflix, which obviously uses the new Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) to compress the audio, which will not pass through optical digital audio (S/PDIF) connections (optical and coax).

    A lot of sites suggest purchasing an HDMI/ARC AV Receiver (home theater receiver), however I love my Rotel Amp, I don't have a Blueray or Playstation, so I don't have any need to go out to purchase a massive Receiver which can handle Video as well. Albeit, no doubt solving my issue.

    So I'm looking for advice on possible alternatives, before purchasing.

    1. Purchase a HDMI audio/video converter

    But I've heard these can't handle the Dolby Digital Plus audio either - Is this true? Are there any adapters known to convert DD+? Will I lose much sound quality connecting to the Amplifier via RCA Cables?

    2. Purchase an Apple TV

    Again, I'm reluctant, as I'm not sure if it will convert the DD+ audio, presumably I will still be connecting the Amplifier to the Apple TV via Optical Cable. Also, I already have all the Apps I need on the Smart TV. Buying an Apple TV for Apps seems like a waste of money.


    Does anyone know any other workarounds for converting the Netflix DD+ App audio to be played through an Integrated Amplifier (and not an AV Reciever) ?


    PLEASE NOTE

    • I have already changed the 'Audio Options' within Netflix to change it from Dolby 5.1 to Dolby 2.0 (it still doesn't work)
    • I have already changed the SPDIF Setting within the TV from Auto to PCM

    I have included images of the back of my Rotel Integrated Amplifier and Panasonic TV below.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I hope this all makes sense, I'm certainly no expert.

    Any help you could provide (in which I can avoid purchasing an AV Reciever) would be massively appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Nico
     
  2. lebellium

    lebellium
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    SPDIF setting from Auto to PCM is obviously the best way to achieve what you want and I'm surprised that it doesn't work.

    Maybe it tries to send a PCM 5.1 signal to your amp which only supports stereo. edit: Multichannel PCM over SPDIF is not technically possible anyway.
    Did you try to combine both Netflix DD 2.0 option and SPDIF setting PCM at the same time so that it outputs PCM 2.0 to your amp?

    Does your amp display relevant information about the incoming signal?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019
  3. NicoWhite

    NicoWhite
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    Thanks Lebellium, I have tried both the PCM setting and Netflix's DD 2.0 audio setting in combination with one another.

    I have since been reading that "SPDIF is usually limited to the 48 kHz realm (DD, DTS and stereo PCM), and often can not support the 96 and 192 kHz formats (96 kHz PCM, DD+, DTS-HD High Resolution). Cables and connectors are another limiting factor, often not supporting the frequency range for 192 kHz."

    As these higher frequencies are relatively new, and my TV is a 2014 model... I need to work out whether it's my TV's SPDIF connection, the Optical Cable itself, or my Integrated Amplifier which cannot handle these higher frequencies.

    And ultimately whether purchasing a relatively cheap HDMI Converter - so I can then connect from HDMI ARC in the TV, into my Integrated Amplifier (which doesn't have a HDMI connector) via my Optical Cable - will effectively resolve the issue.

    When TV is sending audio via Optical:

    NORMAL.jpg
    When Netflix is sending audio via Optical:

    NETFLIX.jpg
     
  4. lebellium

    lebellium
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    Your amp is able to decode up to 192 KHz signals over SPDIF.

    User manual page 13:
    http://www.rotel.com/sites/default/files/product/manuals/RA-11-12-OM.pdf

    SPDIF LPCM:
    44,1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88,2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176,4 kHz,
    192 kHz
    16 Bit, 24 Bit

    Also, frequencies above 48 kHz are usually only used by audiophile devices and formats ('Studio Master' music, DVD-Audio etc), there is no reason for Netflix to output in more than 44,1 or 48 kHz.

    According to Wikipedia, Dolby Digital Plus only supports up to 48 kHz anyway:
    Dolby Digital Plus - Wikipedia

    Maybe your TV is not able to properly convert Dolby Digital Plus to PCM, I don't know :/
    I can't even try on my 2017 Panasonic EX750 because I'm not a Netflix subscriber.
     
  5. NicoWhite

    NicoWhite
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    Thanks so much for essentially doing my own research Lebellium, very kind of you.

    I think you're right, the issue lies with the TV's ability to convert the DD+ to PCM. Both the Optical Cable and Integrated Amp can handle such audio.

    I've contacted Panasonic, but from what I've been reading, the fix will either be:
    • A HDMI audio/video converter to use the ARC feature in the TV (though I've heard the Netflix app audio issue still happens with ARC)
    • Buy an Apple TV
    If anyone has any experience with either of these solutions, any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again.
     
  6. NicoWhite

    NicoWhite
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    Update: Now free-to-air television stations like Ten HD are transmitting Dolby Digital audio, so the same issue of the PCM switching off when streaming Netflix, is now happing with TV Channels streaming Dolby D.

    Very frustrating.
     
  7. NicoWhite

    NicoWhite
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    Also this from Panasonic:

    Thank you for your patience with us.

    Your inquiry has been sent to our technical specialists and they mentioned that Netflix audio via optical is not supported.

    We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

    For further inquiries, please contact us.
     
  8. lebellium

    lebellium
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    As I said I'm not a Netflix subscriber but I just tried with a Dolby Digital+ 5.1 TV channel (DVB-T) on my 2017 Panasonic EX750 and there is no issue.
    - HDMI ARC: 5.1 DD+
    - Optical (Auto): 5.1 DD
    - Optical (PCM): 2.0 PCM

    What I don't understand is that your TV is not that old (2014 model) while Dolby Digital+ has been introduced in 2004, 10 years earlier... Doesn't make sense to me that Panasonic failed on this.
     
  9. NicoWhite

    NicoWhite
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    Thanks Lebellium

    I'm now thinking my Rotel RA-12 Integrated Amp can only handle PCM audio via the optical cable - From the Rotel manual:

    Coax/Optical
    Format: SPDIF LPCM
    Notes: 44,1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88,2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176,4 kHz, 192 kHz 16 Bit, 24 Bit

    So when the audio stream coming from the TV (either Netflix app, or now free-to-air HD channels) is Dolby Digital, the TV isn't converting to PCM and therefore the signal drops out on the amp. Ie. it's trying to send Dolby Digital down the TOSLINK optical cable.

    (I think you may have identified this as the issue early in the thread)

    One thing I just noticed then... when on the Free-to-air HD (Dolby D) TV Channel (eg. Ten HD)-
    I am given the Digital Audio Preference: MPEG or Dolby D in the TV audio settings:

    IMG_2842.jpg


    And when I change the SPDIF Selection to PCM after changing to Dolby D, the audio starts playing through the Amp - So the TV Channel Dolby D audio issue has been resolved!

    However, unfortunately when the Netflix App is open, this TV setting of Digital Audio Preference: MPEG or Dolby D isn't an option, only the SPDIF Selection:

    IMG_2845.jpg

    And after changing the Netflix audio setting to English [Original] from English [5.1], and then the SPDIF Selection to PCM, it still doesn't make the audio stream through the amp...

    I wonder why the TV loses this Digital Audio Preference when in the Netflix App? Maybe the Panasonic TV doesn't recognise the Netflix App as Dolby D? Either way, changing the SPDIF Selection to PCM should resolve this issue, and for some reason, it doesn't. I'm still trying to work through this with the Panasonic technical team.

    In the meantime, I've purchased the audio extractor below, hoping I can connect to TV via HDMI ARC, then optical to my amp, and this will force all audio to be PCM 2.0

    https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06VVTQY8D/ref=pe_2361882_282382012_TE_item

    Not sure if this will work, just trying cheaper alternatives before purchasing an Apple TV etc - I'll let you know how I get on. Thanks again for your input.
     

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