[SOLVED] Receiver to solve 1st Gen Sonos optical in limitation?


Hi all,

I've got a Sonos 1st gen system (playbar + subwoofer + rear surrounds) which I love, connected to a plasma TV - however the Sonos system has a limitation in that it only takes optical for sound (no HDMI). This seriously limits my expansion options, such as purchasing a Blu Ray player, new Apple TV or other peripherals, as hardly anything anymore provides an optical out.

My question is if purchasing a receiver with an optical out would solve this problem, i.e. connecting an Apple TV via HDMI to the receiver, then from the receiver's optical out to the Sonos system for sound (and HDMI out to the television for the video).

Would this work? Are most receivers able to take an HDMI signal in and split it to an optical out for audio, and an hdmi out for video?

Setup is as follows:
  • TV is a Panasonic Plasma TH-P42G10A
  • Sonos Playbar

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


Edit: Spelling
Update: added setup
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Distinguished Member
Few receivers (AVRs) offer optical outs.
INs yes OUTs no.

Normally you'd use the TV as the hdmi switch and use optical out from that TV to the soundbar... (hdmi ARC on more modern TVs and Sonos kit, I assume).

Older TVs didn't always pass multichannel audio via hdmi inputs, though (often just stereo)... which might then require a dedicated hdmi switch/optical audio extractor solution.

People will need more info on the kit you have to assist accurately. (Inc for me a link to the Sonso system you have with specs and connection abilities).


A simple hdmi audio extractor/ switch would probably be sufficient for your needs. There are many to choose from on Amazon etc. Here’s an example:

Amazon product
Thanks for that - would something like this work? It says it does 5.1 which is great, and I'm assuming there'd be no noticeable loss in picture quality (it's streaming anyway, or DVD in most cases). Seems like it would be, since the TV only supports 1080p anyway.

TV is a Panasonic Plasma TH-P42G10A
Sonos is a Playbar Gen 1

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Distinguished Member
Older Plasma, so unable to pass 5.1 through to the optical port from other inputs. My newer GT60 can't either, I think.

Only freesat HD from the TV tuner would have 5.1 DD sound passed, as it has no other streaming apps IIRC and is Freeview SD only (DVB-T)? (I have the late F-i-L's 50 inch version hanging on the kitchen-diner wall).

So the switch suggested ought to do what you want with external devices.

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