Sonos - PlayBar Surround Sound

rob171171

Standard Member
Hi

I recently purchased SONOS Playbar and did so a tad too quickly as I now realise I am running into some technical issues preventing true DD5.1 to my Playbar. I am in Ireland and UPC is my cable TV / broadband provider

My setup is
UPC Digital + (No HD available yet in my area) - old PVR with Scart to Samsung UE40ES5500K Smart TV and Playbar connected to TV via optical fibre.
Blueray connected via HDMI into TV.
I also have two SONOS Play 3 hooked up with Playbar

My main question is am I reliant on UPC providing a specific sound format to me in order for me to avail of true 5.1 surround? Or is it irrelevant what format I receive from UPC and is it my SONOS Playbar which produces the 5.1 surround.

I know I need to upgrade PVR so as I have a HDMI or optical interface to TV but question is what else do I need.

Thanks in Advance
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
The PLAYBAR, like pretty much any device equipped with surround processing, will decode DD 5.1 if that is what the Source is outputting or can create a ‘pseudo’ surround field from a two channel source.

Joe
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
The PLAYBAR can’t ‘create’ the original discrete 5.1 channels – that has to be provided by the Source!

The PLAYBAR will decode the discrete 5.1 channels if your Source is outputting a DD 5.1 signal via Optical..

The PLAYBAR can ‘create’ a pseudo surround sound effect where you only have a two channel source signal.

Joe

PS Yes :D
 

logiciel

Moderator
Playbar connected to TV via optical fibre
The optical connection from TV to sound system normally carries only the stereo audio from the TV's tuner.
The cable box is definitely providing only channels that have nothing better than stereo.
It's up to the sound system to do its best to convert the stereo into some sort of pseudo-surround.
If the cable company provided HD channels with 5:1 then the sound system would produce that correctly.
 
Last edited:

StevieBuck

Well-known Member
You should check to see if the TV can actually pass through 5.1 audio from the HDMI connections to the optical out. A lot of TVs can’t. With your current setup for example, audio from the Blu-ray player may only pass through the TV as stereo. You may need to connect your sources direct to the sound bar to get true 5.1 sound.
 

logiciel

Moderator
As I've just posted in another thread TV manufacturers are reluctant to specify exactly what does get output on their optical sockets, and you're likely to be sure of that only when you try it!
OP didn't ask about the BR, so I didn't mention it, but that will definitely require connection direct to sound system for audio, either by HDMI for video passthrough, or by digital optical or co-ax.
 
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rob171171

Standard Member
Thanks Guys
My TV will [Samsung UE40ES5500K] (as you suggest - if it receives DD5.1) output DD5.1 to Playbar. As I am now learning I need my PVR to output DD5.1 to my TV (or even direct to Playbar)

TV Audio
Dolby Digital Plus/Dolby Plus
SRS TheatreSound HD
Dts 2.0 + Digital Out available
 

logiciel

Moderator
That's if the TV's tuner receives 5:1.
The question is, do you have access to any terrestrial TV channels that carry 5:1?
"If the cable company provided HD channels with 5:1 then the sound system would produce that correctly".
If they can supply an HD PVR, and channels that carry 5:1, it will probably be best connected to the bar.
 
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logiciel

Moderator
I've no experience of cable but satellite HD services carry some channels that always carry 5:1 and others that carry it only for specific programmes.
Your cable company should be able to tell you exactly what they provide.
 

rob171171

Standard Member
Yes you would think my Cable company could tell me that but their Tech Support team do not have any technical training and are very limited in what they know about the products they sell!! Slightly infuriating
 

logiciel

Moderator
Don't they have a web site?
 

rob171171

Standard Member
Ye, sure they do - just like sharks **** in the sea and trying to find an answer from that site or their staff is akin to finding that **** in the sea! NAHIH - Not A Hope In Hell!
 

logiciel

Moderator
That's all too typical.
In general, broadcast TV in any form, except for some of Sky's HD film channels, is rarely a good source of high definition audio.
 

rob171171

Standard Member
so Last question on this Logiciel - Am I better off with a Blueray with optical interface to Playbar over HDMI?
 

rob171171

Standard Member
Yes I know that Joe - Ive spent long enough looking at it! :)
My question is - Can you get a device with 2 optical inputs, e.g PVR and Blueray and one common output, e.g Playbar ????

This would save having to swap between PVR for TV and Blueray
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
You can install a relatively inexpensive 2x1 Optical Switch.

Have you confirmed that any of the Channels on your set-top are providing anything other than 2.0 ‘stereo’ audio – is there not an ‘info’ button which brings up an on-screen banner showing the video and audio format being broadcast?

Joe
 

rob171171

Standard Member
Thanks

Not sure on the 'Info' tip you mention but I will look later

regarding HDMI and fiber - if my Blueray has both which one is the preferred option??
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Connectivity - as your TV supports and passes through 5.1 via HDMI there is likely no difference between going BD > TV > PLAYBAR vs. BD > PLAYBAR.

You are in the best position to try both options and decide if you can differentiate between the two connectivity arrangements.

Info – most PVR’s have an ‘Info’ button on the remote which will bring up an overlay with a summary of the programme you are viewing and will also indicate what format of video and audio the programme is being broadcast in.

Joe
 

rob171171

Standard Member
Many Thanks Joe for your help. Its much appreciated.
I will try later and let you know outcome. (I feel a book in me when this is all resolved)!!! :)
 
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logiciel

Moderator
Am I better off with a Blueray with optical interface to Playbar over HDMI?
Can you get a device with 2 optical inputs, e.g PVR and Blueray and one common output
Optical from BR to PB will give you most of the audio formats, but for all of them you need a sound system that has an HDMI input.
As J F says you can get a simple switch to take two opticals in and send one of your choice at a time out, and there are even simpler combiners that may or may not work.
 

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