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108 posts

Master Geek

#153528 30-Sep-2014 08:34
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I have a Sonos Playbar which is connected to the optical output of my Sony TV. The Sonos Playbar only supports stereo PCM and AC3, which is fine as the TV only passes those two formats through (no DTS).

Problem is most Blu-rays don't have a AC3 track and only output DTS and PCM Stereo, so no surround when playing off Blu-ray (I have confirmed this by verifying the signal the Playbar is receiving).

Have checked the Blu-ray player and it doesn't seem to support any form of re-coding.

I was going to splash on the Sonos sub and some Play1s for surround but with the above issue the only option I can see is to chuck the Playbar, buy a receiver and speakers?  Only good thing I can see about that is I already have a Yamaha YST sub sitting in a box somewhere :)

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3826 posts

Uber Geek

  #1144581 30-Sep-2014 22:51
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As the TV will never send out a surround sound format via optical, you'll never actually get true surround sound when you run it as it is... Instead the best you can hope for is simulated surround (the rears firing out the same sound as the fronts, just at a lower volume).
So, why bother? Why not just downscale all audio from the BluRay to PCM and stick to a 2.1(3.1) setup?

Well, you do have an option I think, but it's not cheap.
1: Buy an optical switch.
2: Buy a PS3.
3: Buy a Logitech Harmony ultimate and set it up thusly...

PS3 HDMI into TV.
Optical cable from PS3 into optical switch / optical cable from TV into optical switch.
Optical cable from optical switch into Soundbar.

Go into the PS3 menu and do the following...

1) Go to "Sound Settings", then "Audio Output Settings".
2) Select "Optical Digital and check "Dolby Digital 5.1 Ch"... Uncheck everything else. The Linear PCM 2 Ch. 44.1 kHz and Linear PCM 2 Ch. 48 kHz boxes cannot be unchecked for the record... but that's okay.
3) Go into the "Video Settings" sub menu and select "BD/DVD - Audio Outpu Format (Optical Digital)"... and select Bitstream (Mix). DO NOT select Bitstream (Direct) a

Setup the Harmony Ultimate to control the PS3, TV and Soundbar... and get the Harmony to control the optical switch (so it plays audio from the PS3) when you select an activity like "Watch BluRay" or "Play PS3".

I HAVE NOT tried this as I don't own a Soundbar, but I'm pretty sure it'll do the business for you.

Having said that, I'd sell the Sonos and buy something else. Something like an amplifier and speakers.

108 posts

Master Geek

  #1144615 1-Oct-2014 07:34
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Hmmm PS3 supports re-sampling, kids would like that.

I think I have concluded as you did at the end of your post it is better to just replace it.  If I flick the Sonos off, what I would have from that plus my budget for the Sonos sub (circa $2K) would more than cover a good component system given I already have a sub knocking around.

Big advantage is DTS will work out of the box, no need to much around with trying to force AC3.

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