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Level 8

Switching between Roku TV Wireless Speakers and ARC: limitations

I've had a Roku TV for about 2 years, the latter year with Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The built-in speakers of practically any TV are terrible, but the Roku TV Wireless Speakers sound great for normal TV watching. I also have an AV receiver and 5.1 surround speakers that I like to use when watching a movie or listening to music. I was hoping that through the magic of CEC and HDMI ARC, switching between the two outputs would be seamless: by default, sound would come through the Roku TV Wireless Speakers, but if I turn on the AV receiver, sound would automatically come out of the 5.1 speakers instead. Bonus points for volume still being controlled by the Roku TV remote. 

But I couldn't get it to work. After some digging through the TV settings, I realized that - by design - the System audio control's "auto" setting always favors Roku TV Wireless Speakers over ARC because ARC is inextricably equated with the TV's built-in speakers. That is, if you use the TV's built-in speakers, turning on the AV receiver does automatically switch to ARC. But if you have Roku TV Wireless Speakers, the only way to switch to ARC is by going a few levels deep into the TV settings and manually changing the speaker output. That's unacceptable for a common procedure, one that I'd hoped could be completely automatic.

So, this post is meant as a caution to anyone trying to do the same thing, as well as a request to Roku to please enhance the functionality of System audio control to treat ARC separately from the TV's built-in speakers for the purpose of output rank preference and (at least optionally) outweigh Roku TV Wireless Speakers.

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