Playback Issues - Audio/Video & Power

Help with audio & video playback issues, TV display type recognition & compatibility, HDCP messages, troubleshooting playback errors, advertisements, and resolving power issues.
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Voliam
Level 7

Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

I have a new Roku Premiere connected via HDMI to my TV with optical audio out from TV to AVR. No matter what audio setting I use, I get no surround sound from the Roku. If I watch Netflix via the onboard tv app I get surround sound- if I use the Roku app I don't (nothing via Roku plays in surround sound).
I have read/ tried everything in Roku's support pages to no avail. Therefore, does Roku even support Dolby Digital or do I have to have HDMI in/out on an AVR?

Thanks in advance
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7 Replies
atc98092
Level 13

Re: Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

"Voliam" wrote:
I have a new Roku Premiere connected via HDMI to my TV with optical audio out from TV to AVR. No matter what audio setting I use, I get no surround sound from the Roku. If I watch Netflix via the onboard tv app I get surround sound- if I use the Roku app I don't (nothing via Roku plays in surround sound).
I have read/ tried everything in Roku's support pages to no avail. Therefore, does Roku even support Dolby Digital or do I have to have HDMI in/out on an AVR?

Thanks in advance

What channels are you attempting to use? Not all offer 5.1 audio. Also, not all TVs will send 5.1 out the audio port from external devices. From your description, I believe this is likely your problem. The only way you will get 5.1 from the Roku (and yes it does support Dolby Digital) is to connect it to an AVR via HDMI. 
Dan
Nvidia Shield, Roku Stick (3600), Ultra (4640), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Miami_Son
Level 7

Re: Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

"atc98092" wrote:
"Voliam" wrote:
I have a new Roku Premiere connected via HDMI to my TV with optical audio out from TV to AVR. No matter what audio setting I use, I get no surround sound from the Roku. If I watch Netflix via the onboard tv app I get surround sound- if I use the Roku app I don't (nothing via Roku plays in surround sound).
I have read/ tried everything in Roku's support pages to no avail. Therefore, does Roku even support Dolby Digital or do I have to have HDMI in/out on an AVR?

Thanks in advance

What channels are you attempting to use? Not all offer 5.1 audio. Also, not all TVs will send 5.1 out the audio port from external devices. From your description, I believe this is likely your problem. The only way you will get 5.1 from the Roku (and yes it does support Dolby Digital) is to connect it to an AVR via HDMI. 

Not to mention that most TVs will only send multichannel audio (or any audio) out the optical port when the source is cable or OTA and not an HDMI port.
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NightHawk
Level 7

Re: Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

A lot of TVs will tell the device (Roku) over HDMI they are stereo only and then it will only provide stereo to the TV.
The only way around that is normally to use an AVR with HDMI ports and plug the Roku into that to get multichannel capability sent to the device from the AVR.
There are some external HDMI switchers that can report multichannel to the device and offer their own optical output, but optical is only capable of DD or DTS max, not the newer DD+ that many services use now for multichannel audio streaming like amazon, netflix, etc.
So either an AVR with DD+ capability is needed, or a device like the Roku Ultra 4640 that has built-in DD+ decoder and optical audio output for an older AVR without HDMI and DD+, thats what I'm using successfully with a Panasonic plasma HDTV that also reports only stereo audio on its HDMI ports.
Roku Ultra 4640R, Roku Streaming Stick+ 3810R
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Voliam
Level 7

Re: Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

I have a Blu Ray player connected via HDMI to the TV and get DD and DTS out via the optical port.
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Heyitsrick
Level 9

Re: Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

Netflix is Dolby Digital Plus (+),  not standard Dolby Digital. Additionally, Dolby Digital Plus carries too much data to be output on optical. It needs HDMI.  

You would need a 2016-version of the Roku Ultra that had the ability to convert Dolby Digital Plus to standard Dolby Digital over optical.  (The current Ultra doesn't "transcode" DD+).

That said, some TVs will convert DD+ to DD. My LG LED TV would convert DD+ to DD and output it over optical from the TV.
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Heyitsrick
Level 9

Re: Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

"Heyitsrick" wrote:
Netflix is Dolby Digital Plus (+),  not standard Dolby Digital. Additionally, Dolby Digital Plus carries too much data to be output on optical. It needs HDMI.  So, you will get stereo-only over optical with Netflix.

You would need a 2016-version of the Roku Ultra that had the ability to convert Dolby Digital Plus to standard Dolby Digital over optical.  (The current Ultra doesn't "transcode" DD+).

That said, some TVs will convert DD+ to DD. My LG LED TV would convert DD+ to DD and output it over optical from the TV.
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jhannus
Level 1

Re: Dolby Digital/ 5.1 surround sound audio

I just got a roku streaming stick+ with v9.2.0 on it and was looking for some information on this myself.

I have the same setup. My 5.1 AVR does not have hdmi so I have optical coming from my tv to the 5.1 avr. So all sound whether surround or not comes through the AVR cable, ps4, roku, etc.

My AVR displays a blue light ONLY when it’s real Dolby digital also you can hear the difference. So far I’ve only seen this on some Netflix originals, not YouTube tv ABC channel, or Hulu (I tried 1 original).

So yes, you can do this type of setup but the roku channels supporting real 5.1 are sparse. Also if your tv doesn’t read it as 5.1 try changing your tv audio settings to see if you can give it some hints.

Also imho, having a single device plugged in to your AVR seems to defeat the home theatre purpose. I need ALL audio coming from the tv no matter how many channels to go to the AVR
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