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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Level 12

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@LowFrequency wrote:

Thank you for trying to help. The Roku device does not send DD plus to my TV as it should. All settings have been verified and tried. Roku is misleading people and should not be making claims about 5.1 surround that cannot be achieved. Or, they could easily fix the issue. 

I have already verified the TV is a DD plus TV, stated in the manual, and more to the point, I have tested and proven that all 3 HDMI inputs recognize DD plus, and extract DD and send it out the digital optical to my AVR, which recognizes and plays DD 5.1, from my other 2 sources (DSL TV, and Blu-ray), but only PCM stereo from the Roku. 

 


I have an LG HDTV that supports Dolby Digital Plus and an older non-HDMI AVR that doesn't. So, I connect to the AVR from the LG TV using optical. It works fine. I get Dolby Digital (not plus) to my AVR from the TV from Roku apps that are sending Dolby Digital Plus. It works.  

So, I don't what your issue is, but I know this works. 

I've done some "generic" research on Samsung HDTVs where people have reported having issues with Dolby Digital Plus, even though the manual indicates support. I said "generic" research because I don't have your model number. That's why I wanted it- to get more specific information. But if you want to lay this off on Roku and probably never get any kind of fix, well, that is your choice. But I know for a fact that I can get standard Dolby Digital (not plus) from a Roku connected to my LG HDTV and then via optical from the TV to the AVR. 

Side note: you mentioned getting standard Dolby Digital from your DSL TV service and your BluRay.  Commercial over-the-air and cable-type TV are broadcast in standard Dolby Digital, not Dolby Digital Plus. So, that's not really a good test unless you have some custom channel(s) on your DSL TV service that are actually in Dolby Digital Plus. That's probably not very likely. Same for your BluRay - it can send standard Dolby Digital to your TV, as well. 

So again, I'll ask - what's the model number of the TV?

And try this with the Roku. Have its audio set for "Auto".  Now, go to the "Roku Channel". Install it if you don't have it installed. Open the Roku Channel. You'll probably see "The Perfect Storm" featured there as a free movie. See how that shows up on your AVR when you play it. The Roku Channel is one of the few Roku apps that actually broadcast in standard Dolby Digital.  You should see Dolby Digital on your AVR when you're playing The Perfect Storm. If not, you've got something amiss with your settings somewhere.  Most every other Roku app is using Dolby Digital Plus now, but the Roku Channel has offered the older Dolby Digital as its output format.

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Level 8

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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It is a Samsung JU640D TV.

It seems some users can get this to work from what I've read, but many more cannot. For my setup, 5.1 should be working and again, the other sources work fine,  it is only the Roku Premiere that does not, regardless of which HDMI input I use.

I did try playing some content from the Roku Channel, including some Live TV channels, and the show Cold Case, which is in DD 5.1 format. Volume Leveling was set to off, Audio mode set to auto, HDMI Audio set to Auto, then set to DD, then set to DD, DTS, then set DD+, then set to DD+, DTS. In all cases I get PCM stereo. I can confirm in the TV sound settings there is no other format available from that source while it's playing, and I can see what is being input to my AVR.

When I used my Panasonic Blu-Ray as the source, it has the Vudu app, and all content is 1080P video and DD+ audio. I get DD 5.1 at my AVR via HDMI from the source to the TV, and optical to the AVR.

When I used my DSL HD TV service as the source, the show Madam Secretary is in DD+ 5.1 format, and I get DD 5.1 at my AVR via HDMI from the source to the TV, and optical to the AVR.

All of these sources were swapped to different HDMI inputs and no change. Only HDMI 1 has ARC, but that doesn't apply here.

Added: Just for fun I went to the Roku Channel again and played the movie "The Perfect Storm", and "Crimson Tide", and Dolby Digital 5.1 did come through (sounded beautiful). The other shows and live TV just came through as PCM 2-channel, even though those same shows and live TV supply DD 5.1 when played from my other sources.

Come on Roku, you can do better!

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Level 12

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@LowFrequency wrote:

It is a Samsung JU640D TV.

It seems some users can get this to work from what I've read, but many more cannot. For my setup, 5.1 should be working and again, the other sources work fine,  it is only the Roku Premiere that does not, regardless of which HDMI input I use.

I did try playing some content from the Roku Channel, including some Live TV channels, and the show Cold Case, which is in DD 5.1 format. Volume Leveling was set to off, Audio mode set to auto, HDMI Audio set to Auto, then set to DD, then set to DD, DTS, then set DD+, then set to DD+, DTS. In all cases I get PCM stereo. I can confirm in the TV sound settings there is no other format available from that source while it's playing, and I can see what is being input to my AVR.

When I used my Panasonic Blu-Ray as the source, it has the Vudu app, and all content is 1080P video and DD+ audio. I get DD 5.1 at my AVR via HDMI from the source to the TV, and optical to the AVR.

When I used my DSL HD TV service as the source, the show Madam Secretary is in DD+ 5.1 format, and I get DD 5.1 at my AVR via HDMI from the source to the TV, and optical to the AVR.

All of these sources were swapped to different HDMI inputs and no change. Only HDMI 1 has ARC, but that doesn't apply here.

Added: Just for fun I went to the Roku Channel again and played the movie "The Perfect Storm", and "Crimson Tide", and Dolby Digital 5.1 did come through (sounded beautiful). The other shows and live TV just came through as PCM 2-channel, even though those same shows and live TV supply DD 5.1 when played from my other sources.

Come on Roku, you can do better!


This isn't a "fix", but it could be a workaround - have you tried restarting the Roku and trying again? If it were me, I'd unplug the Roku AND unplug the TV. Additionally, unplug the AVR.

Then, plug the Roku back in. Wait about a minute. Then plug the TV back in and wait until it comes back up. Finally, plug the AVR back in. 

Once all are powered back up, try getting DD out of the Roku again on channels where you would normally expect DD from optical.

Take a look at this Reddit page to see that people with your issue have worked around it (still frustrating) by restarting the Roku:  

Roku Reverts To PCM Output 

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Level 8

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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Yikes! I just got and setup a new Streaming Stick+ (my first Roku, having been mostly a TiVo household). I immediately encountered the problem discussed in this thread, and read through it in search of a solution. I eventually came to the realization that the problem isn't easily solved with my current setup. (I have an older AVR, which won't decode DD+, and a Blu-ray player with an HDMI input that will. So I do have a workaround to get surround sound to my AVR.)

That said, as an earlier post points out:


@jtc25 wrote:

There are those for which 5.1 worked prior to December 2019 and did not after the update...If the streams didn't change but the device behavior did, logic says the problem is with the device/firmware.


So while I understand (and reluctantly accept) the current behavior (given the thorough and repeated explanation from e.g. @Heyitsrick and @RokuTannerD of how Roku negotiates the audio connection with the connected audio system), I still haven't seen an explanation as to why this device can't do what many other competing devices (at similar price points) do (and what apparently this one used to do), which is pass along the downgraded audio stream. The Roku settings sure imply that it can do this, which only adds to the confusion and disappointment.

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Level 8

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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First, I want to be clear and accurate. I have the Premiere 3920, and Update 9.3 was installed before I did anything else. My issue (and many other users issue) is that we can't get DD 5.1 to our AVR's, and not because of firmware update 9.2, (though some problems seem to have been caused by that) but do to the lack of a simple design feature, or firmware update that could allow us to select the proper format, and have the Roku device extract DD, to then be sent to any connected TV, AVR, or Soundbar, or DD+ for those who have that capability.

Also, on my previous post, I said that my Blu-ray player was sending DD+ to my Samsung TV, and the TV was extracting DD and sending it to my AVR. I now realize, (through more wasted time digging in the manual), that the Blu-ray player is extracting the DD 5.1 from DD+, then sending DD to my TV, which then sends it to my AVR, where I get 5.1 Dolby Digital.

It would be so nice (and was implied) if the Roku device could do that, as my TV can only extract DD from DD+ if the source is an internal App, but not from any of the 3 HDMI inputs (also more time digging and talking to a Samsung rep).

Please Roku, I for one would pay $5 or $10 more for this feature, and there are many many more that would because we are forced to hear 2-channel PCM through our expensive systems while viewing a UHD 4K picture!

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Level 8

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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Totally agree

My Apple TV can do it, my Fire Stick can do it, why can’t a Roku extract DD from DD+ (which the DD+ spec was designed to simply allow).

ARC and SPDIF standards don’t allow DD+ so it essentially breaks many setups

i find this bizarre- this should be a basic expectation and makes the device not fit for purpose. 🙄

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Level 12

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@IDW wrote:

Totally agree

My Apple TV can do it, my Fire Stick can do it, why can’t a Roku extract DD from DD+ (which the DD+ spec was designed to simply allow).

ARC and SPDIF standards don’t allow DD+ so it essentially breaks many setups

i find this bizarre- this should be a basic expectation and makes the device not fit for purpose. 🙄


I'm sure it's a matter of it being an additional licensing fee they would have to pass along. Roku is a "pass through" device. It's not decoding or transcoding (converting) surround formats in the box. It's merely passing whatever is sent to it to the far end device, based on what the far end device can accept. It's always been that way. 

The only deviation from that was an older Roku Ultra that had Optical Out. It had the ability to transcode DD+ to DD over optical. But otherwise, that's it.

That said, LowFrequency's TV actually supports DD+. It has the DD+ chipset, yet still has quirks about passing standard DD out of optical when it gets a native DD+ signal over HDMI. That's got to be frustrating.

 

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Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@LowFrequency wrote:

First, I want to be clear and accurate. I have the Premiere 3920, and Update 9.3 was installed before I did anything else. My issue (and many other users issue) is that we can't get DD 5.1 to our AVR's, and not because of firmware update 9.2, (though some problems seem to have been caused by that) but do to the lack of a simple design feature, or firmware update that could allow us to select the proper format, and have the Roku device extract DD, to then be sent to any connected TV, AVR, or Soundbar, or DD+ for those who have that capability.

Also, on my previous post, I said that my Blu-ray player was sending DD+ to my Samsung TV, and the TV was extracting DD and sending it to my AVR. I now realize, (through more wasted time digging in the manual), that the Blu-ray player is extracting the DD 5.1 from DD+, then sending DD to my TV, which then sends it to my AVR, where I get 5.1 Dolby Digital.

It would be so nice (and was implied) if the Roku device could do that, as my TV can only extract DD from DD+ if the source is an internal App, but not from any of the 3 HDMI inputs (also more time digging and talking to a Samsung rep).

Please Roku, I for one would pay $5 or $10 more for this feature, and there are many many more that would because we are forced to hear 2-channel PCM through our expensive systems while viewing a UHD 4K picture!


Thanks for the update. First of all, I had a feeling from the get go that your BluRay player was actually sending DD and not DD+ to the TV. Many movie discs have the option to send standard DD vs. DD+ if you select it, and in your case, there wouldn't be any reason NOT to select that. Otherwise, you'd have to hope for a conversion to take place, when none was necessary from the source.  Same for your DSL TV service. Commercial and Cable TV are in standard DD, unless the service you use has some kind of custom channels that offer a more advanced format. I think DirectTV or Dish did that at one time for their own offerings.

I would agree with you that it would nice if Roku had the option to output DD (by transcoding). But I can't say I agree that they imply that they can do this. They've always been a "pass through" surround device, sending out what they get from the channel source, assuming the far end device can accept the format. But it doesn't decode anything. As far as I know, there's no chipset inside the boxes cable of that.  The 2016 (?) Roku Ultra has an Optical Port and does offer the transcoding option to DD. But I don't know of any other Rokus that do that.

And honestly, in my view I'd be very annoyed at Samsung over its implementation of handling Dolby Digital Plus. I've seen something like that before, on "all-in-one" DVD-AVR players. You could get more advanced surround sound if you were playing a DVD, but if you were playing audio to it from another device, it just wouldn't give you the surround you wanted.  But your TV has the capability to handle DD+. It shouldn't be a jump through the hoops issue to get that worked out on the tech side. Seems like they dropped the ball there.

What can you do on the cheap? I've seen the 4K Amazon Fire Stick sold recently for $25. I bought one, myself...too cheap not to. But supposedly it can output DD if you choose. The Apple TV certainly can, but it's not cheap.  I'd just keep an eye out for those $25 4K Fire TV sales, as there's been more than one of them recently.  

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Level 8

Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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So with all of this discussion over the problem with DD+, why doesn’t RoKu address this issue or give an explanation.  I find that RoKu has no support for its users and seems to rely on its community of users.  Poor customer support.  

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Re: Update 9.2 broke dolby digital

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@Heyitsrick wrote (in part):


...They've always been a "pass through" surround device, sending out what they get from the channel source, assuming the far end device can accept the format. But it doesn't decode anything...

At this point I guess I have to accept this fact, but I would argue that most customers wouldn't know about (or care) about this distinction, given how Roku's audio settings are presented. (I'd bet good money that if that detail was user-tested, most if not all users would fully expect the device to output in the format they selected in that particular setting.)

At the very least, the feature should be redesigned to make it clear that it does not (and cannot) change/convert the output, but merely selects possible source formats that are sent unmodified to the output.

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