Multi-channel audio in Opera TV platforms (Sony, Vizio, etc)



Lot of you noticed me posting in various threads regarding surround sound (multichannel) audio support for your Sony TV, Sony Blu-ray, and Vizio televisions. Let me share with you what I've learned.
First, I want to be sure everyone understands that your TV is a combination of software and hardware from multiple vendors. Regardless of logos, DLNA compatibility, and/or support documentation, audio and video format support varies wildly within a single television.
Okay, so where's my multi-channel?

  • Dolby Digital (AC3) is a solid choice for most setups. Although there are caveats.
  • DTS (DCA) support is unknown. None of our test devices (listed below) outputted DTS audio to the receiver.

Wait, you mentioned Dolby Digital (AC3) caveats?

  • Our Sony BDP-S3100, for example, does not output ANY sound over HDMI when presented with an AC3 or DTS stream.
  • Vizio E and M series televisions < 50" will decode AC3 on the TV speakers. I've been unable to get sound out over ARC.

What are we doing about DTS support?

  • We may remove the DTS Receiver Capability instead of presenting it optimistically.
  • Yes, we've filed bugs with at least one TV manufacturer. We're hopeful the situation improves.

What happens when a devices doesn't support Dolby Digital (AC3) or DTS (DCA)?

  • Most commonly you'll see video but here no audio.
  • Sometimes playback shows "There was a problem playing this item." due to an error sent from the device. We'll make this error more informative and actionable.
  • Sometimes we remove the Receiver Capability which doesn't work. We do this on Vizio.

Great, but I've still got no sound.

  • Is the TV and receiver communicating via ARC? Is a compatible HDMI cable plugged into the correct ports on each device? Is each device configured to expect ARC?
  • Uncheck both Receiver Capabilities and play the video. Hear it? If so try reselecting them one at a time.
  • In playback, confirm that the correct audio track is selected.

Is this Plex's fault?

  • No.
  • The TV app and Plex Media Server are doing the right thing. I tested each device in Plex and using a standalone test case. Same results.
  • You can help by letting us know if your device does actually output DTS audio. Make sure you've deselected Dolby Digital (AC3) and play a video with a DTS 5.1+ audio track. Did you hear anything?
  • Our FAQ will be continuously updated as more information is available.