Plex for Android TV - DD/DTS Passthrough Broken on Sony Bravia XBR devices

android-tv
fire-tv

#1

So after an exhaustive search of forums and tech support, looks like it is the Plex app itself running on Sony Bravia Android TV's that is broken and only passing 2.0 via SPDIF (Optical). Sony has verified they are good on their end (all other apps properly send 5.1). Android confirms it handles 5.1 passthrough. Even Plex app inside another (Kodi) passes through. But the Plex app itself for Android fails to pass through the full audio.

Will Plex work to resolve this?

Thank you, love Plex, just need my 5.1!


#2

Hi Club Ricky, I got pretty familiar with this end of last year after getting very annoyed with Plex on my Sony Android TV (KL-43X8305C) transcoding everything to 2.0 stereo as you say. Had the same issues with my FireTVs too...

What it boils down to is that Plex doesn't have it's own player client, it uses the device's default player. If the device doesn't have DTS, AC3 or other 5.1 decoding properly implemented you can't get it through Plex. End of. No amount of fiddling will resolve it.

Kodi (v16.1), VLC, Emby, etc all get around device limitations because they have their own players or hacks. So all other apps working doesn't mean it's actually Plex that's not. I've experienced this first hand with Kodi on my Sony, v16.1 would play any of my HEVC videos with DTS 5.1 no problem. Kodi updated to v17 where they've ditched the custom player workaround (http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=289735) and that was it, DTS broken, no more surround sound.

My Sony is running 6.0.1 and Kodi will now play AC3 5.1 directly, but not DTS, even though this version of Android's API SHOULD support it. Sony, sadly have a long running rep for bad implementation.

I'm using Kodi 16.1 on my Fire TVs with Plex for Kodi Addon installed and that works flawlessly. It's not a perfect solution but I get HEVC and DTS all direct playing without any fuss and that's the main thing for me.

From what I've seen on here the only box properly implementing Android's API for surround sound is the NVidia Shield, which I'm considering getting at some point so I can get back to using Plex directly, but the family is pretty locked into the Amazon ecosystem, so the FireTVs may stay for a while yet.

Really what we need is Plex to support 3rd party players or to implement their own on Android devices to ensure device restrictions don't interfere with the experience.


#3

@arronshields As for being locked into the Amazon ecosystem, is it to do with Amazon music or Photos?

@"Club Ricky" What are you trying to play the audio on? Is there the possibility to use ARC via HDMI to get sound to the device? The main problem with an Optical connection is there isn't anything telling Plex the audio is going to a device that can play AC3 5.1. It can still be a problem with ARC also depending upon the implementation of the device manufacturer. Supposedly Plex is working on an option to be able to force the output format default for an optical connection or HDMI for Plex on Android but no work on when it would be coming.


#4

Hey @ohiomedic, pretty much everything. Family use Amazon Music for streaming, Amazon Video and we have unlimited photo sharing from all our devices via Amazon, started off with the wife using Prime for online shopping and snow balled from there!

The Fire TVs make all of that very accessible and family friendly, for the price they've been excellent other than for my needs! lol, but then I'm being demanding wanting to watch blu-rays with 5.1 DTS. Hence Dad has an Android TV that was going to do everything and solve all my first world problems! We've bought Sony for years and I still rate their kit for picture and sound but they're off the pace on making the most of Android TV :(

Sideloading Kodi v16.1 and using Plex for Kodi really is the only option for Sony Android TVs at the moment I think, unless, as you say there's a good patch coming from Plex. (Anyone from Plex listening?!)


#5

Using Amazon photos and music kind of gets you stuck with the fire tv doesn't it. Since PrimeVideo came out for the shield I don't really use the fire tv anymore. Don't know of a way besides casting that would work for music or photos though. Hopefully something comes of the being able to select what formats you can output via HDMI or Optical for Andriod.


#6

@"Club Ricky" said:
So after an exhaustive search of forums and tech support, looks like it is the Plex app itself running on Sony Bravia Android TV's that is broken and only passing 2.0 via SPDIF (Optical). Sony has verified they are good on their end (all other apps properly send 5.1). Android confirms it handles 5.1 passthrough. Even Plex app inside another (Kodi) passes through. But the Plex app itself for Android fails to pass through the full audio.

Will Plex work to resolve this?

Thank you, love Plex, just need my 5.1!

Unfortunately Sony TV's do not allow third party Android apps such as Plex to play DTS. Older versions of Kodi work around this by forcing DTS over a raw PCM stream.

@ohiomedic said:
Using Amazon photos and music kind of gets you stuck with the fire tv doesn't it. Since PrimeVideo came out for the shield I don't really use the fire tv anymore. Don't know of a way besides casting that would work for music or photos though. Hopefully something comes of the being able to select what formats you can output via HDMI or Optical for Andriod.

Optical support might be able to solve the issue on Sony TV'S if your using SPDIF, won't have any effect on HDMI though.


#7

This is the solution I found, which works with Kodi 17.4 on my Sony TV (Android 6)
1. Go to Kodi audio settings
2. Make sure you have "Settings level" to Advanced or Expert (The option is in the bottom left corner)
3. Set "number of channels" to 2.0
4. "Output configuration" to optimised
5. "Enable Passthrough" on
6. "AC3 capable receiver" on
7. " - Enable Dolby Digital transcoding" on
8. "DTS capable receiver" off

Now Kodi will transcode DTS to AC3 and passthrough should work.


#8

Recently got a new Sony KD65XE9005 and can confirm that 5.1 AC3 or DTS audio over optical is still not working for Plex. The TV is running the latest Android TV version 7. Any update on this from Plex devs?
All other apps (Netflix) are sending a 5.1 signal to my soundbar including HDMI sources.


#9

I can also confirm AC3 and DTS passthrough over optical is broken on my XBR65X850E. Is a solution in the works?


#10

Same issue here on XBR55X900E. Alternative of native Video app on Sony to access Plex server set up with DLNA enabled works, even if interface is a little crude. Plays the video properly and passes audio through optical connection to receiver fine. Subtitles can be enabled if needed.

Would be nice if Plex app on Sony worked though - any updates planned?


#11

I am getting a tv box. It’s android lollipop 5.1. Can I use it as a media server with the android app and just make it discoverable? I saw a post that said u have to intermix it with Kodi. I am not interested in Kodi. Just want to use it as a Plex media server. If not could I just upgrade to the latest android and use it like that? Just curious as to how I’m going to make this work. Thank you


#12

@chiller77 said:
I am getting a tv box. It’s android lollipop 5.1. Can I use it as a media server with the android app and just make it discoverable? I saw a post that said u have to intermix it with Kodi. I am not interested in Kodi. Just want to use it as a Plex media server. If not could I just upgrade to the latest android and use it like that? Just curious as to how I’m going to make this work. Thank you

No, there is no media server for any android version.


#13

That’s not true cause I have an Android Plex server. Anyone else?


#14

I found my answer. The android Plex server apk is compatible with android tv.


#15

Hey @sixones so are Plex talking to Sony and/or Amazon to fix this at all? It’s been a year and it’s still broke! Other companies (Netflix, Amazon, etc) have managed to find a way to get 5.1 supported on their apps… blaming the platform only goes so far, there has to be a way to get HD audio working on an app built for playing back media with HD audio! Even transcoding DTS 5.1 to DD 5.1 would be something better than ‘everything to stereo’ as it is now.

Love Plex, but it’s becoming an unjustifiable cost given the two places we use it (Android TV and Fire TV) are so flawed.


#16

@arronshields said:
Hey @sixones so are Plex talking to Sony and/or Amazon to fix this at all? It’s been a year and it’s still broke! Other companies (Netflix, Amazon, etc) have managed to find a way to get 5.1 supported on their apps… blaming the platform only goes so far, there has to be a way to get HD audio working on an app built for playing back media with HD audio! Even transcoding DTS 5.1 to DD 5.1 would be something better than ‘everything to stereo’ as it is now.

Love Plex, but it’s becoming an unjustifiable cost given the two places we use it (Android TV and Fire TV) are so flawed.

Ditto, I’m running a Roku solely for Plex with my Sony 900e/Android TV.


#17

Hey, @bcassell I don’t think we’ll be getting any answers… I wonder what these forums are for sometimes. Does the Roku box do the job then? Might be time to swap out my FireTVs as they’re getting pretty long in the tooth.

I just find it perverse to connect a box to a TV to use an app when the TV has the same app on it! Makes you wonder if Smart TVs are really that useful, given their shelf life compared to a smart box. Bring back high quality dumb TVs!


#18

Anyone with a 2015/16 Sony Android TV - The Nougat update is dropping this month and has already started pushing out on some models: https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/support/articles/00178825

crosses fingers


#19

@arronshields my 2016 Sony TV updated to Nougat about 2-3 weeks ago…no change with audio…still everything is converted to 2.0 PCM…still my BOSE surround system flicks on Dolby Digital 5.1 etc. for a split second before changing to 2.0 PCM…very very frustrating and this has been going on for over 18 months…

I started looked at other out of the box solutions and then checking the forums to see if it is a-ok Plex Client wise…amazingly it seems nearly every darn Plex Client is plagued with 5.1 issues…what the hell?

Come on guys, this is ridiculous…18months and still not 5.1! Kodi, Netflix and Emby TV ALL do 5.1 NO ISSUE!


#20

yeah. That’s weird.
Still no 5.1 passthrough on Sony Android TVs from PLEX client.
Plus if you select DTS stream and subtitles then it forces transcoding. This doesn’t happen on nVidia shield though.
I am afraid if MX Player will fix passthrough first a lot of people will jump to DS video + MX Player combination because of obvious reasons.