Roku 4 Makes Android TV Work (Part 1)

Android LogoBeing a Google and Android fanatic, I decided that when I was going to buy my next TV it would be an Android TV. After much research last  year, I decided on the Sony XBR55X850C 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV.

I have to say the 4K picture is gorgeous. It has a great array of inputs. It mounted beautifully above my fireplace using the Mounting Dream MD2295 Wall Mount. The TV supports WiFi and wired ethernet, and since i planned to stream lots of HD and 4K content, I hooked it up directly my home’s wired ethernet.

Sonos LogoEverything seemed great, until I hooked up my Sonos PlayBar speaker via optical cable. The sound came through, and it sounded good, but I had my Sonos setup in a 5.1 Theatre configuration. I had two Sonos Play:1 speakers and a Sonos Sub subwoofer in the system. When I played a movie from Google Play for the first time, I noticed that I didn’t hear anything from the rear surround speakers. I checked the Sonos app on my phone, and it showed the incoming audio stream was stereo.

I spoke to Sony support and Google support, each firmly pointed the blame at each other. Every movie I tried in Google Play claimed that it had 5.1 surround, but there was no setting in the app or on the TV that let me select that audio track. The audio was always defaulting to the stereo track. I had the same issue streaming from Amazon Prime Instant Video. Oddly enough, Netflix did output in 5.1 and played perfectly though the entire surround system, so I knew that the TV was capable of sending Dolby Digital 5.1 over the optical cable.

I lived with this for over a year, periodically trying different devices to see if I could get 5.1 from Google Play and Amazon Instant Video. This is where I keep the majority of my digital collection, so it wasn’t really an option to just use a different streaming provider.

I found the solution in the Roku 4 Ultra, which I will tell you all about in my next post!

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