Soundbar not working? Fix your TV sound with these simple tips - CNET

3 months ago 79
fd-polk-omni-sb-1-soundbar-12.jpg Mari Benitez/CNET

There are fewer things much infuriating than bringing a caller soundbar home, getting it each acceptable up... and past person it not work.

It's perchance adjacent much infuriating to person it enactment sometimes, and not others. A communal ailment is thing like, "I've connected my soundbar correctly, and erstwhile I play Bluetooth from my telephone I get sound, but not with Netflix."

In this nonfiction we'll spell though immoderate elemental troubleshooting steps that volition hopefully get it working, starting with cables


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Let's double-check you do person your cables correct, since that truly is the astir apt spot for determination to beryllium a occupation (unless you get dependable already with definite apps/sources and not others, successful which lawsuit skip to the adjacent section).

There are three main ways to link a powered soundbar. Hopefully your owner's manual goes into decent detail, but the abbreviated mentation is this:

1. Everything plugs into your TV, and from your TV a azygous HDMI cablegram connects to your soundbar.

2. Everything plugs into your TV, and from your TV a azygous optical cablegram connects to your soundbar.

3. Everything plugs into your soundbar, and from your soundbar a azygous HDMI cablegram connects to your TV.


Connecting your TV to your soundbar via an optical cablegram is the astir communal method.

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There are pros and cons to each method, but that's for a antithetic article. If you've got the close cables (HDMI oregon optical) moving from your sources (cable oregon outer box, game console, Roku, etc.) and at slightest 1 cable moving betwixt your soundbar and TV, you're astir apt successful bully shape. Double-check that everything is connected and particularly erstwhile utilizing HDMI cheque sources; spell to Inputs, and cheque that the TV's eARC/ARC larboard connects to the HDMI output (it should beryllium marked ARC too, arsenic above) of your soundbar.

If you're not getting dependable specifically from immoderate of your TV's apps, that's really a antithetic problem, 1 worthy of its ain article. Conveniently, I already wrote that one. Check retired our cleverly named story How bash I get dependable from my TV's apps? to find retired however to get dependable from your TV's apps.

Let's presume each the supra is correct, since if we already fixed it, you've astir apt stopped reading.

Next we'll tackle the dependable coming from your sources -- Roku, gaming console and truthful on.

Audio settings


Check that your root is acceptable to PCM (Linear PCM) if your dependable isn't working.

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The abbreviated mentation is this: Some soundbars can't decode definite audio types, for illustration 5.1 Dolby Digital, DTS oregon Dolby Digital Plus signals. What you person to bash is power the audio to thing the soundbar tin decode, usually either stereo (also labeled "2.0") oregon PCM.

Every root volition springiness this enactment successful the settings somewhere. Sure, successful an perfect satellite this would hap automatically, but depending connected a batch of factors, the root mightiness not cognize what it's connected to. Everything tin work PCM.

A fewer products, similar the Amazon Fire TV, output Dolby Digital Plus, which older instrumentality often can't decode. The aforesaid process applies here. Go into the settings, and prime 1 of the different options. If successful uncertainty mounting it to Auto should work. 

There's nary 1 mounting that volition enactment for everyone here. Since I've gotten galore emails from radical wherever "change the audio output type" solved the problem, I figured it was worthy pointing to conscionable this setting, since it's not intuitive.

Surround sound


The Sonos Beam Gen 2 is simply a Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbar.

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Most affordable soundbars are either azygous speakers oregon 2.1-channels with wireless subs and truthful for them situation isn't truly an issue. However, if you're fortunate capable to ain a strategy with dedicated rears, oregon adjacent a Dolby Atmos soundbar, determination are immoderate steps you whitethorn request to instrumentality to get it to work.

If you privation to perceive to situation sound, and particularly Dolby Atmos, via your TV, you'll request to usage HDMI connections each the mode done the chain. This is due to the fact that most TVs will not walk a 5.1 awesome done their optical outputs, adjacent if the TV is connected by an HDMI to your root device. For example, if you're moving a Blu-ray subordinate via HDMI to your TV, and past an optical cablegram from the TV to your soundbar, you mightiness not beryllium capable to get surround, depending connected your TV.

Learn astute gadget and net tips and tricks with our entertaining and ingenious how-tos.

It's portion of the copy-protection rules. Going straight from the root to the soundbar is the lone workaround that's apt to work. For example, effort connecting the TV to your PlayStation by HDMI, and past link a abstracted integer optical cablegram from the console to the soundbar. This volition enactment champion if you lone ever usage 1 device, similar a PS5 oregon a Roku, and thing else. Note this is lone passing through a 5.1 signal. If your TV creates it connected its ain (via an app similar Netflix), that tin beryllium sent retired and usually is (again, cheque your settings).

The mode astir each this is to buy a TV and soundbar with an eARC transportation -- this volition some output Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital signals arsenic good arsenic walk them connected from root devices specified arsenic an Xbox Series X. While HDMI ARC should beryllium capable to walk 5.1 by itself -- with accent connected the "should" -- we've had issues with HDMI incompatibilities rear their heads before. From what we've seen truthful acold eARC has less issues passing audio betwixt devices. 

Bottom line

You'd deliberation this would beryllium easy. Soundbars are expected to simplify the location theatre experience. And successful fairness, they do, but if a shaper saves a spot of wealth utilizing a definite chip, that tin origin headaches for its customers.

Got a question for Geoff? First, cheque retired all the different articles he's written connected topics specified arsenic why each HDMI cables are the same, LED LCD vs. OLED vs. plasma, why 4K TVs are inactive stupid and more. Still person a question? Tweet astatine him @TechWriterGeoff past cheque retired his travel photography connected Instagram.

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