How do I get 5.1 from Windows 10 Netflix / Hulu / Prime ?

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs & Equipment' started by DoubleTap, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have a pretty nice 7.1 system in my home office. I mostly use it for gaming and (stereo) music, but with the kids hogging the new TV more and more, I want to be able to watch TV and movies in 5.1

    Receiver: Integra DTS 40.2 (circa 2010 This is a 1080P 7.1 receiver)

    PC: Win 10 / 7700K / ROG Maximus IX Apex / 16GB / Nvidia 1080Ti

    Audio:
    Headphones: Asus Xonar U7 Mk2
    Speakers: HDMI from 1080Ti to Receiver

    Video:
    Alienware AW3418DW (Displayport) - main gaming PC monitor
    Alienware AW3418DW (HDMI) - on a 4K capable switch: A = Receiver / gaming PC (1080P) B = Work PC (3440x1440)


    I can run the Netflix app in Windows and it looks great on the Ultrawide.

    The issue is that I can't get 5.1 audio to work. I think it might be because I'm not playing the video on the HDMI monitor, but I'm not sure.

    My motherboard has an optical out and my Xonar U7 has a coaxial out - I could use one of them to potentially get 5.1 to my receiver, but I'm not sure if that will work or if I need some certain driver or setting.
     
  2. Kwaz

    Kwaz Whine & Cheezy

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    Have you set the Windows Sound Properties to 5.1 instead of Stereo?
     
  3. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    The Xonar U7 has an audio device switch function when you push the volume.

    I push it once and it's in stereo, using the headphone out, I push it again and it's in 7.1 through HDMI

    I'm assuming 5.1 shouldn't have a problem traversing a 7.1 configuration...
     
  4. dwd999

    dwd999 Limp Gawd

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    You'll also need to check the Windows Control Panel Sound settings. Check the Properties for whatever device you have set as your Default Device and under the Advanced tab make sure to check the boxes for Allow Applications to Take Exclusive Control of this Device and Give Exclusive Mode Applications Priority. If you check both boxes surround sound should work and the Dolby light on your receiver should come on. (At least it does on my system).
     
  5. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I can tell you that HDMI audio works great if you're sending the signal the right direction- and I know that that's not too useful, but I wonder if something like an HDMI dummy plug would allow you to get everything flowing correctly.
     
  6. Solhokuten

    Solhokuten [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm not sure Hulu supports 5.1 audio on Windows. Last I checked it was only available on LG smart TVs, Xbox, PS4 and Switch.
     
  7. lostin3d

    lostin3d [H]ard|Gawd

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    You shouldn't need a driver. I'd recommend using HDMI to your received but there's a chance the optical might work. I'd run a HDMI from your 1080TI(remember to set it up as a multiple display in CP).

    There's a few different ways for the next steps so if someone chimes in about something different I'd agree it's probably true. Gonna give you instructions for W10 but they pretty much apply to any Windows OS but finding them could be a little different.

    1. One of the many, many ways for the next step. Go to cortana/search and type 'sound' and click on sound control panel. Older OS's you can just go to control panel and click on sound.
    2. You should see your receiver listed. Set it as default.
    3. While it's still highlighted click configure and follow the steps to set it to 5.1. In W10 you can also achieve this by right clicking the speaker icon on the taskbar. Just make sure the receiver is set as the audio device.

    Now there's a chance you can run the optical from your MB to the receiver for the same results. The problem is that it's a bit hit or miss on MB drivers and support to what they'll actually provide thru the optical. I've had some do 5.1 24/96 and some only 2.0. If you try that and it works it can eliminate some issues where software will try to send video(I've seen this happen with games) to the receiver. That can be a real PIA if you don't actually have a display connected to it. Also make sure whichever port you're using on the receiver is set to uncompressed bit stream so it doesn't try to re-convert it. If you do the optical approach the instructions above mostly still apply.
     
  8. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have a Gefen HDMI Detective - it's a hardware EDID emulator so the PC sees the HDMI as always connected.

    Both were checked, but no Dolby light. The Dolby light does come on when I use the Firestick. The problem is that if I use an external player like that, I can't get full screen video and wide screen material is double letter boxed. (because the receiver is 1080P and the monitor is 3440x1440 and doesn't seem to be able to zoom in)


    This is embarrassing but it looks like 5.1 is actually working - but it's using my rear speakers instead of my side speakers for the surround channel. I kept putting my ear right up to the side speakers - nothing - then I thought I heard something behind me - the rear speakers are mounted higher up, but they were active, just at a low level.

    Still, the Dolby light doesn't come on which seems weird and I'm not sure I can remap the speakers without having to reset a bunch of things all the time.

    Thanks for the input guys.

    I looked it up - Chrome cast is supported so I can run that to get 5.1 for TV shows (I have one attached to my receiver). Any 16:9 content scales to full height on the Ultrawide so I think this is fine. Thanks!
     
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  9. dwd999

    dwd999 Limp Gawd

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    As a last resort you could try running a toslink optical cable from the computer to the receiver but I can't tell from your description of your setup whether you can set your system for toslink audio while still supporting your display setup. Normally I prefer direct toslink from computer to receiver for audio and then a separate hdmi to the display or TV for video. I've never really liked HDMI audio and only use it if toslink isn't available.
     
  10. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    The HDMI video channel only exists because it's required for HDMI audio which is how I run my 7.1 surround sound for gaming. Toslink is easier, but it's poorly suited for gaming sound.

    Running optical from the motherboard or coax from the Xonar U7 won't affect my main gaming monitor (the only one that matters) but it does seem like 5.1 is working on HDMI, it's just using the rear speakers instead of the side speakers. It's just a home office, not some major installation so I think it's fine, but if there was some advantage to running the optical, I'd consider it - I just really like how my system lets me switch between headphones and 7.1 with the push of a button :)
     
  11. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    There isn't. To run more than stereo over optical, you must use lossy DD or DTS compression, which also incurs some latency that HDMI isn't saddled with.
     
  12. lostin3d

    lostin3d [H]ard|Gawd

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    Honestly sounds like there's still something not set right and the signal is being converted to lpcm before going to the receiver. For me it's totally consistent that when this happens the volume level is dropped significantly. FYI, though, I too have seen some rare and strange instances when dolby/dts is passed thru but the surround signals are reversed too. I've gone back and done speaker tests via the control panel and everything pings properly but then the re-played whatever disc/file and sure enough the same anomaly repeats. I have to say that Windows has really fallen over the cliff over the last few years with this stuff. In the end even if you get this working, and I firmly believe you could, at some point you'll likely encounter this issue. Back in the old days of XP/Vista I'd blame it on some filter or codec I downloaded and incorrectly configured but these days I'm running stock drivers etc from MS and NV so I know that's not the case. If you ever get into wanting to game with Atmos then you'll need to figure these steps out as I can say when it's working it's accurate even if media is hit or miss but that's another topic altogether.

    Ultimately, I'd say going to a 'stick' of fire is going to be your best bet for something consistent, hassle free, and simple. I've even heard of some sticks that have digital audio outs too.
     
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  13. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have both a Firestick and a Chromecast on my receiver. I used to have multiple monitors and I could run a stick through the receiver on one screen and use the PC on other screens.

    Now that I just have one UW monitor, there are two issues:

    1. An external stick takes exclusive control of the screen - not always an issue, but one I could live with.

    2. I want to be able to run these streaming apps in Windows because my receiver and sticks are 1080P, so anything I do on the 34" UW will have black bars on the side. If I play a wide screen movie, then I also get black bars top and bottom as well:

    (random google photo)

    2694713-5329608850-JlFyv.jpg

    I'll play around with optical and see what it does...

    Maybe I should consider a 4k receiver, but I really like the one I have.
     
  14. lostin3d

    lostin3d [H]ard|Gawd

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    Don't want to put you thru too much work with this but I'm beginning to wonder if the xonar drivers are messing with things. If you're up for an experiment you may want to unplug, uninstall, the xonar. Do an install of your NV drivers(whichever version you've already got installed or update if you think you need). Make sure to check custom in the install and then check clean install. This will reinstall your audio drivers for the card. There's other ways to do this as well.

    Once that's done plug the hdmi back into the card and receiver and try again.
     
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