No 5.1 HDMI sound on Netflix

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No 5.1 HDMI sound on Netflix

Postby MH » 2017-11-29 10:36

I have been using Linux exclusively for well over 10 years. Audio has always been a problem. Now it seems video has become a problem. I have been running a Debian-based HTPC for more than 8 years. Every time I upgraded I had to spend hours fussing with pulseaudio to get it to output to my 5.1 audio system. Eventually, I managed to solve the problem. The same remains true to this day.

Recently, I subscribed to Netflix. The first time I tried it, there was no sound. After much searching, I discovered that Netflix apparently uses an audio codec that will not pass over S/PDIF. I decided to upgrade my video card (NVidia) to a newer version that supports audio out over HDMI. This was supposed to solve the issue. It did not. I had to upgrade to a newer NVidia driver that supported my new video card. This meant upgrading to Debian Testing (Buster).

Afterwards, all was good. Sort of. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the video. The window manager (sddm) displayed a black screen. By chance, I discovered I could still login by typing my password into the black screen. After logging in, my KDE desktop would load and I was good to go. Both Kodi and VLC would play movies and output 5.1 surround over HDMI to my AVR which redirected video to my TV.

At some point, an upgrade caused the HDMI connection to simply fail. Black screen, unable to login. There is no problem connecting directly to a monitor via HDMI (or VGA or DVI), but the NVidia driver will no longer pass either audio or video over HDMI.

After spending several days trying to troubleshoot the issue I am left where I began. With a great deal of effort (mostly wiring, some configuration on my AVR) I can get my HTPC and my cable connection to play video with 5.1 audio. But Netflix is once again without sound.

BTW--if you are wondering why I don't use the Nouveau drivers, it's because they don't work. They will not pass audio, and screen fonts are impossibly small.
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Re: No 5.1 HDMI sound on Netflix

Postby bw123 » 2017-11-29 22:00

This would be a much better post if you would fill in some details. As it reads right now, it's just a rant, which I sure understand. It might be a waste of my time to try to get you to post more information, but it looks like you have wasted time of your own trying to figure this one out, by yourself? Why not use the forum here to try and get you to a stable setup to use for a good long time?

They will probably need to know, among other things, the specific card that has the problem, and the driver version you are using. You could also describe how you set the card up, it sounds like basic X windows setup wasn't really successful. Also, I was curious how you are accessing netflix, and if you installed any software outside the debian repos, other than the proprietary driver for the graphics card?

On the audio side, I suppose basic info about the sound device would be useful, and any other information you wish to provide. Some of this can be found in your alsa setup, with your years of experience I'm sure you know where this info is.

Good luck with this, it sounds like you're tired. I get that way too but usually these things do have solutions.
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Re: No 5.1 HDMI sound on Netflix

Postby HuangLao » 2017-11-29 22:07

MH wrote:I have been using Linux exclusively for well over 10 years. Audio has always been a problem. Now it seems video has become a problem. I have been running a Debian-based HTPC for more than 8 years. Every time I upgraded I had to spend hours fussing with pulseaudio to get it to output to my 5.1 audio system. Eventually, I managed to solve the problem. The same remains true to this day.

Recently, I subscribed to Netflix. The first time I tried it, there was no sound. After much searching, I discovered that Netflix apparently uses an audio codec that will not pass over S/PDIF. I decided to upgrade my video card (NVidia) to a newer version that supports audio out over HDMI. This was supposed to solve the issue. It did not. I had to upgrade to a newer NVidia driver that supported my new video card. This meant upgrading to Debian Testing (Buster).

Afterwards, all was good. Sort of. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the video. The window manager (sddm) displayed a black screen. By chance, I discovered I could still login by typing my password into the black screen. After logging in, my KDE desktop would load and I was good to go. Both Kodi and VLC would play movies and output 5.1 surround over HDMI to my AVR which redirected video to my TV.

At some point, an upgrade caused the HDMI connection to simply fail. Black screen, unable to login. There is no problem connecting directly to a monitor via HDMI (or VGA or DVI), but the NVidia driver will no longer pass either audio or video over HDMI.

After spending several days trying to troubleshoot the issue I am left where I began. With a great deal of effort (mostly wiring, some configuration on my AVR) I can get my HTPC and my cable connection to play video with 5.1 audio. But Netflix is once again without sound.

BTW--if you are wondering why I don't use the Nouveau drivers, it's because they don't work. They will not pass audio, and screen fonts are impossibly small.


funny that, I've been using *nix since the 80's and sound was not really a problem in Linux even in the mid to late 90's.....its a old ball that gets tossed around on the net from time to time that was an issue for some users but not the majority IMO.

I can watch Netflix on Debian 9, Slackware/Salix 14.2 and openSUSE......

post the output of
Code: Select all
 inxi -F
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Re: No 5.1 HDMI sound on Netflix

Postby MH » 2017-11-30 04:52

bw123 wrote:This would be a much better post if you would fill in some details. As it reads right now, it's just a rant, which I sure understand. It might be a waste of my time to try to get you to post more information, but it looks like you have wasted time of your own trying to figure this one out, by yourself? Why not use the forum here to try and get you to a stable setup to use for a good long time?

They will probably need to know, among other things, the specific card that has the problem, and the driver version you are using. You could also describe how you set the card up, it sounds like basic X windows setup wasn't really successful. Also, I was curious how you are accessing Netflix, and if you installed any software outside the Debian repos, other than the proprietary driver for the graphics card?

On the audio side, I suppose basic info about the sound device would be useful, and any other information you wish to provide. Some of this can be found in your alsa setup, with your years of experience I'm sure you know where this info is.

Good luck with this, it sounds like you're tired. I get that way too but usually, these things do have solutions.


You're right, it's pretty much a rant. I would have posted more technical details if I thought there was a solution. I've spent literally days over the past couple of months trying to sort things out. The first problem was getting an NVidia driver that supported the new card (GT 710). That required tainting my stable OS with a driver from testing.

The second problem is a combination HDMI/NVidia/Marantz AVR/SamsungTV issue. Research suggests it's almost certainly a problem with HDMI handshaking, as there are seeming hundreds of posts on the issue referencing many different makes and models of AVR.

The thing that annoyed me the most was I actually had everything working, mostly, for the past month. That was after updating my system to testing (Buster). Then for some mysterious reason, sound playback in Kodi became corrupted, producing stuttering output. Kodi was never updated, since there is no newer version available in testing. I suspect a PulseAudio update caused the problem. VLC worked without any problem.

I tried a completely clean reinstall of Stretch, with the necessary upgrade to the testing's Nvidia-driver. No success. Clean install of Buster. No success. I have never been able to get the graphics working while passing video/audio through the AVR since. It did work, but something changed and now it doesn't. Tried contacting Marantz, NVidia, swapping out HDMI cables, etc. all to no avail. Now I'm right back where I started some 3-4 months ago using HTPC>TV>AVR with S/PDIF passthrough for audio, meaning no Netflix, instead of HTPC>AVR>TV using HDMI for video/audio.
DOS > Windows > Corel > RH > Libranet > Xandros > SuSE > Debian:KDE

"It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere." --Voltaire
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Re: No 5.1 HDMI sound on Netflix

Postby HuangLao » 2017-11-30 19:48

and still no info provided just a continuation of the rant.

as root
Code: Select all
apt install inxi


then as root
Code: Select all
inxi -F
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