How to set up your Roku® streaming player or Roku® Streaming Stick® for surround sound

Background

All the movies and TV shows accessible through your Roku streaming player are available in stereo; however, some are also available in surround sound. Although most Roku streaming players do not decode surround sound audio, they can pass-through the audio to an audio/video receiver (AVR) or TV, that is capable of decoding surround sound.

If you have a Roku player capable of supporting 4K, you may wish to see how to setup your Roku streaming player for 4K.

If you do not have an AVR or have a TV capable of supporting surround sound, then follow the steps for setting up your Roku Streaming Stick and setting up your Roku streaming player.

Setting up your Roku streaming player to play surround sound

Most Roku streaming players do not decode Dolby Audio or DTS surround sound, however all Roku players can pass-through the audio to an audio/video receiver (AVR) or TV, that is capable of decoding surround sound. Go here to find out which Roku streaming players can decode Dolby Audio via HDMI® and optical.

  • Note: Surround sound pass-through is only available when your Roku streaming player is connected via HDMI or S/PDIF (optical) connection.

Different AVRs and TVs support different audio formats; some may only decode Dolby® Digital (DD) audio; whereas others may decode Dolby Digital Plus (DD+), Dolby ATMOS, and/or DTS®. Check the manufacturer’s documentation to understand which audio formats are supported.

Content partners such as Netflix, CinemaNow and Cineplex Store may provide surround sound in different formats; for example, Netflix® encodes their audio in Dolby Digital Plus (and stereo). To play the audio in surround sound, your Roku player must be connected to an AVR or TV capable of decoding the format used by the content partner.

  • Note: The Roku Ultra* provides an additional option to transcode Dolby Digital Plus to Dolby Digital. This allows you to connect your Roku Ultra to an AVR or TV that supports Dolby Digital, but not Dolby Digital Plus, and still hear the audio in surround sound.

    * Not available in all countries.

Connecting a Roku Streaming Stick

  • Connecting to a surround sound compatible TV

    • Connect the Roku Streaming Stick to an available HDMI input on your TV.

    Connecting to a surround sound compatible AVR

    • Connect the Roku Streaming Stick to an available HDMI input on your AVR.
    • Connect one end of a High-Speed HDMI Cable to an available HDMI output on your AVR.
    • Connect the other end to an available HDMI input on your TV.

    Connecting to a surround sound compatible TV and AVR with ARC

  •  

    If your TV and AVR both support ARC (Audio Return Channel), this configuration can be superior because the AVR can easily receive audio from the TV’s tuner and other HDMI inputs, not just the Roku Streaming Stick.

    • Connect one end of a High-Speed HDMI Cable to an HDMI ARC output on your TV. Usually the HDMI connector will be marked “ARC”. Consult your TV product documentation for more information.
    • Connect the other end to the HDMI output on your AVR. Consult your AVR product documentation for more information.
    • Connect the Roku Streaming Stick to an available HDMI input on your TV.

Connecting a Roku streaming player

  • Connecting to a surround sound compatible TV

    • Connect one end of a High-Speed HDMI Cable to the back of your Roku player.
    • Connect the other end to an available HDMI input on your TV.

    Connecting to a surround sound compatible AVR

    • Connect one end of a High-Speed HDMI Cable to the back of your Roku player.
    • Connect the other end to an available HDMI input on your AVR.
    • Connect one end of a second High-Speed HDMI Cable to the HDMI output on your AVR.
    • Connect the other end to an available HDMI input on your TV.

    Connecting to a surround sound compatible TV and AVR with ARC

  • If your TV and AVR both support ARC, this configuration can be superior because the AVR can easily receive audio from the TV’s tuner and other HDMI inputs, not just the Roku player.

    • Connect one end of a High-Speed HDMI Cable to the back of your Roku player.
    • Connect the other end to an available HDMI input on your TV.
    • Connect one end of a second High-Speed HDMI Cable to the HDMI input marked with ARC on your TV. Consult your TV product documentation for more information.
    • Connect the other end to the TV/HDMI output on your AVR. Consult your AVR product documentation for more information.

    Connecting to a surround sound compatible AVR using S/PDIF (optical)

    Use this configuration if your Roku player includes the S/PDIF connector, and your AVR does not support HDMI.

    • Connect one end of a High-Speed HDMI Cable to the back of your Roku player.
    • Connect the other end to an available HDMI input on your TV.
    • Connect one end of a S/PDIF (optical) cable to the back of your Roku player.
    • Connect the other end to an available S/PDIF input on your AVR.

Troubleshooting

  • If you do not hear audio:

    • Press Home on your remote control, scroll down to Settings and select Audio > HDMI (or HDMI and S/PDIF on Roku players with an S/PDIF connector). Instead of “Auto detect”, select the option that matches the capabilities of your TV or AVR. Follow this link if you do not hear audio.

    If you can only hear stereo audio:

    • Press Home on your remote control, scroll down to Settings and select Audio > HDMI (or HDMI and S/PDIF on Roku players with an S/PDIF connector). Instead of “Auto detect”, select the option that matches the capabilities of your TV or AVR.
    • Some channels may also require you to change the audio setting within the channel; Netflix may require you to select “English (5.1)” under “Audio and Subtitles”.

    If you do not see video:

    • Make sure the correct input is selected on your AVR and the TV.
    • Make sure your High Speed HDMI Cables (if any) are firmly connected to the back of your Roku player, your AVR, and your TV. If you are using a Roku Streaming Stick, make sure it is connected firmly to the HDMI input of your TV or AVR.
    • Go here for more help if you do not see video

    If you cannot see 4K video:

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