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Samsung PNF8500 sound cutting out

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I recently purchased a Samsung PN60F8500 which came with the HW-F450 sound bar. I have a new Sony Blu-ray player and all new HDMI cables. I have a very basic setup at this time, cable box HDMI to TV HDMI (stb), Blu-ray HDMI out to sound bar HDMI in, sound bar HDMI out to TV HDMI (arc). After about 3 days or so I started noticing that while using the sound bar the sound would cut out sporadically. At first I was thinking the issue was the sound bar so I posted a question under the sound bar forum:

However after a lot of trouble shooting I now believe the issue is the TV itself. It’s a hard problem to isolate since it is sporadic but I have tried all the basics thus fare: changing HDMI cables, tried an optical cable, only using the TV sound, running the TV’s self-diagnostics, etc. After all this I believe there is something going on with the TV. The issue only seems to be present when using the HDMI arc port connected to the sound bar.

What I have observed is when the sound cuts out the TV still recognizes the sound bar is connected. On the sound bar it still reads “TV ARC”. I can increase / decrease the volume using the remote and see the sound bar volume change. I can mute the sound and see the mute appear on the sound bar. I can go into the TV menu options, sound and switch from Receiver to TV and see the Anynet+ disconnect and the sound bar to got “D. IN” and hear the sound from the TV. Switching back to Receiver will cause the sound bar to flip from “D. IN” to “TV ARC”. While I do all this there is no sound coming from the sound bar. Also I have observed that sometimes when the sound cuts out it restores itself in a few seconds. Most times it does not. The only way I have been able to restore sound is to power off the sound bar and power it back on. The last thing I tried was to pull the HDMI cable when the sound cut out. This morning the sound cut out about a dozen times within 1 hour. The last time it cut out I reached around the TV and removed the HDMI (arc) cable. The sound bar flipped to “D. IN” and oddly the TV sound did not restore. Even though the sound bar was removed the TV did not seem to detect this.

Given what I have observed I believe the TV is the issue but I can’t say with 100% certainty that it is unless I could measure the HDMI arc output to see if data is actually being sent. I did try a firmware update from 1104 to 1105 but this did not help. At this point I am out of options. Calling Samsung support was less than helpful. Since the TV is less than 2 weeks old I am considering returning however that is a PITA.

Has anyone experienced this issue with the 8500 series or in general with ARC ports? Any other suggestions or advice would be most welcome!
post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 
I must say I am a bit surprised that I have no activity on this thread. Given the 100’s of pages in the PNxxF8500 owners thread and also in the settings thread I expected some sort of reply. Maybe something like “yeah HDMI ARC ports are notoriously flaky” or “I have my TV setup the same and I am not having any issues”. But nothing. Just crickets in the night…LOL

Anyway, I have had it with this Samsung PN60F8500. It’s ironic, back in the late 80’s early 90’s I bought my first Samsung TV. Two in fact. This was back when Samsung first came to the US market. I bought a 13” and a 19” color TV. Wow, a 19” TV. This was huge back in the day. Anyway, the 13” had a 1 year warranty and the 19” had a 2 year warranty. Exactly 1 day after the 1 year warranty expired on the 13” TV the picture tube went out. Cost more to have it fixed then to replace it. Yes back then we fixed our stuff unlike today but I digress. 1 week after the 2 year warranty on the 19” expired that too had the picture tube go out. I remember saying to myself I would never buy a Samsung TV again. Fast forward to 2013 and I have had nothing but problems with the third Samsung TV I have purchased.

2 days ago I returned the sound bar for a brand new replacement. Hopping this was the problem and a new one would resolve the sound dropping problem. No such luck. I didn’t even take the wrappers off the new sound bar and the sound started dropping. I called Samsung support. I don’t know why they call it support because they are about as helpful as a lead weight as a life preserver. Originally when the problem started I sent an email to their support explain the issue. I received a reply saying that my issue was being sent to their second level support. I never heard from them again. I guess second level support means delete. Since they don’t respond to their emails, I called them directly. Explained the issue and was instructed to go into Menu -> System -> Self Diagnostic -> Sound Test and run a sound check. Mind you the sound was working when I called Samsung and I explained that the sound dropping was sporadic and is working now, the rep insisted that I run the test. Once the test was done and I said yes I hear sound the rep replied “well it seems to be working. Call back if the problem occurs again”. Now that is support!!!

Today when I called them while the sound was out they had be run the same test and I said “No I did not hear the sound test” to this the rep replied “Well disconnect the sound bar and use the TV speakers and if there is problem call us back”. WTF. How in the hell does this help? I already explained that the issue is only present when using the HDMI arc port and that this is the second sound bar so it’s highly unlikely that the sound bar is the cause at this point. Completely useless.

I have been talking to the electronics store where I bought the unit and the best advice came from one of their counter rep’s who said “why don’t you just use the optical cable instead?” WTF. Because its 2 weeks old and I paid 3k for this POS so I expect it to work per the specifications. That’s why. It’s like buying a brand new car and the driver side window does not work and the dealership telling you, why don’t you use the passenger side window. If it were a firmware issue no problem. I would work around it till a patch was sent but since Samsung is useless and does not offer any sort of support this POS is going back.
Sorry for my rant…

I would love to hear from other owners of this TV to hear what their experience has been.
post #3 of 9
I'm getting the 64" unit this Friday. I'll see if I can help you out. I currently hook up an older Samsung to my AVR receiver via HDMI cable so it should work the same way. The soundbar is basically an AVR with built in speakers. For my current set up to work, I had to enable ARC on the receiver and use a 1.4a HDMI cable.

I would suggest you borrow or rent an AVR from best buy and see if you can get it to work. ARC is used all the time so I think it's unlikely the TV's problem but more a communication error with the cable (try a different HDMI cable) or compatibility issues between the TV and the soundbar.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the reply / suggestion. Unfortunately, I don’t have an AV receiver that I can try. The only receiver I have is my old RX-V690. I have been out of touch for a good 12 years and just now getting back. I was excited to finally retire my rear projection TV and step into the HDTV age with this new Samsung but I have not had a chance to update my old components yet. Or I should say my wallet has not had a chance.

Right now all I have is the TV, a new Blu-ray player and the sound bar. I know the sound bar and TV are fully compatible as this it the Samsung bundle that was being offered. If you buy one of their HDTV’s they were giving you the HW-F450 sound bar for free. This is the 2013 version of the sound bar so it should be 100% compatible with the TV. I believe the TV is the issue. Either buggy firmware, I am on the latest update available 1105, or faulty circuitry in the audio return channel. I came to this conclusion based on how I “think” all this works. Mind you I have been running an RX-V690 for the past 15 years with my 1999 Sony projection TV so I am an old F’er and could be way of base.

I have never experienced sound drops when playing DVDs or Blu-ray’s. The source in this case is the Blu-ray player sending the video / audio byte stream directly to the sound bar. The sound bar then has to process the incoming data stream and send the video bytes to the TV and decode the audio bytes for sound. Because this is working fine suggests to me that the sound bar is working correctly and the sound bar processor / CODEC’s are not having any trouble processing the digital feed. When I use the TV speakers only I have not experienced any sound drops. In this case the video / audio source is the cable box so the TV needs to perform the processing. This byte stream comes in on HDIM port 0 from the cable box and since I have not had any issues here this suggest to me that the cable box and TV processor / CODEC’s via HDMI port 0 are working fine. So image / sound data coming from cable box to TV and from Blu-ray through sound bar to TV all work fine. This leaves the audio return channel, HDMI port 2, and whatever processing or circuitry is used here along with the HDMI out port on the sound bar.

When the sound has dropped the control commands still work, e.g. control commands as in volume up / down, mute, connect / disconnect Anynet, etc. I believe the control commands use a different pin, wire, in the HDMI cable then the audio stream so this suggests to me that the sound bar and TV are still in sync leaving only the audio return channel in question. Finally, I replaced the original sound bar with another brand new HW-F450 and the problem remains. I also tried different HDMI cables and still the problem remains. One note to make is that all the HDMI cables I have tried are 1.4a spec having Ethernet, but that should not matter.

Since I have tried 2 brand new HW-F450 sounds bars, changed HDMI cables, tried TV speakers only to isolate the cable box and only when sound is being sent via the audio return channel does this problem occur it must be the TV. Right? (please someone tell me if I am a complete fool in my logic here)

Once you setup your system I would be very curious to hear if you experience any drop outs using the HDMI arc port through a true receiver.
post #5 of 9
Alternatively, you can bring the soundbar and HDMI cable to Best Buy and test it with their TV. If it works there then your TV is most likely bad.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Update: After replacing the sound bar 3 days ago I had 1 maybe 2 sound drops. I say maybe 2 as I can only confirm one myself. My kids said they had the sound go out for a few seconds then come back. Who knows what the kids were doing so I take this as a maybe. Over the past 2 days I have been watching the TV like a hawk to see if the problem continues suggesting it’s indeed the TV. With about 16 – 18 hours of usage during this period I have not had 1 issue. Absolutely nothing! It has been rock solid. confused.gif

I am now convinced that my TV is mocking me.eek.gif

On the upside, I just picked up an RX-A2030 and will be hooking it up today. This will, I hope, provide the definitive proof that the issue is / was the sound bar or not.
post #7 of 9
How long is your HDMI cable? Try a shorter cable and see if it's not the signal dropping out. Sometimes unshielded cables may get interference that interfere with the signal.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to post an update to close out this thread. Since getting the RX-A2030 hooked up 5 days ago I have had no issues. The sound has not dropped or cut out once. The first sound bar was very flaky, dropping the sound quite a bit. Its replacement was much better and only dropped the sound once. Seems odd to me, not having any previous experience with sound bars, that they would be this “unstable” if you will. Regardless my new RX-A2030 is working like a champ and thus confirming the sound bar was the issue in the end. btw, the RX-A2030, very nice!

Thanks for the help all.
post #9 of 9
Glad it worked out for you, but it again emphasizes the point of how many times a display gets blamed for issues related to content or other equipment. smile.gif
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