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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
DD+ can carry Dolby Atmos from smart TV apps to an AVR or Soundbar. Up to around 2015, 2016, few TVs supported this feature, but since the wide-spread use of Atmos in DD+ by streaming services more and more TV manufacturers include this feature.

There is a lot of misinformation about this topic, and I'm moving a recent discussion here from the Vizio 2016 P Series thread, because it was getting too off topic there.

The technical basics: Dolby Digital Plus (short: DD+; technical term: E-AC-3) is an IEC-61937 audio format with a frame rate of 192 kHz, as opposed to the older Dolby Digital (DD; AC-3), which has an IEC frame rate of 48 kHz. DD can carry channel based audio with up to 5.1 channels, while DD+ can carry up to 7.1 channel based, as well as Dolby Atmos object based audio.


The IEC frame rate for compressed audio is equivalent to the sample rate of uncompressed stereo L-PCM audio. One L-PCM stereo sample on HDMI takes up 64 bits (2 * 24 bit plus control bits), and one IEC frame uses 2 * 16 bits of those two 24 bit samples. Therefore data bit rates are 64 times the IEC frame rate.


IEC based interfaces in consumer devices are HDMI, SPDIF (on both RCA and optical connectors) and HDMI ARC. The latter is an audio connection from an HDMI input (e.g. on a TV) to an HDMI output (e.g. on an AVR). It travels the opposite direction from the normal HDMI video/audio connection, hence the name "Audio Return Channel".

HDMI ARC has capability negotiation, using HDMI CEC messages, while SPDIF does not. This means, an ARC source (TV) can determine which audio formats are understood by the ARC receiver (AVR, Soundbar), while an SPDIF source can just try and send stuff and hope for the best. Mainly for this reason, SPDIF is usually limited to the 48 kHz realm (DD, DTS and stereo PCM), and often can not support the 96 and 192 kHz formats (96 kHz PCM, DD+, DTS-HD High Resolution). Cables and connectors are another limiting factor, often not supporting the frequency range for 192 kHz.

ARC is mainly used when an AVR or an HDMI connected Soundbar are used with a TV. Audio that originates from the TV, such as from the tuner, from OTT ("Over The Top") apps like Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, etc., or even from other HDMI inputs to the TV, can be sent to the sound device without the need for an extra cable.

Many TVs have both an SPDIF output as well as ARC on one of the HDMI inputs. This gives users the option to use SPDIF or ARC.

Now, this was all fine and dandy while there was only 48 kHz audio. TVs were built with chips that had just one audio output, and that audio was sent to SPDIF and ARC at the same time. But now there is Atmos. BD and UHD Blu-ray; Vudu, Netflix, iTunes, etc. UHD streams, and other sort of "premium" content comes with "premium" immersive audio, mostly Atmos. A lot of TV maker did not prepare for that, and have been downgrading DD+ content to DD before sending it out on ARC. So, we get plain 2.0 or 5.1 with the spiffy new UHD HDR 4K video.

An increasing number of TVs are starting to support this, in particular Dolby Vision TVs (though not all of the initial ones). Some newer ones, like the LG OLEDs starting with the 2017 models, are even capable of converting Dolby TrueHD with Atmos (from e.g. a Blu-ray player on one of the TV's HDMI inputs) to Atmos in DD+ over ARC.


And, with the release of the HDMI 2.1 specification in late 2017, a new feature has been added: eARC. This "enhanced Audio Return Channel" can support the full audio bandwidth of the HDMI forward direction (IEC frame rate of 768 kHz), and can carry Dolby TrueHD/MAT as well as DTS-HD Master Audio. It basically allows a TV to pass through any audio it receives, to the AVR/Soundbar without any re-encoding. eARC is expected to appear in TVs and AVRs in late 2018 to early 2019.



I'll work on maintaining a list of TVs that support DD+ over ARC, since this information is often hard to find. If you encounter a device, let me know and I'll add it to the lists.



AVRs and Soundbars that support ARC and Atmos are generally capable of accepting Atmos in DD+ over ARC. If exceptions are found, then I'll add them to the list, too.


Please find the lists below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Note: These lists are not complete, and updated very infrequently. If a device is not listed, it does not mean that it doesn't support DD+ over ARC!

List of TVs that support DD+ over ARC and re-encoding of TrueHD/Atmos to DD+

  • LG 2017 and newer OLEDs: W/G/E/C/B7, W/E/C/B8, x9
List of TVs that do NOT support DD+ over ARC nor re-encoding of TrueHD/Atmos to DD+
  • 2016 and earlier LG OLEDs (G/E/C/B6, EF9500, EG9800) do not support DD+ over ARC

List of TVs that support DD+ over ARC

List of AVRs that support DD+ over ARC (note: Atmos AVRs generally support DD+ on ARC)
  • Denon AVR-X7200W
  • Denon AVR-X5200W
  • Denon AVR-X3300W (Thanks, @godfatherip)
  • Denon AVR-X3400H (Thanks, @savvas01)
  • Denon AVR-S710W (Thanks, @Tripknotix)
  • Marantz NR1604 (Thanks: @grogi)
  • Marantz SR7010
  • Marantz SR6010 (Thanks: @codyrocco)
  • Marantz SR6011 (Thanks, @citsur86)
  • Marantz AV7701 (Thanks: @brassman623)
  • Onkyo TX-NR3010
  • Onkyo TX-SR444
  • Onkyo TX-NR525
  • Onkyo TX-NR646
  • Onkyo HT-R590 (Thanks: @grogi)
  • Pioneer VSX-90 (Thanks: @vincois)
  • Pioneer SC-1522k (Thanks: @waxhell)
  • Pioneer SC-LX502 (Thanks, @PacificCoast1)
  • Yamaha RX-A3050 (Thanks: @shortyg83)
  • Yamaha RX-A3060 (Thanks: @Craig Mecak)
  • Yamaha TSR-7810
  • Yamaha RX-V585 (Thanks: @grogi)
List of AVRs that do NOT support DD+ over ARC
  • Marantz NR1601
  • Yamaha RX-S600D
  • Yamaha RX-V375
  • Yamaha RX-V575 (and probably any RX-Vx75)
  • Yamaha RX-V377 (and probably any RX-Vx77)
  • Yamaha RX-V379 (and probably any RX-Vx79) (Thanks: @grogi for all of the above)

List of Soundbars that support DD+ over ARC (note: Atmos Soundbars generally support DD+ on ARC)
  • Sony HT-Z9F (Thanks: @Cinca)
  • LG SJ9 Soundbar
  • Samsung HW-K850: possibly no (@Atachi), to be confirmed.
  • Samsung K950 (Thanks: @meles)
 

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Thanks for starting this. I do believe I had the technical basics right, I like to think I'm pretty informed. I'm still skeptical that ARC can (in its current incarnation) support more bandwidth than SP/DIF. Certainly anything is possible, especially with HDMI negotiation. Given the HEC channel is two-pin, similarly to ARC, and has 100mbit bandwidth, the two-pin ARC connection certainly is theoretically capable of much more than SP/DIF.

I wish I had access to more data. However, I believe that the HDMI ARC connection is implemented in the SOC as a pin-through connection with an SP/DIF encoder/decoder at either end. I can't even tell if that SP/DIF encoder is part of the SOC or external to it. Regardless, that would be the most sensible implementation given the goals of the feature. Given it seems the framing protocol used by ARC is the same as SP/DIF (as we've both said), it wouldn't be surprising this is the implementation.

That said, I absolutely realize that DD+ is within the bandwidth allowed by SP/DIF (and therefore ARC), which I've mentioned. Further, I also see that there is a bytecode reserved in the IEC-61937 code published on an MSDN page for DD+. So, I don't think we're in disagreement that DD+ is supported, in theory. However, given it's outside the SP/DIF spec, the question is whether or not newer ATMOS enabled receivers included a decoder for the format given ARC originally tied itself to the SP/DIF spec and that originally never included the bytecode to designate DD+. I'm glad you've started this thread to help determine which sink devices can support it.

Regarding ATMOS, I didn't see anything in the DD+ info (that I can access freely anyway) that says it can carry the ATMOS object metadata. I just saw it allowed 15 discrete channels. However, if it does carry the object data, that's great news. Regardless, I suppose lossy compressed 15-discrete channel ATMOS is better than no ATMOS at all.

Finally, what ARC can support in the future is certainly "limitless". I don't think we're in disagreement there. However, if its current implementation includes an SP/DIF en/decoder on either side, any changes to support higher bandwidth (e.g. lossless multi-channel) signals would certainly require new hardware. However, depending on the implementation it also could mean that a firmware update could allow DD+ to be supported in the current generations. Not sure what the market is for people to upgrade their hardware (again) to support lossless over ARC, but I'd especially hope that DD+ over ARC would not require another upgrade.
 

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Googling "dolby atmos" and "audio return channel", all I could find is this 8/13/2014 article:

http://www.twice.com/news/audio/dolby-stepping-support-atmos-rollout/49857

"In other comments, Eggers said Dolby recommends the use of set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and game players to play back the Atmos soundtracks of streaming services, at least for now. TVs with embedded streaming services, he explained, are unlikely to pass an Atmos-enabled Dolby Digital Plus stream, or a standard channel-based Dolby Digital Plus stream, though their HDMI audio return channel to an AVR. “We’re working with TV manufacturers to ensure Dolby Digital Plus goes over the audio return channel” he said. It’s unclear whether any TV currently available will do so, he said."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have two Blu-rays with DD+ Atmos tracks, besides the Dolby demo discs (which are not publicly available), in case someone needs content to try this.

One is the french language track on the U.S. release of "American Sniper" (even though is says 7.1 on the packaging):


The other is the main track on the spanish 3D release of "Mortadelo y Filemón contra Jimmy el Cachondo":


The free "Atmos Bundle" on Vudu also has Atmos/DD+.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for starting this. I do believe I had the technical basics right, I like to think I'm pretty informed. I'm still skeptical that ARC can (in its current incarnation) support more bandwidth than SP/DIF. Certainly anything is possible, especially with HDMI negotiation. Given the HEC channel is two-pin, similarly to ARC, and has 100mbit bandwidth, the two-pin ARC connection certainly is theoretically capable of much more than SP/DIF.

I wish I had access to more data. However, I believe that the HDMI ARC connection is implemented in the SOC as a pin-through connection with an SP/DIF encoder/decoder at either end. I can't even tell if that SP/DIF encoder is part of the SOC or external to it. Regardless, that would be the most sensible implementation given the goals of the feature. Given it seems the framing protocol used by ARC is the same as SP/DIF (as we've both said), it wouldn't be surprising this is the implementation.

That said, I absolutely realize that DD+ is within the bandwidth allowed by SP/DIF (and therefore ARC), which I've mentioned. Further, I also see that there is a bytecode reserved in the IEC-61937 code published on an MSDN page for DD+. So, I don't think we're in disagreement that DD+ is supported, in theory. However, given it's outside the SP/DIF spec, the question is whether or not newer ATMOS enabled receivers included a decoder for the format given ARC originally tied itself to the SP/DIF spec and that originally never included the bytecode to designate DD+. I'm glad you've started this thread to help determine which sink devices can support it.

Regarding ATMOS, I didn't see anything in the DD+ info (that I can access freely anyway) that says it can carry the ATMOS object metadata. I just saw it allowed 15 discrete channels. However, if it does carry the object data, that's great news. Regardless, I suppose lossy compressed 15-discrete channel ATMOS is better than no ATMOS at all.

Finally, what ARC can support in the future is certainly "limitless". I don't think we're in disagreement there. However, if its current implementation includes an SP/DIF en/decoder on either side, any changes to support higher bandwidth (e.g. lossless multi-channel) signals would certainly require new hardware. However, depending on the implementation it also could mean that a firmware update could allow DD+ to be supported in the current generations. Not sure what the market is for people to upgrade their hardware (again) to support lossless over ARC, but I'd especially hope that DD+ over ARC would not require another upgrade.
Yes, you are right that ARC is usually implemented as an SPDIF port on the chip. DD+ has been part of IEC 61937 for a very long time, actually since DD+ is around, because that is the specification where the codec's transport is defined.

I have encountered many external SPDIF ports and cables, RCA and optical, as well as some HDMI cables, that were not capable of handling DD+, so be aware of this when testing different scenarios. I found that AVRs from the last few years generally support DD+ on both SPDIF and ARC, but I have not done any extensive testing, so take this with a grain of salt. And I'm not sure about HDMI connected Soundbars, have to do more research.

And, as with most of these technology advancements, it's more about natural turnover of equipment. Nobody (except some of us crazies here on AVS) with swap out an one year old AVR or TV for the current model just to get DD+. But if it gets in the market, more and more people will have it over time.

NB: I think the correct spelling is "S/P-DIF", as in "Sony/Philips Digital Inter Face". But either way is fine, not like there are other similar acronyms to confuse it with.
 

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Googling "dolby atmos" and "audio return channel", all I could find is this 8/13/2014 article:

http://www.twice.com/news/audio/dolby-stepping-support-atmos-rollout/49857

"In other comments, Eggers said Dolby recommends the use of set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and game players to play back the Atmos soundtracks of streaming services, at least for now. TVs with embedded streaming services, he explained, are unlikely to pass an Atmos-enabled Dolby Digital Plus stream, or a standard channel-based Dolby Digital Plus stream, though their HDMI audio return channel to an AVR. “We’re working with TV manufacturers to ensure Dolby Digital Plus goes over the audio return channel” he said. It’s unclear whether any TV currently available will do so, he said."
Cool. I also found this slide-pack which implies that DD+ does, indeed, support Atmos meta-data.

So, it seems if the TV set can send DD+ to the receiver over ARC and the receiver has the decoder that lossy ATMOS is available.

Of course, this still doesn't mean one should connect their BD player to the TV and expect ARC to pass ATMOS back (it very likely won't, especially since @scarabaeus implies above most BD disks don't have a native DD+ track, so even if it would pass through the native track, there isn't one to pass, and it probably won't transcode). But, I suppose we already knew that.

To that end, I suppose I eat my hat. ATMOS is potentially available via ARC through DD+. Ugh, I hate being wrong, lol. @scarabaeus , I apologize for my comments in the Vizio thread.
 

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Looking forward to a list of confirmed AVRs as I am in the market for one, but won't buy until I know it supports this.

As for first confirmed supported receivers Matt McRae did say that one of their test devices for DD+ and ATMOS was the Onkyo TX-NR646 and it worked fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We know anything on the DTS:X front at this point?
As I just posted in the Vizio thread: I have absolutely no clue whether DTS-HD HR supports DTS:X or not. Dolby has been very up front about Atmos being supported by both TrueHD and DD+, with a particular eye on OTT and broadcast for DD+. No such statement or info from DTS. I only know that HR is their 192 kHz audio solution, equivalent to DD+.
 

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I posted in the Vizio P thread... But wouldn't a dedicated HDMI out from the TV solve all the issues (other than needing to run an additional cable)?

Sent from my S7 Edge
 

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I posted in the Vizio P thread... But wouldn't a dedicated HDMI out from the TV solve all the issues (other than needing to run an additional cable)?

Sent from my S7 Edge
... As others have written... There actually isn't any sources that are outputting lossless sound anyway... So this is currently a moot point.

Sent from my S7 Edge
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I posted in the Vizio P thread... But wouldn't a dedicated HDMI out from the TV solve all the issues (other than needing to run an additional cable)?
... As others have written... There actually isn't any sources that are outputting lossless sound anyway... So this is currently a moot point.
Well, that would be a solution, but it would get complicated with the current HDCP and CEC implementations, which rely on the TV being the one and only end point of the HDMI connection.

There are scenarios where uncompressed over ARC would make sense, e.g. when you have a Blu-ray player connected to a TV, and the TV is sending all audio to a high-end soundbar.
 

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Well, that would be a solution, but it would get complicated with the current HDCP and CEC implementations, which rely on the TV being the one and only end point of the HDMI connection.

There are scenarios where uncompressed over ARC would make sense, e.g. when you have a Blu-ray player connected to a TV, and the TV is sending all audio to a high-end soundbar.
Yeah, other than ease of implementation, I don't know why the HDMI committee would have been so short sighted. But, I suppose the political reality that lossless tracks can only be sent encrypted complicated the design of an ARC link that supported them too much to bother. However, it does sort of piss me off, since IMO, they had a prime opportunity to get away from the "receiver as the hub" paradigm. Of course, then they'd need a "Video Overlay Return" lol, so I could see my receiver menus on the TV, lol. So....

Anyway, back on-topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Found a relatively cheap way of testing AVRs for support.

Step 1: Buy an Insignia RokuTV from Best Buy, 24", $160, model # NS-24ER310NA17
Step 2: Set up the TV with a free Roku account and a free Vudu account
Step 3: Enable "HDMI ARC" in "Settings" --> "System" --> "Control other devices (CEC)"

Step 4: In Vudu, get the free Dolby Atmos "Digital Bundle"

Step 5: Connect the ARC HDMI output of the AVR to HDMI 1 of the RokuTV
Step 6: Play a clip of the bundle

You should now get Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby Atmos on the AVR. Make sure CEC is enabled on the AVR as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
(Cleanup of post 1)

I see that DD+ can be transferred over IEC 61937, which is SP/DIF protocol, and looking at the DD+ specs it does max out at a similar bandwidth as SP/DIF. So, I suppose it is possible that if the source and sink can negotiate support for DD+ then DD+ (i.e. E-AC-3; a compressed format that has a higher channel count (15) than DD (i.e. AC-3) at 5.1) could be sent.

I still wonder about the ability of the existing crop of receivers to support decoding DD+ over ARC. Of course, with this particular set, that is moot as the set itself can't send it.

That said, you're still wrong in your prior assumption that DTS-HD MA and Dolby TrueHD could be transferred over ARC. It lacks the bandwidth and there are AACS concerns as these formats are not allowed to be transferred (in any lossless form, anyway) over an un-encrypted link (e.g. ARC). The only way these formats could be sent is re-encoded (I suppose to DD+ to lose as little as possible).
I never said anything about DTS-HD MA, only DTS-HD HR, which is DTS' equivalent of DD+ (192 kHz based, not 768 kHz like MAT/TrueHD and DTS-HD MA). Future HDMI revisions might add support for this, though.

Moreover, DD+ can not entirely address @thomasfxlt concerns regarding Atmos, as that is an object model in meta-data which DD+ does not appear to carry. Best case, the TV renders all the objects into the 15 discrete channels supported by DD+, encodes to DD+, and the receiver then maps those discrete channels to your Atmos speaker configuration. This would fall short of the ideal, which would be to allow the receiver (which has knowledge of your particular speaker configuration) to render the object data in the stream. DD+ may be a better wrapper for the discrete channels of DTS:X (though even that supposedly now has object model support).
DD+ has full support for Atmos. The Dolby demo Blu-rays have a selection at the top of the menu to switch between TrueHD and DD+. While not lossless, it still sounds remarkably well.

Anyway, I'm done beating this off-topic horse. The net result is that ARC is not an ideal carrier in any way if audio fidelity is a concern. I'll also agree that this was a "short-sighted" decision by the HDMI committee, but eliminating an SP/DIF connection between the source and sink was the goal, and that goal was achieved in the quickest, easiest to implement, way -- make ARC equivalent to coax SP/DIF with HEC controls to tell the sink when data is being sent its way.
Putting it like this, then ARC is SPDIF plus additional bandwitdh plus automatic capability and connection negotiations.
 

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DD + and DD ++

Is Dolby Digital Plus (+) the same as Dolby Atmos and is the designation for Dobly Atmos DD ++ ?
 

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Other methods to receive Dolby Atmos

I have a Samsung JS8500 4K and am getting a Yamaha YPS-5600 Dolby Atmos soundbar. Since using the apps such as Netflix or Vudu from the TV will not work for Atmos as they will not send this over ARC, are there streaming devises that would work. An an example I understand the Samsung K8500 4K disk player has the Netflix app and I assume Vudu so I could send Dolby Atmos from the player to the soundbar and send the video directly to the TV (it has two HDMI outs). I believe this would then give me Dolby Atmos.

Are you aware on any other streaming devises that would do this as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Is Dolby Digital Plus (+) the same as Dolby Atmos and is the designation for Dobly Atmos DD ++ ?
Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) can carry channel-based audio with up to 7.1 channels, or object-based Atmos audio. If a DD+ stream with Atmos is sent to an older AVR that does not understand Atmos, it will see it as a 7.1 stream.

Atmos can also be carried in TrueHD, which is lossless, and features the same fallback to 7.1 on non-Atmos equipment.

I have a Samsung JS8500 4K and am getting a Yamaha YPS-5600 Dolby Atmos soundbar. Since using the apps such as Netflix or Vudu from the TV will not work for Atmos as they will not send this over ARC, are there streaming devises that would work. An an example I understand the Samsung K8500 4K disk player has the Netflix app and I assume Vudu so I could send Dolby Atmos from the player to the soundbar and send the video directly to the TV (it has two HDMI outs). I believe this would then give me Dolby Atmos.

Are you aware on any other streaming devises that would do this as well.
If you connect an external streaming device, then you would connect those to the HDMI inputs of the Yamaha. This way you are not using ARC, but instead get Atmos over the normal HDMI connection, in TrueHD.

Most streaming devices, and pretty much all Blu-ray players can send Atmos in TrueHD and DD+ over HDMI, without the need for ARC.

So, when you get the soundbar, you connect your cable box, blu-ray player, roku or whatever other devices you might have, to the 4 HDMI inputs of the Yamaha, then run one HDMI cable from the Yamaha's HDMI/ARC output to the HDMI/ARC input of your TV. To watch any of the external devices, you switch between them on the soundbar and leave the TV on the one and only HDMI input. When you watch any smart apps, or the OTA tuner, on your TV, the audio (plain stereo PCM or Dolby Digital up to 5.1, no Atmos) will be sent back to the Yamaha via ARC.

If you get the Samsung 4K player, you can connect the main HDMI output of that to the first HDMI input of the Yamaha, it supports 4K and HDCP 2.2. No need to do the separate video / audio workaround.
 
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