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Force 5.1 out over HDMI

2725 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Dec 14, 2013 1:24 PM by birnbuazn RSS
pnewelljr Calculating status...
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May 5, 2011 8:53 AM

So my setup is the following.


Mac Mini -> HDTV -> Surround Sound System


The problem is that I can't get surround to work. I think I've figured out the proble, but I'm not sure of a solution.


To start off, my TV is able to accept any type of audio and pass it on to speakers (including DTS, etc), so that is not the problem. I have tried this same setup using a HDMI converter for my Macbook Pro and it works without a problem. Surround sound works with the macbook pro and a Mini Displayport to HDMI convertor. On the other hand, when I connect from the HDMI port of my Mac Mini to my TV, it only puts out Stereo. My Mac Mini refuses to output 5.1.


I believe the problem is the following. When I connect the HDMI cable to my TV, my Mac Mini reads the information about my TV (that it only has two physical speakers itself) and then thinks that it will only support 2 channel audio. Therefore it refuses to output anything greater then that. Even if I go into Audio MIDI Setup, when I try to setup Multi-Channel audio it won't let me do anything but Stereo. It thinks the TV can only handle 2 channel audio, but it is wrong.


It works with my Macbook Pro, because the Mac isn't reading the TV information, it is reading the mini displayport to hdmi convertor's info, so the Mac gives the OK for multichannel audio to be sent.


What I need to do, is trick the Mac Mini into thinking the TV can handle multichannel audio (which it can) so that it is willing to send this audio to my TV. Otherwise I'll have to buy a receiver, which as a college student, I really can't afford. Does anyone know how this can be achieved or have any suggestions? (I can't use the optical audio port, because I don't have one of those available on my TV).


Thanks for any help!

Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • configment Calculating status...
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    Jun 1, 2011 11:54 AM (in response to pnewelljr)



    You are exactly right about the cause of the problem. I was trying to do the exact same thing, and wrote a reply in this post:



    While some have suggested to use Audio Routing apps like Soundflower or JackOSX, they don't work in this situation because the Macbook is still sensing the TV's "2-channel only capacity" and now allowing you to send multichannel sound through the TV's passthrough.


    Some people would say... why don't you connect your HDMI directly to the surround receiver and then pass the video through to the TV... well, my setup isn't capable of that. My TV has an optical audio out which outputs the digital audio out based on which TV source I've selected. That's makes a lot sense.


    How does the Macbook negotiate what output formats are available? Using some drivers for the Intel® High Definition Audio car, or somewhere in the OSX software as it interprets the EDID data.


    Where can I intercept the EDID data?


    Or, does it not use the EDID information and instead sense it this way... I found this PDF about the audio card ....

    apparently tries to "sense" the number of channels the HDMI destination widget is capable of handling. In section " Audio Widget Capabilities" it describes some auto-sensing stuff.


    SOMEONE has gotta know about this problem. I can force multichannel output to my TV using a PC, why not a MAC?

  • themikado2005 Calculating status...
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    Jan 16, 2013 9:53 PM (in response to configment)

    Did you ever find a solution for this problem?  I'm now in the same boat, trying to output 5.1 Surround sound to a Denon receiver via an HDMI Audio De-Embedder.  Works great in Windows 7; it's stereo-only on the MacBook Pro :-(

  • Pluto01 Calculating status...
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    Nov 26, 2013 9:12 PM (in response to pnewelljr)

    I am in the same boat.  Over the last year, I've been working with Apple Tech Support and have placed several trouble "tickets" with them - no success.  I think it's a terrible design to force a configuration and degrade capability when it is not necessary.  So, I'm stuck with stereo when the system is fully capable of 7.1.  Awesome.  I keep hoping something that is way smarter than I am who can figure out a work around.


    Hope to keep the topic alive.

    - Pluto

  • XBVIS Calculating status...
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    Dec 9, 2013 10:44 AM (in response to Pluto01)

    I discovered the extent of shame ....... Apple


    the choice between an external interface that nobody have of 5.1 on the optical output or

    the content of a PLII

    because it is what it is in stereo mapping PLII as then Lazer disk, S-VHS, HI8 1990


    my gods!


    help please !!!!

  • John Lockwood Level 5 Level 5 (5,075 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 10, 2013 3:49 AM (in response to pnewelljr)

    The following article might give some clues to an approach. It does not look a perfect solution but might help.



  • birnbuazn Calculating status...
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    Dec 14, 2013 1:24 PM (in response to John Lockwood)


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