How to get 5.1 audio in browser (Disney Plus, Youtube, etc...)

I’ve been watching the Star Wars movies while I exercise and realized I’m not getting 5.1 audio on my PC. I have 64 bit Windows 10. I use Chrome, but I also tried on Edge. I’ve listened to 5.1 test videos on youtube and I’m only getting my left and right audio.

I found a post that said to change my Chrome shortcut to “C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” --disable-audio-output-resampler --try-supported-channel-layouts

that didn’t work. Other posts said to enable an option to turn on “speaker fill” in the audio options. I don’t have that either, even though I found the screen it is suppose to be on.I installed the newest Realtek HD audio driver for my motherboard, which is dated 2017.

Anyone have any ideas how I can get this to work?

  1. Are you outputting to 5.1 computer speakers or a Dolby or DTS receiver / TV / soundbar?
  2. Are you using a green headphone cable, an optical or coax audio cable, or HDMI/DP cable for audio?

I’m outputting to a set of Logitech 5.1 speakers using the RCA-style connectors from the motherboard to the back of the subwoofer. 5.1 audio does work for games and if I do the speaker test from within Windows.

Try adding --disable-features=AudioServiceOutOfProcess to the Chrome shortcut. It seems in Chrome v79 Google sandboxed the audio engine in Chrome, which is causing problems with the 5.1 surround sound. Disabling it may help.

Nope, that didn’t work either.

I wonder, is it required to use HDMI or optical out for it to work?

It’s only in browsers where it doesn’t work.

The speakers you have are expecting 6 discrete signals (5.1 audio). That’s not encoded in any way. So it should work, although it seems pretty common that people are having issues with this.

HDMI can pass uncompressed 5.1 audio, but you’d need something on the other end to play it back or output it as 6 signals to your speakers.

If you are using optical you’d need 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS to compress the 6 audio channels into a digital signal small enough to fit on an audio coax or optical cable. There is technology to take 5.1 uncompressed audio and encode it as Dolby Digital in real-time called “Dolby Live”.

SoundBlaster (remember them?) has an external USB sound card that can do 5.1 discrete output or 5.1 Dolby Digital encoded audio over optical. I don’t think the browser is going to be any better about passing the 5.1 audio to this sound card than it is doing to your onboard sound card though.

I thought Youtube was stereo only. Do they have videos with 5.1 audio?

Try this page, see if the clips play in 5.1:

https://www2.iis.fraunhofer.de/AAC/multichannel.html

AFAIK Netflix and Amazon Prime Video still only support stereo audio through web browsers. In fact I have to use the Netflix standalone app to get 5.1 on my PC. I haven’t tried Disney Plus yet, but wouldn’t be surprised if their browser app has similar limitations.

Thanks for that link. The audio files play in 5.1 correctly, but the streamed video file is missing the surround sounds when played in the browser (but the other channels are present). After downloading, the VLC playback its all there.
Unfortunately the troubleshooting doesn’t differentiate this scenario, so not sure how I can tweak the audio playback for streamed video files specifically.

I had the same issue and after doing some troubleshooting with Google and researching on Netflix and Prime Video, I basically came to the conclusion that streaming services don’t support 5.1 through your browser.

Awesome! I thought browsers just couldn’t output 5.1 but, hey, this worked, thanks!

For Netflix I use the Windows 10 store app now, which bypasses the browser so I can get full 5.1. For Prime Video, there is no app so you’re stuffed unless you have another device. For me, I use the PS3 for that, which works fine, depending on whether it needs (another) update.

I was under the impression that some people got 5.1 audio working with Chrome by using some startup parameters. Microsoft has said Edge Chromium will support / does support 5.1 audio - but I don’t know if that is supposed to be implemented yet, or if you need a 3rd party app from Dolby.

But maybe you guys are right and that it’s just not possible and steaming services don’t support 5.1 in a browser.

It’s definitely possible because that link above worked perfectly through my 5.1 in Firefox, but as for the streaming services, I didn’t have much luck last time I tried!

Mine worked at that test site too in Chrome.

The video worked on that site for me but not the audio clips at the top, weird. (Using Firefox)