TJ2010
6 Indium

HDMI Output only detects 2 channels not 5.1

I've connected my Dell XPS 13 9350 to my AVR 5.1 surround sound home theater system. Unfortunately the HDMI only outputs 2 channels and is greyed out, not allowing me to select 5.1 or 7.1. How do I update or upgrade my Realtek audio drivers to support more channels?

My issues are similar to this thread for windows vista, but no one seemed to have a fix

http://www.eightforums.com/sound-audio/6655-digital-audio-hdmi-only-has-2-channel-option-2.html?s=3d...

Could someone help me get 5.1 output from my HDMI source?

Thanks, 

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8 Krypton

RE: HDMI Output only detects 2 channels not 5.1

How do I update or upgrade my Realtek audio drivers to support more channels?

Hello. You can't. The Realtek audio chip on the motherboard is hardware that either supports surround, or doesn't. I suspect that your chip is a 2 channel chip, because the laptop only has analog output connections for 2 channels. There wouldn't be any point in having a surround chip. In the past, various Dell laptops have had the audio ports to connect a 5.1 speaker system, but I don't think any of the recent models have more than a 2 channel port.

Could someone help me get 5.1 output from my HDMI source?

However, HDMI audio is a digital signal and so does not depend on the DAC (digital to analog) capabilities of the Realtek chip. HDMI audio is controlled by the graphics (video) driver, not the Realtek driver. See the HDMI Audio FAQ for more details about it.

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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TJ2010
6 Indium

RE: HDMI Output only detects 2 channels not 5.1

Ahh it's a limitation of my motherboard.... that's no good but oh well then.

Ok is there a way to split the audio via software so that it can be output through each speaker?

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8 Krypton

RE: HDMI Output only detects 2 channels not 5.1

it's a limitation of my motherboard

Sorry but I did not explain it too good. It is not a limitation of the motherboard. I meant that the Realtek codec probably is only a 2 channel codec, however that doesn't have anything to do with the HDMI audio. HDMI audio is a raw digital signal, which does not pass through the Realtek's DAC. It goes straight to an external DAC, usually one built into a TV. In your case,  you are using the DAC of your digital receiver.

If the receiver is receiving the signal and is producing any audio, then it is working. Whether or not you are getting surround sound depends on the setup of the receiver, and whether your signal source is a surround source. What I mean is that if you are playing a stereo audio file, it is only going to come out of 2 speakers.

I don't know what you have to do to set up your receiver. The FAQ explains the steps and the order of the steps to setup HDMI with a TV, but I don't have any instructions like that for a receiver. Also, if you read the FAQ, you have updated or re-installed your Intel graphics driver.

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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TJ2010
6 Indium

RE: HDMI Output only detects 2 channels not 5.1

Thanks for that Jimco.

Well let me shed more light on the problem I have.

I have a Samsung Series 9 TV, UA75KS9005 connected to a Denon AVR-X4200 that can output a maximum of 9.2 Audio Channels. My current speaker setup is a 5.1 Surround Sound Home theatre set which is suited to 4K SUHD Blue Ray playback.

When I connect a hard drive to my TV, I'm able to play all my movies in 5.1 Audio.

When I connect my Laptop, the Dell XPS13 9350 to either my TV or AVR, I get stereo output.

I upgraded my Realtek Audio drivers and found an issue with the output signal from the laptop which is in two channels like so:

http://i.imgur.com/gD7bU.png

This image shows that when I click on the properties of my display, I can only select 2 channel output.

However what I would like to acheive is the following:

http://i.imgur.com/AJDo6.png

Where I should be able to select either stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 Audio.

Is this something that can be done or should I purchase a laptop that has an on-board sound card capable of outputing 5.1 or 7.1 Audio.

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TJ2010
6 Indium

RE: HDMI Output only detects 2 channels not 5.1

Thanks for that Jimco.

Well let me shed more light on the problem I have.

I have a Samsung Series 9 TV, UA75KS9005 connected to a Denon AVR-X4200 that can output a maximum of 9.2 Audio Channels. My current speaker setup is a 5.1 Surround Sound Home theatre set which is suited to 4K SUHD Blue Ray playback.

When I connect a hard drive to my TV, I'm able to play all my movies in 5.1 Audio.

When I connect my Laptop, the Dell XPS13 9350 to either my TV or AVR, I get stereo output.

I upgraded my Realtek Audio drivers and found an issue with the output signal from the laptop which is in two channels like so:

http://i.imgur.com/gD7bU.png

This image shows that when I click on the properties of my display, I can only select 2 channel output.

However what I would like to acheive is the following:

http://i.imgur.com/AJDo6.png

Where I should be able to select either stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 Audio.

Is this something that can be done or should I purchase a laptop that has an on-board sound card capable of outputing 5.1 or 7.1 Audio?

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8 Krypton

RE: HDMI Output only detects 2 channels not 5.1

The configuration screens in your screen shots are properties for the speakers, not for HDMI audio. Your laptop has only has stereo speakers built-in, and only has a port for connecting external stereo (or 2.1) speakers, so naturally there is no setting for 5.1 speakers. A 5.1 speaker system is a set of 6 speakers, which does not have a DAC. A 5.1 speaker system, when connected to a computer, depends on the computer's DAC to send out 6 channels of analog audio. But you cannot connect a 5.1 speaker system to your laptop, so there is no configuration for it.

In the past, Dell has offered a number of laptop models that were compatible with a 5.1 speaker system. Those models had 3 audio ports --  2 headphone jacks and one mic jack. When configured for surround sound, the mic jack became a 3rd output jack, for a total of 6 output channels, 5.1. The mic jack became the output port for the speaker system's 2 rear speakers. Here is a screen shot from a Dell XPS L502x model:

should I purchase a laptop that has an on-board sound card capable of outputing 5.1

If you have a 5.1 speaker system and want to connect it directly to a laptop's analog audio ports, then yes.

or 7.1 Audio?

I don't think Dell ever had a laptop model that supported 7.1 analog audio. For that, you would probably have to get a desktop system with a 7.1 sound card.



However, all of that is irrelevant, because your thread is about the HDMI audio, and when you make HDMI audio the default device, then the speakers are disabled so it doesn't matter how they are configured.

I upgraded my Realtek Audio drivers

Please read the HDMI Audio FAQ if you have not done so. HDMI is controlled by the graphics driver, not the audio driver.

According to Dell's documentation, the XPS 13 9350 has Intel graphics. You can find all of your graphics drivers on the XPS 9350 html page -- scroll all the way down to the Video category. The Sept 7 version of the driver says it fixed "HDMI", but no details about what was fixed. [Note: graphics is outside of my area, so I can't advise you on which driver is the correct one for your model. The driver list has both Intel HD Graphics drivers and Intel Iris Graphic drivers. I have no idea what is the difference between them, if any.]

Where I should be able to select either stereo, 5.1 or 7.1 Audio.

HDMI audio is in the form of  a raw digital signal. The surround channels are encoded in the signal, and it is up to the TV or surround receiver to decode the digital signal, and to convert it into the analog channels. I don't know of any software in the laptop that would affect that process, after you make HDMI Audio the default device, but if there is a configuration setting, it might be in the graphic's control panel. My Latitude E5420 laptop has Intel graphics that is older than yours. I can't find any HDMI audio configuration in my graphics control panel.



The documentation for the XPS 9350 shows that it does not have an HDMI port, so how are you connecting the laptop to the TV or receiver? Usb-to-HDMI adapter?

Jim Coates -- 15 years on the Dell Laptop Audio boards -- since 2/6/04 

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