I have a Dolby Digital receiver (not Dolby Digital Plus nor Dolby Atmos) and a television with only Dolby Digital support. I connect my Chromecast with Google TV to a splitter, which then connects the television and receiver, respectively.
I played a movie purchased from Google Play Store, and I was able to play the movie in 5.1 audio. So, the connection is working properly.
However, when I turn on the Netflix app, it does not detect that Dolby Digital is available and does not even display that 5.1 audio is available for the content. When I manually switch the advanced audio settings to Dolby Digital Plus (which neither my receiver nor television supports), the Netflix app displays that 5.1 audio is available for the same content. Obviously, since my receiver and television does not support Dolby Digital, there is no sound when I try to play the content in 5.1 (since it was outputted in Dolby Digital Plus).
While I do not subscribe to other services with 5.1 content, I suspect that there is a similar problem with other apps. It seems that the apps do not detect that Dolby Digital is available and therefore, can't play the audio in Dolby Digital instead of Dolby Digital Plus. Shouldn't Chromecast for Google TV be able to downmix the content such that it is playable in Dolby Digital?
Google Support: PLEASE FIX THIS!! It is very disappointing that I cannot play the content in surround sound with legacy equipment even though Chromecast with Google TV is supposed to work with Dolby Digital only equipment!
It's time Google took it head out of the sand on this issue, stopped stifling discussion, engaged, and actually solved it . My setup for the record:
This setup plays Dolby 5.1 perfectly fine from native Smart TV apps and other external sources. Except of course CCwGTV...
After some research it seems that the problem is simple, Netflix moved to Dolby Digital Plus a few years ago and Chromecast will not convert the Dolby Digital Plus signal down to Dolby Digital. Other streaming devices have been reported to be able to do this, which means it is disappointing Google is not providing a similar experience.
Just to make clear, as the thread title states this should not be viewed as a Netflix-specific issue. I find other apps such as Amazon Prime & Paramount+ also fail to output D5.1 on the Chromecast platform. Others may have mentioned Hulu (not available in my region) & YouTube (I don't watch Google's ad-delivery service) work fine but it should be clear that Chromecast as a platform is currently problematic for apps that would require Dolby audio downmixng when it's competitors by and large aren't...
I've resorted to using an alternative AV receiver which I have and plugged the CCwGTV directly into that, bypassing my TV which does not support Dolby Digital Plus. This has made the setup more complicated and slow but at least I now have surround sound.
Another complaint is that I still had to dig through the setup menu and activate Dolby Digital Plus as the surround sound format (it didn't automatically enable it in advanced settings) - which adds yet another step to setting this up. Why so complex Google!?!?
I can confirm this audio issue affects Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and Paramount Plus. The only app that does output correctly in 5.1 Dolby Digital on my CCWGT is the Apple TV app.
I have experimented with several things and found:
According to the specs for my TV and AV Receiver, they both fully support Dolby Digital Plus, so there should be no reason why CCWGT doesn't output in the format.
I wonder if it's something to do with how CCWGT outputs audio back through HDMI ARC to a receiver.
I have no issues whatsoever with 5.1 surround sound on my XBOX configured in the same way, e.g. connected directly to the TV with audio output to the AV Receiver via HDMI ARC.
TV: Sony KDL46W905A (circa 2014) supposedly supports DD and DD+. Soundbar: Sonos Beam Gen2 DD and DD+ supported.
CCwGTV connected to TV via HDMI. Sonos connected to TV via HDMI ARC
Apps on CCwGTV will only delivery PCM Stereo to Sonos. Native Netflix app on TV delivers 5.1 to Sonos.
Since all my devices say they support DD+ I wouldn't have thought down-mixing to DD was required. Could it just be that although my TV spec says DD+ is supported, this does not include sources fed via HDMI? I'm not sure what other sources I can test (I think DVDs etc might just be DD?).
Like everyone else on this and other threads I'm extremely disappointed.
My TV only supports Dolby Digital and DTS, and Google TV can display that Dolby Digital is supported, but neither Netflix nor Disney+ can output 5.1 surround, either automatically or manually.
Google's attitude towards solving this problem is very disappointing. The recent update to Android 12 didn't solve my problem and now I've switched to Apple TV, Xbox, Playstation 5 and they all output 5.1 surround using Dolby Digital.