What happens to a surround signal passed to a stereo soundbar over HDMI ARC and Optical?


Feb 13, 2009
Hi everyone,

I have no experience with audio stuff - and will appreciate any help you can offer to a complete beginner.

I have bought a Sony x900e TV and a Samsung MS650 soundbar. I only want to stream videos from Amazon Prime Video and Netflix - I do NOT have a Blu-ray player or any other device that needs to be connected to the TV.

Question 1: Should I connect the soundbar to my tv using the HDMI ARC port or the Optical Audio Output port? Is there any advantage of one over the other, considering I only have the TV and soundbar to connect to one another?

Question 2: Some videos on Prime and Netflix have 5.1 channel audio whereas my soundbar is 3 channels. Will the 5.1 channel audio be delivered over optical or arc or both?

Question 3: When a 5.1 channel signal will be transmitted to the soundbar, will the soundbar automatically convert it into a 3 channel signal? Will I lose any sounds? Do I need to buy a separate audio processor to mix the channels? I do NOT want a full 5.1 surround system. I am only interested to know if I am losing any audio information (i.e. not hearing some sounds) by passing a 5.1 channel signal to my soundbar - or if that information is simply being converted into a stereo output by the soundbar automatically?

Thank you!



Jan 4, 2016
Sound doesn't get impacted with either connection. With HDMI cable connection you can also control soundbar - like turn it off together with tv (if both devices support that).

Sound doesn't get impacted with either connection.

Most likely sound gets downmixed - left front+back get combined together and right front+back get combined.
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