A few things I learned with the new Q 80T, Sonos Arc, and the Nintendo Wii U (the antagonist in this story).
After a basement remodel, I hung the TV, added the Sonos Arc (using a PowerBridge to power the TV and Arc - I do not run TV/soundbar power cables through the wall like many do, as those power cords are not in-wall safe and against electrical codes). When I turned the TV on, it went into the set-up, recognized the Sonos Arc (impressive) and all was fine. I added an AppleTV 4k (no hating here because I'm an Apple guy!) and atmos was passed through nicely, and my DirecTV wireless Genie worked perfectly. All was good. I even ensured that the firmware was up-to-date.
A few days later, I added 4 gaming devices: Nintedo Switch, Wii, Wii U, and GameCube (I have adapters for the Wii and GameCube to allow HDMI connection - my son's PS5, which he will take back to school after Thanksgiving, arrives next week). I am using an HDMI hub that plugs into the TV's HDMI 4 port (the one marked for "gaming"). And this is when the problem started:
1. The TV showed only three sound options: TV speakers, Bluetooth, and Optical. HDMI eArc was gone, and pass-through and atmos compatibility were grayed out. What? Even stranger, if I switched to Optical, sound would play through the Sonos Arc Huh? Nothing was plugged into the optical out jack. I was able to get Dolby 5.1, but NOT atmos. I reset the TV to factory, and started over. But this time, the TV did NOT recognize the Sonos Arc, and I had to manually set it up. Same issue - no sound output choice for HDMI eArc, and choosing optical out played sound through the Sonos Arc, but not atmos. I tried the "HDMI port reset" that did no good. I called Samsung, explained the situation to the tech, and after a few minutes on hold, he said that I had done all of the things he would have had me do, and that I needed a service call. Well, considering electronics these days are basically a series of boards, the tech would come over, see the issue, and then swap out the board with the ports on it. I have an appointment on 11/11 (which I will cancel Monday - see below).
However, after some more thought, I decided to unplug the HDMI hub attached to the TV to the HDMI 4 game port. As soon as I did, the TV message said that an atmos device was detected. It saw the Sonos Arc, and everything was perfect again. So, I first swapped out the HDMI cable from the HDMI gaming hub to the TV, and when everything was powered on, the problem returned. So it wasn't that cable. I unplugged every gaming device from the HDMI hub except the Nintendo Switch, and powered everything on. It all worked perfectly, so it was not the Switch. I then unplugged the Switch and attached the Wii with the HDMI adapter and powered everything on. Perfect. Next, I unplugged the Wii and attached the Wii U, then powered everything on. And the problem returned. AHA! So I swapped out the HDMI cable from the Wii U to the HDMI hub and powered everything on - the problem was still there. At that point, it was either that particular port on the Hub, or it was the Wii U. I moved the HDMI cable to a different port on the hub and the problem was still there, pointing to the Wii U as the culprit. I have another HDMI hub so I swapped it out to see if perhaps the hub and the Wii U didn't get along. Nope. The other hub, from a different manufacturer, had the same problem. After searching a bit, there have been reports of the Wii U having issues with TVs using HDMI Arc - those were video or sound issues. I have not seen a a report of a conflict between the Wii U and HDMI eArc. And, to add one more fact: this happened as soon as the Wii U was attached through the hub or directly to the TV (bypassing the hub) AND without turning on the Wii U, and regardless of which of the TV's HDMI inputs were used.
1. If you have any ideas how to get this to work, let me know (I've thought about wireless HDMI so that the TV doesn't see the Wii U, but I'm not convinced that those work well generally, and especially with gaming). The answer may be to ditch the Wii U, which is not the end of the world, but I would like to make it work.
2. The lesson here is that if you have a Sonos Arc and have issues, check the other devices attached to the TV. Try just the TV, Sonos Arc, and your TV provider (whether it's DirecTV, XFinity, or a streaming device like AppleTV, Chromecast, or Roku) - remove all other devices. It may not be the Sonos Arc, but something interfering with the HDMI eArc port like I experienced. And I should add that when the Wii U was attached and causing the HDMI eArc issue, it was true even when I streamed from Netflix and other apps already on the TV and not just from an outside box (for me, the AppleTV).
I solved the problem last month. For $11.99 on Amazon, you can purchase a “wii 2HDMI” adapter. You use it to bypass the Wii U’s HDMI output. You plug one end into the other output port, and then your HDMI cable to the other end. Works like a charm. No more Arc problem and it looks and sounds great. I glad to go into the Wii U settings to fine tune the picture size. So the culprit is ten Wii U HDMI out port.