Nvidia has fixed this bug! After a long back and forth with this issue, escalated to engineering, Nvidia confirmed it was a bug and has issued updated software -- version 7.0.2 of the Android TV software -- and the audio dropouts I have been experiening are gone!
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A further update: I connected a pair of Bluetooth headphones to the TV and noticed some brief dropouts using them, too. I am somewhat reluctant at this point to assume these dropouts were from the TV, however, as in my experience with these headphones connected to my smartphone, they sometimes are prone to RF interferrence with the resulting dropouts. And so I want to pursue this a bit further before coming to any conclusions. But assuming I do experience dropouts when using the Bluetooth headphones, too, that would seem to suggest that the issue is on the source/HDMI side, not the output/optical side -- i.e., not the DSP. But, then, why still do I not experience dropouts when using the TV's built-in speakers? Very mysterious.
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Phil, Thank you for your comment. I have read similar stories from others. There is an interesting further development, however, in my situation. I also contactyed nVidia support to see if they had any suggestions, and they asked me to play my videos and music through the TV speakers to see if the droupouts still occurred. They did not! This leads me to think the issue may actually be with the DAC i have connected between the TV and my analog receiver, which converts the PCM datastream from the TV optical output to an analog signal for the receiver. I have ordered a newer DAC and will see that makes any difference.
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I recently bought a Samsung UE55M5512AKXXH HDTV. I previously had a Samsung UE47F6200 HDTV.
With the older TV, the sound was set to the optical audio output with PCM. The optical cable was then connected to a small digital-to-analog converter, which in turn was connected via standard RCA cable to the input of an analog receiver. On the imput side, in addition to live TV, I used an nVidia Shield connected to the TV viad HDMI dable. I did not have any problems with this setup.
Now, fast forward to a few weeks ago when I got the new TV. Old TV is removed. New TV is dropped in to the existing system. Everything else is exactly the same. nVidia Shield connected to TV via HDMI on the input side and optical audio output using PCM to the DAC, then analog audio from the DAC to the receiver.
Now, with this new TV installed, I'm experiencing audio dropouts, but only on content from the Shield - Netflix and Amazon streaming, local video files and even audio / music files. Live TV does not produce any dropouts, and so at first I could have something to do with the HDMI link between the Shield and the TV, maybe some HDCP handshake issue. But then I tried listening to the audio through the TV speakers, and there were no dropouts, even with input from the Shield.
And so now I'm wondering if there is some incompatibility between the TV and the DAC. But again, this all worked before - the nVidia Shield with optical audio to the DAC - with the old TV. And at the same time, the optical audio is OK with live TV. It's just with the Shield that I have this problem.
The only thing that has changed is the TV.
This does not make sense to me. Does anyone else have any ideas?
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My problem concerns audio dropouts when using my HDMI-connected nVidia Shield Android TV box (HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant). Through previous Google searches, it would seem I am not alone in trying to find a solutino for this kind of problem, especially with Samsung TVs. In my case, my new TV, a UE55M5512, replaced our previous TV, a UE46F6200. Everything else in the system is completely unchaged, including cables. These are both standard HDTVs, just different generation platforms. With the Shield connected to the older TV, there were no audio issues at all. The nVidia Shield is connected directly to the TV via a 2-meter, high-speed HDMI cable. Optical audio out from the TV goes to a plain vanilla Sony stereo (2.0 channel) receiver via an small DAC to convert the optical signal to analog, exactly as it did with the previous generation TV mentioned above. The primary issue concerns audio dropouts on any content sent from the Shield to the TV. Live TV -- digital cable that is connected via the Antenna input -- does not have any audio issues, which by logic tells me the problem lies on the input side of the equation. I have no other devices connected to the system and there are no video issues when using the Shield. I have tried everything to fix this, with no success. I swapped the cable, ensured HMDI input of the TV is set to PCM, tried other HDMI inputs including the ARC (#2) input and even upgraded the TV firmware yesterday to the apparently brand new 1210.8 version. I've also tried powering everything up sequentially (from an unplugged state) starting with the TV, then the Shield. (The audio issue seemed to get worse if I set the HDMI input to bitstream, but I can't say for sure. But I did notice this caused the Shield to recognize additional capabilities of the TV, such as Dolby, DTS and 5.1. Also, the Shield status is reporting the use of HDCP 1.4 at all times.) Nothing seems to make a difference. At the same time, the video signal is solid; no issues there. The dropouts seem to have a somewhat regular pattern, although not always. They often seem to occur at about 15-minute intervals in clusters of a few to many. Each dropout in a cluster typically lasts a second or less, with a few seconds in between, but can also be long longer in duration to the point where I pause the play and then start again, which restores the audio, however briefly. The dropout experience can sometimes be quite minimal, with perhaps only one or two episodes during a one-hour period (or even none), and at other times it can be much more intense in both frequency and duration. And they occur with streaming (Netflix, etc.), playing local video files (of all audio formats, including simple stereo) and local music files (mp3). Essentially anything that travels from the Shield to the TV via the HDMI cable. Also, the dropouts don't seem to be related to the specific location in the source content, as repeating play of a specific section of video, for example, does not result in the same audio behavior. These symptoms seem to fit the pattern others have categorized as HDCP sync issues. I have no way to tell. But wouldn't an HDCP problem also affect video? And the dropouts happen even with simple mp3 audio files. And to repeat, I experience no audio issues at all when playing live TV (cable, connected via the Antenna input), and the Shield device functioned flawlessly when connected the same way to the older TV using the same cable. I think that about covers it. I am open to any suggestions you may have, as this issue is quite annoying even in its mildest form. And as I mentioned earlier, my research suggests mine is not the only case, and many others have been suffereing with this problem for quite a while.
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