Russ' Do It Yourself Home Workshop

Finding Fixes to Just About Anything and Everything

No HDMI Sound from WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player on LG 42PC3-DV

Posted by Russell Wright on July 31, 2010

2010-12-09 Update

I have been watching the development of the firmware for this device since I first purchased it and it appears WD have acknowledged problems with the HDMI sound and fixed them, so…

I have re-procured the WD TV Live Plus from Best Buy (now it’s on sale and $20 cheaper) and have hooked it up exactly as before.  So far, it looks like it’s working!  I’ll post more in the near future.

Didn’t know the near future would come so quickly…I’ve had it on for an hour and the power supply seems to have quit.  Measured the output voltage…zero!  Time for a swap.

2010-12-11 Update

Swapped out the power supply only at Best Buy.  Started watching our first Netflix HD movie last night, but couldn’t stay awake.  However, what I did see looked great and no sound problems at all!

There have been several updates and additions since I first reviewed this device.  A lot has been added.  First glance shows that support for Blockbuster and Deezer are part of the package.  Since I’m using Netflix at the moment, I probably won’t take the time to set up a Blockbuster account, unless somebody can give me a good reason.

My use is planned to be pretty specific, mainly for watching movies from my hard drive and Netflix and perusing You Tube and Facebook.  We’ll see if what else piques my interest.

Original Post


Here’s my review of the WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player…or at least my experience!

So here’s my situation.  I procured one of these little gems (firmware version 1.03.29_B) on the advice of a friend who was very impressed by it and uses it all the time.  “Sure, why not,” I thought.  I already have Verizon FIOS digital cable with HD DVRs, over-the-air HD, and a Windows HTPC.  Oh, and a Slingbox and a Hava…almost forgot.  Why not add a WD TV Live Plus to the mix?

This is really a cool, little device…and I do mean little.  You can see from my first picture that it is swamped by the cables and power supply.  If you fail to stick the little rubber feet on it (they come on a small adhesive-backed sheet) then the cables will push the lightweight (303 grams or about 2.2 ounces) unit around.  There are rubber feet for the bottom, as shown, and the side, if you want to stand it on it’s end.

When I installed the tile and my homemade mantel around the fireplace in our bedroom, I planned for some type of electronics to sit on the mantel by installing some power, ethernet cable and a 4-banger keystone jack wall plate.

If you follow the HDMI cable from the back of the WD device, you’ll see it plugs into the HDMI keystone jack.  On the other side (in the wall) is another HDMI cable that plugs into the back side of the keystone jack and runs up the wall to another keystone jack located behind the LG plasma TV.  So basically, there are three HDMI cables between the unit and the TV.

SDC14046

Behind the TV is another quad keystone jack and power.  This 4-banger has the HDMI connector from below, an ethernet cable (just in case I need it for something) and two RG-6 coax outlets.  One of the RG-6 outlets is fed from a standard over-the-air TV antenna and the other is fed from my RF modulators that modulate the outputs of my two DVRs into a single feed that is fed to TVs all over the house, including this one.  These feeds are not HD, but they allow us to watch the same TV program simultaneously in any room in the house.  It’s great for when you are working, cleaning or whatever and you want to have “background TV” as we call it.  You know, one of those Julia Roberts movies you’ve seen a million times…

SDC14047

You can see from my setup that I don’t want anything too large on the mantel in the bedroom. 

SDC14050

Well anyway, back the real reason for this post. 

When I finally got around to setting this up, I found that it was really easy and intuitive.  In fact, I didn’t start reading any directions until I found that I didn’t have any audio over my HDMI connection.  I found the setting under the Audio/Video setup where you specify digital audio.  This is what you need to do if you are using TOSLINK or HDMI, since both of these are digital audio.

I started watching a Netflix video…no sound.  I switched over to audio on Pandora…no sound.  I browsed over to MediaFly and, all of a sudden, the audio started working.  I watched for a few minutes and then went to bed.

Now it’s tomorrow and I’m checking it out again.  No sound.  Time for some troubleshooting.  I’m going to start by using one HDMI cable between the TV and the WD box and see how that goes.

I plugged a six foot HDMI cable in the back of the unit and directly into the TV…same issue…no sound.  Picture is great, just like before.

Might have a bad WD TV Live Plus…

I returned the unit and got a new one.  No sound.  I switched the audio modes, same result.  Turned TV on and off, changed TV inputs…still nothing.  Browsed over to MediaFly, didn’t get any sound…then all of a sudden, I have sound!  Just like last night.  Now I’m watching and listening to cabernet wine reviews.  How long will this last?

Well, I found out.  While it was operating correctly with sound, I unplugged/plugged the HDMI cable and it continued to work.  I changed inputs on the TV and turned the TV off and on and it continued to work.  I switched between media on the WD and it continued to work.  My last test was to turn off the WD TV Live player and turn it back on.  It was at this point that the audio went away again.  So, I’ve had two players that do the exact same thing.  This suggests to me that there is a firmware issue.  I wish I could get hold of the new firmware that is in beta and test it out. 

2010-08-05 Update

I entered a question on WD’s web site.  The text follows.

I am on my second WD TV Live Plus player. I returned the first one. I can sometimes get sound when using HDMI. The audio is set to digital. When switching around, the sound suddenly starts working. You can read all my troubleshooting on my blog: https://idoneitmyself.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/no-hdmi-sound-from-wd-tv-live-plus-hd-media-player-on-lg-42pc3-dv/

The first response (extra stuff removed):

Dear ….,
Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support. My name is Jose N..
Have you verified that HDMI is the output selected if you can get the unit to work using the analog cables? See page 41 of the user manual below.
http://www.wdc.com/en/library/um/4779-705014.pdf
How long is the HDMI cable that you use and does it make a solid physical connection to your WDTV? Does the cable work on any other devices such as a DVD player? Does the WDTV work through HDMI on any other TV or receiver than the one you tried?
I hope that we have met your expectations today and that you are satisfied with our service. If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.
Sincerely,
Jose N.
Western Digital Service and Support

So my first thought is they really didn’t read my question because the HDMI is working…it’s just that the audio is not consistently working.

My response:

The HDMI cable is 6 ft long. I have several HDMI cables that I’ve tried. Like I said in my original problem statement, once the sound works, it continues to work unless I turn the device off.

 
So, is this a verified HDMI cable problem? Is the HDMI cable responsible for sound that is sometimes there and sometimes not? My electrical engineering background makes me believe it is a faulty design on an HDMI transmitter chip.

If there is a "special" HDMI cable that is required for this device then WD should provide it in the box. It is unreasonable to believe that I should go around shopping for a special HDMI cable, when the cables I have work on all my other equipment. Heck, I have a 25 foot cable running from my Verizon FIOS DVR and it works perfectly fine.

Here’s what I need to know:
1. Is my sound problem a verified problem that is caused by an HDMI cable?
2. What are the measurable specifications of an HDMI cable that works with the device?
3. Should I return the unit again and try another one in six months after the bugs are worked out?

 

25 Responses to “No HDMI Sound from WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player on LG 42PC3-DV”

  1. Bill Nlelson said

    Hey Russell, I have been looking for somthing like this as well. I want to play videos on my computer but also want to be able to play various sites across the web (e.g. http://www.asian-horror-movies.com/indexm.html). I looked at the formats supported and it looks like it will play videos I already have but it is not clear about searching the web and play those. Any ideas or do I just need a PC to do that? Thanks!

    • Russell Wright said

      From what I can tell you need to download to a drive/USB/memory and play from there. It doesn’t have a “browser” interface, but it does hook up to YouTube, MediaFly, Netflix, Flickr, etc. which makes it real easy for the novice. You can connect to any computer in your house by network sharing. If you install the WD app on your computer, it becomes smarter about finding media on your PC(s). I’m still learning, so if anyone has anything to add, please do so.

  2. Kelvington said

    I just got one of these, and have the exact same problem. But I’ve NEVER gotten sound out of the HDMI port. I have a short 1m Monster cable. And few others that I tried. Still no sound at all. Will call tech support tomorrow, but if you come up a real solution I hope to see it here!

    Thanks!

  3. Kelvington said

    Wow, it’s interesting this morning I got up and turned on my unit, and like MAGIC the HDMI cable is now passing audio. WTF??? It even passes audio through my splitter. Don’t ask me how it fixed itself, but somehow it did. I would bet it took some kind of firmware update overnight, but it’s working 100%.

  4. Tyler said

    Hi Russell,

    I just purchased a WD TV Live Plus today and when I got it hooked up at home using the HDMI connection I had the same problem you mention above. After futzing around with different files and options I eventually found the same results you did; no sound when the unit is first turned on, sound after switching screens or files for a while. What I’ve found so far is that I can unsuccessfully play the same MP4/h.264 file dozens of time in a row, each time restarting it after a few seconds of playback. However, if I start with an AVI Divx 6.0 file the WD TV will play audio every time on the first try and then audio is restored until powered off again. Thought this was interesting and wondered if yours behaved the same way.

    -Tyler

  5. majik said

    I’m having the same problem, but my tv can use 1.3 because that is how the ps3 is hooked up and it works fine. so it has to do with the WDTV, but how to fix it?

    none of the suggestions work for me, I get no sound… tried changed files, switching back and forth digital/stereo – nothing works. frustrating.

    • Russell Wright said

      I finally took mine back. I may try again later, but I’ll wait until they decide they have a problem they need to fix.

  6. Leah said

    I just got one of these as well. I also have the predecessor (WD HDTV Live), and wanted to upgrade with the support for Netflix and a slightly better UI.

    I have the HDMI audio problem as well, but this problem did not exist on the previous model, so they must have change something on this “Plus” model. I was able to resolve the audio problem using Russell’s MediaFly “workaround” (thanks!)

    This bug is definitely bothersome, I find it hard they won’t fix this in an upcoming firmware update, unless of course the problem is a hardware issue. Regardless, this little box does so much for $120 that I think I will have to put up with the HDMI audio bug nuisance. I just signed up for the $8.99 Netflix package and it’s awesome.

    I plan on doing some more research; if I discover a better solution I’ll certainly post it here.

  7. stephen said

    Thank goodness I’m not alone!!!!!!!!

    This wretched box sometimes plays audio sometimes doesn’t, even for the same video file. No matter if I try mp3s or videos, when there’s no sound there’s no sound.
    I spent WEEKS with WD tech support (early in the year) and finally demanded a new box – exact same problem.
    Tried different, known to be working, HDMI cables, no luck.
    Have a Sony Bravia Full HD LCD TV.
    Firmware is 1.02.21. No new updates available.
    Tried various combinations of set on and off, TV on and off, receiver on and off – no change when its not playing audio.

    Does the WD HDMI cable work without fault?
    I may try component output.

    Stephen

    • Russell Wright said

      Stephen–

      I was considering using the other (analog) audio outputs, but I decided I didn’t want to have a bunch of other cables running up the wall. I really believe they need to fix this problem. Us hardware guys used to always joke that we’d let the software guys fix in the firmware! Maybe WD will be able to do that.

  8. Plasma TVs still have much better contrast ratio compared to even the best LCD television :

  9. i think that plasma tvs are more expensive than LCD tvs and they are a bit heavier too **~

  10. I’ve been having similar problems myself.
    I managed to fix it by playing around with the settings under audio / video.
    There is an option for audio with three setting, stereo, digital something and digital something with HDMI.
    I changed it to stereo and form then I can hear everything on my TV🙂

    • Russell Wright said

      I’m about to go and “re-buy” this device. It looks like they’ve updated the firmware and perhaps have fixed many of the HDMI issues.

  11. Glen said

    I was wondering anyone know the length of HDMI cable this device can use. I have a 10 foot works fine. I tried a 15 foot stopped working. I thought it was the cable but I connected the cable to my computer and monitor(Using HDMI) and works fine???

    Stumped??

    • Russell Wright said

      Glen, I haven’t tried different lengths. I am currently using 3 cables that are interconnected. TV –> Wall Plate (behind TV) –> Wall Plate (mantel height) –> WD device. Probably about 8-10 feet total.

  12. Crocodile said

    I have the HDMI cable AND the component cables hooked up. I can get audio and video with the component cables, but NO SOUND WITH THE HDMI CABLE. Two calls to tech service got me nothing. The guy said my cable was defective, but it works on everything else. I’ll keep messing around, but why does this seem to be such a common problem with seemingly no WD interest in fixing it?

    • Russell Wright said

      My sound issues went away with the latest version of the firmware. But you’ve probably already have the latest FW version, right?

  13. Crocodile said

    Dear Russell, Thank you for asking me about the firmware. I updated it and now it works well. Why didn’t the noob at WD ask me about it?

    I SO appreciate your taking the time to address this.

  14. Stephen said

    Don’t get too excited about the new firmware! Mine still loses audio, inexplicably, from time to time despite firmware upgrades. I think its less frequent than before but this problem remains unsolved.

    • Russell Wright said

      Wow. I hope that doesn’t plague me again. I haven’t seen the problem resurface, but I don’t use the box too often. Thanks for the heads-up!

  15. Steve said

    I’m having the same problem with no audio running from the WDTVL+ to an Onkyo 606 Receiver, then to a Epson 8350 projector. The projector gets video with no issue, but the WDTVL+ doesn’t provide the audio via HDMI. I also have the previous generation WDTVLive, but it has no issues on the audio.

    Tonight I tried something kind of random– I pulled the HDMI cable from the Onkyo, and plugged it into my HP brand PC monitor with HDMI in. It worked FINE with the monitor!!!!! Left it running, pulled the cable from the monitor, back to the Onkyo, and BOOM, audio was on the Onkyo now! Sounds to me like the WDTVL+ is unnecessarily waiting on a flag of some sort from some devices before it handshakes on the audio. I’ll keep playing, but it appears there’s a way around it on the WDTV side. All other devices work JUST FINE with the Onkyo, from Philips DVD players to Laptops– even the WDTVLive non plus model!

    • Steve said

      Playing a little further, appears a quick setting change made the difference. On the Onkyo, changing the AUDIO TV OUT setting to OFF, gave me sound on the WDTVL+! Woo hoo! Hope this helps someone else out there.🙂

  16. Jonathan Dunn said

    Same thing here, i just changed AUDIO -> TV OUT to OFF on my Sony STR820 receiver, and the sound work fine from HDMI and WDTV Live set to 12 bit Deep color mode ! Yeah !

    Thanks a lot Steve🙂

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