How to Play Roku Video Through Your Home Surround Sound System

Connecting your Roku device to a surround sound system can provide an immersive audio experience when streaming movies, TV shows, and music. While Roku devices don’t natively support advanced surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, they can pass through multi-channel audio like 5.1 surround sound from compatible content.

Roku Audio Support

Most Roku streaming players and Roku TVs can output stereo, 5.1, and 7.1 surround sound. High-end Roku models like the Ultra and Streambar Pro also support pass-through of advanced surround sound formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

To leverage surround sound capabilities, your Roku device must be connected properly to an audio system that can decode and play surround sound, like:

  • AV receiver (AVR) – An AV receiver is the heart of a home theater surround sound system. It provides multiple HDMI inputs to connect source devices like a Roku, decodes surround sound signals, and sends the audio out to a set of speakers.
  • Soundbar – A soundbar is a slim speaker unit designed to simulate surround sound from a single device. Roku makes soundbars like the Streambar Pro which include Dolby Atmos decoding.
  • Roku speakers – Roku makes wireless speakers and soundbars designed to pair with Roku TVs for an easy surround sound setup without cables.

Connecting Roku to an AV Receiver

To enable your Roku to send surround sound to an AV receiver, connect it using an HDMI cable:

Step 1: Connect Roku to AV Receiver

Plug your Roku player or stick into an open HDMI input on your AV receiver using a high-speed HDMI cable. This allows the Roku to send audio directly to the AVR.

Step 2: Connect AV Receiver to TV

Use another HDMI cable to connect your AV receiver’s HDMI output to an HDMI input on your TV. This passes video from the Roku through to your TV display while audio decoding is handled by the AVR.

Step 3: Configure Audio Settings

On your Roku device, go to Settings > Audio and set options like Audio mode to “Surround sound” and Volume mode to “AVR mode” to optimize settings for home theater audio.

Connecting Roku to a Soundbar

You can also connect a Roku device directly to a soundbar system using HDMI:

Step 1: Connect Roku to Soundbar

Plug your Roku player or stick into an open HDMI input on your soundbar using an HDMI cable. This allows the Roku to send audio directly to the soundbar.

Step 2: Connect Soundbar to TV

Connect the HDMI ARC or output on your soundbar to the ARC input on your TV using another HDMI cable. This passes video onward to the TV while the soundbar handles audio.

Step 3: Configure Audio Settings

Go to the audio settings on your Roku and choose options like “Surround sound” for Audio mode and “Soundbar mode” for Volume mode.

Connecting Roku Speakers

Roku makes wireless speakers and soundbars designed to pair with Roku players and Roku TV models for an easy multi-room audio setup:

Step 1: Pair Speakers

Follow the instructions to pair each Roku wireless speaker or soundbar to your Roku streaming device or Roku TV via Wi-Fi.

Step 2: Place Speakers

Position paired Roku speakers around your room for a surround sound experience. For example, place them behind your couch pointed inwards.

Step 3: Adjust Audio Settings

In the Roku audio settings, ensure Audio mode is set to “Surround sound” to enable multi-channel audio from your paired speakers.

Getting Surround Sound from Roku Apps

Once your Roku player, stick, or TV is connected to an AV receiver, soundbar, or speakers via HDMI, you can stream surround sound audio from channels like:

  • Netflix – Select titles on Netflix stream in 5.1 surround sound or Dolby Atmos immersive audio.
  • Disney+ – Many movies on Disney+ are presented in 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound.
  • HBO Max – Enjoy shows and movies in 5.1 surround sound with compatible titles.
  • Plex – Plex can decode DTS, Dolby Digital, and other surround sound from your personal media files.
  • Vudu – Rent or purchase surround-sound movies from Vudu in up to Dolby Atmos format.

So by properly connecting your Roku and configuring audio settings, you can enjoy an immersive surround sound experience from both streaming and local content.

Troubleshooting Surround Sound Issues

If you connect your Roku to an AVR or soundbar but aren’t hearing surround sound, try these tips:

  • Ensure Audio mode is set to “Surround sound” under Roku audio settings
  • Check levels, mute, and input selection on your AVR or soundbar
  • Try different surround sound modes like Movie or Music mode on the AVR
  • For Roku speakers, re-pair them or move them closer to the Roku
  • Connect Roku directly to the AVR, not through the TV
  • Use high-speed HDMI cables between all devices

With the right connections and settings, your Roku can become the heart of an incredible surround sound home theater. By pairing it with an AV receiver, soundbar, or dedicated speakers, you can enjoy immersive audio for movies, music, and more.