One of the most requested YouTube TV features (without taking into account the availability of programs on the streaming service) are finally making their way to many devices this week: support for 5.1 surround sound.
Google has been waiting for quite some time to bring 5.1 audio to YouTube TV users, but the good news is that the feature is coming to some Android TV, Google TV, and Roku devices. According to Google, the only requirement for 5.1 surround sound to work flawlessly is that the YouTube TV app installed on your device must be running Cobalt version 20 or higher.
To check the Cobalt version for your TV, you need to open the YouTube TV app with your streaming device, go to your profile picture / Info / App version. There should be a version number in parentheses after “Cobalt,” which should tell you if your TV is compatible with 5.1 audio.
Samsung, LG and Vizio TVs with Cobalt 20 or higher will certainly support 5.1 surround sound. The same goes for traditional Chromecasts or other Android TV, Google TV and Roku devices running Cobalt 20 or higher (yes, that includes NVIDIA SHIELD TV).
Keep in mind that not all YouTube TV shows support 5.1 surround sound, but as long as your device meets the requirements, you should automatically get 5.1 audio when it’s available for the show you’re watching.
If you’re watching a program that you’re sure should support 5.1 surround sound, but you don’t get it, there is a way to check if the program carries surround sound. To do that, you need to open the YouTube TV app on your device and play the video, go to the player controls and select More. Then choose the bug icon to make “Stats for nerds” appear at the top of the video while the video is playing.
If the program really supports 5.1 surround audio, AC-3/EAC-3 should be listed in the Codecs section. Otherwise, it means that the program does not support the new features.
In related news, Google confirmed It’s working with partners to bring 5.1 audio to Apple TV, Fire TV, and game consoles as well, so expect this feature to expand to other devices sooner rather than later.