We reported a year ago that YouTube TV was adding several features and options to its service, including 4K UHD resolution and 5.1 channel audio when available. However, as it turned out, there was a catch with regards to accessing 5.1 channel surround sound. 

The catch was that you had to have a compatible Samsung, LG, or Vizio TV running the correct YouTube TV app version (Cobalt 20 or higher), as well as a compatible audio system.

However, after a year YouTube issued a new announcement on June 7th, 2022 via Twitter, that 5.1 channel audio is now available for Google TV, Android TV, and Roku devices when available.  

Unfortunately, it looks like Fire TV, Apple TV, PlayStation, and Xbox users will have to wait a little longer for 5.1 audio – hopefully, not for another year!

To see if you are running Colbat 20 or higher on your device:

  1. Open the YouTube TV app with your login info.
  1. Go to your profile photo > About > App Version.
  1. Check the version number after “Cobalt.”

According to YouTube TV Support, if your device(s) meet the requirements to access and play 5.1 channel surround sound, it should come on automatically, provided the program or movie is being provided in 5.1 by the content source.

Stats for Nerds

If you aren’t sure if the 5.1 audio automatic detection and launch is working, you can check the YouTube TV Stats for Nerds feature:

  1. Open the YouTube TV app on your TV, and play a video.
  2. Go to > Player Controls > More > Select Bug Icon.
  3. Stats for Nerds will be displayed on top of the video. 

If 5.1 is available for the program or movie you’re watching, you’ll see AC-3/EAC-3 (the generic terms Dolby Digital/Dolby Digital Plus) listed in the Codecs section.

Other things you can check with Stats For Nerds include:

  • Video ID/sCPN: This is the video’s ID in YouTube’s database. The code for your specific content playback is also provided.
  • Viewport/Frames: The native resolution of your playback device (not the resolution of the streaming video). The current frame status is also displayed.
  • Current/Optimal Res: The current resolution of the video being viewed (may be different than the original stated resolution of the video).
  • Volume/Normalized: The volume of the video you’re watching and how much the audio is “normalized” (compressed so that the difference between loud and soft portions is evened out). 
  • Codecs: What video and audio compression codecs are being used with the content you are watching.
  • Color: The color range of the movie or show you are watching. 
  • Connection Speed: Your device’s network connection.
  • Network Activity: The data transmission from YouTube’s servers to your device. 
  • Buffer Health: How much time YouTube is able to buffer to avoid playback freezes and dropouts.


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