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This is similar to this unanswered question and to this question, but it uses different hardware and can't be solved in the same way as that 2nd question is solved. The bottom line is that I get sound from my Apple TV, from the BD player, but not from the Apple TV. I'm using a MacMini 7,1

Here's a diagram of my layout:

Full AV Layout

I have three video and sound devices (Apple TV, Mac Mini, and a BD player). Each has an HDMI cable running from the device to the Metra HDMI switcher. The Metra switcher also extracts the audio, which goes through a TOSLink digital audio cable to a Sonos Playbar, which is part of a home theater sound system (including a woofer and two rear speakers). The video from the Metra switcher goes through an HDMI cable to the Sony video projector.

It's worth noting that I had a similar problem with the BD Player. At first I had a Sony BD player, but it would not send sound to the Sony projector. It took me a while, including over an hour on the phone with the sales guy at Crutchfield to figure out that the Sony BD player and the Sony projector were talking to each other and, basically, the projector was saying, "I don't have speakers." The Sony BD player got that and decided, since the projector did not handle sound, it would not send audio over the HDMI output to the projector. We solved that problem by swapping out the Sony BD player for a Panasonic and it works fine.

The problem with the Mac Mini is that it is not sending sound out through the HDMI cable. When I go to the Sound preferences, there is no HDMI device I can pick for output. (I suspect this is because it recognizes the Sony projector and knows it doesn't have sound.) I've tried using Airplay to send sound to the Sonos system that way. It worked once, but with sound lagging behind video 2-3 seconds. Next time I tried working on it, I could not get Airplay to send audio to Sonos at all.

One problem is that the only sound input the Playbar has is the TOSLink jack, so I can't pull sound from the headphone/audio jack on the Mac and get that into the switcher or Playbar without converting the sound to HDMI or to digital - and then I'd need some other switcher.

I did try using Airplay to use the MacMini through the Apple TV. It could have been my imagination, but I was pretty sure there was a bit of an audio lag that way, as well. Just barely noticeable. (And if I do this, how will that work when playing games? Won't there be lag with screen updates? And if I do that, is there a way to start the screen sharing with the Apple TV instead of going to the Mac just to start screen sharing, then go to the Apple TV?)

I'm wondering if there's a way to override and tell sound, "Just send through the HDMI output." All I see as possible outputs on the Mac sound preferences is the built in speakers and a list of Sonos speakers. (And, again, that was either not working or had a 2-3 second lag for sound.) Or maybe there's a way to create a fake HDMI audio device to just make the Mac send audio out through the HDMI cable?

The bottom line is I want audio and video synced and and playing through the Sony projector and Sonos sound system.

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    Yeah, if it's a 7,1 that should all work. I know you said Sound Preferences shows nothing, but perchance does Audio MIDI Setup show anything? It seems unlikely but possible. – JMY1000 Jan 15 at 19:27
  • @JMY1000: When I search for "MIDI" in the Control Panel, it shows it is under Audio Input. I go there and there are no input devices at all. – Tango Jan 16 at 3:32
  • Audio MIDI Setup is a different application, it's not in System Preferences. Can you try checking there? – JMY1000 Jan 16 at 21:35
  • Okay, found it and opened it up. Just internal speakers. – Tango Jan 17 at 3:55
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    @JMY1000: I called Metra, the makers of the HDMI switch and they were quite helpful. They have a $180 device I thought might work. They said it wouldn't and recommended a $25 item from Amazon that should do what I need. If that works, I'll post it as an answer. – Tango Jan 17 at 7:41
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I talked with the company that sold me most of my system (but not the Mac - just everything else) and we couldn't find a solution. I called Metra, the people who make the HDMI switch and one of them suggested something I could get from Amazon. It cost me $22.49 and fixed it.

I don't want to advocate for a particular brand, but what I found seems to not have a clear name yet. Some are listed as HDMI feeders (the one I got that works is listed as an "HDMI feeader" [sic], which makes it easy to find. Some are called HDMI EDID Emulators. If you want to see examples, search for HDMI EDID changer (or emulator or anything close to that).

This is a small device that runs off the power from the HDMI cable. Mine has a small post sticking out that looks like the post on a typical potentiometer. There are 16 different positions and a chart on the back. I picked "4k 5.1CH." (The Sony projector is 4K, so the only thing that changed was the audio - which is, as I indicated, non-existent on the Sony projector.)

When I put the feeder in, between the Mac and the Metra HDMI switcher, the screen went blank for about 10-20 seconds, then the Mac display came back up. Same when I changed the box to the setting I wanted. It went blank for about 10 seconds, then the display returned.

I had a video playing on the Mac. After the display came back on, with 2-3 seconds, the sound changed from being played on the Mac speakers to coming from my Sonos system. (It may have changed with the display - I can't remember.)

So it's working okay. The solution was the HDMI EDID emulator that edits the EDID from the projector to add the audio specs to it.

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+100

I'm wondering if there's a way to override and tell sound, "Just send through the HDMI output."

No. You can’t do this because this is not the way it works. You’re treating this as if it were an analog audio signal that you’re just going put on the wire and it’s just going to be there.

HDMI is a digital signal which encapsulates both audio (compressed and uncompressed) as well as a video signal. Basically, the audio has to be encoded and decoded and to do so, it requires two way communication between the source (Mac mini) and the end device. Since your Metra ethereal device doesn’t have this capability, your Mac doesn’t "see" it as an audio device which means no audio signal will be sent. In other words, there's nothing telling your Mac "hey, I'm an audio device."

HDMI Pin Outs

Notice that there are no audio pins; there's basically, data, grounding, clock sync, the Consumer Electronics Control (CEC), shielding and some +5V power. If you wanted to extract audio, you'd have to pull it out of the data being sent.

You need an HDMI endpoint device

To be clear, the issue is your Metra device. It’s not your projector or your Sonus. The Metra must present itself as an audio device (or at least properly pass the HDMI signal through to another HDMI device). We know it to be a problem because you experienced the same issue with the Sony BD player...

It's worth noting that I had a similar problem with the [Sony] BD Player.

To solve this, you will most likely need a proper HDMI Audio extractor that will not only provide switching capabilities, but will appear as a bona fide audio device to the Mac and/or pass the proper EDID data through to the Mac.

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  • Is this part of, or related to, ARC? – Tango Jan 15 at 22:34
  • No. I’m referring to HDMI audio only – Allan Jan 15 at 23:36
  • So HDMI audio is part of the data, and not something sent on different wires within the connection? – Tango Jan 16 at 3:34
  • See my edited answer with respect to the last question. – Allan Jan 18 at 18:39
  • Wow - really good information with this. Did you see the answer I added that fixed it? (If I had not solved it, I'd clearly be selecting your answer, since it provides some solid and useful information.) I'll see if I can add a bounty or something I can award you for this answer. – Tango Jan 20 at 7:19

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