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Alarming news on optical audio from STB!

I have a Verizon stb QIP 7232-2, a Sony (Bravia) HDTV, a Sony BlueRay player, an AM/FM receiver, a CD player, and an AudioSource soundbar with inputs for oprical audio, mini-plug audio, and stereo audio. The configuration is as follows:

STB connected to HDTV via HDMI cable, BlueRay connected to TV via HDMI cable, BlueRay connected to AudioSource soundbar via optical audio cable (works well), STB connected to AudioSource soundbar via optical audio cable and NO sound is generated. 

After 3 days of searching online, forums, Verizon support, etc., I initiated a support chat with Verizon today. The exchange is below, but the astonishing part of it is that I was told that ALL VERIZON STBs are disabled and cannot be enabled! My question about why Verizon would choose to limit functionality and ultimately the user experience of excellent sound was never answered. Also, if all optical audio ports are disabled, why would Verizon hide this from users and actually tout the various connection options?  For what reason would I be told that this port cannot be enabled? My research reveals that COMCAST does not have this issue. Never mind that the manual touts the various connectivity options and displays wiring diagrams that include the Optical audio port.

Click to Reload Chat

Chat Subject:FiOS Television (Audio)

Your Question:I have searched Verizon, and the entire Internet!!! Most frustrating is the runaround I get on the Verizon website. I NEED A HUMAN! My optical audio from the STB QIP7232-2 to AudioSource S3D60 does not work. I tried alternate cables, STB, and connections. Also I can't get STB diagnostics to display.

A Verizon Service Representative will be with you shortly. Thank you.

Agent Satish has joined. (19:22:31)

Satish : Chat ID for this session is 02241227755. (19:22:31)

Satish(19:22:37): Thank you for contacting Verizon FIOS technical chat support. My name is Satish , we appreciate your patience in reaching us.

Satish(19:22:47): May I confirm your telephone number as ----------- . At the end of this chat session I will be sending you some basic troubleshooting steps for future reference to your e mail ID <<<>>>by which you can go ahead and troubleshoot minor telephone, video and internet issues yourself.

Carol(19:25:38): correct

Satish(19:25:54): Thank you.

Satish(19:25:59): For your account security and to assist you better, please confirm the below mentioned details 

1) Name on the account: 
2) Complete address: 
3) A good Callback number for future reference


Satish(19:30:01): Perfect! Thank you for providing the account information.

Satish(19:30:37): I understand that you are unable to connect the audio source S3D630. AM I correct?

Carol(19:31:22): I have the optical audio cable from stb to soundbar. No sound.

Satish(19:31:57): Let me try my best to help you get this fixed.

Satish(19:32:03): Just to let you know, in case the chat gets disconnected due to any issue at either end, please re-initiate the chat through the same channel or call our FIOS phone support at 800-837-4966, whichever is convenient to you.

Satish(19:32:39): I apologize as the port on the set top box would be disabled by default and our concerned team are working on this to add new feature to set top box. In the mean while the ports are disabled.

Carol(19:35:32): So i have spent the past several days for NOTHING? Could there not be some indication in ANY of the literature, manuals, or online troubleshooting that this port is disabled? Also, this kind of connection has been around for several years. The STB I have is just over a year old (since adding a second box in Dec 2010), and this issue has no resolution???

Satish(19:36:42): I apologize and let me go ahead and conference the chat with my supervisor.

Inviting John to conference (19:37:03)

Agent John has joined. (19:37:03)

Satish(19:37:03): Hello John.

John(19:37:08): Thank you for contacting Verizon FIOS Chat support Supervisor Queue. One moment while I go through the previous transcript.

Satish(19:37:34): customer says that he want to connect optical audio cable from stb to soundbar. please help

John(19:37:59): Okay, I will check with our customer. 

Please drop off the chat.

Satish(19:38:15): Thank you.

John(19:38:36): Hello Ms. Rogers.

Carol(19:38:45): hi

Satish has left the conversation. (19:38:45)

John(19:40:11): Ms. Rogers, may I know were you able to access the optical audio port earlier?

Carol(19:43:57): access? it's on the back of the STB and noted as a feature! I have not tried to use it prior to this week. I purchased the soundbar to enhance our TV/Blueray experience. I purchased an optical toslink cable (actually 3) and attempted to connect everything. THere is a light in the cable when connected to the stb, but no audio. The cable and the soundbar both work successfully with the blueray player AND an old Technics stereo am/fm receiver

Carol(19:44:40): and my iPod via a miniplug

John(19:45:11): Ideally the Optical toslink port is disabled for all the boxes.

Carol(19:45:23): why?

John(19:45:59): Ms. Rogers, only the coaxial, HDMI, Component and composite ports are enabled on the set top box.

Carol(19:46:12): again, why?

Carol(19:46:22): can it be enabled?

John(19:46:52): Unfortunately, we do not have the option to enable them.

Carol(19:47:18): and why wouldn't you tell your customers that this port is disabled BEFORE one purchases a home theater or soundbar.

Carol(19:47:46): that's crazy - you can't enable. AGAIN, WHY?

Carol(19:48:24): I understand from days of research that COMCAST does not have this problem.

Carol(19:48:35): Really - this is how you serve your customers?

John(19:49:11): Carol, we would have provided the answer for why it is disabled.

John(19:49:26): However, on the QI{ 7232 box we have the e Sata port only for outward option.

John(19:49:31): *QIP

Carol(19:49:56): what does that mean/

John(19:51:41): We can use the E-Sata drive with the 7232 box to save recordings.

Carol(19:52:34): i don't know what an e-sata drive is or how it conflicts with an optical output. That doesn't make sense to me.

John(19:53:29): Carol, I understand your concern.

Carol(19:53:42): Why would Verizon want to limit its customers' ability to enhance the user experience and benefit from technology?

John(19:53:47): However, we can only forward your concern to our higher level network team to work on the Optical port enable option.

Carol(19:55:49): I have been in customer service and I understand that "I understand your concern" is the polite way to say "I can't wait to rid myself of this whiny customer!" I also understand that none of this is your fault and you have no power to change it - so believe me, it's not you. YES PLEASE FORWARD MY CONCERNS TO SOMEONE WHO CAN ANSWER MY ENDLESS "WHY?"

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!
Master - Level 2

Ah,  NOT True.  I have optical running from my 7232 to my A/V Receiver.  I don't want to always botherr using the receiver and so have my HDMI connected directly to the TV.  Note you may have to play with the sound settings depending on what your soundbar supports.

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!

Revisiting an old thread.

I use the optical connection and most of the time it works.

My problem is that the center channel drops out on somne programs or commercials. I wnder if it is related.

Like, they say the optical port is not enabled which really means it is enabled but it doesn;t work right. So saying it is NOT enabled exuses them from fixing it.

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!
Master - Level 2

Many programs don't have a center channel.  They are stereo or even mono (but sent as stereo to each channel).  Signals sent via optical from the stb can be PCM or Dolby digital (2.0 to 5.1).  There are some settings on the STB to swich around how it is output including sending out as PCM if your audio device can't handle DD.  Optical can support DTS, but I don't think the STB's can do DTS, but perhaps I am wrong. 

Optical is enabled and despite what any tech may have said it is supported. 

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!
Enthusiast - Level 2

I just had FiOS installed in March and the STB's optical port is connected to my Onkyo receiver to deliver 5.1 surround sound to my JBL speakers.

I have not encountered any issues with sound.

My setup involved using optical ports of both QIP6216 and QIP7216 models.

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!

i moved my STB to a different room. In this room i have a soundbar and needed to use optical audio cable.

i can confirm there is no sound ..only video in this scenario. I have checked changing STB setting to stere and mono...neither worked.

The STB  is QIP7100 2. I googled about the issue and found this post. OP did your issue get resolved? If yes, how? thanks

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!
Master - Level 2

Does your soundbar support Dolby Digital or PCM.  You may have to change settings that are in the hidden menu if it doesn't support both.  Hidden menu, while on hit off, ok ok (suggest doing it at box)

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!

@tns wrote:

Does your soundbar support Dolby Digital or PCM.  You may have to change settings that are in the hidden menu if it doesn't support both.  Hidden menu, while on hit off, ok ok (suggest doing it at box)

I have a Vizio VSB210WS and below is whats mentioned in its manual

"When using the Optical Input on the HD Sound Bar System, be sure to set the source device

output mode to PCM"

"If an unsupported rate or sample depth is detected (via the Optical Input), the LED’s flash certain error codes

A = SPDIF compressed format detected."

-- I think the Error Code/LED A is flashing on soundbar.

"If Error A, SPDIF compressed format detected error occurs, configure the DVD player (or audio source

device) audio output format setting to PCM or PCM stream. Otherwise, use the Analog RCA inputs from

the audio source to the Sound Bar without configuration of the audio source device"

-- I think i have accessed the "Hidden Menu" and changed audio source to PCM but no luck (default setting is AUTO that should have worked too).

-- I will try again tonight (have tired couple of times already so dont have big hopes). Reading some other related online posts, it appears the TOSLINK port may indeed be disabled for some reason on FIOS STBs (??)

 -- I will post back if i have any further luck.

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!

So played with the STB hidden settings. Changed the Audio out to be PCM but no use. The diagnositics menu still shows SPDIF output as Dolby Digital.The SPDIF port is enabled fine per the diagnostics menu. It just looks like the optical will only output dolby (and the Vizio sound bar does not support dolby digital). I may just have to run the RCA red white audio cable here or buy a new audio system.

Re: Alarming news on optical audio from STB!

This is very typical when conversing with Verizon customer support