Fix no audio through HDMI when connected to TV in elementary OS

When a TV is connected to computer running elementary OS/Ubuntu/Linux Mint through HDMI cable, it is observed that audio will not pass through the HDMI. Eventually, the audio keeps playing in the computer’s speakers. Video will still work good in the extended monitor or the TV, but no audio in it, which implies you can’t enjoy the digital 5.1 surround sound on your home theater. This problem is seen in elementary OS, Ubuntu, Linux Mint and other Debian based Linux distributions. Fortunately, the fix is simple and there is no need to install additional drivers or make huge changes to configuration.

No HDMI Audio
No HDMI Audio

IMPORTANT: Before proceeding make sure that you have connected the computer to the TV or the additional monitor through HDMI cable. You should be seeing the desktop background on your TV. So let’s check if by chance your computer identifies the HDMI audio. This fix is tested to be working on elementary OS, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint.

STEP 1: Check if HDMI audio is recognized

Keeping the HDMI connected to TV, click on the ‘Speaker’ icon on the elementary OS taskbar and click ‘Sound Settings’. Click on the ‘Output’ tab. If you see HDMI audio there, select it and in such case you should see ‘Digital Surround 5.1 (HDMI) Output’ profile at the bottom of same dialog box. This is not typically seen in most of computers and hence need for this article. If you are successful, you are the luckiest and thanks for being here!

STEP 2: Fix audio permissions issue to pass HDMI audio from your PC

Launch ‘Terminal’ and type the following command. Make sure to replace “YOURUSERNAME” With your user name.

sudo adduser $YOURUSERNAME audio

Fix No audio through HDMI
Fix No audio through HDMI

It will say that the audio group already exists. But, the trick is the permissions is now freshly added with the HDMI audio profile.

Close all applications and now restart the computer.

After restart is completed, connect HDMI cable to TV, click on speaker again and go to ‘Sound Settings’.  You should be seeing the ‘HDMI/DisplayPort 2 – Built-in Audio’ or something similar in the ‘Choose  a device for sound output’ section. If your computer or laptop has Surround sound decoder, you should additionally see ‘Digital Surround 5.1 (HDMI) Output’ in the profile section. You can click on ‘Test Speakers’ and check for surround surround through speakers across all channels.

HDMI audio Output
HDMI audio Output

Surround Sound
Surround Sound

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of FOSSLinux.com. I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. Hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more, and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!

16 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Kiran,
    If you could resolve the problem of sound for Remix OS through HDMI – it would be fantastic.
    Also, do you know of any Linux Distro that will work like Android? Some distro that could be used with remote control – for TV…
    Cheers!
    Neb

    • Hi Neb,
      I didn’t get chance to look at Remix OS. I did hear about it and hope to try it out soon.
      Regarding the Linux Distro with Android Apps support, I think there are few popular ones out there. “Shashlik” is a good Android emulator, and it’s free too. ‘Anbox’ is another one which is still in very early phase of development, but looks promising due to their non-emulator approach. I’m not sure what you meant by ..for TV, but did you try Kodi media player? It is one of the best media players out there that is highly optimized for home entertainment. Running Kodi on a ARM board like Rasberry Pi with IR remote capability is a powerful media player for your TV/Home Theatre.

    • Hi Bob! Did you follow the instructions exactly? I did not do it the first time! After “sudo adduser $ YOURUSERNAME audio”, the computer must be restarted with the HDMI cable disconnected! After restart is completed, connect HDMI cable.

      • Tried this, but the display refused to recognize the signal. Or the computer didn’t use the display port. In any case, I had to reboot again with everything connected to get the display to work again.

  2. I’ve tried everything but attempting to load new drivers. Sound shows my Radeon HD as an HDMI entry in sound, but nothing I do will actually use it. Sound test: fails. All the tricks listed here: fails. Tricks from other sites: failed.

    Please, any help would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Did not work on Juno. Added my user to the audio group and restarted but still nothing. I’m using the Asus MX239H monitor. It has B&O seaker. So sad this is a bummer. Going back to Ubuntu 18.04…

  4. The fix above did not work. I’ve added my use to the audio group but still no sound.

    I tried another workaround by installing PulseAudio. I then select/change the output device to Digital Stereo (HDMI 2). I’m using Asus MX239H monitor btw. It has B&O speaker now everything is working fine but still a bummer that Elememtary Juno didn’t support this out of the box without tweaks…

  5. This did work for me to play sound through the hdmi, but then going back to internal speakers did not work when I disconnected it! Now I am without sound from any mint programs. (FWIW, I still do get the “dos level” sounds when I increase of decrease volume with Fn and the up/down arrow keys.) I went back in to the Sound control and clicked on the “Speaker Built-In Audo” choice, but when I Test the sound there, I get nothing.
    Any more ideas?

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