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.
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
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.