Amazon Prime Video – Dolby Digital gone!?

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We are using the Amazon Prime Video application on an Android TV device (Nvidia Shield TV 2019, to be exact). The device is attached via HDMI to an HDMI audio splitter and from there to a Yamaha 5.1 amplifier via fiber SPDIF (why I had to do it this way is a story on its own). This gives us Dolby Digital AC3 5.1 surround sound – usually. This works well with Netflix, VLC etc. and it used to work with Amazon Prime too.

But since some update of the Prime Video app this stopped working and sound is reduced to PCM stereo output, which is of course a major setback. After checking the rest of our equipment I was pretty sure that this was a feature introduced by some update of the Prime Video app for Android TV.

To put this theory to a test I deinstalled the version that we got from Google’s Playt Store, downloaded different older versions of the app from different internet sources and tried (why Google Play Store does not let one to choose older versions and downgrade is beyond me). The version currently on Google Play Store is

Prime Video V 5.2.41-googleplay-armv7a

First I tried 5.2.38 but this behaved exactly the same, no digital 5.1 sound. Going back to 5.2.13 finally solved the problem!

So pretty definitely Amazon broke something in the Prime Video app for Android TV since some version later than 5.2.13. Pretty disappointing.

Even more disappointing is Amazon’s customer support. I tried for almost 1/2h to find any email address to let them know about this problem. No chance. This is pretty frustrating. I do not want to subscribe to “some forum”, I want a tech support email. So instead of letting Amazon know directly, I do this blog post.