Using a Sonos Beam with an LG TV

The other week our LG webOS TV (only a few years old, model “50LB6500”) stopped playing Netflix titles in its app. The Netflix error just blamed the TV, and the TV had nothing change. Videos would load, start playing, and crash within a few seconds. Updating the app, the TV, and the network settings didn’t fix it. Finally, I tried resetting the TV to its initial settings, and after getting everything annoying setup again, it worked!

Except one new problem that didn’t exist before the reset: the Sonos Beam soundbar plugged into it via HDMI ARC no longer worked. Seriously? I tried resetting the Beam as well, switched out the HDMI cord, and toggled the TV’s sound output to and from ARC so many times. The TV saw the Beam as it would show “HDMI 1” every time I plugged it in (the ARC port), and the Sonos app could tell when I power cycled the TV. I couldn’t believe I traded one problem for another.

Feeling despair as all the hardware is perfectly fine and clearly software issues are at play, I started looking through every setting in the TV. Trust me, I do not want to generate yet more e-waste.

It turns out that the seemingly unrelated “SIMPLINK” setting (under the “General” settings submenu) was the culprit. It was off by default (maybe because I didn’t accept the “please let us spy on you” second set of terms and conditions from LG). Its description talks about linking the remote with SIMPLINK devices, which Sonos makes no reference to in its app or description of the Beam. But I turned it on, and wouldn’t you know it? It all started working again. My guess is that LG brands its “anything controlled over HDMI” features as SIMPLINK and so this setting includes HDMI ARC, but toggling ARC doesn’t automatically enable SIMPLINK.