First, I want to begin with the fact that I am not only a founder, I adore Stadia in general. I also have been singing its praises to anyone who will listen (and many who will not) since November.
I have also been a gamer for many years. Between my friends and me we have owned almost systems in existence.
I have had a disturbing realization about the future of Stadia. If they do not start to fix a few things quickly, they will go the way of Atari and Sega. This is abhorrent because I can still play my Atari 2600 games. Yet, with Stadia, when they fold, I will loose the games I have purchased forever.
The reason? They do not support some basic promised features (that I have on my PS3). My biggest gripe is with Dolby Digital 5.1. I am not getting Dolby Digital through my Chromecats Ultra into my 7.1 soundbar. I have spent over 3 hours on text chat this weekend with techs who know little about how sound is routed in a home theater. Each time, they told me I needed one of two things...
1) A TV/Reciever that supports eArc
2) A Home theater system that has an independent Receiver before the Soundbar (I am pretty sure this is not a thing, soundbars mostly use hdmi or optical inputs not raw translated signal).
The thought that I should purchase new hardware to play a system that hinges on being hardware independent is ludicrous.
I can purchase one or both an XBox series X or a PS5 for significantly less than either a sound system or a tv. Combine that with the frustration of inept techs, the fact that VUDU plays Atmos and Amazon plays DD through my Chromecast just fine, that there are HUGE threads on Redit about this, and that many news outlets and "true" gamers are poised waiting for Stadia to fail, and I quickly realize this is not just about me missing a feature that I had on my PS3, this kind of issue is what makes gaming platforms succeed or fail. And, this is not the only thing in a long list of broken or partially implemented Stadia promises.
So, as I mash buttons playing Avengers loving the game and being excited for even more to come this fall, I am left wondering, should I buy the new games from Google at all, or purchase a competitor's product that is guaranteed to work and last longer than 6 months. The second I had that thought, Google lost. This is their first fall with AAA games. If anyone holds back, it will be problematic. If everyone holds back, they are doomed. I am deeply concerned they will loose a whole lot in the months to come. Just ask Atari and Sega.
The thing about Stadia, Chromecast and 5.1 audio is that it currently only supports PCM output - Stadia games do not output Dolby Digital, DTS or any other kind of bitstreamed audio format right now. If you have your Chromecast plugged into the TV and are relying on the TV to pass the PCM stream to the soundbar with standard ARC most TV models seem to be unable to do this and I don't believe that Optical has enough bandwidth to support this either if you're using that. To get around this you'll want to plug the chromecast directly into the soundbar via HDMI if your soundbar model has HDMI inputs, and I believe you'll be in good shape. Of course,if you're using 4K your soundbar HDMI inputs will need to support HDMI 2.0 or you'll be stuck at 30hz without HDR.
Thank you for your reply. I have my Chromecast plugged directly into my soundbar and am still not getting Dolby in Stadia. I have tried everything I can think of. I do not think it is the Chromecast because I can watch Amazon and Netflix in Dolby through it, and I can watch VUDU in Atmos (I did not know that was a thing :). On further investigation, I am most confused by the Atmos, as the only way it should be able to work is if the Chromecast is using a PCM stream and the bar is decoding it correctly. In addition, I can get Dolby through my soundbar if I use my laptop, but I cannot do 4k with that, because Stadia checks the 4k resolution in an odd way (which makes sense to me. Netflix used to do this too), and cannot see that the computer is capable of 4k when plugged into the tv (the built-in display is not).
If it is as you say, perhaps my issue is with technical support not and not Stadia in general. I am still frustrated though. I do have HDMI2.0 and 4k passthrough (no hdr, but that is my tv's fault).