Intel Releases the Final HDMI Firmware for Apollo and Kaby Lake

As some of you might remember, Intel has been struggling with the audio passthrough of DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD audio formats. The issue is in the firmware of the DisplayPort 1.2 to HDMI 2.0 converter chip that is on the Apollo Lake NUC and Kaby Lake NUC mainboards. Intel has sorted out the issue and has released a firmware upgrade that is fixing the issue. The final 1.66 version is available on Intel Download Center. This firmware should also fix some of the issues that are seen with some HDMI 2.0 capable Samsung TVs.

I did describe the upgrade process in my previous post. Unfortunately the upgrade must still be done in Windows and you must have a HDMI 2.0 device (an amplifier or a TV) connected to your NUC during the upgrade. If you don’t have Windows on your PC, you can download a free of charge Windows 10 evaluation version, install that, do the upgrade and then restore your old system. Such a hassle, but can’t really see alternative ways to upgrade at the moment!

To recap, the issue that we were seeing was that DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD audio formats did not work at all in passthrough mode if you have a HDMI 2.0 capable amplifier. The previous fix was a step to the right direction (they started working at 1920×1200@60Hz mode and 4k modes), but it still did not work ok at 1920×1200@24p resolution.

I’ve tested this update on a NUC6CAYH and it works as expected. I can finally bitstream the audio to my AVR with either Kodi or MPC-HC using any screen resolution.

Follow the discussion at Intel’s NUC community as well.

Affected products:

  • NUC7i3BNH
  • NUC7i3BNK

9 Responses

  1. Bala says:

    Can you give use already a short feedback regarding the Linux implementation of that bug fix? Most important for me Plex Media Player embedded version. I saw in the Intel chat, you’ll talk with some developers. (Thanks a lot for your work!)

  2. Phil says:

    Despite what the instructions say, the update procedure has worked fine for me when the 7i3BNH is connected to an old 1080p monitor via the HDMI connector.

  3. Rick says:

    Does anyone have a free evaluation copy of an HDMI 2.0 device I can borrow?

  4. npcompletion says:

    Is this limited to NUCs or are other non-NUC (ATX, mATX, itx) motherboards also affected?

  5. Olli says:

    This applies to any mainboard that uses MegaChips MCDP2800 DP-to-HDMI2 converter. I know at least several Asrock boards have the same.

  6. Gabi Uzan says:

    How can i fix this issue on LibreELEC ???

    • nucblognet says:

      You cannot at the moment. The Linux GPU drivers do not support Apollo Lake and the included LSPCon properly yet.

  7. alexsisk2017 says:

    I’m really regretting my decision to not simply purchase a 2nd Nvidia Shield for what has essentially turned out to be a Kodi Box. I never even load Windows 10 anymore on my NUC. I just leave it running LibreELEC. (The Windows overhead is quite annoying, and LibreELEC’s SMB settings are extremely reliable.)

    But I got myself into the situation. I’m not someone who is familiar with creating drivers from scratch….but somehow I doubt anyone is working full speed ahead on solving the Linux GPU / passthru issue. Maybe on the side here and there, but I certainly don’t expect a patch any time before the end of summer.

    Please tell me that I’m wrong and that someone is passionately working on it. :)

  8. Shwer says:

    @Olli – so after updating the firmware using Windows 10, it works with LibreELEC? it was not clear in this post. In your original post it did not work.

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