No HDMI audio for ATI Raedon HD 4200

Hello to all, let me introduce myself:

My name is Mauricio, I have just Installed openSuSe 12.1 a week ago, I was using ubuntu before, but I needed a most work prepared option, so I choose open SuSe.

Origin of the problem:

While I was working with KDE I noticed that the Kwin effects was kind of slow and my battery life was about 30 min only, so I decided to install the ATI privative drivers from the open SuSe repos…this didn’t work, after that I had a buggy and slow system, so I downloaded the ATI drivers from the official page.

After install the drivers, the Kwin effects are better, the battery life now is 1:10 hrs, my movies are better played, all was perfect except the audio by HDMI, I read in a wiki of suse (i don’t have the link) that if have to install the ‘pavucontrol’ app to manage the HDMI audio, once installed the only I need is to log out, log in and the HDMI audio should be running; this was not like that.

The problem:

When I connect my HDMI cable to my Sony HD LCD TV, the sound is played through my laptop speakers and not by the TV.

The question:

What do I need to do for play audio through the HDMI cable?


  • Laptop Gateway NV53
  • ATI Raedon HD 4200 series
  • ATI private Drivers
  • OpenSuSe 12.1 KDE 4.7 (default)
  • laptop-mode enabled
  • If need more, tell me

Just a note (in case you are not aware): if you are going to use the proprietary AMD/ATI driver (fglrx) with your device (HD 4200), you have to use the legacy driver version, as AMD/ATI recently dropped support in the main driver branch for such hardware.


  • in Kmixer, select the master channel.
  • in Kmenu > System Settings > Hardware > Multimedia > Phonon … adjust the device preference settings (move the hdmi card up to the prefered device for each of the settings you want) … test

At the same time, it is intuitive to see what is going on with audio playback by also opening up pavucontrol and the kmixer window. User oldcpu has provided an excellent write up of pavucontrol: Pulseaudio Basics for openSUSE with pavucontrol - Blogs - openSUSE Forums

You may find that some things don’t output to hdmi but are routed to the analog output device instead. This is where watching the pavucontrol and kmixer windows helps figuring things out. For example (starting from fresh, consistently for me at least), I find that, although the proper hdmi device may be selected in the drop down boxes in the the Phonon setting’s “Audio Hardware Setup” tab, trying the speaker test buttons results in audio piped over the analog output. In that case, it appears that libcanberra (a gtk based lib for for playing event sounds) is not respecting the selection in the Phonon settings (Phonon is very much native KDE, i.e. qt based software … bug anyone?). I have found that the way to correct that is to (and you have to be very quick about it to catch it will it is playing the event sound) change the device selection in the drop down box of the playback tab of pavucontrol for that (to see how to do that, refer to oldcpu’s article). After that, everything seems to be properly respected and sticks … until the next time you go reconfigure the audio subsystem and everything is reset to starting from scratch.

So…basically I have to “play” with the settings until I can hear the audio trough HDMI?

Honestly…that is not a way to solve the things, I don’t know if my problem could be resolved in one specific way.

Anyway, if thanks for the advice I will do the test later and told you if worked or not

Audio with the radeon driver is problematic at best. The proprietary driver is one’s best bet for obtaining HDMI audio, and as noted you need to be careful in case you need a legacy proprietary driver.

Once the correct driver is installed, there is an investigative logic that can be followed. I do not have HDMI hardware setup, but I have helped users with HDMI in the past (but I can not do so now). I posted on this many times, but I am completely at a loss for any time now (work is incredibly busy - and will remain so for another 5 months) so all I can suggest is you need to surf on this … possibly HDMI and my handle might help.

Hopefully some day an openSUSE user with actual HDMI hardware will create a needed guide.