I have a media centre with a ATI Radeon HD graphics card using Ubuntu desktop with all updates current which works fine for video and will also work perfectly for sound.

The problem is that it seems after the first time using the media centre to play something the next time I come back to use it the HDMI output device is missing within the sound devices list (it's always there and not being used when I turn on the media centre for the first time).

A reboot remedies this and I can then play a film or music through the TV (which is hooked up to the sound system).

I appreciate there are other solutions hardware related such as using AUX or digital audio cables but the HDMI cable sound output "works" and I want a software solution to what seems to be a driver related issue.

This isn't program specific I have tried numerous different video and audio players using multiple file types and the HDMI sound output dissapears every time I next use it.

Let me know if more info is needed!

  • Have you set up HDMI sound in system settings/sound (in Ubuntu not the media center) look under hardware tab
    – Mark Kirby
    Aug 8, 2012 at 9:03
  • I have, the problem is actually in this panel that the hdmi output dissapears from the list of sound devices.
    – udjamaflip
    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:04

4 Answers 4


Does killing pulseaudio help? killall pulseaudio

  • This does nothing, sorry.
    – udjamaflip
    Aug 16, 2012 at 11:10
  • Works for me, thank you! (Intel HD graphic card) Dec 26, 2012 at 17:13

I have a similar (though not exactly identical) problem with HDMI audio output through an Intel IGP. Maybe this is related and helps you.

In my case, audio output breaks a few seconds after the audio output has stopped or I have changed something in the audio configuration. This is due to the PulseAudio module suspend-on-idle terminating the audio connection when it is not used for a few seconds.

You can easily try to find out whether this is your problem by (temporarily) disabling the suspend-on-idle module. To do so, put a hash (#) in front of the line load-module module-suspend-on-idle in /etc/pulse/default.pa and restart pulseaudio (by executing pulseaudio -k). If the problem has gone away, leave it as is and please add your findings to the bug tracker entry. Otherwise revert the changes to the file.

In general, a pulseaudio debug log is useful for debugging such problems.


Are you using the proprietary AMD Catalyst driver or the default open-source driver for your RadeonHD? I had the same problem with my laptop when using the Catalyst driver, but the last time I performed a clean install I stuck with the default driver instead, and since then and have had no issues with HDMI audio.

  • I'm currently using catalyst is there a way of reverting?
    – udjamaflip
    Aug 12, 2012 at 11:05
  • The proper steps to remove the AMD Catalyst driver can be found here. Once you have followed these steps and rebooted, try running "lspci -nnk | grep -iA2 vga" in a terminal in order to determine which driver the AMD card is using (it should now show that the "radeon" driver is active rather than the "fglrx" driver). As a side note, keep an eye on your battery life. While my HDMI audio issues have been almost completely resolved, my battery life has suffered a bit.
    – mblasco
    Aug 15, 2012 at 14:25

Ok, so this has received quite a bit of traffic so I thought I would post the solution to my particular problem (it may not solve your problem).

The issue is to do with running a Radeon GPU using the closed source AMD catalyst drivers with a media device such as a TV which (unlike a monitor) does not retain a powered connection when it's turned off or in standby mode, this causes the device to dissapear from the connected list in Ubuntu and then for some unknown fails to re-connect without a reboot - If this is your issue you may be in luck.

Simply, either use and older or newer version of the catalyst drivers. The issue I had seems confined to only 1 version of the catalyst driver (I don't recall which).

TL;DR; If using Ubuntu AMD catalyst driver through HDMI with TV and losing sound, manually use a different version of the AMD catalyst driver.

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