I've seen a few similar questions however couldn't find a solution and they were all a few years old.

When I plug my laptop into the TV HDMI port I have to manually go through the sound options and select HDMI to get the sound to play through the TV. Is there a way to make it switch automatically on connection?



3 Answers 3


It is not as easy as it looks at first sight to acchieve this. See the discussion below for reasons why it is in fact rather complicated:

The existing modules module-switch-on-connect, and module-switch-on-port-available will not work consistently with HDMI.

At present there is much effort being done to implement a priority list feature which will let us define the priority of an audio device for pulseaudio to route to it (or not):

Until this will be generally available in a future release of PulseAudio we have not much more choice than manually switching the audio output sink whenever we connect to a HDMI audio device.

To make life easier in case we often have to switch our output devices we may consider writing a small script to enable toggling between two output sinks. See these questions for a start:


I wrote an indicator applet that lets you switch the sound output.

As long as the problem is not solved, this applet is probably a bit more comfortable.

I'm using 12.04. Please let me know if you tried it successfully.



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  • Works in Ubuntu 13.10 -- awesome! Thanks so much. Jan 29, 2014 at 5:14
  • Not seem to be working properly on Ubuntu 14.04. BTW some people will need to install this first: sudo apt-get install python-appindicator May 13, 2014 at 21:15
  • Doesn't work in Linux Mint 16 Oct 29, 2014 at 18:18
  • Works in Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1
    – jperelli
    Dec 13, 2016 at 3:15
  • ImportError: No module named appindicator on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
    – Frank N
    Apr 3, 2017 at 13:30

For Gnome Shell users, the Sound Output Device Chooser is a practical consolation, as long as there is no solution for auto-switching. This has been working well for me with Gnome Shell 3.14 and 3.16 so far.

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