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Old Sep 26, 2012, 07:41 AM   #1
Osip
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Apple TV 5.1 Update, Handbrake-encoded Files, and No 5.1 Audio

I'll try to keep this brief: I did AC3 Passthru PLUS AAC Stereo using the Handbrake presets for a handful of DVDs I own to test out converting my collection to an iTunes-compatible format. Prior to the 5.1 update, all was working well; 5.1 when playing through the Apple TV, stereo when I played the exact same file on my iPhone or iPad. Now the same files still play fine on my iPad and iPhone, but the Apple TV refuses to output any audio on files that have an option between 5.1 and 2.0 (stereo). I went into Netflix on my Apple TV, picked a movie with 5.1 audio, and it played back properly without an issue.

My Apple TV is connected to my receiver via HDMI-only and my receiver is connected to my TV via HDMI as well. I've tried both forcing Dolby Output to "On" and "Auto" as well. I've found some comments on Apple's support forum from several years ago stating that using optical might fix a similar issue, but I fail to see why Apple would take a step backwards in HDMI-connectivity. :/

Since no one else seems to be complaining about this recently anywhere I've seen, it must be me. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 02:46 PM   #2
Ewan Hoozarmy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Osip View Post
I'll try to keep this brief: I did AC3 Passthru PLUS AAC Stereo using the Handbrake presets for a handful of DVDs I own to test out converting my collection to an iTunes-compatible format. Prior to the 5.1 update, all was working well; 5.1 when playing through the Apple TV, stereo when I played the exact same file on my iPhone or iPad. Now the same files still play fine on my iPad and iPhone, but the Apple TV refuses to output any audio on files that have an option between 5.1 and 2.0 (stereo). I went into Netflix on my Apple TV, picked a movie with 5.1 audio, and it played back properly without an issue.

My Apple TV is connected to my receiver via HDMI-only and my receiver is connected to my TV via HDMI as well. I've tried both forcing Dolby Output to "On" and "Auto" as well. I've found some comments on Apple's support forum from several years ago stating that using optical might fix a similar issue, but I fail to see why Apple would take a step backwards in HDMI-connectivity. :/

Since no one else seems to be complaining about this recently anywhere I've seen, it must be me. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Exactly the same problem for me. Couldn't fix it

Had to roll back to the previous firmware
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 03:07 PM   #3
iLuvMyMacToo
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Have you gone into your Apple TV setting and turned off "digital dolby"? That worked for me.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 03:19 PM   #4
rdpbass
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I have two atv 3's did the update on one same problem. The one I didn't update works fine. How do you go about rolling back to previous version ?
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:52 PM   #5
Osip
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Ok good - It's not just me!

I have not tried either suggestion, but I will when I get home. The rollback appears to involve jailbreaking, which I'm hesitant to do but I really don't feel like losing 5.1 audio because of an update that didn't affect anything I care about.

That's what I get for wanting to keep up-to-date!
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 06:56 PM   #6
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Definitely not HDMI specific. I have optical and I am experiencing th same thing. When I change it to Auto I get sound but not Dolby. If I choose On, I get no sound. But what's odd, some of the files I encoded with handbrake when the setting is On do work. Not sure what is different.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 09:14 PM   #7
Starhawk
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My handbrake files seem to be working fine with DD 5.1. I tested a couple today.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 09:19 PM   #8
Rushli0n
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So I found a weird workaround. Hold select and go up to the Audio options and select the stereo track. Then go back and select the surround track. The Dolby works after you reselect it. What sucks is after I close the movie and play it again, I have to do that workaround again.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 09:43 PM   #9
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Ok good, I was going to go up to iOS 5.1 but now I'm not...
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:05 PM   #10
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Ok good, I was going to go up to iOS 5.1 but now I'm not...
I wouldn't. It totally screwed me over.

As for the other "options", disabling Dolby works. Re-enabling it and going back to the video does not work. I guess I'll look into jailbreaking my Apple TV this weekend and reverting to a previous version of Apple TV OS until this gets fixed. :/ Good thing I immediately texted my brother and told him not to upgrade yesterday or he'd be very disappointed :is filtering his language:.

EDIT: I lied! Doing the re-enable actually does work! I'm using a Harmony Remote and I've visited a local brewery this evening... *ahem*
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:11 PM   #11
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I figured out what my problem was and how to fix it.

1. I looked at the movie that was working (LOTR) in Subler versus a movie that wasn't (Avengers).
2. I noticed that the Surround box was checked on Avengers and NOT checked on LOTR. I unchecked the Surround box and remuxed the Avengers file.
3. I play the file on my AppleTV with Dolby set to ON and bam, it selects Dolby on my receiver.

Again, I am using an optical audio cable, so I don't know if that matters.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:23 PM   #12
Osip
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Originally Posted by Rushli0n View Post
I figured out what my problem was and how to fix it.

1. I looked at the movie that was working (LOTR) in Subler versus a movie that wasn't (Avengers).
2. I noticed that the Surround box was checked on Avengers and NOT checked on LOTR. I unchecked the Surround box and remuxed the Avengers file.
3. I play the file on my AppleTV with Dolby set to ON and bam, it selects Dolby on my receiver.

Again, I am using an optical audio cable, so I don't know if that matters.
The problem with that is that when you uncheck the "Surrorund" checkbox, you're basically telling Subler to not include the actual surround track when you "Save" (aka "remux") it - Correct? If so, you're only getting faux-surround from your Apple TV, which brings us back to the whole "Why did this work before 'Update 5.1'?" issue. For now, pressing and holding "Select" (aka "OK" or "the button in the middle of the navigation buttons on the Apple Remote") until the menu pops up on-screen that lets you select different chapters OR audio options seems to be the only fix that allows you to use the *actual* 5.1 audio mix. As stated earlier, you have to select the 2.0 mix, play the video for a moment, and then select the 5.1 mix and play the video file again. This is a bug in Apple TV OS 5.1, in my rarely humble opinion, and I think I'm going to look into the downgrade some time this weekend because constantly having to do this for each file is lame.
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Old Sep 26, 2012, 10:47 PM   #13
Rushli0n
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Originally Posted by Osip View Post
The problem with that is that when you uncheck the "Surrorund" checkbox, you're basically telling Subler to not include the actual surround track when you "Save" (aka "remux") it - Correct? If so, you're only getting faux-surround from your Apple TV, which brings us back to the whole "Why did this work before 'Update 5.1'?" issue. For now, pressing and holding "Select" (aka "OK" or "the button in the middle of the navigation buttons on the Apple Remote") until the menu pops up on-screen that lets you select different chapters OR audio options seems to be the only fix that allows you to use the *actual* 5.1 audio mix. As stated earlier, you have to select the 2.0 mix, play the video for a moment, and then select the 5.1 mix and play the video file again. This is a bug in Apple TV OS 5.1, in my rarely humble opinion, and I think I'm going to look into the downgrade some time this weekend because constantly having to do this for each file is lame.
I'd normally agree with you, but when I deselect the Surround checkbox and look at the Audio options on the movie on the AppleTV, it looks exactly the same as when it was selected. I don't think the AppleTV can generate a faux Dolby. If it's in the file, it will play it. I'm not an expert at this at all, but that process worked for me.

As for why it worked before...got me.
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 07:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rushli0n View Post
I don't think the AppleTV can generate a faux Dolby.
Not what I meant, sorry. My concern was that the A/V Receiver would be the device creating the simulated surround from a stereo source if you disabled Dolby Digital output on the Apple TV. I'm testing it now and I was correct - If you disable Dolby Digital output on the Apple TV, the Apple TV outputs 2.0 (stereo) audio over HDMI. The only solution that will provide you with a true surround mix seems to be the one mentioned above:

1. Start playback of the affected video file.
2. Press and hold the Select/OK button on your remote.
3. Select the "Audio" tab when the menu appears on-screen.
4. Select the 2.0 audio track and return to the video.
5. Repeat Step 2-3 and select the surround track.

Surround should work after that. You have to do this every time you play a video with a surround track. I'm assuming this isn't a problem with videos purchased from Apple, but I don't have anything from Apple with 5.1 to test this theory with... Wait! I do have one thing. I'll try it and update this post in a bit!

EDIT: The Store-purchased file's surround, of course, plays properly (the free episode of Battlestar Galactica that was offered a few years ago, if anyone is curious). I guess we're stuck with this workaround until if/when Apple decides to fix it. :/ Thanks, Rush, for at least coming up with some kind of fix!

I'll have to look at the Store-purchased file and see if I can figure out what's different about their audio encode. My guess is that a stereo track was not included with the HD video file that I played off of my Home Share. The steps above did not work for the Store-purchased video.

Last edited by Osip; Sep 27, 2012 at 08:33 PM. Reason: Credit where credit was due + Updating the status of Apple-purchased files.
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 08:00 PM   #15
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Open your files in Subler and make sure both sound tracks aren't checked.

Having one "unchecked" won't remove it from the file - the selection just tells the ATV which is the default. If both are checked - the ATV gets confused and you get the problem you describe.
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 08:42 PM   #16
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Open your files in Subler and make sure both sound tracks aren't checked.

Having one "unchecked" won't remove it from the file - the selection just tells the ATV which is the default. If both are checked - the ATV gets confused and you get the problem you describe.
I had forgotten that I needed to test this as well. I've confirmed that it works, but it's going to be mildly annoying if you have a large number of files to process (i.e. Multi-season TV Shows @ about 24 episodes per season). I have 52 or so that I'm going to have to fix that were working perfectly fine before this update. A minor nuisance, sure, but a nuisance nonetheless. Thanks for the assist as well, Diode!
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 09:19 PM   #17
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I had forgotten that I needed to test this as well. I've confirmed that it works, but it's going to be mildly annoying if you have a large number of files to process (i.e. Multi-season TV Shows @ about 24 episodes per season). I have 52 or so that I'm going to have to fix that were working perfectly fine before this update. A minor nuisance, sure, but a nuisance nonetheless. Thanks for the assist as well, Diode!
I guess that's what I meant in my post, just didn't articulate it. To the point of the original post, having them both checked didn't make a difference with 5.0.2 but does in 5.1. I had to correct most of my files as both were checked and now they all work.
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 09:26 PM   #18
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Doesn't default Handbrake + Subler processed file result in only 1 audio file checkmarked (2 channel)? Meaning if you just follow the presets everything should still work fine?
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Old Sep 27, 2012, 10:13 PM   #19
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Doesn't default Handbrake + Subler processed file result in only 1 audio file checkmarked (2 channel)? Meaning if you just follow the presets everything should still work fine?
Yes, it does do that. I thought they both needed to be set and as it worked before the update I just assumed that was the way they had to be set. Guess not.
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Old Sep 28, 2012, 12:18 AM   #20
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I checked a couple more of my Handbrake encoded files and they all play the DD 5.1 track just fine.

Curious, you guys that are seeing the issue, do you encode with your DD 5.1 track in the 1st place or 2nd? Mine were all encoded with the AAC in the first slot and DD passthru in the second.

I vaguely remember something about that being the "standard" way to encode for Apple TV files, but this was a long time ago.
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Old Sep 28, 2012, 03:31 AM   #21
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I checked a couple more of my Handbrake encoded files and they all play the DD 5.1 track just fine.

Curious, you guys that are seeing the issue, do you encode with your DD 5.1 track in the 1st place or 2nd? Mine were all encoded with the AAC in the first slot and DD passthru in the second.

I vaguely remember something about that being the "standard" way to encode for Apple TV files, but this was a long time ago.
Correct. For standard ATV 2 compatible files, the first audio track should be AAC Stereo and it should be checked. The second audio track can be surround sound AC-3 or AAC 5.1 and it should be un-checked.

Also, when you open the file in Subler, the audio tracks should both belong to Alternate Group 1. The video track should belong to Alternate Group None.

When set like that, the Apple TV should select the surround sound track automatically if you have receiver capable of playing surround sound audio.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 04:15 AM   #22
ConvertApple
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You Are Not Alone!

Hi, I have also been knobbled by the 5.1 update in exactly the same way on my ATV3's. I have a lot of files that are now afflicted by this bug and am today going to apple store to get them to downgrade me to 5.0.2 which I believe is still being signed by Apple (or get micro-usb cable and do it myself). I hope this is still do-able as I've read of others who've done it. It is such a PITA and has dented my trust in Apple forever more.

To a certain extent I am fortunate as I spent the last few months on/off writing my own program to re-encode and tag all video files into apple format so I could easily mod the code and re-run all my files through it, which as it does so automatically by examining the original file, would take none of my own time. I was going to release the app soon, but, typically this spanner is thrown in the works!

Grouping audio tracks, disabling one? If someone can elucidate... Is this done in the meta-data or...?
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 06:12 AM   #23
ConvertApple
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Apple Shop were useless, saying it couldn't be done, wouldn't let me download a different firmware etc (hit stop on the download), so I had to do it while they weren't looking! And now back on 5.0.2 and all files work fine.
They wanted 20 for a micro-usb cable!!! got one for 4 in phone shop nearby!

So anyway I now have 2 apple TV's one still on 5.1 so it is easy to contrast and compare. Why would apple do this and why is it that files converted by other tools work? Using MediaInfo I can see no noticeable differences in the metadata etc, very confusing. I used FFMpeg to encode mine and they used to be fine, but...

Last edited by ConvertApple; Oct 3, 2012 at 08:55 AM.
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 10:50 AM   #24
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Grouping audio tracks, disabling one? If someone can elucidate... Is this done in the meta-data or...?
Have you used Subler? Subler allows you to order and group your audio tracks. If you only have a 5.1 audio track, subler can also encode a 2-channel track for the file.

http://code.google.com/p/subler/
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Old Oct 3, 2012, 11:13 AM   #25
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I don't have a mac. I wrote a program for windows that automatically does everything you need, re-encodes only if needed, generates the aac2+ac3 from dts or aac6 and an aac2 from that also etc etc, tags via themoviedb + thetvtb, just point it at a folder and it does the rest, however apple just broke it!

I'd fix the code but not sure what needs to be done, talk of alterntive groups, checking first audio? etc. I can see no options for that in ffmpeg or atomicparsley that I use at back-end to do the donkey-work.

Shame as the prog might have been a revelation to people who want to convert/tag their entire library of non apple+apple files to apple format with a single click and NO crashes, which was something I couldn't find and why I wrote it, but hey just when you think you're done. No point releasing an app that no longer works properly.

So If anyone knows at a code level what needs to be done, or if Apple are intending fixing this nonsense, plese let me know, until then....

Last edited by ConvertApple; Oct 3, 2012 at 11:24 AM.
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