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Old Dec 17, 2012, 10:07 PM   #1
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Question Apple TV 3 Handbrake Audio


I got my parents an Apple TV 3 for Christmas. I am converting a couple movies to digital format for them on a hard drive.

I noticed the default in handbrake is Dolby Pro Logic II and not Dolby Surround. Is there a reason for this? Currently they don't have surround set up but I know are eventually upgrading. I would like true surround if I could get it. My questions are.

1. If I choose dolby surround is that supported on apple tvs.
2. If they don't have surround for now will both dolby surround and dolby pro logic II settings play correctly over stereo.
3. If I just add an extra audio track of surround is it smart enough to use it when available?
4. What if they put these movies on iPad. I have heard the surround track won't play properly. Is that true?

Thanks so much. I tried searching but I just can't find exactly what I want
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 10:10 PM   #2
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The AAC main track is mandatory. An optional secondary track can be AC3 (DD5.1).
Tertiary AAC tracks can also be added (directors comments)

1 yes
2 yes
3 yes
4 don't know. Careful the ATV3 handbrake mode won't work on an iPad 1.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 11:35 PM   #3
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"Dolby Pro Logic II" is actually far better than "Dolby Surround". Both are not actually full Surround sound but instead faux-surround. Under handbrake, Dolby Surround is actually just Dolby Pro Logic I, which is a series of audio algorithms that tell your surround sound receiver how to decode the Stereo sound into fake-surround sound. The main difference between Pro Logic I and II (there are many) is that II also provides decoding for the center channel whereas Pro Logic I just meshes the FR and FL channels and makes it a center channel.

If you want ACTUAL surround you need to make 2 audio tracks. The ATV 3 preset in handbrake automatically does this. If you want to make your own preset, set the first and primary/default audio track to AAC Pro Logic II, you can set the bitrate to either 160 or 192, but anything over that is a complete waste.

Then set the 2nd audio track to AC3 with "6-channel discrete" which will be actual 5.1 surround sound with each channel encoded. I would recommend 448 kbps bitrate minimum for this, but you can of course always go higher.

A note for AC3 audio: The ATV can not actually decode AC3 audio. It only passes it through to your receiver. This means you must have a surround sound receiver that supports AC3 decoding (Pretty much ever receiver made after 2005 has this by default). Also, in order for your ATV to actually USE this AC3 track, you must go into Audio settings on the ATV and change the "Dolby Surround" setting from AUTO to ON.
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