Apple TV and 5.1 support - some definitive answers

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by maurj, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. macrumors newbie

  2. macrumors 68020


    Great info. Thanks for post the link. I'd found the ThisMuchIKnow site earlier in the week and read the "earlier article" the author refers to; finding it to be one of the better sources of information on this topic.
  3. macrumors 68030


    So what exactly CAN get true surround out of Apple's 6-channel AAC movie trailers? Only a product like the Firewave and speakers that have 6-channel input? Never made much sense to me. :confused:

    Anyway, the lack of real 5.1 and the limited codecs the AppleTV can play means I definitely won't be getting one anytime soon. Heck, even my cheapo DVD player can play some Divx/Xvid files and get 5.1 (AC-3) sound from them.
  4. macrumors 68030


    I don't know. I kinda think that 5.1 is overrated to begin with.
  5. macrumors 68020


    Correct. I have a Firewire sound device, w/6 channels out, and Apple Quicktime 5.1 surround sound will playback in iTunes or QT Pro on discrete channels if "speakers" are configured accordingly in Audio Midi Devices (in Utilities).

    In "theory" at least, there are other methods that should allow some-degree of surround sound playback; those topics and theories are addressed in the article mentioned at the beginning of this thread @ ThisMuchIKnow, from which the following quote is taken:

    But at this point in time we have no real proof that Apple actually said :apple: tv does support 5.1, and actual "controlled experiments" with Apple TV in regards to surround sound have been few and far between. So, at this point in time, what we don't know (for certain) about :apple: tv amounts to more than we actually do know (for certain)...

    Someone should take a known QT 5.1 sound file, play it via :apple: tv that's correctly connected to a receiver w/Dolby Pro Logic and report what they're able to get (sound wise) out of this experiment.

    Until then... confusion will reign in regards to this topic.
  6. macrumors newbie


    Do you mean a known 6-channel AAC file? I think that's what the guy at ThisMuchIKnow did, so that seems a pretty good test of how it treats 6-channel (5.1) AAC tracks.

    Or do you mean a known Dolby Pro Logic II track? I've not seen a 'test' DPL II file, to be sure of what's coming out of each speaker. But since the DPL II is encoded into a stereo signal, there's no reason why this shouldn't play via QuickTime / Apple TV to a DPL II amp...
  7. macrumors 65816

    I thought so too until I got a 5.1 system.

    Now, watching movies w/o is... disappointing. I find it more important to have 5.1 than I do to have HD...

    Just MHO, but that's the main point of contention between me and the macTV...
  8. macrumors 68020


    I'm advocating rounding up some test files of various types and test them.

    .. Someone find a trailer on iTunes that's known to be surround sound.

    .. Has anyone tried making a QT reference movie to a AC-3 file?

    .. There's QuickTime movie with AAC encoded 5.1 channel audio available for d/l'ing near the bottom of that page. Someone try it on their atv...

    To (accurately) determine what does or doesn't work, on the atv end, you'd first need some test files (known to work in iTunes), etc. Does this logic make sense? :)
  9. macrumors 68040



    Apple couldn't get HDMI cert without the hardware being capable of 5.1.

    That means it's likely locked off for now, and we all know that the content isn't there yet...
  10. macrumors 601


    Speak for yourself :p

    This is actually one of the basics of a good movie experience.
  11. macrumors 68040



    Fancy seeing you here.

    You though 5.1 was nifty, 7.1 is creamy goodness too ;)

    Yes, you're right. Must... have... multi... channel... well... balanced... speakers... good... acoustics......popcorn.
  12. macrumors 601


    Hehe, same to you :)

    Yeah I could see myself with a nifty 7.1 setup with some front presence speakers as well, but I guess that'll have to wait until I have a dedicated movie room :D

    Anyway, I am with you, sound, image and food are the most important prequisites of a good movie evening besides the movie itself of course. :)
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Wouldn't it play 5.1 if all the necessary codecs are added to the ?TV? Say from an AC-3 audio from an AVI Container as it does on the mac???
  14. macrumors 68040



    Sure, but the :apple:TV needs a codec update - I'm sure it's coming.
  15. macrumors 68020


    A few enterprising people, not content to wait, already have xvid and divx files playing via their :apple: tvs. :rolleyes:

    Any of those people checked "teh 5.1"...? :p
  16. macrumors 6502a



    very true, maybe someone can try the HDMI output???
  17. macrumors 68020


    I'm fairly certain someone said the chipset used was capable of 5.1
  18. macrumors 6502a


    So? The chipset in the Intel Mac's is 5.1 compatible, but still only outputs 2 channels. What we'd like to know is if the HDMI output will spit out 5.1 or even 7.1 audio
  19. macrumors 68040


    I use HDMI

    I'll try to rip a movie to 5.1 again, but I don't think it'll work until Apple updates the device.
  20. TBi
    macrumors 68030


    Shouldn't the Apple TV just pass through the AC3 information to a decoder if you have one?
  21. macrumors 6502a


    Sweet :) What receiver are you using?
  22. macrumors 68020


    #22 did an in-depth review and was unable to get it to do 5.1 surround.

    Athough it is capable of doing 5.1, I think we are going to need a software update.

  23. macrumors 68030


    True but for me, a good movie makes it more important than fidelity to the original theatrical experience.

    Of course, I heard that Frauenhofer was updating the mp3 codec to include built in 5.1 encoding a few years ago. What happened to that project?
  24. macrumors 68040



    Oh boy. Umm, let's just say I'm running pretty near an 'ideal' system.

    All HDMI (except the DVD player, it's Component)

    DVR, :apple:TV, and that DVD player go to a Denon AVR-4306, which, in turn HDMI to the Sharp Aquos.

    The Receiver is technically 7.1, but I particularly like it's intelligence. I could be watching plain'ol SD stereo TV and it'll accurately interpolate the 2 channels into 5.1 for me. Needs a LOT of ventilation though.
  25. macrumors 6502a


    ok, since people just seem to post in here about stuff we've known for a while now, i'll do this:

    SPDIF output is currently only stereo PCM, no Dolby Digital or dts
    Don't think that the AppleTV can be updated to output Dolby Digital for any surround content. The SPDIF output works like any other Macintosh: Outputs PCM for system and regular sounds, and will out PASS Dolby Digital and dts, not encode it.<edit> apple hasn't yet enabled Dolby Digital or dts passthough</edit>

    The HDMI output should be able to output 5.1, or even 7.1 output, but this does not seem to have been tested yet.
    If this way works, it will only work with a Multi-Channel receiver, not a TV with HDMI and SPDIF out.

    I'm glad we have got this out of the way.

Share This Page