problem getting 5.1 from dvd handbrake dvd encodes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    this is a recent problem that's popped up for me - at first i had no problem getting 5.1 from dvd content using handbrake and then streaming to my Apple TV. But now I can only occasionally (1 out of 10 tries) successfully get the 5.1 track streamed to my Apple TV (i get prologic instead). The first few (successful) encodes still play with 5.1 but anything i've encoded recently with handbrake (even though i selected the 5.1 track and used AAC+AC3 output) plays as prologic.

    i have tried troubleshooting this with no clues....i will occasionally get a 5.1 track from certain discs but these encodes take so long this is a hard one to troubleshoot!

    any help appreciated!
  2. macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2008

    Silly question, are the files m4v? I have seen handbrake for some reason keep it on mp4 when I click my apple tv setting or my custom setting. I just make sure to watch it, I catch it all the time. It's not annoying enough for me to troubleshoot at this point and once I click the preset again it switches to m4v.
  3. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Open one of the transcoded files in Quicktime and then select Window > Show Movie Properties. Are both the AAC (stereo, selected) and AC3 (surround, deselected) tracks listed? If so, then the file is properly encoded and the problem likely lies with your ATV or your receiver.

    Also, did you update your presets after your last Handbrake install?
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    just tried this with one of the files - and indeed all of the tracks are listed (STEREO IS CHECKED, SURROUND IS NOT BUT IT'S THERE!).

    Doubt anything is wrong with my receiver as it handles 5.1 from other items in my itunes movie list via Apple TV (it's an Onkyo 7.1 hdmi receiver and it seems to send out whatever it's fed with zero problems for the year i've had it), and it's 100% repeatable with certain titles i've encoded. If the fault lies with my ATV would a system reset be in order??? it's just strange it doesn't seem to be "seeing" the AC3 from certain encodes while it is with others....
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    Cave Man -

    I tried opening some items in QT that only had prologic/DD 2.0 to begin with from DVD/handbrake/ATV and they all showed the same item properties, so I am not sure if seeing the "surround/AC3" on the files that should have 5.1 is really telling me anything.....AC3 doesn't necessarily mean 5.1, just that a dolby digital track of some sort is present, correct?

    also to answer your other question - i have only installed handbrake once so my prefs haven't changed.
  6. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    So if I understand you correctly, you can currently get 5.1 Dolby Digital from your older Handbrake encodes, but not your newer ones? In other words, you can start an older handbrake file and your receiver switches to DD, but then you start a new handbrake file and it switches to DPL (or some other analog)?
  7. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    I'm not sure what you mean here. Pro Logic and DD are two different surround sound technologies. Are you saying they had only Pro Logic OR DD; or are you saying they had both Pro Logic AND DD?

    Yes, if your file has a Dolby Digital (AC-3) track, regardless of the number of tracks, the Apple TV (Take 2) should activate DD on your receiver. Handbrake does not work with DTS digital as far as I know. Perhaps dynaflash can chime in here since he's on the dev team.

    You might try it anyway: Presets -> Update Presets.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005

    yes this is exactly correct. one recent handbrake encode is properly playing in 5.1 on my apple tv....the rest are dolby prologic 2.0 even though my encoding selections were for the DD 5.1 track as AAC+AC3. videos with 5.1 from my first several encodes are still playing as 5.1 on ATV.

    as for the prologic / DD issues... i may be incorrect here but i thought AC3 just meant discreet DD audio whether it be 2.0 or 5.1. Dolby Digital can even be sent out as 1.0, so i was figuring that the QT "show movie properties" indicator might not be a good guage for what's going on here since my natively DD 2.0 (prologic) encodes are showing the same "AC3 SURROUND" track in quicktime as the ones that are (or should be) 5.1.....but i could be and probably am wrong on some of these specifics so any help is appreciated.
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
  10. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    It's either Dolby Digital (AC3) or Pro Logic (AAC), not both. They are two different encoding schemes. Dolby Digital is always listed as AC3. Have you read this thread for a little background on surround sound and the Apple TV 2 software? Yes, Dolby Digital is a digital-only signal capable of mono to 10 or 20 or more (theoretically, but up to 9.1 practically). If the Dolby Digital indicator lights up on your receiver, then the ATV is properly passing through the AC3 Dolby Digital audio. Dolby Pro Logic is 4-channel (DPL) or 5-channel (DPLII) analog surround sound audio that is encoded as AAC for the ATV.

    When you click on the Surround track and then the Audio Settings tab of one of these movies that's giving you trouble, do you see 6 channels, as is in the attached screen shot?

    Attached Files:

  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    Cave Man -

    I understand all of that about DD, etc. I am choosing to handbrake with AAC+AC3 and it was working before (getting me 5.1 via ATV).

    And every single one of my handbrake encodes (whether it be 5.1, 2.0, 1.0) shows up in QT with a surround AC3 file listed so i can't use that as a guage for whether a 5.1 track exists on an encode.
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    PS to Cave Man - i do see all six channels with the files in question when i go into the surround track audio settings, so handbrake is definitely not the problem. i have encodes with 5.1 it's just my apple tv isn't seeing them all properly. i wonder what's going on here...
  13. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    So, to recap:

    1. Your encodes do indeed have both AAC and 5.1 AC3 audio tracks.
    2. Your receiver, which is connected directly to your ATV by an HDMI cable (or is it optical), only receives the AAC track from some of these movies, but the AC3 track from others. This results in your DPL indicator illuminating for the AAC audio and the DD indicator for the AC3 audio from these files.

    If this is correct, I think I'm stumped. All of my encodes have worked as they're supposed to with my Onkyo system - DD for the AC3 and DPL for the AAC. Strange problem.
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    yep that pretty much sums it up (i am using hdmi for video and audio, BTW). QT shows all 6 channels for about 5 different encodes and these play in ATV from the AAC track.

    my three DD 5.1 encodes from yesterday are all playing with 5.1 so I have to chalk this up to a day of faulty 5.1 encodes I guess. Seems to be working now. It's just strange that QT sees the 5.1 on these while ATV doesn't.
  15. macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    You don't by chance have the audio passing to your TV as well? With my Onkyo if I pass the audio through the HDMI to the TV sometimes it will not play the 5.1 surround. I have to tell the receiver to not pass audio to get 5.1 consistently (I usually pass it through because I have an HDMI amplifier splitting the signal to two TVs - one is in another room).
  16. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    no audio passing to TV - i use a projector.
  17. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    HB does "work" with DTS but for obvious reasons cannot pass it thru as AC3, so you can downmix it to aac, etc. (since pass thru is just that ... pass thru) and even if it could pass through the DTS as .. well DTS it wouldn't matter to an atv since an atv cannot play dts ... well you get the picture. :)
  18. macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yes, that's why I put in the "digital" after DTS - no passthrough of DTS.
  19. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Right ... I knew that ... was just testing to see if your awake. ;)
  20. macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    I'm having the same issues, knew that I would get an :apple:tv, so encoded a load of DVDs ready and thought they would all have 5.1 (used ATV preset in HB) but only one of them actually has it.

    Tried to encode another and made sure it was saved as a .m4v file instead of .mp4, and double checked all the HB settings but it still only had the stereo soundtrack :(

    Assuming it is either me making a mistake, and the GUI not making it clear, or a bug here? I haven't had any other major issues with HB, it works really well!
  21. macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Well, also bear in mind that AC3 is not always 5.1 surround. Plenty of dvd's only have AC3 2.0. HB will just pass through the AC3 that is on the dvd, you can see in the audio source track popup what mix of AC3 the source has available and that you have selected.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    Newton, MA
    I'm not near my Apple TV right now, but isn't there a setting in the
    that says, "Turn on DD/AC3" or something?
  23. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2005
    yes, but for the two of us in this thread who are having this issue, we are seeing 5.1 on some encodes via ATV and not others.

    FWIW, i am now getting 5.1 on all of the encodes that should have them, so i'm just going back and re-encoding the handful that only play with 2.0 audio even though the 5.1 is technically there on the original encoded file (and just not passing as 5.1 like other files are).
  24. macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2007
    I am having the same issue. Any fixes in the last few months?
  25. macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2007
    I had the same problems till I went and updated the presets once I did that all my ripped DVD's had the 5.1 surround sound again

    Go to Presets and click update built in presets.

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