Apple TV - 5.1 Setup & Encoding Options

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by GermanSuplex, Aug 26, 2009.

  1. GermanSuplex macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
    Longtime listener, first time caller here.

    A couple of basic questions:

    I have an HDTV that I have the Apple TV connected to via HDMI. Suppose I want to get a 5.1 surround system, can I get 5.1 surround from the Apple TV by having only the TV hooked up to the receiver/speaker system? Or must the Apple TV be hooked up to the receiver?

    Also, the Dolby Digital Out....a few questions about encoding. I encode most of my movies with Handbrake. Say a video contains 5.1 AC-3 audio. I usually do the first audio track as the default: Dolby Pro-Logic II @ 160kbps. Is that enough for 5.1 audio? I read something about it being "matrixed".. that a receiver or something can decode 5.1 audio from it (pardon me if my terminology is off).

    The second track I do 5.1 AC-3 passthrough. If the Dolby Digital Out setting is on in the Apple TV, will it play this track by default?

    Are there any differences in how 5.1 AAC or 5.1 AC-3 playback is performed on the Apple TV? I think I read somewhere that different equipment setups may be required.

    Lastly, what if I have more than one audio track? For some films I have up to four audio tracks depending on if there is director/actor commentary, etc.

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm usually pretty good at this stuff but the world of surround and home theater is all new to me.
  2. beejam macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2007
    Although I can't help you with the AppleTV questions (don't have one), I found this guide very helpful regarding home theater audio.

    I waited this long to get an ATV, might as well wait until September to see if "one more thing" happens.
  3. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    in fact it is a stereo signal that uses phase shifting to get 5.0 simulated dolby. There is no LFE channel in DPL2
    yes, *if* the atv is hooked up to a 5.1 capable source.

    A handbraked two track (aac + ac3) video when played on an atv will use the stereo aac dpl2 track if you are hooked up to a stereo only source (like just the tv's internal speakers). Once you are hooked up to a 5.1 DD source it will use the ac3 5.1 passthru track.

    If you have more than just the two tracks described above, you screw up the auto detect to use the Ac3 track on a surround capable source. However, you can access the audio track list, choose the Ac3 track and the apple tv will use that as well as remember it next time you play that movie. It just breaks the auto detect when you first play it and uses you're first aac dpl2 track until you change it.
  4. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    You might have a read here. It's a little old but still has some relevant information.
  5. GermanSuplex thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 26, 2009
  6. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Mar 27, 2003
    Geez Cave, you ought to write users manuals for a living ;)

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