AppleTV and 5.1 sound question

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Rich1963, Dec 1, 2008.

  1. Rich1963 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #1
    I have an AppleTV, a Samsung series 6 plasma, and a Bose 3-2-1 GS receiver/DVD player/speaker set-up. The problem I have is the following: I have encoded about 300 movies with the required AAC track and then the AC-3 track, and occasionally another AC-3 director commentary track or other such audio, always in AC-3 format. The AppleTV recognizes these multiple audio tracks, but refuses to play the AC-3 track, instead, playing the AAC track.

    The connection of devices is as follows - AppleTV -> Samsung Plasma via HDMI -> audio to BOSE via optical out from plasma.

    Is it possible that in the HDMI handshake, the plasma is calling for stereo sound only, since that is what it's speakers are set-up for (even though I'm not using them) and that is all the AppleTV will provide (thus the AAC track)? I don't have a receiver with HDMI inputs, so I'm unable to hook this up differently to test it with a true 5.1 source.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #2
    Is your receiver set to receive optical input? On my Onkyo I have to assign the optical inputs to the appropriate receiver input. I have my DVD player's coax assigned to the Onkyo's "DVD" input, the Apple TV assigned to "Video 1" input, and the third (for my MBP) is set to "Video 2" input. By default, these were all the analog RCA inputs for each.
     
  3. Duffinator macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #3
    I would run the optical out from the ATV direct to your AVR and not through the TV. See if that fixes your problem.
     
  4. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    Whitehouse, OH
    #4
    I've found some TVs cannot properly output the 5.1 signal via HDMI... instead they output standard 2.0. The way around this would be to connect an optical cable directly from the AppleTV to the receiver.
     
  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    #5
    Oh, good catch. Audio should go directly from ATV to receiver since digital audio cannot be passed twice.
     
  6. Duffinator macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #6
    You can use HDMI for audio/video to TV and then optical audio to AVR. Both digital streams are output simultaneously.
     
  7. Rich1963 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #7
    Yes, but the question I'm trying to get answered is more a technical one that both lets me know this is not a problem and answers my curiousity about HDMI and what goes on in the handshake. Is the fact that my AppleTV outputting the AAC track and refusing to switch to the AC-3 track a problem with the AppleTV or just an issue with my TV telling the AppleTV in the intitial HDMI hook-up that it is only capable of handling stereo, thus AC-3 is off of the table.

    I did think of moving the optical over to the AppleTV right after I hit send, but I'm also looking for a definitive answer as to what is negotiated in the handshake between two devices.

    Thanks for the past and future replies, folks.
     
  8. TuckBodi macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #8
    I was told by a Samsung Tier 1 tech that the only reason why they don't pass surround sound through their TV is because they don't want to pay the Dolby tax charge. Otherwise it didn't sound like a problem and perhaps other TV's can do so.

    To the OP, make sure you have your ATV Settings set ton On for Audio & Video/Dolby Digital Out as well.
     
  9. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #9
    Just curious, how do you see these multiple audio tracks in the :apple:TV? I also have some DVDs that I have encoded with Handbrake which include both AAC and AC3, but my receiver (connected via optical and set to auto) does not detect the dolby signal, only stereo. I do not have the tv in between as you do, just straight to the receiver.
     
  10. Rich1963 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #10
    Tuckbodi-I believe what you have said here is the answer I was looking for. If the TV handshakes with the AppleTV and says to just give me a stereo output, I'm guessing all the AppleTV will allow me to use is the AAC track. When I try to select the AC-3 track, I get no sound whatsoever. I am going to try moving the optical cord over to the AppleTV and seeing what happens.

    Danny W-If you press the plus button twice while in a movie, it will show the movie description, and if either chapters or alternative audio is available, it will say something like this underneath the description "press and hold play/pause for options".
     
  11. Duffinator macrumors 6502

    Duffinator

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    130 miles NE of Cupertino
    #11
    My bet is using the optical output straight to the AVR will solve your problem. Regardless of what Samsung tech support states I would never route the optical output THROUGH any TV. Your best bet will be to always go straight to the AVR.
     
  12. danny_w macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    Thanks, I didn't know that!
     
  13. TuckBodi macrumors 6502

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    Jan 10, 2007
    #13
    The reason why I wanted to was because I had two sources of dolby digital coming in, my ATV and my HD OTA, and I only had one input left on my stereo. I wanted my TV to be the audio switcher. Don't see what the big deal is there. In the end I had to get a toslink A/B switch and hook that to the receiver and it works well.
     
  14. Rich1963 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 18, 2008
    #14
    Same here. I've got two HDMI sources and no HDMI inputs at all on the BOSE 3-2-1. So I run both HDMI's into the TV, and then the TV acts as the optical switcher. I may have to go the other route and get a toslink switcher. It's actually not that big a deal as for the most part AAC is fine for where and what I'm viewing. The theater I'm constructing on the other hand...

    I must say though, there is not a clunkier interface out there with more issues than HDMI. But then again, with the attendant HDCP, I think that's the point (as far as the MPAA is concerned).
     
  15. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #15
    When I first got my HDTV and my ATV (around the same time), I hooked up all my components via HDMI to the TV and then optical out from my TV to my receiver. For the life of me I couldn't figure out why I wasn't getting 5.1 surround from my DVDs. Then I realized that the TV wasn't passing through the 5.1 signal. Now I have to have two optical cables running to my receiver, one from the DVD and one from the ATV, even though HDMI carries both audio and video. Very annoying. But at least it works now.
     
  16. Rich1963 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    #16
    I guess my original quesiton, and since then, my point, is that when the handshake is performed between the AppleTV and the TV, the TV requests stereo, so instead of taking the AC-3 track and downscaling to stereo, it is sent the AAC. It's interesting. I had been operating under the impression until yesterday that my TV was getting an AC-3 track and altering it to stereo. Not that I'm very dissappointed in my TV, but it's kinda of a shame that a modern piece of AV gear touted by Samsung to be the latest and greatest in visual home theater skimps on the audio.

    Oh well. It is another tidbit learned. Thanks to every one who helped.
     

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