ATV4: Nearly everything on iTunes play in stereo

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Morac, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. Morac, Feb 18, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2017

    Morac macrumors 65816


    Dec 30, 2009
    I'm finding that almost every movie or TV show on iTunes plays in stereo as opposed to 5.1 audio on my Apple TV 4. I know 5.1 audio works since Netflix and HBOGo both play 5.1 audio and I managed to find one movie in iTunes (Guardians of the Galaxy) that plays 7.1 audio. Every other movie I've tried plays stereo (my receiver reports PCM). These aren't no name films either. I tried Star Wars The Force Unleashed, Zootopia, Jurassic World and Avengers. All those movies only have one audio track, which is stereo.

    I've tried changing the audio out setting from best quality to Dolby digital, but that just changes the output for from multiple channel PCM to Dolby for things that already output 5.1.

    I did notice that playing the preview for a movie from search plays in 5.1 audio, but opening it in iTunes and playing the preview there plays stereo. Something is definitely wrong.

    Do most iTunes movies just lack 5.1 audio? That can't be correct can it?


    I found someone having the same exact problem who posted on the Apple forums today. I wonder if this is an iTunes issue.

    Movies App Won't Properly Play 5.1 Surround Sou... | Official Apple Support Communities

    It's odd since all previews play 5.1 through search, but most do not in the movies app. As such I would expect playing movies in the TV app to output 5.1 audio, but they output stereo. Here's movies I've tested:

    1. Avengers - stereo
    2. Zootopia - stereo
    3. Guardians of the Galaxy - 7.1 audio
    4. Jaws - stereo
    5. Jurassic World - stereo
    6. Star Wars The Force Awakens - stereo
    7. Wreck-it Ralph - 7.1 audio
    8. Captain America Civil War - stereo

    Anyone else having problems?
  2. Morac thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 30, 2009
  3. RollTide1017 macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2009
    Montgomery, AL
    I'm having the exact same problem and have been banging my head against the wall all day going through Apple TV settings, AVR settings and TV settings. I own all the movies you listed and just tried them all and got the exact same results.

    Others I've tried and only get stereo audio are

    The BFG
    Big Hero 6
    Doctor Strange
    Star Trek II
    Star Trek
    Star Trek Into Darkness
    Star Trek Beyond
    Pete's Dragon 2016
    Deepwater Horizon
    X-Men Apocalypse

    The only other ones I have found so far that are working correctly are Alien, Captain America TWS, ET. I also noticed that there is only one language option for all the movies only playing in stereo, even when there should be French or Spanish options. That leads me to think it is a problem on Apple's end. Also, I just bought Doctor Strange yesterday and it worked correctly last night, played 7.1 without a problem. Same thing with Arrival which I bought a few days ago.

    Things like this make me rethink my decision to buy few Blu-rays in favor of digital.
  4. RollTide1017 macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2009
    Montgomery, AL
    FYI, just read a solution over at AVSForum.

    Turning off quick start fixes the problem. I don't know why this has started happening now even though I've never messed with this setting, maybe they changed something with how quick start works. Anyway, turn it off and you get 7.1/5.1 back on everything. Just tested it and it worked for Doctor Strange.

    Settings-Apps-iTunes Movies and TV Shows

    Even with it off, Doctor Strange started playing within a few seconds. YMMV depending on your internet speed. I have 60mbps down.
  5. cyclocommuter macrumors member


    Aug 27, 2016
    I wonder if this was the problem with Orphan Black TV series that I got off iTunes... It only played in stereo.
  6. Morac thread starter macrumors 65816


    Dec 30, 2009
    This is also a problem if you are looking for foreign language audio tracks as they are missing if quick start is enabled. Reports are this started a few days ago.
  7. davidoloan, Nov 10, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017

    davidoloan Suspended

    Apr 28, 2009
    I know this is old, but if any of you are still having the problem it may be your TV settings.

    I have my TV set to output digital stereo to my DAC because I'm using a stereo amplifier.

    The DAC therefore never receives surround sound audio, although the TV does receive surround as well as stereo from the Apple TV.

    if you are connecting directly to Receiver's and you are working with your receiver settings then thats not the problem, but if you are connecting your Apple TV to your TV first then the problem may lie there.

    I can achieve the reverse of the problem by setting my TV to output surround to my DAC which is connected to a Stereo amp.

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6 February 18, 2017