Hello - My Experience and Desires for ATV Home Theater Setup - 7.1 surround

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by meegwell, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. meegwell macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #1
    First post so first things first - hello all!

    I have been building my digital movie collection the past few months through both iTunes purchases and backing up my DVDs and Blu-Rays.

    I've spent a lot of time troubleshooting, researching, and adjusting my process. My main concerns have been with AUDIO issues for I am in the camp that says the audio in a movie is just as important as the video.

    My biggest wish right now is that the AppleTV would allow the option to just passthrough audio bitstream to allow the reciever to handle any decoding of licensed surround audio formats (Dolby, DTS, and their various versions). This is a "hands off" approach - much like blu-ray players and game consoles allow for - I mean, what modern A/V reciever doesn't have the capability to decode most every surround format???

    Here is my setup:

    iMac (late 2012 27") running iTunes as the media organizer. Hard wired networked to the Apple TV(3). HDMI out of ATV to A/V Reciever. HDMI to 60" Plasma. Full 7.1 speaker setup.

    I am ripping with an external USB3.0 LG blu-ray drive. I rip with MakeMKV and usually only take the primary title/audio. I convert with Handbrake and am currently fiddeling with sound options. Im currently including the AC3 passthrough and a Dolby Pro Logic II track in each .m4v file.

    It looks like, for now, I am limited to AC3(DD5.1) with this setup. With my A/V setup my personal preference is to listen to movies in DTS-MA 7.1, or second choice, Dolby TrueHD 7.1. Dolby/DTS EX/ES are next down the lsit. DD5.1 even furthur down :( This is my personal preference and what sounds best to me on my system. :D

    Obviously, the only way I'm going to get my preferred audio is directly from the BR Disc. Thats OK for now - I recently bought X-MEN Days of Futures Past which is a DTS-MA 7.1 mix and it just blew me away - having discrete rear surround in addition to regular surround is just awesome to me.

    Again, a bitstream passthough option from AppleTV would allow me to enjoy full 7.1 surround with my Mac/ATV home theater media setup...is it that hard? :mad:

    In summary, I like where my setup is going and it is working well. The clear bottleneck is AppleTV demanding to decode surround formats (and only outdated inferior formats at that) rather than allowing a bitstream passthrough for the A/V reciever to handle that job.
     
  2. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #2
    Many of us have long shared the desire for :apple:TV to get some enthusiastic attention on the audio side too. Dolby Digital was established in about 1991. There have been huge advancements in sound since then. I wish Apple would get with it.

    Along with those wishes, how about native 24p and 60fps too? 24p is how most of what you are watching (movies) are shot. As is :apple:TV is converting that to 30fps as it's one output option. 60fps has long been a format available in relatively cheap camcorders. Recent Apple iDevices can now shoot at higher than 30fps too. Why not support 60fps natively too?

    From there the list of good wishes for :apple:TV just expands out. Third party apps. App store. Normalized USB for local storage of our own media. Some kind of NAS support for network storage of our own media. Game controllers & games. Some want FaceTime/iSight. Some want siri voice controls. Some want a subscription model to try to compete with cable/satt tv bundles. And there's all kinds of little things such as resurrecting some good features from the first gen :apple:TV such as supporting the "Show" tag in the on-screen lists (a serialized set of movies like Star Wars or Harry Potter could appear as a single line item in the 2007 edition; now all of the movies get their own line in the long list).

    If you want what you want now, look elsewhere. Maybe Apple will eventually bring some serious focus to this little box. If <$99 blu ray players can be sold profitably while supporting many features not in this box (like those modern audio codecs), it seems Apple could make it go in their little box too.
     
  3. meegwell thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #3

    Yes I do have a list of other items, particularly interface and content but I was focusing on my Home Theater beef, which is topped by the audio issues. I wasn't aware of the fps issue also.

    Overall I like using the setup I have. The audio issue is such a big deal for me because it is the one issue that makes me want to grab the disc and put it into the blu-ray player rather than use my new "media server" system. The other issues I can wait for and will continue to rip my discs. The audio makes me hesitate a little bit.

    What Im going to do (I think) is to creat all my modern movies with the native passthrough of my choice....like the DTS-MA 7.1 that I ripped from XMEN this morning, then add the two others as well: 1) the best ATV can do (DD5.1) and 2.) highly compatible (DPLII).

    This morning was the first rip of a DTS-MA 7.1 I've done...I purposely did not add an AC3/DD5.1 just to see what ATV does with it...testing.:eek:
     
  4. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #4
    :apple:TV can do nothing with it- it has to have the audio as either mono/stereo and optionally Dolby Digital. I wish it would just pass through more modern codecs but it doesn't. I don't know for sure but I think Apple would have to license the codecs to be able to pass them through. Hopefully they'll do that someday.

    In the meantime, you might look to other hardware to see if you can get what you want. I haven't looked at Roku, WD, etc in a while but there are many players now and some might work.

    Of course, I too would rather it "just work" with :apple:TV but only Apple can make that happen.
     
  5. meegwell thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2014
    #5
    I figured as much but you never know what undisclosed features they slip in to updates.

    On other HW choices, my house is loaded with Apple TVs and air base stations....my basement HT is the only one I care about this audio issue for usage purposes. I definitely want to keep the consistent user experience throughout the house.
     
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #6
    OK, then you have no choice. Until Apple decides to step up it's :apple:TV game, there's no solution that will fit your situation.
     

Share This Page