Multiple Soundtrack Issues With AppleTV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by MagnusVonMagnum, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #1
    I've been encoding various concert DVDs and now I'm encoding the British comedy show Red Dwarf. Along the way, I've noticed various issues with having multiple soundtracks and all of them are with AppleTV. That is to say that if I encode 2, 3 or even 4 soundtracks to a program, I can easily select any of the soundtracks in iTunes itself. But on AppleTV, there are issues.

    I've already read that you cannot select a different audio track if you only include say a stereo and a 5.1 Dolby Digital. It will only play the Dolby Digital unless you supposedly disable AC3 out. I'm not so sure about the latter (I got no output when I disabled it), but I can say I get no audio selection list with just two. For concert discs, I WANT to be able to access a stereo mix (mainly for my upstairs system, which is not surround). So I encoded two stereo tracks and a 5.1 track. This seems to work OK on AppleTV. I can access the audio menu by holding the select button and then selecting "English" for 5.1 or "English (Stereo) for the stereo tracks. I note that I see BOTH stereo tracks in the list, but when I select one, it checks BOTH of them and I don't care which one it's actually playing.

    The problem occurs when there are MORE than two soundtracks OR when both are 2.0 stereo tracks instead of a Dolby Digital track. For example, Season 1 of Red Dwarf contains 3 soundtracks. There are two commentary tracks and the regular audio. They are all 2 channel stereo AC3. So following the above example to ensure I can select the regular stereo track and don't get stuck listening to commentary tracks, I encode the main track twice and then add the two commentary tracks in Handbrake. In iTunes, things are as expected. I see all 4 tracks and I can access any of them directly from the playback audio dropdown option. On AppleTV, however, it shows all 4 tracks as "checked". They all just say "English (stereo)" and it doesn't matter which one I click on, it just plays the regular main track (not sure which one of the two copies). I cannot access any commentary tracks because they're all selected/checked and it does nothing to click on any of them.

    What gives here? Is AppleTV incapable of selecting different audio tracks unless it's just between Stereo and AC3? Is this a bug I should be reporting to Apple? (not that I believe they'd care since it doesn't involve them being able to sell me something). Would it help if I encoded them as something else like Dolby or would that just show up as stereo also and do the same thing?

    I've also noticed that Handbrake cannot encode some LPCM tracks (from what I read it cannot handle 24-bit ones and there's no way to know if you have 24-bit until you find that your stereo tracks are pure static). This makes the idea of encoding my entire DVD library to AppleTV seem impractical since between that issue and the inability to properly select audio tracks, the experience comes up a bit short, IMO.

    I've also noticed artwork issues with movies and tv shows. If I add an artwork file to a movie or tv show, it absolutely will NOT show up on AppleTV. It will show the so-called "poster frame" instead (frame taken from the actual content). Yet SOME of my material DOES show the artwork. I don't know about all cases, but I did discover if I select another video track at the SAME TIME as the one I'm trying to add art to and then use the artwork box for multiple items to add it (I can then remove it from the single track it doesn't belong to), then the artwork *WILL* appear on AppleTV every time. This seems like yet another odd glaring bug for AppleTV that I sincerely doubt Apple will have any interest in fixing but at least I found a way around it.
     
  2. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #2
    Question regarding your art work? How are you doing it? Are you using iTunes to pull the art work for you? Are you using some other program to do the taggin ie MetaX. What I have found if I have a file already loaded up in iTunes and then use MetaX on that file. I will have to click on it within iTunes or restart iTunes to get the artwork to show up. iTunes doesn't automatically update the art work for you unless you tell it do so. A least that has been my expeirence with it. Same goes for music.
     
  3. kiranmk2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #3
    At the moment ATV sees the audio track description, but not the content, so it see's all your "English (Stereo)" tracks as the same thing and explains why they are all ticked. Assuming you are encoding with Handbrake, you can give your tracks alternate names. Using the GUI, you need to generate a query (ie the command line that is fed to Handbrake when you click encode) and add the following:

    -A Name1,Name2,Name3

    ie

    -A AC3,Stereo,Commentary

    Now on ATV the tracks will appear as

    English (AC3)
    English (Stereo)
    English (Commentary)

    and will play properly. Haev a play around by encoding single chapter so save time. Name1 = first audio track selected in handbrake, name2 = second audio track etc. Also make sure there are no spaces after the commas. I think you can have multiple words by using "".
     
  4. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #4
    I've been manually adding the artwork for movies and music videos using iTunes. If I just add it for a single movie/video, it will not show up in AppleTV (quitting and restarting iTunes didn't seem to help). But if I add it to TWO videos at once (different requestor in iTunes for artwork for multiple items) then it will show up immediately on AppleTV (and I can delete the 2nd one that doesn't actually apply and it reverts back to the poster frame).

    Kiranmk2, thanks for the info about the separate audio tracks. Trying to find information on the Handbrake site is difficult at best and the moderator guy there doesn't like questions or to be bothered and his documentation is very poor (like many programmers). I had to search around quite a bit to find out why I was getting static on SOME LPCM tracks and the guy got miffed when someone else asked him even though the links he posted were dead.

    Unfortunately, I've already encoded half the Red Dwarf discs already. Even with a brand new MBP and using my Windows computer as well, these things take a long time to encode so it's a pain in the butt to make changes later. Too bad you can't edit the finished files for things like that and chapter names. I just want to get the things converted and worry about labeling later (since I'm often popping in discs before I got to work etc.), but it's not an option).
     
  5. kiranmk2 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #5
    the -A command was added as a patch and has yet to make it to the guis as a text entry.

    If you're running OSX, there is a program called Muxo that was originally intended to let you add soft-subtitles but apparently now lets you change the description of audio tracks. Make sure you backup your file though cos it sometimes renders the file unplayable (I think this was just for adding subtitles though). This should let you change the audio track descriptions on your already encoded files.
     
  6. alFR macrumors 68020

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    Aug 10, 2006
    #6
    To be fair, the Handbrake devs are providing a great app that takes a considerable amount of effort to develop and maintain for free. I can understand why they don't spend too much time on the documentation. ;)

    You can change chapter titles, artwork etc. after encoding using MetaX. Excuse me if I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, but the workflow I've found best to ease the pain of multiple encodes is:

    Rip a load of DVDs to hard disc while I'm around to swap discs etc. I use Fairmount and DVD2OneX, but any ripper will do.
    Queue a load of encodes up in Handbrake.
    Let computer churn away for a while doing the encodes (overnight, while at work etc.).
    Rip more DVDs and add encodes to Handbrake queue whenever I get time.
    Encode resulting files with MetaX whenever I get time.
    Delete DVD rips when encodes are done.

    You can automate some of this with scripts (see stickies in this forum) but to be honest I've not bothered: it's not too labour-intensive if you do the above. For me this is a better workflow than encoding straight from disc (whch it sounds like you're doing) as it reduces wear on my DVD drive and allows me to queue multiple encodes.
     
  7. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #7
    I've downloaded MetaX and Mugo and I'll check them out soon, but meanwhile, I tried the -A AudioName thing and it worked great with the Windows version of Handbrake, but it didn't seem to do a thing with the OS X version. The GUI looks different there. OS X just shows a window with the query parameters and adding it to the end didn't do a thing. The Windows version shows a "Generate Query" button and a "Clear" button and I just added the -A thing to the end while encoding Pink Floyd's The Wall movie and they showed up just as I typed them. Is there a special way they need to be entered in the OS X Handbrake?

    I've also got the Linux version of Handbrake for my Mandriva setup, but for some reason, Linux doesn't appear to like my Light On brand DVD-RW drive and the OS trips all over it and won't complete anything so that's out (it now pretty much looks the same as the OS X version give or take a few little tiny things) whereas the Windows version appears to be a front-end for the CLI program and cannot generate picture previews (which helps determine settings like interlace or what track is which without having to open a DVD player, let alone something even more important like manually being able to crop the letterboxing out of a non-anamorphic DVD that won't crop properly on automatic (e.g. My Tori Amos Fade To Red DVDs wouldn't crop her letterboxed videos without manual intervention). The Windows version won't decrypt either, even if you have VLC installed (whereas the OS X one will with VLC and the Linux one will with DeCSS libs). I'm not sure why the Windows version is the 2nd cousin like that. I'm using both computers to speed up encoding. Interestingly, the AMD 5600+ desktop takes about the same time as the MBP 2.4GHz Core2Duo. I would have thought Core2Duo to be much faster, but maybe it's because it's the laptop CPU instead of the desktop variation?
     
  8. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #8
    The HB devs are primarily Mac guys I think, so windows development probably takes a back seat. To get around the decryption issue, rip the DVDs first: AnyDVD HD Decrypter works well for me on my Windows box (and is free). That also lets you queue multiple encodes from the rips rather than having one disc at a time in the drive.
     
  9. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #9
    I've been doing that, but it seems like DVD Decrypter is a bit slow. But then maybe that's why the OS X version on a supposedly faster Core2Duo takes as long as this AMD 5600+ to encode since it has to decrypt as it goes?

    Any idea why the command line -A label thing would fail on the OS X version? I don't see a generate query line on it under advanced like on the Windows version and when I add -A to the end of the command line I see there it disappears when I select the next title whereas it stays put on the Windows version. And it doesn't appear to do anything on the OS X version whereas I got proper audio labeling on the Windows version.

    About how long are your movie rips typically? I've been thinking of buying a larger set of hard drives and encode all my 300+ DVD movies for easy access both upstairs and down (since I have two AppleTV units). I currently have two 500GB Sata drives internal to my upgraded PowerMac, but clearly I'd need a lot more storage to hold over 300 movies. I was originally thinking of replacing the two 500GB drives with two 1TB drives, but given many of these rips are well over 2GB each at default ATV settings (deinterlace added plus all soundtracks encoded), I'm thinking even two 1TB drives won't be enough given I only have 110GB free on the two 500GB drives with all my music and videos encoded thus far (plus Mac software and photos, etc.) I figure I can either add a 2nd Sata card and two 1TB drives (giving me 1.5TB total internal (2nd drive is for backup), although I might have to double tape the drives to secure them since I don't have a 2nd mounting plate) or I could get the Seagate 1.5TB drives and replace the 500 drives, but I've heard the Seagates have a high failure rate or I could add an external dual 1TB drive with Firewire for a big higher cost. Or I could stop being so lazy and just get up and put my DVD in the player instead of wanting to just click my way through all my media.... :D
     
  10. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #10
    Yep, cause the WinGui is just a HB CLI wrapper that passes a cmd line string to the handbrake cli. The macgui is a true gui that interfaces directly with libhb. Two totally different animals. The HandBrake cli is modded to allow alternate audio track names, the macgui is not for interface reasons and since its sort of a corner case as it really only works on the atv.

    There is a patch floating around on the hb dev forum that allows alternate audio track names in the macgui but as I said, it was considered overall a niche usage and was kept from the release due to limited applicablility given the real estate it took up.

    Also, the wingui cannot utilize vlc's libdvdcss due a a compilation problem when its compiled in cygwin.

    FYI: the text field in the advanced panel on the macgui is only for passing advanced options to the x264 encoder, so your other entries are ignored (or likely screwing up the other x264 options).
     
  11. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #11
    With HB 0.9.3's Apple TV preset, detelecine and decomb (default) enabled and a single soundtrack (plus a single subtitle track for foreign-language films) my encodes are (from memory, I'd need to look tonight to be certain) coming out at 1-1.3Gb each. I have had a couple up to 2Gb, but they were old films like Seven Samurai which are quite grainy (and long!), which I understand forces a higher bitrate from the CQ encoding algorithm. If all your encodes are coming out at 2Gb+, I'm not sure what's happening. Did you definitely update the presets after upgrading to 0.9.3? If not you might be still using the old ATV one.
     
  12. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #12
    Pink Floyd's The Wall takes up 1.4GB here with 3 soundtracks. It's 1.5 hours long, approximately. I'm using the new presets. It's hard to give other movie examples since other than The Wall and the free download of The Dark Knight (from the DVD code included with the DVD), I've only encoded home movies, music videos, concerts and tv shows thus far. Concerts are 30fps instead of 24fps so they might be a bit longer, but otherwise, I have no idea.

    It's a shame the Mac version doesn't have the capability to fully utilize AppleTV, which is the only reason I'm encoding discs in the first place. I'll have to look for that patch, I suppose. It'd be nice if the Windows GUI had a column built-in for it instead of manually having to add it each time since it's a major feature, IMO (I disagree it's unimportant; even if you just use iTunes, you might STILL want a label for the additional audio tracks; otherwise they just say things like "stereo", which isn't helpful at all.)

    I've also learned today that if you DO use the generate query option in Windows, you MUST regenerate a new one for each new filename you create (e.g. for each tv show on a DVD, I have to regenerate and re-add the code or it will simply pass on all the former parameters including the filename (i.e. red dwarf tv shows were all being parsed to TheWall.m4v and that wasted a day of encoding as I didn't notice it in the encode cue and if you don't use Generate Query it's automatic. When it said to regenerate it for a GUI change, I didn't think that included file names, but it includes EVERYTHING. It seems like it could be made a bit more smart here to automatically add changes you make but update the GUI options without deleting your changes. In short, it's a pain in the butt to add the track labeling for a load of tv shows when the GUI could be made to add/remember the previous settings. I doubt ease of use is important to the developers, though given the attitude expressed above about wasting 'real estate' for a feature that should be standard. With several terrabytes of overall storage and three computers in my den, real estate is not an issue for me or most people these days with modern hard drive sizes. Even if the program took up a gigabyte of space, it wouldn't matter. Functionality is worth it. Hard Drive space and ram is cheap by comparison.
     
  13. dynaflash macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2003
    #13
    Er, by real estate I meant in the interface itself.
    Wow, you seem a bit rankled with HB. Maybe the next release will live up to your standards. Anything is possible. Or maybe you would like your money back. ;)
     
  14. ScootPatoot macrumors regular

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    May 16, 2008
    #14
    LOL :D
    Classic
     
  15. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

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    Jun 18, 2007
    #15
    I just get miffed when I have to redo several days of encoding because something doesn't work. If there's a better alternative that costs money, I'd consider it if it has a considerably better interface.
     
  16. dynaflash macrumors 68020

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    Mar 27, 2003
    #16
    Oh, it works just as intended. Seems you tried to get it to do what it wasn't intended to do.
     
  17. NightStorm macrumors 68000

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    Location:
    Whitehouse, OH
    #17
    I honestly don't know why people have problems with Handbrake. I've encoded a couple hundred videos since starting to work on the Universal preset and have yet to have a problem. Maybe it's my sources, but HB has worked as expected everytime. Find the settings you want to use, create a preset (if it isn't one of the built-in ones), and hit the encode button.

    Better interface??? Maybe you should wait for the new "pretty" interface dynaflash has been working on... :eek:
     
  18. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #18
    Is that a nice way of saying it's perfect for what YOU want and you are the only one that matters? Like I said, I'd be more than willing to BUY an encoder that can quickly and efficiently encode my DVDs for AppleTV without all the hassle of having to do things like manually set the audio track settings for EACH AND EVERY "TITLE" on a DVD (e.g. a disc of tv shows has multiple titles; each time I select the next episode to encode; the previous audio settings reset back to defaults and the presets DO NOT save the audio settings). So it's a bit of a hassle to encode a DVD of TV shows. Oh...it wasn't INTENDED for TV Show DVDs? Oh my bad. Sorry I brought it up since some of you would rather talk down to me than admit Handbrake could be improved. I got it for free? That wasn't my choice. Give me one that saves me time and headaches and I'll gladly pay for it.


    I don't need pretty. Functional would be just fine. For instance, it would be nice if when I select the next title on a disc of TV shows if it would remember the settings from the previous title (e.g. such as the audio tracks as mentioned above) so I don't have to set them for dozens of episodes each time. Presets don't remember those things. Offering a basic labeling option for multiple soundtracks for AppleTV seems like it would be helpful if that's what AppleTV needs to operate correctly and Handbrake is going to supposedly offer AppleTV support. Having the author tell me it wasn't INTENDED to do that doesn't make me feel any better. It just makes me look for something else to do the job.

    Being able to figure out what titles need de-interlace versus de-telecine, etc. without having to load up another player and step through frames one at a time might be nice as well (or even offer a way to step through individual frames from within Handbrake instead of just skipping across the disc which does nothing to help differentiate telecine from interlace so you need a 2nd program). But my fault; it wasn't INTENDED to do that so it's perfectly fine as it is and doesn't need improvement.

    Generally speaking, if you are only encoding movies, you probably don't have to mess around with the settings much. The default probably works fine. But if you are encoding things like live concerts, DVDs full of music videos and television shows (the things I've been encoding since they are the ones that would be most useful to have quick random access to on AppleTV), it's another story. Some letterboxed (non-anamorphic) music videos don't auto-crop properly, for example. It would be near impossible to get a widescreen crop on the Windows version. On the Mac version, you can at least manually crop it, but this is after you find out that auto-crop failed. A preview output frame for the exact title I'm encoding would be helpful here. The fact you cannot select which part of the disc to show in the "Picture preview" area can make this difficult since sometimes a frame from a given music video may not be included in the sampling and so you have to start playing around with the crop settings making a guess to the locations of the bars relative to what you can see as an example. These are all things I had to do to extract my music video DVDs so they fill my 93" screen properly.

    Sorry if I sound like an idiot when using a program I didn't write. I'm sure all those settings are very obvious when you are the author. I've made over 30 free pinball games (VPM Visual Pinball) for the PC with plenty of option menus and I try to be patient with users that don't understand how to set things up, not tell them they're stupid or trying to do something that wasn't intended.
     
  19. bucksaddle macrumors 6502

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    Dec 4, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    Mac HandBrake remembers the audio tracks just fine when going to the next title on a TV Show DVD. I have a slightly modified Apple TV preset - set as default - and the tracks are set correctly each time. Believe me i've done plenty of TV encodes.

    Yes, they do - see above

    Well - as a developer (aren't they all when something doesn't work for them :rolleyes:) why don't you head on over to the HandBrake guys and offer some assistance. It is open source after all and I'm sure their eagerly awaiting your patches to fix all your problems.
     
  20. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    #20
    What I do for TV shows is:

    Select the DVD/ripped DVD folder in Handbrake
    Let it scan the titles
    Select the first episode from the title list
    Set up my encoding parameters (selet the preset etc.) and the saved file name
    Click "add to queue"
    Select the second episode from the title list
    Change saved file name
    Click "add to queue"
    Repeat until all episodes are queued
    Click Start

    It seems to remember all the settings (even changes I've made after selecting the preset) between episode selections for me if I do this, try it and let us know how you get on.

    re: detelecine and deinterlace, I pretty much leave detelecine and decomb (default) on for all my encodes and it seems to work fine. That I think is the experience of others (and was based on the advice of one of the preset devs, NightStorm). As far as I know neither of those algorithms will do anything to your video unless they are needed, in which case they kick in and do their thing. I'm sure someone more knowledgable will put me right if I'm talking rubbish there. :)

    re: the cropping, if each music video is a separate title on the disc can't you just preview each of them in the "picture settings" dropdown pane in HB and set the crop accordingly?

    Finally, I don't think anyone ever claimed HB was the be all and end all of video encoding. For most things it's great and I'm very grateful I've got it, but I think that we all have to accept that one tool isn't necessarily right for every job.
     
  21. NightStorm macrumors 68000

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    Whitehouse, OH
    #21
    Looks like others have covered pretty much everything I was going to so I won't repeat it. I will add one more piece of information: the live preview functionality that dynaflash has implemented in the latest SVN code will allow you to automatically perform and view a test encode with the options that you've selected so you can make sure everything is the way you want before pressing the encode button. That'll be in the next version, and it works amazing well.

    That said, detelecine + decomb 99% of the time will take care of the pictures issues for you anyways. I really do see decomb becoming defaulted on in the future, once the developer is convinced it does no evil... ;)
     
  22. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #22
    Some DVDs put things like music videos on different chapters. Others use different titles. If it uses chapters, Handbrake will remember the audio settings between chapters. It will not remember my settings when I change titles, though, despite some of the claims above. I tried it as suggested by alFR and it still resets to one audio track when I select the next title track. Preview on the Mac works fine for checking out titles, but for discs that encode everything in chapters (i.e. one huge title) such as music video or concert discs, the preview might not show every song. Some DVDs such as Tori Amos' "Fade To Red" video collection (across 2 DVDs) have letterboxed content and non-letterboxed content and for some like the Tori Amos DVD, the auto settings don't recognize the letterboxing whereas on a disc like Britney Spears' "My Prerogative" it does recognize and automatically crop the letterboxed chapters.

    I didn't realize the decomb feature was a superior deinterlace (I think I read the docs for an older version some time ago). I have been a bit disappointed by deinterlace in some regards on video (non-film) material so I'll give it a try.

    I've been also looking at the Elgato Turbo .264 device. It sounded like it would give me another rendering machine (i.e. my 1.8GHz PowerMac is about useless for encoding), but from what I've been reading on their forums, it's got too many software issues and clearly it doesn't work with Handbrake.

    BTW, Muxo worked great for relabeling audio tracks on previously encoded files that were causing AppleTV headaches. Thanks for the heads up on that. I just hope I don't have to reencode everything I've done all over again with the decomb setting. I'm going to do a test now on a music video to compare output to deinterlace.
     
  23. NightStorm macrumors 68000

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    Jan 26, 2006
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    Whitehouse, OH
    #23
    I'd call the decomb filter "selective deinterlacing" rather than "superior deinterlacing".
     
  24. MagnusVonMagnum thread starter macrumors 601

    MagnusVonMagnum

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    #24
    Well, whatever you want to call it, a test using Britney Spears video "Everytime" produced MUCH better visual results on AppleTV (no shimmery movement) using Decomb instead of "Slower" Deinterlace. Sadly, this means I'm going to need to reencode my entire video library thus far if I want it all to look nicer.

    I see why I didn't try it before, though. Both it and Detelecine show no difference in the Mac Picture Preview pane whereas you can visually see the difference when you select Deinterlace options. This lead me to believe it wouldn't help. Really, I think the Decomb/Detelecine combo should be the default setting for AppleTV.
     
  25. NightStorm macrumors 68000

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    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    Whitehouse, OH
    #25
    The new live preview will allow you to see the benefits of these options... they look at multiple frames in order to determine what needs to be done; this is obviously not possible with static preview images.

    It is my opinion that they will eventually default to on, as soon as the developer is satisified that they will not cause issues.
     

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