Rip DVDs for AppleTV, but retain 5.1 track?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sadcaper, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. sadcaper macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Is there a way to rip your DVDs for AppleTV, but retain the DD/DTS 5.1 audio track as well? I'm sure AppleTV will support passthrough for this at some point, so I would love to have it when that's available. So, I don't want to lose that audio track.

    Will I have to rip twice???? That would be time consuming. Any options???
  2. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    As far as I know, no... I've looked into doing this a bit and there's no good answer. Handbrake does a good job with DPLII, but it's not "true 5.1"... the surround quality is pretty good, acceptable at least, but it lacks a sub channel and it shows. :(

    That said, it's the best option out there at the moment.
  3. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    No, you cannot get 5.1 sound on your Apple TV in its stock configuration. The best you can get is 5 channel Dolby Pro Logic II. Until Apple provides a codec for 5.1 sound (e.g., license from Dolby Labs) it probably won't happen because none of the audio manufacturers support discrete 6-channel sound (that I'm aware of). My Onkyo 5.1 receiver can decode the DLPII signal, thus I have 5-channel surround on my Apple TV.
  4. kekule macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2007
    Is the "6 channel discrete" option offered by Handbrake of any benifit over DPLII? Considering ATV only outputs a L/R channel does it make any difference or will it make any difference if ATV ever gets an 6 channel upgrade?
  5. sadcaper thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Yeah, I was aware that ATV doesn't currently support DD 5.1, but I'm sure they eventually will...why else have optical out? That wouldn't make sense.

    You can't rip DVDs from HB and retaing the DD 5.1 track? Hmmmm...that's a bummer. I realize I couldn't play it on ATV, but it would be nice to have as a backup so when it is supported, I could make the switch and have digital sound!

  6. miikka macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2007
    I am sorry that most likely I understood you incorrectly. But my Harman Kardon 5.1 receiver will automatically switch to DTS or DD5.1 mode everytime my Apple TV is sending such signal. So, in my opinion it is just a problem that current video formats (QuickTime) do not support including DTS or DD5.1.

    Sync these to your Apple TV and see what your receiver will do:
  7. sadcaper thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Yeah, my receiver/processor (Anthem AVM-20) supports DTS and DD. The issue is getting the file encoded so AppleTV passes it that way. I saw a way to do it in this forum, but it was very labor intensive and involved many different applications on both the PC and Mac, but it did result in a DD track that ATV would pass through. It would be sweet if someone smarter than me would take all those things necessary and put them into one application. Now that would be nice!

    So I guess it's not ATVs fault, but Quicktimes. Either way, it would be nice to have DD on your ripped movies!! That's my ultimate goal, but it seems pretty painful at the moment.
  8. Diode macrumors 68020


    Apr 15, 2004
    Washington DC

    You are correct it is a problem with quicktime. 3rd party hacks for the ATV enable true Ac3 5.1 by by-passing the audio decode in quicktime and allow the receiver to handle it. However that is not a good solution as it requires knowledge on the user end.
  9. fabrizio macrumors newbie

    Jan 28, 2005
    Is there any alternative product on the market that can read AC3 with DD inside? Just to know... thanks.
  10. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yes, and we're all hopeful you are correct. Conceivably, you could get a software codec on the ATV that would allow you to play back DVD VOB files encoded with AC3/DTS 5.1 surround simply by using pass-through, as is currently done with the other Macs that have optical ports. I have my Mini set up this way and my Onkyo receiver decodes the 5.1 just fine. But that's something Apple will have to do and I think it's unlikely to occur because we're not supposed to be ripping our DVDs. :)

    Handbrake can only do transcoding to DPLII at best, and even then there is crosstalk between channels. Until someone figures out how to get the 5.1 transcoded into a format QuickTime can handle and receivers can decode, we will be out of luck.
  11. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Yes, I know, but at this time I am unaware of any videos from the studios that contain their audio info in 5.1 that QT can handle. It's not that it's not possible, it's just that no one is selling it and the Handbrake group is indicating that it likely will not come anytime soon. After all, it's not a limitation of the ATV since it has an audio chip capable of decoding 6-channel sound.
  12. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Not to mention that you have to pull the hard drive from your ATV and NOT upgrade to 1.1 software.
  13. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    At this point, I rip to 5.1 discrete AAC. iTunes can (now) handle the files just fine with metatags, and ATV can output a passable 2.1 matrix... Anything Apple provides in the future to output 5.1 will likely be a Dolby Live mix or the like from discrete 5.1 AAC anyways.
  14. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    To be fair to Handbrake, I'm pretty sure it will passthrough the raw AC3 file to a container that supports it, but .mp4/.mov don't, and since that's all the ATV will play, the best you can do with Handbrake targeting the ATV is DPLII.

    Which isn't all that bad - it's just the lack of a discrete sub channel that sounds overly bad, imo. The surround separation is pretty decent. Since my current setup is tuned for "true 5.1" coming in optically I think that I can probably rebalance/reconfigure my receiver to do a better job with DPLII and "creating" a sub channel from low frequency data in the other channels.
  15. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    I don't really understand any of the technical details being thrown around, but this thread is thoroughly depressing.

    I just returned from vacation with the idea of posting a similar thread: I know it doesn't do it now, but how to I rip for the future, etc.

    I was all set to go out and buy 4 X 1 TB hard drives and get to work ripping.

    Virtually every movie made in the past 10 years has some flavor of surround sound on it. How could this possibly not be addressed? Especially with the rumored iTunes video rental service coming up.
  16. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    Just found this on another thread:

    Any thoughts? Does Handbrake's PS3 setting really retain the 5.1 track? Is the file it creates AppleTV compatible? I realize it won't play in 5.1 on AppleTV. I too am just trying to find a way to rip for the future.
  17. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    With 4TB of space why not just store the DVD image? :p You'll have to get a front end player that will handle it, but it sounds like you're willing to throw some serious cash into this (4x1tb drives is over $1200) so getting a front end that will play DVD images shouldn't be out of your reach...

    That said, DPLII is surround sound, it's just not GREAT surround. By this I mean that with a correctly encoded DPLII track you can hear distinct sound come out of five separate speakers. I'm not at home, but I have a small disc image file that contains an AC3 audio track announcing each speaker location on it's distinct channel; left front, center, right rear, sub, etc. When I use handbrake to encode that into a .m4v movie file with a DPLII track I can still hear each distinct channel when I play it back - except the sub, HB's DPL implementation ignores LFE channels (for a good reason). There's a small amount of "crossover" into other channels with DPLII that you don't get with the original AC3 track, but the sound very clearly comes from the direction you expect it to. (Hope all that made sense... I'd send you a link to this test file, but I'm not at home today, so I can't post it anywhere for you).

    No idea, but the command line string for the PS3

    ./HandBrakeCLI -i DVD -o ~/Movies/movie.mp4  -e x264 -b 2500 -B 160 -R 48 -E faac -f mp4 -x level=41:subme=5:me=umh -m -p
    looks to me like it's a DPLII track. You're going to get a lot of difference in the sound quality from these AAC DPLII tracks depending on how you have stuff hooked up to your receiver. My 360 connected via TOSLink to my DPLII compatible Onkyo receiver sounds pretty good. I think the 360 is just decompressing the AAC file into PCM audio and shooting it over digitally that way. You CAN get surround out of DPLII with just stereo analog RCA connections to your receiver, but I'm sure there's a loss of quality there that could effect the surround decoding. I'm not an audio engineer though. In fact I'm pretty deaf. :p

    My point is that the PS3 preset, from all I can tell, looks like the normal 160kbps AAC DPLII encode that HB uses and any difference in the way that sounds played back on a PS3 and a 360 (and an AppleTV for that matter) is most likely due to how it's connected to the audio receiver.
  18. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    I'm actually thinking 2TB of storage and 2 TB of backup.

    Other options are starting to look better and better for movies. I was planning to get an Xbox 360 anyway. Maybe I should stick with :apple:TV for music, photos and iTunes purchases, and consider the 360 for movies. I sure would like to see :apple:TV handle all of it, though.

    The pisser about doing this through a 360 is that I want the same content (music and movies) in 3 rooms. Buying 2 more :apple:TVs is one thing. Buying 2 more :apple:TVs and 3 Xboxes is a different animal!

    I don't mind some crossover. It's the loss of the sub channel that kills me, after dropping all that money on a Klipsch reference series 12" sub.
  19. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    Well, the 360 won't do 5.1 either unless you use WMV. I considered that briefly, but decided I didn't want to get locked into MS products/formats. H264 is pretty universal, so I suspect lots of hardware in the future will play it back well.

    If you want back up, whynot do a RAID 5 and get 3tb of storage out of your 4tb array, and still have backup protection against a single drive failure (which is all a mirrored setup would give you?)

    As far as the loss of the sub channel, here's somethings to consider (it annoys me as well, btw)... first, if you rip the DD soundtrack from the original DVD (which most have, btw) you should retain some LFE - it's a professionally mastered DPLII track designed for that express purpose. The AC3 to DPLII in HB is nice, but a bit of a kludge. Second, I think that you could probably configure your system to emulate the sub channel from the low frequency info in the other channels... it wouldn't be perfect, but it would work. I'm playing with mine, but haven't got very far as I've been really busy with work, selling my old Mac for a new one, and a pregnant wife. I think though that it'll be workable.

    I'm also trying to figure out a way that I can encode two audio tracks into my handbrake files. I think it's possible, but I'm just not sure how, and I'm pretty sure it will take a HB patch at the very least. I'm also not sure if I can make one of them a non-AAC track. Ideally, ripped movies would have a DPLII AAV track as the main audio (which would assure compatibility) and a second (normally disabled/ignored?) AC3 track. That way you could make files that work now and work in the largest array of playback devices, but also have easy future compatibilty for when/if a device starts supporting AC3 passthrough. I'm pretty sure this is doable after the fact, but the time sync would be difficult and it would be a PITA doing it as a second task for each movie. All in all, it's just more than I have time for (see above) atm.

    Still, with 2-4TB of storage (and $1200 into the project already) seems like you have better options. One thing would be doing an un-re-compressed MPEG2 rip of the DVDs with the AC3 audio track and using Window XP MCE (or Vista Home Ultimate) to stream them to a 360 acting as a MCExtender. The 360 does support MPEG2 w/ AC3 - about 1/3 of the way down. An average movie, sans the extra features, menus, extra languages, directors commentary (all of which you lose with HB and MP4 anyways) is likely about 4-6gb without applying any transcoding. So that's ~350 movies on the low end (2tb w/ full back up and 6gb movies) to ~1000 movies on the high end (4tb no back up, 4gb movies), and ~600 movies with a reasonable estimate (5gb average movie, 3tb RAID5 with parity bit backup).

    If I had $1200-1600 to throw at something like this, I'd snag a crappy old PC desktop, fill it up with a bunch of huge HDDs and a hardware RAID controller, a DVD-RW, XP MCE, and I'd rip the DVDs that way using a 360 for the front end. As it is, $300 for a couple 500gb FW drives and $15 for a generic 360 remote is more than I can really afford for this sort of project (after factoring in I'm buying a new iMac at the same time), so it is what it is for me... :p

    Man, I'm bored today, this is m 3rf or 4th HUGE post that no one will read (because they're too long :))
  20. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    LOL. I read it. Every word of it. I understood about half of it, but I did read it. :)

    I think I'm in over my head and need to do a lot more research. Either that, or just be patient and wait for AppleTV to offer true surround sound support with the sub channel. I mean, how long could it really take? It's a pretty basic feature.

    Maybe I should start by just ripping my older 2 channel movies, and re-evaluate when I get caught up. With 1,000 movies, it could take a year just to get through the old ones.
  21. nicoska macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2007
    Yur posts are always useful to me :)

  22. JWFerne macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2006
    You guys should look into something like a TVIX. Sure it doesn't have as slick of an interface, althought it's much better now than it was. The important thing is that it works very nicely. The one below also lets you hook up external drives via USB 2.0 (x2) which can be daisy chained up to 4 external drives I believe.

    I think some of these player type units are starting to stream to other players on the network, so it could be a good fuctionality/cost basis compared to other solutions if you need that type of setup.


    edit: when I rip my dvd's I do it in .ISO format btw. That way I can convert to other formats later. Using DVD Shrink and another ripper I can't think of (PC) I keep my files at about 3gig/movie. I only do the main movie so I don't need to deal with menus and all that hassle. Hit play and boom (That one's for you Steve) and you're watching your movie. Looks very clean and i'd say 95% artifact free. So nice not to be able to have to switch my dvd's when the kids want to watch a family movie. They were getting scratched up to the point I was replacing some.

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