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Roughly Drafted: 5.1 audio on Apple TV

Ten Myths of the Apple TV: 5.1 Audio

Via my internet puppetmaster, Brian Hogg, comes another very good (and very long) piece from Daniel Eran on the Apple TV that runs down some of the details on 5.1 audio and attempts to clear up some ongoing confusion about what works, what doesn't, and why.

So really, the Apple TV doesn't need to decode 5.1 audio, it only needs to hand the surround audio stream to a receiver than can decode those formats. Can it do this...?

In addition to stereo cables, Apple TV also features a Toslink digital optical port. Since we can send raw digital audio data over the Apple TV's optical output, can't we send DTS digitally encoded 5.1 as well?

Of course we can. Download a DTS sample file in WAV format, drop it into iTunes, and Apple TV will happily sync it and play it. Unlike Pro Logic audio, it will sound like static over regular stereo speakers, but hooked up to a DTS receiver, it is decoded into 5.1 channels of sound and played back in real DTS 5.1 surround.

I don't personally have a 5.1 setup so I have no way of verifying this, but I'm curious what you audiophiles are discovering -- especially given that some of the Scott Bournes out there have cited lack of 5.1 audio as one reason for holding out on an TV purchase.

Any luck getting 5.1 working satisfactorily with your Apple TV? Is the lack of 5.1 content on iTS a dealbreaker for you?

Emory's picture

Okay so here's the deal. People...

Okay so here's the deal.

People do want 5.1 audio. DTS or DD. There are even some great tracks in 7 channel DD and DTS that are incredible.

I am not especially interested in AppleTV but that's mainly because I have a hacked Xbox running the freeware Xbox Media Center, which supports like a gazillion audio/video formats and photos as well. And it upconverts video into 1080i for me making everything look oh-so-sweet.

My only complaint is that the Xbox can't playback HD, but in all seriousness, a software-modded Xbox and XBMC is still lightyears ahead of what you'll pay 3-400$ for.

AppleTV is awesome for people that would also like to use an AirPort Express. I don't want to drive my media from a computer, I want to have media on my computers end up in my livingroom.




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