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Dolby Digital and Linear PCM

3544 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Mar 2, 2013 10:37 PM by sleema RSS
Bob H. Level 4 Level 4 (2,095 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 16, 2011 2:07 PM
I have my Apple TV plugged into my Sony STR-DN1000 receiver via HDMI. With the recent update I thought I would be seeing Dolby Digital when playing certain movies on Netflix. What I see instead on the receiver is "Linear PCM". My cable box and DVD player both show up as Dolby, Dolby Digital, or DTS on the receiver, depending on the content input. Anyone know if "Linear PCM" is what I should be seeing as output from my second generation, updated Apple TV?
3.06GHz iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.1), External firewire drive
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,620 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2011 2:13 PM (in response to Bob H.)
    Have you checked the Dolby Digital out setting in Settings? If not, try choosing On.

    Afraid I can't get Netflix in UK, but it's possible not all content is delivered with dolby digital - does the Netflix movie selection page indicate if movies are expected to be in 5.1 or not?

    AC
    Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Winston Churchill Level 10 Level 10 (81,665 points)
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    Mar 16, 2011 2:21 PM (in response to Alley_Cat)
    Alley_Cat wrote:

    Afraid I can't get Netflix in UK.


    Always complainin', you've got baseball haven't you.
    MP 2 x QC Xeon 3 Ghz, 12 GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,620 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2011 2:33 PM (in response to Winston Churchill)
    Winston Churchill wrote:
    Alley_Cat wrote:

    Afraid I can't get Netflix in UK.


    Always complainin', you've got baseball haven't you.


    As much as the inability to disable this menu entry annoys me, there are more pressing things that have been messed up in the latest update to sort out first!

    AC
    Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Winston Churchill Level 10 Level 10 (81,665 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2011 2:41 PM (in response to Bob H.)
    Have you got any DD enabled iTunes movies you can try, you could see whether you have DD at all.
    MP 2 x QC Xeon 3 Ghz, 12 GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,620 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2011 2:54 PM (in response to Bob H.)
    Bob H. wrote:
    Thanks AC. Yes, I've tried choosing "On" for Dolby Digital out. That doesn't seem to change anything. I don't believe that Netflix info shows whether the content is delivered in dolby digital or not.


    Also try it on Auto.

    You should also check that you haven't manually configured that particular HDMI input on the receiver for linear PCM, some allow you to specify the incoming signal, though if it will vary an Auto option on receiver would be better.

    Netflix sounds excellent - closest we have in UK is something called Lovefilm, but of course it's not on AppleTV.
    Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • rockmyplimsoul Level 5 Level 5 (5,375 points)
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    Mar 16, 2011 4:05 PM (in response to Bob H.)
    I don't believe Netflix offers Dolby 5.1 with its streaming content, at least not yet or in very limited availability. If you rent an HD movie from the iTunes store you should get 5.1 audio.
    Windows 7, "Cogito, ergo iPod." (I Think, Therefore iPod)
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6 (16,620 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2011 4:35 PM (in response to rockmyplimsoul)
    The ATV2 software update has enabled this but says 'not for all titles':

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4448
    Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • tbsteph Calculating status...
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    Mar 16, 2011 4:47 PM (in response to Bob H.)
    Most Netflix's streaming titles do not have DD. When you look at a particular title, the only way to tell is if the little Dolby symbol is displayed in the description. The titles I have found, the DD symbol is next to where it shows SD or HD.
    White Macbook 2.16 - Mini - iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.5), New/Old Mac Convert
  • J. Williams Calculating status...
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    Mar 23, 2011 10:01 PM (in response to tbsteph)
    Can you list a Netflix streaming movie that does output DD 5.1 so I can test this on my own setup? I have yet to find one on my own.
  • Ron Tobin Calculating status...
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    Mar 26, 2011 7:14 AM (in response to Bob H.)
    Some TV series, like The Office and Grey's Anatomy are also in DD. However, I did find some titles that were listed as HD and had the DD symbol, but were not 5.1.
  • sleema Calculating status...
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    Mar 2, 2013 10:37 PM (in response to Bob H.)

    I have a Yamaha HTR-5835.  It is fully capable of decoding Dolby Digital and has done so for my DVR and DVD player for several years.

    I hooked up my Apple TV 3rd generation as follows:

    -hdmi to TV

    -optical audio out to the yamaha dvd input

     

    I was surprised to see that by default, PCM audio was coming through only on the L and R speaker.

    So reading these forums I figured there were some rare but real issues with getting Dolby Digital output from Apple TV.

    I played some movie previews because I was afraid to buy a movie and have it play through in PCM and thereby waste $20.

    I was frustrated for over an hour trying to get previews to play in Dolby Digital.

    Then I went ahead and bought a Pixar short film for $2.99.

    I set my Yamaha to "straight" (no extra decoding), and lo and behold was receiving Dolby Digital.  This continued even when I applied my Yamaha's sound field effects. 

    So conclusion, there never was an issue outside of my own paranoia.

     

    So in short - if you have any concern at all that your Dolby Digital is not working, do not worry at all until you purchase a bona fide iTunes movie that supports Dolby Digital first.

     

    Assume all previews will not be in Dolby Digital and don't let this concern you.

     

    All this said I think Apple should have a statement that previews do not support Dolby Digital on every preview that does not.  

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