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Mister HU Level 1 Level 1

I recently downloaded all three extended editions of "The Lord of the Rings" from iTunes, thanks to my Blu-ray purchase. "The Fellowship of the Rings" is stereo but "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King" are both mono. This is disappointing, to say the least!


The file info SAYS they are stereo, but they are not. I contacted Apple support, who informed me that I should contact Warner Bros, the distributor of the digital movies. This I have done, and am waiting for a reply.


Has anyone else noticed this? I can't believe people have settled for mono movies. I asked Support if there's some setting within these two files that I can switch for them to play stereo, and was told there is not. In other words, Apple has been selling movies that they claim are stereo but which are mono.


Everything else on my Mac plays stereo except for these two movies. I would love to hear if anyone else is having the same experience.



Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.3), 6 GB RAM, FCS 3
Solved by Mister HU on Oct 11, 2012 9:57 PM Solved

You mean was it worth the seven months of effort? Well, as I said in my letter to Peter Jackson, I will probably never watch the digital movies anyway. Like you, I have the Blu-rays, so why would I settle for crappy digital files on a small screen? It might be handy to be able to refer to them on a portable device, but the thought of listening to them in glorious mono sound is abhorrent to me!


It was the principle of it. They're supposed to provide consumers with a product of a certain quality, and they were not. And when I brought it to the attention of iTunes and Warner Bros, they just passed the buck back and forth and stopped communicating with me. Their "Customer Service" was not serving the customer at all. There are people out there who WILL be watching those digital files, and they deserve at least a stereo soundtrack.


Hopefully next time someone brings a problem to their attention, that customer will be listened to, instead of  being swatted away like an annoying fly.


So yes, it was worth it.

Reply by CReddick on Nov 30, 2012 6:07 PM Helpful

It's the Hi-Def version... and I downloaded it yesterday.  I verified the stereo audio using a goniometer in ProTools.  Merry X-mas!

Reply by Mister HU on Nov 30, 2012 6:23 PM Helpful

Thanks for that info. So it seems at least the hi-def version has been fixed. You downloaded it previously, and it was mono before, right?


Of course, iTunes was supposed to contact everyone who had purchased it to let them download it again. Did they do that with you or did you buy it again?


Since the iTunes engineer is claiming that a) there is no problem with the files and b) there has been no replacement of any files, so there was never even a problem - indicates to me that the engineer is totally clueless. I already have an email from iTunes customer service admitting the movies are mono, so how can the engineer claim that they've been stereo all along?


I would  be surprised if we ever get contacted automatically with new download codes. It will be up to us to request them.


I will wait until next week before I ask for a new download code for "The Two Towers" in standard definition. I want to wait until I hear back from Warner Bros, if I ever do.

All replies

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    I don't know if this helps or not, but when I looked up the movies on the store the info about them says they are in DD 5.1. When you do a get info on the movies in iTunes and look at the summary panel, what does it tell you in Channels. For example, is should look something like this:

    Screen Shot 2012-03-13 at 11.57.10 AM.png

    Also, you don't explicitly tell us what device you are playing these movies on. Is it just your Mac? It may be an OS setting that you've missed.

  • Mister HU Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for replying.


    I'm on my Mac Pro with Lion. As I said, EVERYTHING on my Mac plays in stereo fine, EXCEPT for these two movies. Even the first LOTR movie plays in stereo, just not the second and third ones. So it's not a global settings problem.


    When I click on the file and Command-I it, yes, it does say that it is stereo (I'm not at home right now, so can't give the exact details). But they are definitely NOT stereo, so as far as I can tell, that file info is wrong.

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    Hm. That's interesting. When you get home please do double-check what the Channels says for each movie just so we're sure. I agree that there does not appear to be a global setting that would cause this particular issue in either iTunes or OS X.

  • Mister HU Level 1 Level 1

    I looked at the file info. All three movies say "Channels: Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1"


    However, I have since received an email from iTunes admitting that the second and third movies are mono, and that there is no way for me to switch them to be stereo. They have given me a store credit.


    I also received an email from Warner Bros saying that they got my query and are investigating. Let's hope they fix it. I am shocked that I am the first person to bring this to their attention. Does no one care about sound?!

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    At least you know it isn't you. Although I'm surprised the summary panel would show false information like that. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than I can weigh in. Hopefully Warner Bros. will make it right for you.


    Mister HU wrote:


    Does no one care about sound?!

    Honestly, most people don't. Simply because they don't have any kind of home theater equipment.

  • Mister HU Level 1 Level 1

    Yeah, at least I'm not going crazy. But I heard it instantly on my two computer speakers, not from my home theatre. Anyone watching it on a mobile device with earphones (perish the thought for such epic movies, but I bet it happens) should instantly be able to tell that the audio is mono.

  • Michael Allbritton Level 6 Level 6

    An iPad is the absolutely smallest screen I would watch those movies on.

  • tomtoronto Level 1 Level 1



    I have had the same problem with other movies. I prefer some of the classics and know for a fact they are in stereo on available DVDs. They are advertised as stereo in the iTunes store. I purchase them and then find they are in mono. So far Apple has been good to give a credit but it's extremely frustrating and time consuming.

  • Mister HU Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks for sharing that. I too received a small credit from iTunes, but that doesn't solve the problem, does it? iTunes Customer Support eventually admitted that the movies are mono, and said I should contact Warner Bros.


    This has been a customer support black hole. All Warner Bros has done is send me new download codes TWICE to download the SAME MONO MOVIES again, with no explanation or indication that they have even read my emails. I even wrote a letter to the president of Warner Bros Digital Distribution, and have had no reply, although a few days after that, I got new download codes from WB. Maybe he lit a fire under them, or maybe it was just coincidence.


    Either way, here is what I emailed to WB over a week ago...


    "Please, can you just answer the following questions, and if you're not able to do it, can you forward it to your supervisor?

    1. Do you concede that the audio on the iTunes files for The Two Towers and The Return of the King extended editions are mono, even though the metadata says they are stereo? HAVE YOU EVEN CHECKED TO SEE IF THIS IS THE CASE?

    2. If you have checked, and are 100% certain that they are indeed STEREO, then can you get together with the iTunes engineers to find out why they are ending up mono, as their customer support rep has admitted?

    3. If you have checked, and have discovered that they are indeed MONO, then will you be correcting this and provide new stereo files, which is probably a contractual obligation on your part in the first place?"



    I have had no reply.

  • Alley_Cat Level 6 Level 6

    Mister HU wrote:


    I looked at the file info. All three movies say "Channels: Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1"


    However, I have since received an email from iTunes admitting that the second and third movies are mono, and that there is no way for me to switch them to be stereo. They have given me a store credit.


    It may be that they are stereo just with identical L and R audio tracks due to a foul up during encoding.


    also received an email from Warner Bros saying that they got my query and are investigating. Let's hope they fix it. I am shocked that I am the first person to bring this to their attention. Does no one care about sound?!

    You'd be surprised how few people do notice things like this.



  • mario-64 Level 1 Level 1

    Unfortunately I made the mistake of purchasing these movies before finding this thread. Being an audiophile I knew right away something was wrong with the audio in "The Two Towers" and "The Return of the King". I too have opened a case with iTunes support and requested THEY escalate this with Warner Bros. It should not be the customer's responsibility to do so. Here's hoping they actually do...

  • drcadillo Level 1 Level 1

    I just bought the three movies stated in the post as a bundle, extended editions.

    The "Felloship of the Ring" states dolby, although only the stereo option is highlighted when I play it on itunes on my macbook pro.

    Haven´t downloaded the other two still.

    Is incredible they rip people off in such a way!

    Mister HU, if you would be so kind, where exactly do you direct your mail to ask for a refund?





  • Mister HU Level 1 Level 1

    Sorry for the delayed response - I was traveling, away from Internet for two weeks (yes, it's possible!)


    drcadillo, you can go here to contact iTunes customer support.



    Demanding a refund is a great way to go. When it starts to cost them money, they will be more likely to get off their butts and fix the problem.


    mario-64, thanks for making a stand for decent audio! It is certainly their responsibility, and I am hopeful that now that I am not alone in this, something will be done. I still haven't heard back from Warner Bros. As far as I know, they are still "looking into it."

  • Mister HU Level 1 Level 1

    I just got a reply from Warner Bros. They are saying all their files are stereo, so if that's the case, it is a problem with iTunes, so we're back to square one. Could you folks please follow the instructions below, and see if you still get the same problem? I will also try this weekend. Thanks.


    Here's the response from WB...


    We have tested the audio on all 3 LOTR Titles and have confirmed that they have 5.1 audio and stereo surround sound. Once you have verified you have the latest version of iTunes, re-download the Digital Copy content from Redemption URL listed on the insert provided with your DVD or Blu-ray product.

    (Use Internet Explorer for PCs)

    1.Select your media format (If available)

    2.iTunes customers will be directed to the iTunes store and prompted for the authorization code

    3.For Windows Media files, Click “Download” button correlating to your DVD or Blu-Ray purchase

    4.The DigitalCopy.exe will prompt you through the Digital Copy Manger installation and media file downloads

    5.After the files download, you can locate them in your “My Videos” folder (default) or whichever location you selected. To play the files, double click the icons in your library or play them from their location on your PC.

    If you continue experiencing issues, please contact your media player provider’s support site. For Windows Media Player, please refer to the following Microsoft support site for more information:

    For iTunes issues, please refer to the iTunes Apple support site for more information: or contact iTunes Store support directly using this webform:

    Thank you for contacting Warner Bros. Customer Support.

    -WB Digital Copy Support Team

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