Well, the engineer claims he could not find a problem (the file I downloaded a couple of weeks ago is definitely mono), so below is my reply to the customer service rep. I haven't had a reply yet - I thought I'd give them until after Thanksgiving weekend before I contact them again.
Thanks to you and the engineer for following up on this.
I checked the audio stream setting, and the check mark is next to "English (Stereo Audio)". I wasn't able to create a screen grab, but that's what is selected.
Just so we're sure we're talking about the same file, here's what I did to download it. I went to http://www.wbdigitalcopy.com/LOTRtwotowersExt/ where it redirects me to iTunes and then asks me for my download code.
I was told by other customers AND Nathan at Warner Bros Home Video that both the hi def and standard def versions were suffering from the mono audio problem, but I myself have only downloaded the standard def version. Is that what your engineer is checking? Maybe they fixed the audio on the hi def version but not the standard def version.
I also want to reiterate that this is the EXTENDED version of the movies, not the theatrical cut. So please make sure that the engineer is looking at the extended version of The Two Towers.
Finally I want to make sure that the engineer is actually LISTENING to the audio, not just looking at the file information. Nathan admitted that the file info says "Stereo" but somehow, the same audio was put on both the left and right channels, so the "stereo" file still comes out sounding mono, with all the audio centered. The other two Lord of the Rings movies now have a nice stereo spread, but The Two Towers has all the audio centered. You can hear the difference.
Every single thing I play on iTunes is playing in stereo EXCEPT for The Two Towers, so giving you my computer settings is not relevant. I'm also not the only customer who has experienced this problem with these movies.
Here is the latest - I got another response from iTunes, whose engineer says that not only do they not see a problem with the files, but they have not received any replacement files from Warner Bros. Ever.
This is confusing, to say the least. WB has already admitted to me that they discovered the files they sent to iTunes are mono, so if iTunes never got any replacement files, why are the iTunes engineers saying they are stereo? And if I downloaded "The Return of the King" three times this year and they were all mono, and then the fourth time a few weeks ago it was stereo, how could no file have been replaced?
What I suspect is happening is that, Apple being a big corporation, communication lines are getting muddied somewhere. I decided to call back WB and ask them WHO at iTunes is the person they are supposedly sending the new files to, so that I can then ask iTunes customer service to go and talk to that person. After all, this isn't the first time that an "engineer" claimed that the files are stereo, and that turned out to be false.
To get clarification, I tried to phone the woman who called me from Warner Bros customer service. Her phone number that I wrote down seems to be for making calls only, not for receiving them, so I've been unable to reach her. So then I tried (several times) to call the general WB Home Video customer service extension, but the phone just rings and rings and never picks up or goes to a voicemail.
So I've left two voicemails with the head of WB Home Video (the last was yesterday), but no one has called me back. The WB receptionist says she's a very busy woman who gets a lot of voicemails.
I will try again on Monday. If someone would like to try their luck at downloading "The Two Towers" in either SD or HD, please let us know whether it's mono or stereo! When I tried a few weeks ago, it was still mono.
Update - just got a phone call from the head of WB Home Video. She said she knows nothing about it, and if there were new files to deliver to iTunes, they would have been delivered. Not very encouraging.
She said she would put in a request for someone to look into it and get back to me.
My, how slowly these wheels turn...
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.
Wow, suddenly, things are moving very very fast! I just got a phone call from a guy at Warner Bros customer support, who told me that the problem HAS been resolved, and that they at WB were also getting mixed messages from iTunes, so I'm not the only one.
He also said that they are aware that this has been going on since I raised the issue eight months ago and that they are looking at ways to improve the system between themselves and iTunes.
I'm going to contact my iTunes customer support guy and ask for a new download code for "The Two Towers." Once I have that, I'll let you know once and for all if it really really truly truly is stereo, but things seem hopeful now.
JiminSF, sorry about your new issue. I just asked the WB guy why the HD version might not be available in the US and he had no idea and didn't want to speak out of turn. It might just be a temporary glitch, or he said it might have something to do with some titles moving over to the Ultraviolet format. But CReddick had no problem downloading it yesterday so that doesn't make much sense.
Of course, CReddick lives in Burbank so he could just be a Warner Bros mole.
By the way, I'm going to a preview screening of "The Hobbit" at Warner Bros on Tuesday. Can't wait!
You don't need a new code... Simply delete Two Towers from your iTunes library, and re-download it from your 'purchases' on the iTunes music store. Don't re-buy anything...
Yes, it was mono and out of phase before... Now it is resolved when I re-downloaded it.
Apple and WB are both really large companies... I can understand that communication is a little scattered on a peculiar issue such as this one. At least it's fixed now... Right?
Jim, I'm going to ask my iTunes rep whether that is the case, and I'll mention that you've been waiting for it to be fixed. He has Friday and Saturday off, so I probably won't hear anything until Sunday.
If it doesn't work out for you, you should definitely let them know how you feel about it. They took so long to fix this that they've lost customers and now they're not even selling it?!!