My 5.1 experience is limited so I'm hoping someone who routinely works in 5.1 will jump into this discussion. (You might consider posting this question on the Logic Pro boards.)
But a couple of comments: iDVD will take a muxed h.264 and AC3, and encode it to MPEG2 DVD standards, but won't keep the surround sound. DVD Studio Pro will not take the muxed h.264 file, but will preserve the surround sound. DVDSP will take a ProRes file muxed file, although it works best by having a compression program do the DVD encoding and providing it with elementary streams. Neither authoring program will do Blu Ray.
AFAIK, Adobe Premier and Encore can produce both DVD and Blu Ray with 5.1. I don't believe that Encore will preserve the surround sound if you give it a muxed file, but will if you give it elementary streams. Whether it would take AAC, I don't know.
We can't specullate about Apple plans – even if we knew (which I don't).
Question: How did you mux your files?
I think I found the solution:
I inspired myself on the iTunes format .m4v which allows the combination of H264 video with AC3 audio.
Consequently there are several ways to proceed:
- export via FCPX using ProRes 422 and 5.1 PCM linear audio, then ecoding to H264 and AC3 using e.g. handbrake;
- export via FCPX trhough Compressor using seperate encodes for H264 and AC3, then muxing both compoents into a .m4v file using a mux tool such as Subler.
.m4v is indeed recognized by ATV, as well as by DVD/BD bruning software such as Toast.
a few points thought which I would recommend Apple to considered:
- Compressor should allow to directly create a .m4v file with H264 video and AC3 audio (currently not possible)
- Quicktime should be updated to correctly display within inspector the status of the AC3 decode. Indeed, presently quicktime will decode a 5.1 AC3 but will display it as a 'stereo' audio, which is not correct and misleading. VLC shows for instance the correct Dolby format...
- it's a pitty that iDVD does not support AC-3 passthough or a transcode for AAC to DTS or AC3, because multichannel audio is quite standard for DVD's and most MAC users will have video files with multichannel audio.
- ATV should support multichannel decoding of .mov files using multichannel AAC, whether via discrete PCM channels on the HDMI interface or via a DTS (or AC3) transcode via the optical audio interface.
Thx and best regards