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What shows are broadcast in 5.1 digital surround?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by DaveF, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'm new to OTA HD and I'm still sorting out the details to make sure I've got the electronics configured correctly. My current concern is audio. Is there a convenient list of audio formats for digital broadcast shows; specifically any shows in 5.1 digital surround?
     
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  2. Joe_H

    Joe_H Well-Known Member

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    I could be mistaken but I think that almost all HD that I watch is in 5.1. I don't tend to look at the receiver when I'm watching TV though.
     
  3. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Well-Known Member

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    As long as you get the Dolby Digital light on your receiver, you're getting everything you can. The alternative would be for the tuner/box to down-mix to stereo, intended for analog. (In theory, you could take a down-mixed stereo signal and send it through a digital connection, like you could from a CD player, but then the Dolby Digital light would not come on.)

    To check, watch anything with the capital letters C, S, and I in the title; not necessarily in that order. There are several of those each week (I only watch NCIS). The title sequence is nicely goosed up.

    I seem to recall some shows that are broadcast in 5.1, but only have audio in the front left and right channels. But as long as you are getting audio in all 5.1 channels from some shows, that would mean the problem is at the source, and not a fault in your setup.
     
  4. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Well-Known Member

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    My receiver has this scrolling display that indicates a new audio signal format coming in. When detecting Dolby 5.1, it will scroll "Dolby Digital 3/2.1" from right to left. [​IMG]

    CBS does a six channel stereo effect when outputting shows not originally in true 5.1. The local and national newscasts, some (not all) commercials, etc.

    Pretty much all prime-time shows are in 5.1, with results different with each show's individual mix.

    For example, CSI: has a great mix of the title song, but the majority of the show is front-heavy except for scenes in the morgue which have nice reverb of people's voices.

    LOST has very low surround activity, which is a shame because of how atmospheric the show's environment is.

    Eleventh Hour had fantastic surround activity during a recent episode opening with a big rain storm. Very enveloping.

    My personal preference is to more 'aggressive' surround mixes, so occasionally I turn the rears up more than usual if I don't hear anything when watching something with the default settings.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I have a digital connection (TOSlink) from my Tivo HD to my receiver. But the receiver shows many HD shows are in stereo. The SuperBowl, for example, was digital stereo and decoded by the Dolby Pro Logic II system, not as 5.1 digital surround. PBS HD shows are often in mono, coming only through the center channel. Reruns of CSI NY are in dolby digital but only have two channel information.

    So I'm still figuring out what's what in broadcast or if my electronics configuration is not correct.

    Tonight's Chuck and Heroes will be a good test [​IMG] And I'll try to get a new CSI episode as well.
     
  6. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Well-Known Member

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    Reruns aren't usually given the good stuff, so to speak. Watching any of the big shows tonight (Chuck, Heroes, CSI: Miami) would indeed be a good indicator.
     
  7. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Well-Known Member

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    This is by no means a complete list...

    ABC:
    Desperate Housewives
    Lost
    Life on Mars
    Private Practice
    Gray's Anatomy
    Homeland Security USA
    Ugly Betty

    NBC:
    Sunday Night Football
    Chuck
    Heroes
    Law & Order
    Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
    Law & Order: Criminal Intent
    Knight Rider
    Life
    The Office
    30 Rock
    Kath & Kim
    My Name is Earl
    Saturday Night Live
    Friday Night Lights

    CBS:
    Cold Case
    The Unit
    The Mentalist
    The Big Bang Theory
    How I Met Your Mother
    Two and a half Men
    Worst Week
    CSI
    CSI:Miami
    CSI:NY
    NCIS
    Without a Trace
    Eleventh Hour
    Ghost Whisperer
    Flashpoint
    Numb3rs
    Most sports

    FOX
    The Simpsons
    Family Guy
    American Dad
    House
    Prison Break
    24
    American Idol
    Fringe
    Lie to Me
    Bones
    Sports coverage
     
  8. Martino

    Martino Well-Known Member

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    " The SuperBowl, for example, was digital stereo and decoded by the Dolby Pro Logic II system, not as 5.1 digital surround"

    The SB was in 5.1 - perhaps there is something in your box you have to configure to output the signal - it probably defaults to stereo for folks who use the TV speakers.
    .
     
  9. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    Most shows I'm familiar with have a nice big banner that says, "Presented in 5.1 surround sound" or something similar right at the top of each episode, so it is usually pretty hard to miss. And yes, the Super Bowl was definitely in 5.1. It does sound like a setting missing somewhere. I'm not surprised at the PBS shows. Many of them are rebroadcasts of British shows shot on a tight budget probably only recorded in mono. You can remaster the film to get a hi-def image, but there isn't a hell of a lot you can do with the sound other than clean it up and digitize it. You might want to double check all the settings on your TiVO, as well as on the receiver and make sure the receiver defaults to "auto" rather than a particular DSP.

    You can never tell what you're going to get with reruns. [​IMG]

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  10. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Well-Known Member

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    Also, there was a time (it may still be this way, but there's no way to know in every case) when some local affiliates would be broadcasting in stereo while others are 5.1. I get ABC from Buffalo, and back in 2007 or so, they moved from stereo to surround for the HD broadcasts. With a digital tuner, that obviously depends on where you are, where the closest stations are located that you can pick up. I'm in an area where it simply doesn't work. Wish it did, as it would cut down on cable bills.
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The Tivo HD is set for surround, but I'll double check that. Maybe my TivoHD does what my TV does and outputs stereo only via TOSlink when HDMI video is used?

    I'll know for sure after tonight's broadcasts.
     
  12. Scott_J

    Scott_J Well-Known Member

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    Nicholas beat me to it, but I was going to suggest that maybe your local affiliate is not passing along the 5.1 mix from the network. As others have noted, usually any network show that airs in HD gets a 5.1 mix.

    I can confirm (per what I've been told by the network) that every NBC show that airs in HD is in 5.1 (including Today, the evening news, etc). So if you didn't get the Super Bowl in 5.1 yesterday, it's either on your end or your affiliate. You may want to contact the station and ask them what sound format they use.
     
  13. Garrett Adams

    Garrett Adams Well-Known Member

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    Even though most HD content is sourced out in 5.1 the local affiliate has to have the equipment to process 5.1 out to the viewers. The required equipment is expensive, however as time has passed most major market stations have bitten the bullet.

    In my market the CW (a CBS O&O) station is still in Dolby 2.0, although sometime in 2009 this should change.
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    This seems the case. Chuck was not 5.1 for me, but CBS shows were.

    So, after watching several new shows tonight, I've got mixed results. Everything is "Dolby Digital", as a matter of being sent by optical digital connection. Chuck on NBC was stereo and my receiver used Dolby Pro Logic II (Movie) to decode it. Big Bang Theory (CBS) was Dolby Digital surround and the rear speakers were clearly active. It also had substantial audio/video synch problems. There was maybe a half-second lip sync error most of the show. How I Met Your Mother was also DD with milder lip synch errors.

    Lip Sync may relate to my Tivo HD.

    Eventually I want an HDMI-capable receiver. But things are mostly working, it seems, except for the audio synch issue.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've found I get digital surround from CBS and FOX (still have to try ABC), but only stereo from NBC.

    Who should I contact, like at the local affiliate, to ask about their broadcast details and plans for upgrades?
     
  16. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    Also, you can apply Pro-Logic II processing to a DD 5.1 stream. It will simulate a 7.1 source from 5.1. Depending on the display settings of your receiver, the DSP applied (i.e. Pro-Logic II) may be overriding the display of the source stream being received (DD 5.1).
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've confirmed that the local NBC doesn't broadcast 5.1. My stereo triggers the DPLII decoding for NBC's stereo stream, which helps.

    I've been surprised by the the details and complications with going HD. I like the improved picture, but I feel like I'm working with PCs from the early 90s. The system mostly works, but it's fragile, immature and more confusing than it should be.
     
  18. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Well-Known Member

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    You just described every relationship I've ever been in. [​IMG]
     
  19. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Amen, brother [​IMG]
     
  20. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Well-Known Member

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    For a long time the Buffalo NBC also broadcast in stereo. I'm in Canada, and get all local US channels from Buffalo.
     

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