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TV Shows in 5.1 Surround


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#1 of 16 Dan Mertz

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Posted November 09 2005 - 01:16 PM

At the start of a show the other day (I think it was CSI) they flashed on the screen that the show is broadcast in "5.1 surround". Does this mean I can listen to shows like this in 5.1 instead of the way I normally watch TV which is in Pro Logic?

If this is the case, is there a way to find out which shows broadcast in 5.1?

#2 of 16 Lance_R

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Posted November 09 2005 - 02:46 PM

You have to be getting the HD broadcast. If you are getting the HD signal then yes the show is usually in 5.1

#3 of 16 Dan Mertz

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Posted November 09 2005 - 03:12 PM

Will it ever be in 5.1 for those of us who don't have HD?

#4 of 16 Mark-P

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Posted November 09 2005 - 03:28 PM

Quote:
You have to be getting the HD broadcast.


Not true. It depends on your cable company and cable box. The digital audio output on your cable box can pass Dolby digital 5.1 on whatever channels your cable company decides. On my HD cable box from Time-Warner I get 5.1 on many premium channels that are not Hi-definition.

#5 of 16 Charlie Campisi

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Posted November 10 2005 - 02:44 AM

Directv also provides DD on some of its premium channels, but it is sporadic as to which products get the 5.1 treatment. That said, I don't know of any of the networks that provide 5.1 except for in their HD signals.

I was just noticing last night during Lost and CSI-NY that the sound guys are becoming more aggressive with using the surrounds. The front stage usually sounds more "full" in 5.1, but only recently have they been more aggressive with using the surround channels. It was also noticeable during 24 last season that as the season went on, they used the surrounds more and more. There are also a couple of very low LFE tones during the clock countdown to commercials in 24.

As for shows I watch that are in 5.1, I know it's 24, Lost, all the CSI's, Without a Trace. Two and a Half Men is in stereo, even in HD, but for a sitcom, that's fine. I think the other major dramas like Grey's Anatomy, House, Law and Order, Las Vegas and Desperate Housewives are also in 5.1 but I can't swear by it. Battlestar Galactica could use a good 5.1 mix, but Sci-Fi has it in stereo. I don't know if it was in 5.1 on the dvd or when UHD broadcast it in HD.

#6 of 16 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 10 2005 - 04:32 AM

It doesn't matter what kind of box your cable company provides - if the original signal does not include a digital audio channel, you can't get Dolby Digital, period. That means DD 1.0 all the way up through 5.1. And standard definition broadcast video does not include a digital audio channel. So the best you're going to do out of analog sourced material from broadcast is some form of matrixed surround. Cable/Satellite channels the deliver a digital signal to the distributor (cable or satellite vendor) can include digital sound as well as picture, whether HD, ED or SD, and leave it to the distributor to downconvert as needed. So your cable operator may or may not have a 5.1 soundtrack option with your SD HBO channel, but will definitely have it available (for program material that uses it) for the HBO HD Channel(s)

Regards,

Joe

#7 of 16 Dan Mertz

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Posted November 10 2005 - 11:10 AM

I'm not very technically inclined, so you're starting to lose me. What is meant by an "SD" HBO channel?

I have DirecTv, but not HDTV. So can I hear any of these broadcasts in 5.1 and would it only be the HBO channels? Can I tell by looking at my DirecTv box, and if so what am I looking for?

Thanks

#8 of 16 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 10 2005 - 12:45 PM

HD=High Definition
ED=Enhanced Definition
SD=Standard Definition

I don't have satellite TV and don't know anyone who as HD satellite, so I don't know how they work things on that side of the fence. My cable company delivers all of its channels digitally in my area. It also delivers HD service via a special HD decoder box or HD Digital Video Recorder. (I believe Dish and DirecTV do something similar.) So in addition to the regular local ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox channels, I also get their HD broadcasts on a separate channel. Similarly I get a whole bunch of HBO channels and one HBO-HD channel. The hi-def services freequently make shows available in 5.1 surround sound. (The graphic showing that CSI is in 5.1 on CBS in fact says "HD5.1" - indicating that the 5.1 sound went with the HD broadcast.)

Now I don't even have my sound system set up (I'm rennovating a condo, long story) so I don't know for sure which channels use which sound format, but I'm pretty sure that all of the SD broadcast channels are analog only with (at best) stereo and matrixed surround. As I noted above, the cable/satellite only channels may or may not be delivered digitally and in any sound format. You would probably need to check with DirecTV to see which premium or standard channels are available in DD 5.1

Regards,

Joe

#9 of 16 Shane Martin

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Posted November 10 2005 - 02:08 PM

Quote:
That said, I don't know of any of the networks that provide 5.1 except for in their HD signals.
The premium channels are the only non HD channels to have 5.1(other than PPV). HBO, Starz, Encore, Showtime etc all do a 5.1 broadcast even though they are not HD.

That said even though CSI is in HD, it is up to your local affiliate(not your cable company) to broadcast it in hd. The cable company will just pass whatever the local station is doing.

#10 of 16 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted November 13 2005 - 12:27 PM

Funny, I was checking both TiVo SD cable recordings and my HD recordings from HBO-HD, and the local ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox HD channels - only the HD channels had 5.1 The standard definition HBO broadcast of Rome was in stereo/surround (where available), while the HD version was 5.1. I don't know if this is different with the satellite broadcasters, or with other cable company's digital service.

Regards,

Joe

#11 of 16 MikeyWeitz

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Posted November 13 2005 - 08:53 PM

You will also have to have your cable/sat box hooked up to your home theater receiver with an optical or digital coax cable.
If you just have it connected via left and right rca cables, you will not get 5.1 sound regardless if ther show has it and is sent thru to your box with it.

#12 of 16 PatD

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Posted November 14 2005 - 06:34 AM

I have a Directv with TiVo SD box. Of the HBO shows that I watch, Sopranos, Carnivale, Deadwood, and Rome are all broadcast in 5.1. Also, selected HBO movies are broadcast in 5.1. As has been stated, your box needs to have a digital output connected to your home theater system.


PatD

#13 of 16 Dan Mertz

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Posted November 14 2005 - 11:47 AM

I've got it figured out. I have it hooked up with a optical digital cable, but I also needed to go into the audio settings of my DirecTV box and select "Dolby Digital". Now I can get some of those select HBO shows in digital.

Now if they'd only allow us non-HD users to hear all those other network shows in 5.1 DD sound...if they're gonna broadcast it in DD, and I have DD capabilities, then I should be able to get those network shows in DD.

#14 of 16 MikeyWeitz

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Posted November 14 2005 - 01:45 PM

Network TV is not digital unless you get the HD channels, therefore, no 5.1.

#15 of 16 Marc_Sulinski

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Posted November 15 2005 - 01:03 AM

Quote:
As for shows I watch that are in 5.1, I know it's 24, Lost, all the CSI's, Without a Trace.

I do not get Without a Trace in 5.1 for some reason. It is one of the few primetime CBS shows that does not have it. When the "HD" logo comes up, the 5.1 is conspicuously missing. What CBS affiliate do you have? I wonder why mine would not have it, or if it is even up to the affiliate to provide the 5.1 if it is available.

#16 of 16 Charlie Campisi

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Posted November 15 2005 - 03:49 AM

Quote:
I do not get Without a Trace in 5.1 for some reason. It is one of the few primetime CBS shows that does not have it. When the "HD" logo comes up, the 5.1 is conspicuously missing. What CBS affiliate do you have? I wonder why mine would not have it, or if it is even up to the affiliate to provide the 5.1 if it is available.


I have last week's ep on tivo. I'll check it tonight, but I thought it was in 5.1. I get Baltimore's CBS affiliate. I'll update this post later tonight.

Dang! You're right. Without a Trace not in 5.1. I coulda sworn it was. It still looks good.


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