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Setting audio/subtitle track without having to play to remember


shark2k
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shark2k

Hello,

So, I've been running Emby for about 4 years now as a backup (I use Plex as my primary).

I don't know if this setting has always been there since I've started using it and I just missed it (completely possible as again I set this up as a backup mostly for if I decide to stop using Plex for any reason).  I pretty much got the basics setup and didn't really go through all the settings with a fine tooth comb.

Anyway, today, I just noticed that there is an option under playback to "Remember audio track selections" and also for subtitles to "Remember subtitle track selections" which almost accomplish what I want.

I do want to to point to this thread I found, https://emby.media/community/index.php?/topic/99344-subtitles-audio-track-remembering/page/3/, where the OP really didn't give good information on why they were asking for what they were asking and why the current system doesn't work for them.

Since I've mentioned I'm currently using Plex, I would like to preface that since I had started using Plex initially, probably about 7 or a little more years ago, Plex remembers the audio/subtitle track you select on any device without requiring you to start playback of the media.  So for example, if I just added some movies and from the web interface I go into the media page for the movies I just added, I could change the audio tracks from the default stereo track that I set my media with, to the surround sound track that I prefer since I play 99% of my media under my account from my TV with a 7.1 surround system.  The reason I set the default to be stereo, is that the majority of the users I share with are only using either the TV speakers or a sound bar so stereo would be better for them.

Now to reference the thread I linked above where the mods and admins were asking why that OP would want this and that the current setup appears to work for the majority, I will say the following.  First, I would ask why it was decided that the media needs to be played for the audio/subtitle selection to register?  Since these options are available to us on the media details page, to me it makes sense to be able to change the audio/subtitle track and have it save without needing to actually start playback for the save to happen.

I already mentioned one reason I would like this option to be changed to save after changing the track but I'll give more reasons (for me at least as I can't speak for others).  As I said, I create a stereo track (when there is either a lossy or lossless surround track) and set that as the default track.  Because of this, it means that the people I'm sharing with should be using the stereo track by default (if Plex actually worked that way, but I have reason to believe it doesn't based on the Dashboard and Tautulli but that is neither here nor there).  However, in my Plex I have 2 managed users for my parents.  For my mom's account I would prefer her to use the default stereo track as she doesn't have a surround sound system on the TV she watches stuff on.  However, for my dad's account I will go into it and I will set the audio track to be the surround track for him since he watches on a TV with a surround sound system and I know for a fact he won't make the change.  With Plex this is easy enough to do as I just switch over to his account from the web app and switch the track to the proper track for the new movies I add then go back to my account.  Doing this means next time he watches something, when he presses play it's going to already be on the correct track without him doing anything (which he wouldn't as he just presses play).

The other scenario I use this for is similar but I'll add it just to give one more example.  My family has a shore/beach house where I setup Plex on a SHIELD TV so that my brothers and their family, myself and my friends and my parents can use whenever someone is down there.  I also set that system up to have a surround sound, so it is another situation where I want the surround sound track used.  That is an actual account but since I set it up, I'll login, again from the web app, and then update the audio tracks to the proper surround sound track because I know pretty much nobody else would do that (with the exception of my one brother if he remembers).

Sorry for the long first post, but just wanted to give information/background on why I would really like this to be implemented.  As it was, until today I didn't realize that Emby would actually remember the selection once the media started to be played.  Because of my situation, thinking it didn't remember the selection made me not want to possibly switch over because I didn't want to have to make the change to the audio track every single time.

All that said, (since I've thought about this for a bit), what I would actually love to see (and this would be in Plex and Emby to be honest), would be the ability to have the audio/subtitle selection be per device.  I realize that would be more of a pain and I'm honestly not sure how many people would benefit from it, but I just think it would be really nice to have.  An example of how this would come in handy is my one friend.  They have a main TV, a TV in their "fitness" room and also a home theatre.  For the main TV and TV in their fitness room, the default stereo track would be the preferred option since they are only using the TV speakers.  However, in the theatre room, they would want the surround sound track to be selected.  I always thought it would be nice to have it setup in a way where if you change the track on just one device that applies to all, but if you change it on 2 or more, the ones where you changed it would remember their settings.  I already realize there is at least one issue that occurs with the track being changed on more than one device but I have a couple ideas for that.  One would be to check first check if the track had been selected on another device and if so add an entry for any subsequent devices.  Then, the next issue would be how to choose which device is the "default" selection for those devices where there is no entry.  For that, I would say to either add an option with something like primary device for track selection, use latest track selected as default or use earliest track selected as default.  This way, somebody like me could say the web app is the default if there are more than 1 entries for selected track and that would be used for any other device that does not have any entry.  And of course, having this particular feature (per device track selections) be off by default (which seems to be the MO for Emby anyway) would probably be the best option.

Again, sorry for the long first post, but after finding that thread and seeing the feature I was looking for actually being there probably this whole time, I decided to post and wanted to be as detailed as possible.  Let me know if anything is unclear or if there is any additional questions you have.

@cayars Nice to see you again!

-Shark2k

 

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Hello shark2k,

** This is an auto reply **

Please wait for someone from staff support or our members to reply to you.

It's recommended to provide more info, as it explain in this thread:


Thank you.

Emby Team

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HI, this comes up every once in a while. It's possible for future updates. Thanks.

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I'm normally a fan of settings being for a user not a specific client, but this is one of the rare items I think should be specific to a client and not person with more customization for selection. Each client should allow user selection of the max audio track to use (ie 7.1, 5.1, 2.1, 2.0, etc). A user should be able to override the selection as well (set 5.1 even if system can do 7.1).

Take my typical playback environment: living room has 7.1 surround sound.  Basement has 5.1, Kitchen TV has 2 speakers, one bedroom has a soundbar for 2.1 and another that does 5.1. Garage has 5.1 as well. Then there's the computers, tablets, phones. These can often play 7.1 or 5.1 but may sound worse than 2.1, thus the override I mentioned. 

So ideally, instead of Emby always trying to play the 2 channel audio stream that's there (to stop transcoding based on audio,) it would instead always try to play the best quality stream that client is setup to use. Same with video.  A 1080p setup shouldn't try to play a 4K movie and transcode it if a 1080 version is available. Exceptions being devices that can downscale 4K for a better picture like the Shield TV (hence the client overide).  Same can be said with subtitles as well to a degree.

If we handled audio,video and subs this way at the client level using the "best available" vs least common denominator. I think a lot of people would have more joy with Emby. )

This would make saving the state of video, audio & subs a non-issue as it wouldn't be used anymore.

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6 hours ago, cayars said:

If we handled audio,video and subs this way at the client level using the "best available" vs least common denominator. I think a lot of people would have more joy with Emby. )

This would make saving the state of video, audio & subs a non-issue as it wouldn't be used anymore.

As you know, the problem with this is that, in many (dare I say most) situations if there is both a mult-channel and stereo track in the same language, the stereo one is likely something like director commentary.  Doing what you suggest above would mean you'd always get the director commentary in your garage and have to keep changing it each time.

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Not in my collection or the majority of people I help. Typically the stereo track is created from one of the other tracks and is there for one reason only. To allow playback without having to transcode video which happens when you have H.265 files but not a compatible sound track.

I think it goes without saying that certain audio tracks could easily be ignored from this such as tracks with "cut", "director", "producer", "commentary". It could also use only tracks that match languages you prefer. 

This is a case where having an option to use the best audio selection or not (yes/no) would make sense and I'd be willing to wager this would be a major hit for Emby customers for little overall work.  To me this would be 10x more helpful then say skipping show intros (but I like that too) as I'm constantly having to switch audio tracks on nearly everything I play as well as teach others to do this as well for best audio.

I can't even think of a downside to having this.

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pwhodges

I have never created a stereo track for your reason - probably because I'm perfectly happy with the AC-3, AAC or Opus surround audio tracks I have (I'm not aware of a single DTS track in my collection).  OTOH, I have lots of stuff with commentary tracks...

But so long as this was optional, I guess I wouldn't care.

Paul

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57 minutes ago, cayars said:

To allow playback without having to transcode video which happens when you have H.265 files but not a compatible sound track.

No it shouldn't.  Most of our apps can handle the audio locally.  PGS subtitles might be an issue though.  But for people who just rip the straight tracks off the disc, the stereo one is not for compatibility - it is almost always some sort of "extra" audio track.

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shark2k
19 hours ago, Luke said:

HI, this comes up every once in a while. It's possible for future updates. Thanks.

Understood and thanks.  Just wanted to give some additional use case for why this would be a great implementation to have the track selection be saved after making the change without needing to actually play the media.  I'll admit I didn't read through many threads about this as it wasn't the easiest to find things specifically about this specific request, but I found the thread I linked to and based on that made my decision to give some additional reasoning for wanting this change to be implemented.

5 hours ago, ebr said:

No it shouldn't.  Most of our apps can handle the audio locally.  PGS subtitles might be an issue though.  But for people who just rip the straight tracks off the disc, the stereo one is not for compatibility - it is almost always some sort of "extra" audio track.

I had thought about something similar to Cayar's with the options of having preferences for codec and number of channels, however I will admit I didn't think about the commentary track issue like you had mentioned and the implication for those that don't include a regular stereo track.  However, I do feel like my method I mentioned near the end of my OP would be a good middle ground as it would at least let users to have a default set and then possibly specific to specific clients if necessary.  Also, I feel like this should be able to be something that can be enabled if wanted, otherwise the default behavior would be whatever the audio/subtitle track was set to would apply to all clients like it does now.

I do think that while automating stuff is certainly cool, there are definite issues/disadvantages like you brought up.  This actually causes an issue in Plex because they decided it would be a good idea to default to a stereo track over a mono track if one exists, which actually presents the exact issue you brought up.  I've had a few different movies where they had a mono track and I also included a stereo commentary track and because of the default logic implemented, for all my users, the commentary track is selected and it confuses the heck out of them (as well as me initially).

I realize it would be a bit of work to implement my suggested method, but I think it could be beneficial to those that have multi channel setups along with also using setups with just stereo capabilities and where what they have access to includes a stereo track.  And I definitely wouldn't want the option to be forced on users but them be able to decide if they want to have that different option.

-Shark2k

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22 hours ago, ebr said:

No it shouldn't.  Most of our apps can handle the audio locally.  PGS subtitles might be an issue though.  But for people who just rip the straight tracks off the disc, the stereo one is not for compatibility - it is almost always some sort of "extra" audio track.

Here's direct play using 2 channel AAC audio showing direct play
image.png

Same movie using the DTS 5.1 sound track:
image.png

Since the 5.1 sound track isn't supported on this client it needs to be transcoded.  That also requires the video to be transcoded as well for use in HLS since fMP4 isn't supported.

Thus like I mentioned earlier the only way to avoid transcoding is to always have a 2 channel audio track present and to have it set as the default.  That solves the transcode problem but then stops the use of better audio tracks unless manually selected.  What I mentioned above would solve this issue and other quirks like this completely making the Emby system more powerful and flexible.

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pwhodges

Does the fallback have to be stereo?  I thought the issue was mainly with DTS, so a 5.1 track in AC-3, AAC or Opus would be fine.

Paul

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19 hours ago, cayars said:

Since the 5.1 sound track isn't supported on this client

But that's a browser not an app.  Pretty much all our apps will be able to handle this app-side.  But, again, you are a power user meticulously curating their content and that just isn't most people :).  They are just taking the media how it is and, in that situation, stereo tracks are usually alternate audio.

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Yep, true, that was using the universal client everyone has. :)
But it doesn't change anything, because in order to guarantee the audio doesn't cause a video transcode you need to have the 2 channel audio file present set as the default.

Right now it doesn't matter what client I playback on as I'll get the 2 channel audio and manually have to switch it to something better which is what I'd like to see improved using the method I mentioned.

Looking at this a different way.  Is there an objection to being able to automatically play the best audio stream possible on any client vs what's saved from the last playback which may be the worst audio stream to use when switching clients?

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18 minutes ago, cayars said:

Is there an objection to being able to automatically play the best audio stream possible on any client vs what's saved from the last playback which may be the worst audio stream to use when switching clients?

The same issue plus some more...  We cannot be sure what each person's or situation's "best" is plus we don't have a guarantee of what the audio content actually is.

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shark2k
9 hours ago, ebr said:

The same issue plus some more...  We cannot be sure what each person's or situation's "best" is plus we don't have a guarantee of what the audio content actually is.

As cool as it would be to be able to have Cayar's suggestion implemented, I can understand where you are coming from with this.  Cayar's and I (and I would possibly say even more so Cayar's) definitely fall into a niche category of power users that are meticulously curating our content to where this would probably be able to work the majority, if not all the time.

That said, would my suggestion in the second to last paragraph in my OP have any chance at possibly being considered/implemented at some point in the future?  Again, just to reiterate, based on what I've read it does sound like the team already does this, but I would definitely be on board with it being defaulted to off (and think it should be) so that the behavior would stay the same for everyone and only those that want to use the feature can opt-in.

I believe my idea is clear, albeit a tad long winded (sorry I tend to do that, I suck at being succinct and clear), but if you needed any clarification on it just let me know.

Thanks,

Shark2k

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Best is probably the wrong word to use @ebr. Emby is something of an outliner compared to other players. I think if you were to play around with DVD or Blu-ray players or set top boxes from Verizon or Xfinity/Comcast you would see they do pretty much what I suggest for Emby. The same media played back from Comcast for example will use different audio tracks depending on the equipment it's hooked up to.  Netflix will use  5.1 surround sound or Dolby Atmos if it can but fall back to stereo if that's all that's available. Same with many other apps as well

You even mentioned most of our apps can handle this on the client side which should make it even easier. The problem at large for many of us that manually add the 2 channel stereo to avoid transcoding is that we've had to make use of the client setting "Play default audio track regardless of language" which locks us into the 2 channel audio track. It's not a preferred setting I'd want to use but with the limited audio control given is the only way to assure things play without transcoding.

What would be ideal is picking the "best" audio track based on number of channels in the language requested without keywords such as "cut", "commentary", "director" showing up. So in this case "best" = number of channels regardless of bitrate or other factors. If there isn't enough meta-data to perform the above then don't and just do what's done now. With the ability of many clients being able to transcode just the audio this should be even easier.

The problem right now is the need to use "Play default audio track regardless of language" otherwise we often get video transcoded especially when browsers are used which is still the most used client I see for remote use when people aren't home.

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2 minutes ago, cayars said:

or set top boxes from Verizon or Xfinity/Comcast you would see they do pretty much what I suggest for Emby. The same media played back from Comcast for example will use different audio tracks depending on the equipment it's hooked up to.  Netflix will use  5.1 surround sound or Dolby Atmos if it can but fall back to stereo if that's all that's available. Same with many other apps as well

All those examples control the content so they can actually know what each audio track is.

I'm not saying there cannot possibly be improvements in the future to give more control over this.  I am saying that just a blanket attempt to choose the "best" track is likely to have too many wrong selections in our world to be the right thing to do so a more sophisticated system would need to be designed.

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Ideally, what would happen right now on an Android Mobile setup to only play stereo audio but the video sent to the Emby player only has 5.1?
How about the same situation with a Roku player?

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11 minutes ago, cayars said:

Ideally, what would happen right now on an Android Mobile setup to only play stereo audio but the video sent to the Emby player only has 5.1?
How about the same situation with a Roku player?

I didn't completely follow what you are asking there but, right now, only the language (and default marker if appropriate) are used in the audio selection - assuming the item has never been played before by that user.  This logic is all on the server so it is the same for all apps.

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10 hours ago, cayars said:

Ideally, what would happen right now on an Android Mobile setup to only play stereo audio but the video sent to the Emby player only has 5.1?
How about the same situation with a Roku player?

 

Assuming both tracks are English. The 5.1 and the 2.0. Neither is commentary. The user has never played the item before. What would happen?

On Roku it would send the capabilities profile which would allow Emby server to determine which was appropriate the 5.1 or 2.0 with the user just pressing play on their Roku. It is that simple.

If the item has default flags on a certain audio stream then of course that default audio stream would play. That is of course what default is. In absense of default flags you would have to use the logic @ebr laid out. The fact that audio tracks are different languages and also different context. You have to choose how you err. You cannot be correct every time. It is futile to try.

Right now the way things are handled on Roku winds up correct a majority of the time.

Edited by speechles
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@speechles do you use "Play default audio track regardless of language" ?
I leave "Remember audio track selections" unselected.
Do you happen to recall if it picked the 5.1 or 2.0 audio stream?

So for Roku the client itself isn't making this decision but instead leaving it to the Server to make the  decision correct?  I believe you told me that before now that I think about it.
From @ebr it sounds like the audio is handled on the client side as it can be transcoded/converted.

I do some testing this weekend with different settings on a couple clients with neither "Play default audio track regardless of language" or "Remember audio track selections" selected using a new test user so there will be no history of playback. Then I'll try playing them back on different systems with different audio to see what streams get picked by default without  user intervention.  But I'm going to expect that every system will play the 2 channel AAC audio track since it's marked as default in the mkv files.

If that happens I'll change the defaults for a good dozen files to make the default the track (for me in English) with the highest channel count and test it this way.  But from a couple years ago if 7.1 or 5.1 was selected as the default but there were other English tracks it wouldn't use them but instead would transcode (even though there were other tracks available and a track exactly as it's transcoding to).  That was always the problem and why "Play default audio track regardless of language" was used to stop transcoding when it's not needed.

It's quite possible my basic premise is based on a a 1.5-2 year old test that isn't valid anymore but I don't think that's the case. :)

 

 

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The decision logic for which version, audio and subtitle track should be selected is on the server and, therefore, the same for all apps.  The only caveat there may be with the Roku as its player sometimes doesn't allow the selection of a different audio track if one of them is marked as default - but I think that is only very old devices now...

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Thanks for the clarification on where the decision is made. For the caveat you mentioned was that Roku 3 and earlier class of devices if you remember?

BTW, does that mean even if you playback a track other than the default in a browser so it sticks and will be used again, then playback on Roku in some situations it will still play the default track instead of the requested track? I could see how trying to implement what I mentioned could be a pain in that situation!

 

 

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