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Audio Codecs For Direct Play

roku ultra direct play aac 5.1 vs ac3 5.1

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#1 richwphillips@yahoo.com OFFLINE  

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 01:11 PM

I'm curious as to the best audio codecs to use for my video files to have Emby direct play them on my Roku Ultra. At the present time, my Roku is connected to my TV via HDMI. I hope to add a home theater setup later that will be able to handle surround sound. For now, my videos are h264 or HEVC and mostly in mkv containers. Many have AC-3 5.1 though a growing number have AAC 5.1 for audio. I've noticed on my Emby dashboard that when I'm playing these files, the files that have AAC 5.1 show "Direct Playing" on Emby while the ones with AC-3 5.1 always show transcoding. I've tried converting just the audio from 1 format to the other leaving the video the same and Emby will direct play the AAC files while transcoding the AC3 files. I was just curious as to why that would happen and if there is something in my Roku and/or Emby settings that I need to review and possibly change. If I was never going to add a home theater system down the road, I would just roll on using AAC surround for all files. However, no A/V receivers are able to decode AAC surround. Some have the ability to change these to LCPM 5.1 which would be okay, but it looks like Dolby Digital would be the preferred audio format with the future home theater setup in mind, but everything seems to run more smoothly on a consistent basis if I can direct play my video files and at present, that seems to only work with AAC files. I believe Roku downmixes all AAC surround audio tracks to 2.0 anyway so maybe that has something to do with Emby direct playing AAC 5.1 while transcoding AC3 5.1. I can't post logs or anything at the moment since I'm at the office and not at home. I'm hoping there is a fairly simple answer to this, but I have no idea if that will be the case! Thanks.



#2 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 01:58 PM

Hi there, please check out our wiki for the Roku app:

 

https://github.com/M.../Wiki/wiki/Roku

 

It will go over the formats that can be direct played. Please let us know if this helps. Thanks !



#3 ebr OFFLINE  

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 02:09 PM

Specific support will depend on your equipment and, to some extent, settings on the Roku device.

 

It sounds like your TV can only handle stereo audio - except in the case of AAC which the Roku will mix down to stereo itself.  If you add a receiver or a TV that can accept the DD 5.1 input then the Emby app will be able to direct play those.

 

In the meantime, if the only thing happening is an audio conversion, that should be fairly easy on the server and not causing any problems.



#4 richwphillips@yahoo.com OFFLINE  

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 02:13 PM

Thanks for the fast replies, guys. I'll go with AC-3 on future files and let Emby transcode the audio only as needed until such time as I have a playback device that can directly handle AC-3.



#5 richwphillips@yahoo.com OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 10:56 AM

I got Emby Beta for my Roku Ultra last night and noticed it had a setting to convert AAC 5.1 to Dolby Digital 5.1. I clicked this, but when i played a video with AAC 5.1 audio, it still shows "Direct Playing" which would seem to imply that the Roku's settings to convert AAC 5.1 to 2.0 is overriding this new setting in Emby. I did see that playing a video in the non-beta version and playing the same video in the beta version produced 2 different playback indicators. Playing an HEVC video with AC-3 5.1 audio, the non-beta shows this as "Transcoding..." while the beta shows it as "Direct streaming". Are the 2 versions doing the exact same thing with the beta version having more accurate wording as to what it's doing or is the beta version handling the file differently? Just curious. Love the app though. I was a Plex user until getting the Roku. Emby seems to work better for us on the Roku than Plex does. Thanks.



#6 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:11 PM

I got Emby Beta for my Roku Ultra last night and noticed it had a setting to convert AAC 5.1 to Dolby Digital 5.1. I clicked this, but when i played a video with AAC 5.1 audio, it still shows "Direct Playing" which would seem to imply that the Roku's settings to convert AAC 5.1 to 2.0 is overriding this new setting in Emby. I did see that playing a video in the non-beta version and playing the same video in the beta version produced 2 different playback indicators. Playing an HEVC video with AC-3 5.1 audio, the non-beta shows this as "Transcoding..." while the beta shows it as "Direct streaming". Are the 2 versions doing the exact same thing with the beta version having more accurate wording as to what it's doing or is the beta version handling the file differently? Just curious. Love the app though. I was a Plex user until getting the Roku. Emby seems to work better for us on the Roku than Plex does. Thanks.

 

@ebr will have to confirm but i believe the setting might need to be re-worded. If your roku + audio equipment supports aac 5.1 passthrough then I don't think it will convert. Otherwise it will convert in order to prevent the 5.1 from being downsampled to stereo.



#7 richwphillips@yahoo.com OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:25 PM

Thanks, Luke. I'm assuming the issue is that since I DON'T have a surround sound capable system connected to my Roku at the moment, Emby isn't going to transcode AAC 5.1 to AC3 5.1 since the TV that Roku is connected to can only handle stereo. The Roku audio settings are stereo so this may be preventing Emby from transcoding to DD 5.1 which makes sense. Why go to the trouble of transcoding to a format that Roku has determined can't be played by my equipment? I didn't think about this before I posted this earlier today. I hope what I'm saying makes sense. I'm still in the infancy stage of my learning curve on this stuff! You and ebr are the best at responding and trying to help technologically challenged people like me and I really appreciate it.



#8 ebr OFFLINE  

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 07:34 PM

@ebr will have to confirm but i believe the setting might need to be re-worded. If your roku + audio equipment supports aac 5.1 passthrough then I don't think it will convert. Otherwise it will convert in order to prevent the 5.1 from being downsampled to stereo.

 

Kind of but the other way around :).  No Roku can pass thru AAC 5.1.  It always downmixes that to stereo.  So, we have this option to convert it to DD - but it will only do that if your system will accept DD 5.1.

 

So, if your system will not handle DD 5.1 the setting will have no effect.







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