HD audio on mkv files?

ok my goal is playing a full 1080p blu ray (picture quality and sound) from my external hard drive on my tv.

  1. software to rip the movie = anydvd hd.
  2. WD 1TB external hard drive.
  3. WD Live Tv

i have been told on here that mkv is the best format for that but i have also heard will not pass through full hd audio?

i have a sony str-dh810 7.1 channel a/v receiver i plan on using with the WD LIVE TV via optical cable. any information on getting full hd audio with be greatly appreciated

According to Guy_K, TrueHD 7.1 should pass through the optical to your receiver if the file is encoded properly and the receiver supports it.

If the WDTV Live is not passing the TrueHD 7.1 audio to your 7.1 receiver, you need to post the MediaInfo of a file that is not working properly.

Well, you can’t, at least not DTS-HD.

You can *sometimes* get True-HD if you use an M2TS container (and I’m sorry I’m not more specific about that, it’s just that reports have been mixed.  In theory it’s possible, and some folks have said they have done it, but others haven’t had any luck.  I don’t have enough True-HD blu-rays to try and figure it out so I haven’t).

The Live will correctly pass through DTS and AC3 surround sound, but not DTS-HD surround sound and it’s unlikely to ever change. 

Most of us doing blu-ray encode with Handbrake to an MKV file, using the High Profile preset.  We pass through the AC3 and DTS tracks and this results in picture quality indistinguisable from the original.

Sorry… thanks mkelley… ya, I should have specified that WD says TrueHD 7.1 should work in an .m2ts file over the optical.

When you look at the thread it looks like I was trying to correct you but I wasn’t – I was typing at the same time you posted (so a cross post :>).  But the information we have provided is accurate so hopefully the OP will understand the situation now.

You’ve been very helpful here and I don’t want to discourage you in any way from continuing to post.

There is absolutely no support for DTS-HD MA on the WD TV Live series.  

Despite other manufacturers having products on the market with DTS-HD support, WD claims it is not possible due to licensing restrictions.  Source:


Using MKV, I believe it’ll take the 5.1 DTS core and output that but I don’t have first hand experience.

I’ve also read in that thread that you can output Dolby TrueHD from an M2TS container, although support isn’t perfect (sometimes you get TrueHD, sometimes the 5.1 core).  

But there’s no support for bitstreaming TrueHD from an MKV yet, AFAIK.

So, in summary:

MKV = DTS 5.1 core or Dolby 5.1 core

M2TS = DTS 5.1 core or TrueHD / Dolby 5.1 core

For an HD media player, the Live is a little disappointing when it comes to HD audio…


I need to type faster.  :(

Well, it doesn’t matter whether it looks like you were trying to correct me, or not :wink:… I wasn’t specific enough and it looks like I was implying that .mkv TrueHD is supported (the thread is titled “… on mkv files”, after all), when AFAIK WD is looking into it, but it isn’t supported yet.

So, even if you weren’t trying to correct me, my post still needed clarification. :smileyvery-happy:

ok forgive my ignorance here but DTS and AC3 surround sound? is that dvd quality? lol sorry.

also on a M2TS…hwo good is the pic compared to mkv?

DTS and AC3, yes, are surround capable.  

M2TS and MKV are only containers.   Both can contain identical streams.

Yes… DTS and AC-3 are competing audio formats.  AC-3 5.1 and DTS 5.1 are both surround sound (as are AC-3 7.1 and DTS 7.1).  AC-3 is the “code” name for “Dolby Digital”.

So “AC-3 5.1” is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround.  “AC-3 2.0” is Dolby Digital stereo.

“DTS” without any qualifier refers to DTS 5.1 surround.

As to “DVD” quality, a DVD will usually (but not always) have an AC-3 2.0 track as the primary audio.  It generally will also have an AC-3 5.1 surround track, and often has a third track for DTS surround.  That’s even before you start getting into any commentary tracks or anything like that… those are all just the “main” movie audio, just in different formats.

So, even a 2-channel Dolby Digital track can be “DVD quality”… but for all 3 audio types, any movie you download off the internet will more often than not have a lower bitrate than what’s on the original disc, so even though it sounds good, it’s not identical to the original DVD track, so might not live up to your “DVD quality” standards.  If they’re all encodes you make yourself, then you can leave the DVD track(s) untouched – you’re essentially putting into the .mkv exactly what’s on the DVD, bit-for-bit.

ok thanks for all your info guys, now what is the best program to achieve this conversion from ISO?

oh and cough cough those “other” device that play full hd audio… can anyone say what those are :wink:.

and can’t WD fix this in a update? at some point.

WD won’t “fix” the issue because it’s not a broken issue.  They would need a license from DTS in order to do this and DTS says it won’t grant one.  There is debate over whether DTS is confused about this (or indeed, whether WD is confused about it)  There is also debate over whether other devices actually CAN do this (think of this as akin to the debate over whether the Live actually does True-HD or not.  Some here say it does, others say it doesn’t.  I haven’t seen anything that I would consider the definitive answer on this and I haven’t seen anything which to my mind says any other device can do it either).

But you can do the research yourself to see if other devices offer what you want.  As always, whatever you buy should be able to be returned within a reasonable period so if it doesn’t do what you want you won’t be stuck.

And whatever you do do not rely upon any device (including the Live) “perhaps” someday having what you want it to do.  If it can’t do it now it may never.

Oh, and “best” program to do an ISO?  My own vote is for the gold standard of DVD and blu-ray decrypting, AnyDVD.  But it’s not freeware and there are freeware alternatives some might think as good (nothing’s better, though).

thanks, i guess AC-3 5.1 will sound awsome on my sony turner via optical.

and i everywhere i go says the pic quality is the best…it arrived toady so as soon as i get home later i’ll be messing with it.

oh and yeah i will be using anydvd hd to rip movie as a iso but what about the mkv or m2sts?

The best free program for making .mkv files is generally considered to be Handbrake.

Tony has a brief intro to Handbrake in his FAQs under 4F.

ok just backed up a blu ray movie (terminator salvation) as a ISO and plyed it on the wd live tv… hooked up to my turner… the picture quality is fantastic … audio sounds pretty good, it says on the wd thats its “1/1: audio channel DTSMA”

gonna mess with a mkv file now :smileyvery-happy:

note- WD set to stereo plays audio through tv and tuner but on digital it only plays audio through the tuner… lol forgive me but i assume digital is the better of the two?

“Digital” simply means the Live passes through the track to your decoding device.  It’s the only way you can get surround sound (because the Live outputs only stereo sound when it is the decoder).  Assuming your device can decode the tracks properly, you always want to passthrough digital (the only time to use “Stereo” is if you are outputting directly to a device that cannot decode like the TV itself).

ok just backed up terminator salvation and underworld 3 as ISO and they play back fine on the WD Live TV but when i open them in handbrake…click source…video file it wont let me open it. i get the message (no title found. your source may be copy protected, badly mastered or in a format which handbrake does not support) ? i have tried iso movies (regular dvds though) with dvdfab and dvd shrink and they work. help would be great thanks.