Adding AC3 Dolby Digital 5.1 multichannel audio to an MP4 without re-encoding

I recently “obtained” some video files which had 5.1 surround sound encoded as AAC, but AppleTV does not play multichannel audio in AAC format.

While AppleTV can play back stereo or Dolby Pro Logic II in AAC format, it requires multichannel audio be encoded as AC3. None of these “acquired” MP4s have AC3 5.1 6-channel audio!

I could encode the file again, but that takes to much time. Is there a way I can just add or import AC3 multichannel audio to my existing video files?

The short answer is yes.

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HD streaming on Roku fails

Recently my Roku, attached to a new Airport Extreme 802.11n Dual Band II router, started having problems streaming HD content from both Netflix and Amazon video. It also had intermittent quality problems with SD content as well. In the past, it performed flawlessly.

Network tests (ranging from the obligatory Speed Test to ping and traceroute) seemed to work. Hard wiring the Roku to my router didn’t make a difference, so I was pretty sure it wasn’t my router.

But then, amidst my disgust, I remembered something I changed not so long ago… I changed my DNS on the router from InsightBB to Google’s new public DNS. I did a traceroute to Netflix’ content distribution host (traceroute cdn.netflix.com) and lo and behold, I saw that my requests were being routed from Cincinnati to Atlanta to Washington. Oy! (see output below)

So, I decided to change my DNS to OpenDNS instead (it’s great…try it out! Great set of features). Voila! Now my requests to Netflix’s content delivery network are routed directly to Chicago!