Surround (AC-3) audio

Last updated: March 9, 2018.

All BrightSign models support passing through AC-3 audio over HDMI or SPDIF. However, players do not support decoding AC-3, so the AC-3 data must be decoded at the endpoint.

To pass through AC-3 audio, you must specify the audio settings of the zone outputting the audio:

  1. Select the zone in Edit > Playlist tab.
  2. Click Zone Properties.
  3. Under Audio Output, check the HDMI and/or SPDIF boxes (whichever port(s) are being used to output AC-3).
  4. Select Passthrough for the output(s).
  5. Click OK to save the changes.


Note: In BrightAuthor 4.7 and newer, the Presentation Properties, Audio tab settings must be set to Mixed Audio PCM / Compressed in order to enable Passthrough output.

NoteTo play videos with surround sound, you must encode an AC-3 audio layer along with an MPEG2 video layer in a program/transport stream, or MPEG-4 video layer in a MOV.

Note: If using Adobe Premiere to encode the video with the SurCode codec for audio, SurCode needs to be in BlueRay mode, not Dolby Digital mode.



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  • 0

    NOTE: The Gefen HDMI to HDMI Plus Audio converter, (SKU: GTV-HDMI-2-HDMIAUD, UPC: 845344056111) only supports multichannel analog output for LPCM 5.1 audio input.  It does NOT output analog for compressed audio formats.

    See pages v and 8 in the manual

    When you play the file on your laptop, unless your sound hardware is set to bitstream the audio output, it is decoding the AAC or AC3 and outputting multichannel LPCM.  That's why the Gefen box can decode it to analog.  It also does not work when audio is bitstreamed from a capable computer-based player, as bitstreaming does the same thing the BrightSign player does - it passed the encoded audio directly out to the device, rather than decoding it first.

    When you play it through the BrightSign player, the player doesn't decode the audio, so the encoded AAC or AC3 goes to the Gefen device which cannot decode encoded audio.

    The Gefen manual states this on page v, "This product does not decode audio formats."

    It does not work when sent multichannel AAC, Dolby Digital/AC3, DTS, or other encoded audio sources when sent from a hardware Blu-ray/DVD player (that isn't set to downmix to stereo), or a BrightSign player in Pass through mode.

    Depending on your situation, it may work to use multiple BrightSign players using BrightWall or synchronized presentations, each outputting two channels of audio.  Your audio will need to be split into separate stereo files.

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