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With all this push for HD video, I would think HQ audio (5.1 surround sound) would be obvious. But I am having trouble finding any TV anime in 5.1; One Piece from Japan is only stereo (movies are an exception), Crunchyroll does not have any 5.1 according to their support, most anime series listed on sale say on Amazon (or even Rightstuf) don't even seem to have a field for the sound type (stereo or surround).

Why is this?

According to a reddit user:

ISDB supports 5.1 but in practice most broadcasts are stereo, with 192k AAC audio.

[1]

Another question of mine would be why would the DVD releases not support 5.1?

  • 3
    Does over-the-air television support surround sound? – senshin Mar 8 '14 at 0:45
  • 2
    In the US it does. Everything is digital today, I assume it's mostly the same in Japan. – Zeno Mar 8 '14 at 1:00
  • 5
    Hm, it looks like Japan uses ISDB (different from the US but still digital), but I don't really know anything about this technology and am having trouble figuring out whether or not it supports 5.1. I'd guess that technical hurdles (e.g. it's hard to get surround sound right when you have to assemble lots of separate voice recordings rather than just putting mics around a live-spoken scene) are the main reason why not, but that's pure speculation. Anyway, interesting question, +1. – senshin Mar 8 '14 at 2:15
  • Isn't it mainly because 5.1 surround systems are less common in the average Japanese household ? If under a certain % of your viewers don't have it, why bother to add it. ( although 5.1 surround is slowely getting a bit more common in anime thou ) – Dimitri mx Mar 9 '14 at 21:07
  • @Dimitrimx Probably, since I would assume Japanese viewers typically don't have large rooms to accommodate surround sound systems, 5.1 mixes for Japanese audio tracks are not too common, at least not for TV anime. – кяαzєя May 10 '14 at 19:56
2

Probably the only anime that I saw with 5.1 audio is Evangelion. However as you've pointed out, most(if not all) TV-aired anime in Japan are in stereo unless it got released into special BD/DVD.

This issue is also under budget constraints, etc. It's not budget-wise to apply one, just the same as what @Dmitri said about the average Japanese household.

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