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The title is self-explanatory. If a media container file (like MPG) contains multiple audio channels, such as left or right channels, does it take these audios in separate streams??

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    What do you mean when you say "channel" in this context? Do you mean the left and right channels of a stereo signal, or separate languages, or something else? – Jim Mack Jan 20 '16 at 18:01
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Depending on the container format, multi-channel audio can either be in a single stream or in separate mono streams.

Most consumer formats allow both, but it's easier for the end-user to have it in one stream (it can be interleaved PCM audio, or encoded bit-streams as ac3 or aac). Notice that it doesn't prevent to have several multi-channel streams in one container (like several 5.1 mixes, each one being one stream, in ac3 codec in a single container)

The MXF OP1A often used in broadcast usually has several mono streams for multi-channel content. A 5.1 mix will then use 6 mono streams in the container.

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No, channels are conjoint, so they are part of a single stream. It is possible, using ffmpeg or similar software, to split channels into distinct streams. In which case, each stream will contain one channel.

  • What is the distinction here between channels and streams? Are you referring to left / right stereo channels, or...? – Jim Mack Jan 20 '16 at 14:31
  • Yes, channels as compositional elements of an integrated image, somewhat like R G and B channels for a full-spectrum picture. – Gyan Jan 20 '16 at 14:45
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    It's not completely clear to me what the OP is asking, because surely if you have "channels" in different languages, codecs (5.1 vs MP3 etc) they are separated into streams already. It is of course the case that left and right stereo channels, or front/rear/mid/sub etc are streamed as units, but is that what he's asking? – Jim Mack Jan 20 '16 at 18:01
  • The 'channels' I mentioned was sort of left and right stereo channels. I just edited my question to clarify this point. – Gwangmu Lee Jan 21 '16 at 3:02

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