How to select an audio channel if the Audio menu does not appear in Update Rollup 2

I recently heard from a customer who lives in Spain and has been using Media Center 2005 for a while.  After installing Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005, they reported to me that they could no longer change the audio channel for their television shows from stereo to SAP because they could not find the Audio menu in the TV Settings menu on their system anymore.  After digging through the source code and asking around on the team a little bit, here is what I found out about this scenario:

In Media Center 2005, there was an Audio menu under Settings | TV.  This Audio menu contained an audio channel spinner that let you choose between stereo and SAP.  It also contained other spinners and text boxes that could be used to configure captioning for television shows.  The Audio menu was configured to always be displayed in the list of TV Settings menues, no matter what locale you lived in and configured your OS for.

In Update Rollup 2, the captioning settings have been broken out into a separate menu under Settings | TV.  This left the stereo/SAP spinner as the only item in the Audio menu.  Therefore, we added a condition to the Audio menu itself so it would be hidden in locales that did not support SAP.

In the case of this customer, they indicated to me that Spain technically does not support SAP, but they do support NICAM DUAL, which works roughly the same way to deliver alternate audio tracks for television shows.  However, Media Center treats Spain as a locale that does not support SAP and hides the Audio menu entirely.

I am not sure if there are any countries or regions other than Spain affected by this logic change in the Audio settings menu in Media Center 2005.  There is not any workaround to enable this menu in an affected country or region, but there are a couple of registry values that can be updated to cause Media Center to use the SAP audio channel instead of the default stereo channel.

You can click on the Start menu, choose Run, type cmd, and then run the following 2 commands in a cmd prompt to set the registry values necessary to enable the SAP audio channel in Media Center 2005:

  • reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoSettings" /v PreferredLanguageID /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

  • reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Settings\VideoSettings" /v SAPOn /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f


Comments (50)

  1. Gerry says:

    I live in Switzerland and have the same problem since updating to Rollup 2. SAP (Zweikanalton) and not NICAM is definitely broadcast here; Swiss TV, Eurosport and some German channels I receive via cable use it daily.

    Which leads to the question: Which locales support the display of this Audio menu? I possess english language MCE 2005 CDs (plus rollups etc), my original settings were english (uk) for english dates, but modified for 24hours and CHF currency, location is Switzerland (required for my EPG cable settings via zip code which works fine).

    I do not want to manually modify registry settings as I switch SAP settings regularly depending on languages broadcast; usually a pair of german or french or italian and english depending on local primary language of which Switzerland has 3.

    As a workaround how about a "tweak" utility, or put the menu back in a new patch/rollup.

  2. Mike Duigou says:

    Rather than just a single menu in the Settings page it would be nice to be able to select SAP settings on a recording-by-recording basis.

    I’m interested in programs where the SAP track is Descriptive Video Service, but not at all interested in SAP Spanish. It’s inconvenient to have to look forward in the schedule and plan out when I am going to have to manually adjust the audio channel preference.

  3. Hi Gerry – I had to dig into the code for the audio settings page to figure out what locales currently support it and which don’t. The following logic is used to decide whether or not to show the audio menu:

    (Region Supports SAP) && (Broadcast Standard != DVB-T)

    So if you are not using DVB-T for your broadcast provider, the display or hiding of the SAP menu will depend solely on the region your system is configured for.

    The following is the list of locales that currently support PAL in Media Center 2005 Update Rollup 2:

    US, CA, TR, JP, BE, KR, TW, MX, CZ, SK, HK

    I’m trying to find a list of what these all stand for (some lke US = United States and JP = Japan I know, but I’m not sure on all of them).

  4. Gerry says:

    Thanks for the research, Aaron.

    BE (Belgium), CZ (Czech Republic), SK (Slovakia), TR (Turkey) are in Europe, but where are all the rest? Certainly ES (Spain), (CH) Switzerland, DE (Germany) are missing and probably lots of others. I would assume that most of mainland Europe would support SAP, so the list of locales should be larger (I know UK has NICAM).

    Is it possible to manually add a locale to the supported list (via the registry or whatever) as a workaround? This should solve the issue for most people.


  5. Hi Gerry – Unfortunately there is not a way to add a locale to this list via a registry key or anything like that. I am still trying to find out how that list was originally created because it seems to be missing a lot of locales that use SAP or its equivalent.

  6. Alejandro says:

    Hi astebner. I also live in Spain, but I am using DVB-T, and some channels are transmitting 2 audio channels, one in Spanish, and the other one with the original audio, how can I choose the audio channel?

    Thank you.

  7. Hi Alejandro – I am not sure the exact way to choose an audio channel for a DVB-T channel. Have you tried the suggestion in this blog post and found that it didn’t work?

  8. Alejandro says:

    astebner, I have tried it, but it doesn’t work…

    You have written that the condition is:

    (Region Supports SAP) && (Broadcast Standard != DVB-T)

    Any suggestion?

    And another thing, I can’t access the teletext… is this a problem with Media Center 2005 and DVB-T?

    Thank you.

  9. Alejandro says:

    astebner, do you know something about my problems?

    Thank you.

  10. Hi Alejandro – I am currently out of the office on vacation. I will need to look at some of the source code for this part of Media Center when I get back into the office in January to answer your questions definitively.

    I am not sure that Media Center supports changing audio channels on a DVB-T signal since it is specifically conditioned out in the code that I posted pseudo-code for above.

    I am also not sure what (if any) teletext support is offered for DVB-T. Are you not seeing a Subtitles menu at all in the Settings | TV section of Media Center?

  11. Robert Schlabbach (MCE MVP) says:

    Teletext over DVB is not supported by MCE 2005. The missing component is a simple ETSI EN 300 472 WST decapsulation filter, but Microsoft has not implemented this.

    As to multiple audio channels over DVB, there are two different systems being used:

    1. A single MPEG audio stream marked as "dual channel", i.e. carrying two monaural channels with different content.

    2. Multiple MPEG audio streams.

    MCE 2005 supports _neither_ system. The DVB support in MCE 2005 is still quite minimal…

  12. Alejandro says:

    Hi, I don’t see the subtitles menu in the Settings | TV section of Media Center.

    Here, in Spain, the multiple audio channels come as mutliple MPEG audio streams.

    If Microsoft wants the MCE 2005 as the centre of the living room, I think they will need to improve the DVB-T support…

  13. Gerry says:

    I came across another loss of menu functionality due to Rollup 2. Subtitles (via Teletext) are either "OFF" or "ON when sound is muted". Before an unconditional ON was possible. I used this to have original audio and subtitles in local language (just like Region 2 DVDs). I can’t do this either any more! Can you supply the registry settings to change this (like in your original post).

    Another issue which may not be appropriate here is the support of MCE for VPS. This is used in Europe to program video recorders so that they still record a complete program even if the schedule changes at short notice. This is useful for recording after live shows which overrun for any reason. The EPG is not dynamic; I lost 20 minutes of a film because the start was delayed by a preceding delayed tennis match. VPS uses "virtual" start times which are updated via the Teletext TV schedule. In Europe VPS is often combined with "Showview" which makes programming a recorder much easier. There may be issues I haven’t considered which need to be resolved in marrying VPS with the EPG.

  14. alan says:

    I’m the original customer in Spain who was having trouble with DUAL and figured out the registry key. Finally (finally!) they got digital TV turned on in my town this week, and I rushed out to buy a DVB card only to find that I have no dual audio and now no subtitles either. Googling for "mce dvb subtitles" turns up…this blog post. It would be funny if it weren’t happening to me!

    It’s really sad that as great as MCE is, it still suffers from these gaping holes. I really don’t think they have anyone testing or doing any spec-writing in Europe. And they’re really missing the market.

  15. Anders Majland says:

    I’m also looking forward to subtitle support for DVB-T. The network is benig tested at the moment but will go live 1/4/2006 and cover almost all of Denmark.

    I’ve been receiving DVB-T since last summer on MCE2005. Until now subtitles has not been much of an issue since the broadcast I’ve received had the subtitles blended into the pictures. But they are now changing to proper dvb-t subtitling. I can receive (the same channels) from 3 differens regions and the 2 new ones does dvb-t subtitling but the 3.rd will also change over before 1/4

    In Denmark (as in many other countries, lie sweden and finland) only few programs get a audio sub (mostly programs for children) and we enstead rely on subtitles.

  16. iosu says:

    Hi I’m having the problem descrived on MSKB 907566

    "Media Center will always play any AC3 (Dolby Digital 5.1) audio stream that is present in the broadcast. Some stations may broadcast the required primary stereo stream, and some may also broadcast the optional AC3 (Dolby Digital 5.1) audio stream. If Media Center detects that an AC3 stream is available in the broadcast, Media Center will select that available stream. Some broadcasters may occasionally broadcast empty or "muted" AC3 streams. Therefore, if a broadcast contains an AC3 stream, but no audio data is present, Media Center will have no sound for that specific channel. "

    Any way to fix this???

    I’m in spain, does any of the spanish people having the same problem with "telecinco"??

    Thanks for your help-


  17. Hi Iosu – I am sorry, but I don’t know of any way to workaround this audio issue that is listed in that knowledge base article, other than to contact the broadcaster as described in the article.

  18. Alejandro says:

    Hi astebner, is there any improvement on the way for DVB-T on Media Center? (teletext and dual audio…)

    Thank you.

  19. Hi Alejandro – the TV team continues to work on bug fixes and feature enhancements for DVB-T in Media Center.  I cannot comment on specific enhancements though because I don’t work directly on the TV team and don’t have detailed knowledge of their feature work.  If you have specific suggestions for improvements, I encourage you to let us know…

  20. Alejandro says:

    Hi astebner, I will be very happy if audio channel selection is supported, and if teletext is made available (subtitles come as part of the teletext), all for DVB-T, of course. Here, in Europe, these two features are truly important, I promise you 🙂

    Thank you.

  21. Hi Alejandro – I have passed this feedback on to the team that works on these features.  Thank you for letting me know…

  22. spoiler says:

    Nice feedback, Alejandro. You have 1 vote more from me. (I live in Spain and I am having the same problems)

  23. Christian says:


    This problem is very annoying and exists also in Austria and Germany.

    Both countries definately support Secondary Audio Programming, so your explanation doesn’t seem to be right.

    I consider this a bug, many people see it that way on many forums, e.g. and since I sell Media Center as part of my work, the new SAP problem is another problem, next to the lack of VPS support, that drives away European customers from MCE.

    In the German Forum linked above, a customer says quite correctly, that any 100€ VCR or hard disk recorder supports both SAP and VPS, these are basic features, so the lack of those features in MCE hurt the sales of MCE in Europe!



  24. Christian A. says:


    my applause to Christian. SAP is a "must" for tv-recordings in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Especially US-Films and shows are broadcasted with translation and "original"-Audio. So please hurry up to fix this bug. Otherwise my girlfriend kills me 🙂


  25. Shane D says:

    Until there’s a fix for this – is there any workaround for Switzerland – registry updates as above or anything?

    Can’t believe this was taken away.

  26. alejandro says:

    astebner, do you have any news about this problem? Summer time is coming and we still don’t have teletext or secondary audio over DVB-t… I can’t found any information all around except of these thread…

    Thank you.

  27. Hi Shane, Alejandro, and Christian – Unfortunately, after looking at the source code in more detail, there is not any registry-based workaround that will work correctly in all locales affected by this secondary audio channel issue.  It is a known regression introduced in Update Rollup 2.  We have fixed in in the upcoming Windows Vista release of Windows Media Center.  In the meantime, the only reliable way to workaround this is to uninstall Update Rollup 2.  I also encourage you to contact your PC manufacturer and report this issue so that Microsoft will better understand the volume of customers affected by this issue.

  28. Hasselhoffia says:

    Boo! Hiss!  Another Media Center 2005 user here wanting to use the second audio track. Don’t speak a word of German so getting the alternative English sound track working here in Switzerland would mean I could watch something other then 24 hour news channels and reruns of 80’s programs on BBC Prime. Don’t fancy Sony supporting a Vista MCE upgrade on my MCE2005 running Vaio XL100 either.

  29. Hi Hasselhoffia – I’m very sorry for this audio channel issue.  The Sony system you describe should be able to upgrade to Windows Vista when it releases.  If you are interested, you can check upgrade readiness using a beta version of the Upgrade Advisor tool described at

  30. Darran says:


    Used the registry entries above and they work great on my MCE box. Is there a way I can enable the secondary languageon my Xbox360 extender?

  31. Hi Darren – The Xbox 360 extender operates under a different user account.  Since these registry values are under HKEY_CURRENT_USER, you will need to go into your registry under HKEY_USERS<user SID>… for the <user SID> that represents the extender user account.  I can’t tell you for sure which account that will be on your system, so you can go set those 2 values under HKEY_USERS for each <user SID> on your system, then reconnect to your Xbox 360 extender and see if that works.  Hope this helps….

  32. aprades says:

    astebner, I have just downloaded the Vista RC1, and I want to know if it is worth trying it. Will I have the option to choose the audio channel with DVB-t? and what about teletext o DVB subtitles?

    Thank you

  33. Hi Aprades – Yes, the issue described above in this blog post should be fixed in Windows Media Center for Windows Vista RC1.  Please let me know if you see any issues.

  34. aprades says:

    Hi astebner, I cannot install the RC1, it requires a key… I didn’t see anything about a key at the download page, and I didn’t receive any email with it. I downloaded the RC1 from the official site, and now it says it cannot be downloaded. What can I do to install RC1?

    Thank you.

    PS: I’m alejandro, but when I registered at this blog, I registered as aprades.

  35. Hi Aprades – There is a link on the left side of the Connect site after you log in that is labeled Product Keys.  You can use that to request a new RC1 product key.

  36. aprades says:

    Hi astebner, I didn’t registered to the Vista program so I don’t have the option to request a product key, so I will need to wait for the official release…

    I didn’t know that I had to be registered to try RC1.

    Thank you.

  37. Hi Aprades – What is the exact URL of the site where you downloaded your copy of Windows Vista RC1 from?  I would expect there to be an option there to request a new product key.  If you can point me to that site, I’ll take a look and see if I can figure anything out.

  38. aprades says:

    Astebner, I downloaded it from here:

    Now it contains "Windows Vista RC1 is available for participants of the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program. Please go to the Customer Preview Program website  to register and receive a Product Key, which is required to install and activate the software.". This wasn’t there when I first downloaded it… (or I didn’t see it…)

    If I follow the link it says that it is closed.

    Thank you.

  39. aprades says:

    Hi Astebner, I finally have a key to install Windows Vista. It’s the build number 5536, and I don’t have the option to choose the secondary audio channel when using dvb-t. I also don’t have teletext, and the electronic program guide supplied by the channel.

    Does build 5600 correct any of these issues?

    Thank you.

  40. Hi Aprades – I would not expect there to be any fixes in this area between builds 5536 and 5600.  Can you please let me know the exact locale settings on your system so I can check with our TV team and see if there are any remaining known issues in this feature area?

  41. aprades says:

    Hi Astebner, the locale settings are "Spain".

    Thank you.

  42. Hi Aprades – I talked to our TV team today and what you are seeing is by design.  Windows Media Center does not support the SAP secondary audio channel on DVB-T broadcasts.  This should work fine for analog channels in all locales in Windows Vista.

  43. aprades says:

    Hi, so are there any plans to support the secondary audio channel on DVB-T? or teletext on DVB-T?

    I asked you specifically for these issues, before trying Vista RC1…

    I thought these needs were important:


    Wednesday, March 01, 2006 5:02 AM by Alejandro

    # re: How to select an audio channel if the Audio menu does not appear in Update Rollup 2

    Hi astebner, I will be very happy if audio channel selection is supported, and if teletext is made available (subtitles come as part of the teletext), all for DVB-T, of course. Here, in Europe, these two features are truly important, I promise you 🙂

    Thank you.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006 12:03 PM by astebner

    # re: How to select an audio channel if the Audio menu does not appear in Update Rollup 2

    Hi Alejandro – I have passed this feedback on to the team that works on these features.  Thank you for letting me know…


    Thank you.

  44. aprades says:

    Astebener, I just want to add that these features are available in every $40 dvb-t tuner, here in Europe, so it seems that these are not rocket science features…

    One more time, thank you.

  45. azzman says:

    Is there anyway to change an audio stream on a WMV or TS file on the xbox 360 ? I have WMP setup to automatically default to english on playback , and this works fine in MCE on the PC. But when i stream to the xbox 360 it always only plays the default audio which is not what i want  There must be a way to switch it , well i hope there is


  46. Hi Azzman – I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to this question.  I suggest posting a question on the Microsoft.Public.Windows.MediaCenter newsgroup and seeking further assistance there.  I’m sorry I’m not able to be more helpful here.

  47. ceb says:

    There was a hack posted in the German mce-community forum, at the URL below, to add switching SAP off and on as clickable icon functionality in the Media Center.  I have included the URL below, but will not take the time to translate it.  

    I will say that MCE looks like a typical designed-in-one-culture-implemented-in-another effort, with LOTS of features and implementation details having fallen through the cracks.   There are consequences of over-out-sourcing.  I’ve lived through most of them.  

    Here’s the URL.  You may have to paste any  multiple pieces seaprated by line breaks back together.


  48. DAfshar says:

    I thought this was an interesting post. My WMC 2005 correctly found my region and settings. I’m in Japan and the guides are accurate, listing information in Japanese. However, I noticed that the  program guide says a particular program language is Japanese, even though the program is broadcast in SAP (left:Japanese, right:English). Looking into the settings for Recorder I noticed that under "preferred language" I have only 2 choices, "Any language" or "Japanese". English is not available at all. Is this related to this blog issue as well? Just curious if there was a fix for this. Seems kinda pointless to enable SAP but have only 1 language option.

  49. Hi DAfshar – I’m not sure if your issue is related to the one in this blog post or not.  From what I have heard, the issue in this blog post has been fixed in Windows Vista Media Center.

    I’d suggest posting a question at one of the following locations to see if anyone can suggest any workarounds for you:

  50. paul says:

    the sap/nicam feature selection is a capability of the hardware (and of the os) and not of the country. i always change the country code to have an image when i am watching tv in europe no matter of this feature.

    what i mean to say is: the os is made for the us market and thus supporting only sap by default. if you live in europe than you must change it(?!) to work in PAL and hence should be able to choose from mono/stereo/SAP pinouts. in windows better than xp there is a bxtuner dialog that lets you to manually choose the country code of the country you’re in, and select channel, and select one of these audio pinouts (i think mono is left out). for more talk to your local cable operator.

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