I'm curious how other people are using their channels in creating mixes for television. We've just incorporated 5.1 encoding capabilities in both Dolby Digital and Dolby-E into our workflow in the last year, and we've adopted something similar to the Discovery networks' spec. Here's what we're doing.
The only thing we're putting in the center channels is narration and/or dialogue. If we want to put something else in the middle, we're using a phantom center. Surrounds we reserve primarily for reverb returns from the music and for ambiences. We try to keep most of our activity in the front though. So, if we have an ambience that gets a little busy or distracting coming from the rear channels, we'll move or remove it entirely.
I should mention that we're mostly working on documentaries and docu-dramas, and we do a lot of our sales overseas. That played a large role in the decisions we made. How are you using the surround sound-field, and what factors are feeding your decisions for those choices?