Originally Posted by kylebisme
The problem here is that you are not just trying to get the full picture, but also been trying to find some legitimacy Astro's bogus claim. You will never be able to accomplish the former without first giving up on the latter. With that said, I'm going to give this another go.
My only purpose it to try and understand it fully. I have nothing for or against Astro. I have no stake in the company. I'm just trying to look at thing objectively. If doing so is: "trying to find some legitimacy in Astro's bogus claim", then so be it.
And on that matter, lets look at their claim, subjectively. Can you do that? Astro claim:
"PC Gamers benefit by offloading surround decoding and voice communication duties to the A40 system
Astros claim is misleading, and offers NO "REAL BENEFIT" to the PC gamer, seeing as decoding is not necessary, because it never needed to be encoded in the first place, being already PCM.
BUT... their claim is not bogus if taken WORD FOR WORD. Why? Because they said, DECODING. IF the user wants to use compressed Dolby Digital surround sound for some crazy reason, when PCM surround is already available, then the Astro Unit or any other Dolby Digital receiver will indeed be "offloading surround decoding", of which would be necessary for the PC to do otherwise. Yes, yes, it makes no sense to do so, considering PC's already support PCM surround without any work needed, i understand that, but if Dolby Digital is used, then THEIR CLAIM IS NOT BOGUS.
Their claim would be bogus If they would have claimed:
"PC Gamers benefit by offloading surround sound and voice communication duties to the A40 system
Notice the difference? The phrase, "DECODING" was taken out. The claim is now completely bogus, seeing as the PC already supports PCM surround sound with no need to offload anything surround sound related.
Games, without exception, generate audio as individual channels of PCM. No, that does not mean all PC games support surround sound, but rather that independent PCM channels is how games dynamically generate their soundtracks; be it mono, 7.1, or anything in between, and be it on a PC or a console, or any other digital device. Consoles like the 360 and the original Xbox before it have to encode those individual channels of PCM using a method such as Dolby Digital, simply because those consoles aren't designed output surround sound channels individually. PCs, on the other hand, generally don't even have sound devices which can encode PCM into a bitstream like Dobly Digital, rather they simply convert the PCM to analog and output that, and some also support outputing individual channels of PCM. Even on the few sound devices which do suppor encoding methods like DD and such, it is only an option on the sound device to do that encoding; the game itself, as always, generates it's soundtrack as individual channels of PCM.
I gathered as much. Now if you would have explained that from the beginning, we would not be having this discussion. But regardless, thanks for the insight. I've learned something new.