Obviously, this is a pain for LPCM tracks -- they play in stereo unless I change my Windows settings. I know I can use Reclock to "bitstream" PCM and let WASAPI take exclusive control of the device. The problem is I'm using WMC to play the movies (MKV, Shark007) and Reclock breaks live tv if I let it open with ehshell.
Is there any other way to achieve what I'm after without reclock?
What about converting the PCM track to another lossless format -- wav or flac? Or does that just leave me in the same spot because those won't bitstream either without reclock?
WAV is the same as LPCM. FLAC is lossless, but has to be decoded to LPCM before transmitted over HDMI.
You can create a small script to switch between stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 via keyboard shortcut (AutoHotKey, a hint). A similar one: Soundswitch (press Ctrl+Alt+F9 to switch between stereo and 5.1; I don't know how to select 7.1 with this program).
I appreciate the help! That may solve my problem (especially if I can figure out a way to make it happen automatically when launching certain titles (it's seriously like 3 titles out of my collection).
One more question... is it possible to convert PCM to a bitstreamable format? It seems like I remember eac3to being able to create AC3 tracks (but maybe it could just extract the DD core from True-HD).
Yes, eac3to can convert whatever audio format it supports into AC3. A nice GUI is HD-DVD/Blu-ray Stream Extractor. select "Extract As: AC3" for a LPCM audio track. Then merge the extracted streams into a single MKV with mkvmerge GUI.