Originally Posted by ajkrishock
I'm going by the individual broadcasts which are local. As an example, NESN always broadcasts the Red Sox games in Dolby Digital 5.1, but I never hear it in 5.1. ...
Doesn't matter if it is a local broadcast or not. MLB, or any other sports service you access through the internet hasn't broadcast in 5.1 through the online feeds. The broadcasts that are from satellite, cable, or OTA feeds, they will have it.
Why this is case I'm not exactly sure. It is a technology issue? Don't know. I assume because I assume Flash Player can be program to handle. And MLB uses their own player, which they could add. Obviously, part of it is bandwidth requirements would need to more for the extra data. I assume it's probably more licensing issue for using Dolby Digital or DTS technology, which is what everyone's AVR are program to use. I don't think creating a new format will work. I'm assuming the licensing fee may be based on distribution channel, in this case, rather than content. It's possible that number subscribers for the fee online is too high for what is charged for the service. The TV service can probably charge a high enough fee and still remain profitable since it's sold to TV stations, who then charge to their customer base.
I would say try and see if you get 5.1DD with Netflix through the web browser, but I'm guessing it's not offered through the PC platform. They have it for most of the set top boxes such as the PS3.
It's also possible that the customer base who get the online services, just aren't asking for it. As I mentioned earlier, it's possible that the experience of stereo versus 5.1 is minimal. In my experience, the surround channels are used for crowd noise. So I think most sports are more concerned about video so they can see action is as much detail as possible. It it was important, then why don't these services offer HD audio for the radio broadcasts? I don't own one, but I don't even know if they have HD audio for OTA radio broadcasts for those with HD radios.
If it was a movie, then it's a different story because audio does play a key role in telling the story and the experience you will have.
On a side note, most local broadcasts are not shown through the sports services because the of the local and national TV contracts. MLB is very vigilant about ensuring blackout rules are followed. Doesn't mean it's not possible circumvent, so I would really question the statement you made. You need to check the TV feed and online fee at the same time to compare the broadcast to ensure one is 5.1 or not; it's possible both could be stereo.