Check out the HTPC DIY piece from Extreme Tech yesterday entitled "Build a Home Theater PC" (this is my first posting on the forum, so I'm not yet allowed to provide URLs; if you search at extremetech you'll find it easily). Interestingly the build calls for the plain-vanilla HDAV1.3 but recommends PowerDVD as the Blu-ray player of choice. No mention of 8 vs 9 serial number and/or firmware upgrade issues, no mention of potential issues with bitstreaming, DTS-MA, or Dolby TrueHD. I'm of two minds on this piece:
(a) it's nice to see the HDAV1.3 getting a little more into the mainstream
(b) I'm sorry to see the thorny issues and the blood, sweat, and tears involved in getting to the present day completely glossed over.
I'm going to be writing a review of the HDAV1.3 in both Deluxe and plain versions for Tom's Hardware next week, and I assure you that these issues will be at the heart and soul of my discussion and exposition, as will be the remaining issues and potential gotchas--particularly differences between retail and Asus TMT and lingering issues with VMC integration with the latter, as well as known graphics card and AVR snags. FYI, as I spent the last two days (!!!) reading all 5000+ threads in this saga of a message board, my personal highest moment came when a respected forum member cited one of my stories on high-def audio in the threads (go to Tomsguide and search on "Mastering HD PC Audio" with either "Part 1" and "Part 2" appended to the root string).
If the members like, I would be glad to provide a preview of the story for comment, correction, and complaints before going public with same. After all I've learned from reading your experiences and observing the history of the card, I feel like I owe you this opportunity.
Thanks for an astounding revelation of the technology development process at work. The HDAV1.3 could have turned out to be a total fiasco, but you folks helped to turn it into at least a partial triumph over the protectionist instincts of the digital content providers. And although Asus didn't get it right out the gate, and has continued to struggle to make things right since it hit the streets last September, I think they deserve at least a little credit, perhaps grudgingly granted, for keeping on trying to make it right since then.
I will say this much about the HDAV1.3 based on my own experiences in installing (and reinstalling) to get it working in my rig: the card's a stunner if used in the right system and with the right signal chain, all the way out to the display and the AVR-to-speakers elements. Deviate from the well-trodden path, though, and watch out for brambles!