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Multi-Channel LPCM output via HDMI

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am not 100% sure which WDTV live I have.

The P/N is WDBHG70000NBK-00

I am also running the latest release firmware.

In any case, my surround processor only accepts multi-channel LPCM audio via HDMI. The processor cannot decode DTS, Dolby, etc. I know that's weird, for a surround processor, but it's really a Smyth Realiser headphone processor.

The problem I am having is that almost all the .mkv or .iso rips which show that they have DTS or AC3 audio are only being sent via HDMI as 2 channel audio.

I have the WDTV audio setting set to Pass-through via HDMI only and then unchecked everything except LPCM/8 channel as compatible with my "receiver".

The strange thing is that I downloaded some DTS and Dolby demo disks which are actually just the video_ts folders off a dvd disk. So if I play any of those .vob files, they DO pass 5.1 channel audio via HDMI.

Since I did find a few random files that work, but all my movie files don't, I don't think it's a setting on WDTV.

Who knows. Does anyone have any experience getting the WDTV to output 5.1 or 7.1 multi channel audio via HDMI? Do I need to convert my files to a different audio format?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

-Darin
post #2 of 17
I bought my parents a WDTV2 for XMas. Their Onkyo receiver doesn't have HDMI hookups so I used a optical cable for audio, and it plays DTS and Dolby Audio just fine.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

I bought my parents a WDTV2 for XMas. Their Onkyo receiver doesn't have HDMI hookups so I used a optical cable for audio, and it plays DTS and Dolby Audio just fine.

Thanks for replying.

My processor only has HDMI input. It does not have SPDIF inputs, unfortunately. It only has HDMI inputs. That's why my only option is to find a device that can output multi-channel LPCM via HDMI.
post #4 of 17
I never really tested the WDTV2 any further besides just making sure it would player M2TS and MKV files, which is what I've got. If you want something cheap that can do HD Audio and multi-channel LPCM I would recommend that AIOS. Or you can get a Micca, which can do that and also play 3D movies. I made a thread of "Budget Media Players" here's the link:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1411963/budget-media-players
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

I never really tested the WDTV2 any further besides just making sure it would player M2TS and MKV files, which is what I've got. If you want something cheap that can do HD Audio and multi-channel LPCM I would recommend that AIOS. Or you can get a Micca, which can do that and also play 3D movies. I made a thread of "Budget Media Players" here's the link:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1411963/budget-media-players

Thanks for the info Gus.

In the specs that you posted for the AIOS, for audio output, it says it down-mixes Dolby Digital and DTS to stereo, or passes it through. In my case, I need it to decode DD or DTS to 6 or 8 channel multichannel LPCM to the HDMI out.

From the spec, it looks like the AIOS would do the same thing as the WDTV Live which is down mix everything to 2 channel.

Am I reading that right?

Maybe these media players can't decode and output Multi LPCM like Blu-Ray players do.

Or, if I can figure out how to do it, I would have to use my PC to decode the audio and then create an MKV file with LPCM audio. I hear it can be done, but I can;t seem to find clear instructions on doing that. Most tutorials I have found show how to convert an LPCM MKV file to a DD or DTS MKV file.

Any idea how that is done?

Thanks,
-Darin
post #6 of 17
It does passthrough or down mixes. Or you can do passthrough and let your AVR do all the decoding, which is what I do.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

It does passthrough or down mixes. Or you can do passthrough and let your AVR do all the decoding, which is what I do.

Thanks again Gus.

I guess I should just get an AVR even though I wouldn't be using the amplifiers or analog audio output.

This question may be off topic, but if I am not going to use the DAC's or amps in the AVR, does the quality of the AVR make much of a difference in the HDMI digital output? If the AVR is just decoding and outputting digital, is a more expensive AVR going to give me better decoded digital audio than a less expensive AVR?

I guess if people spend thousands of dollars on digital signal interconnect cables, maybe the signal handling purely in the digital domain does make a difference.

Thanks for your help,

-Darin
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

It does passthrough or down mixes. Or you can do passthrough and let your AVR do all the decoding, which is what I do.

Another question, will the AVR's actually decode/transcode the audio from DD or DTS to multi-channel LPCM over HDMI? From the quick research I did, it seems like the AVRs do the same thing as my WDTV Live, which is downmix to 2.0 channels when sending LPCM via HDMI.

If that's the case, then I can't use an AVR either.

The only device I know that will output multi-channel LPCM via HDMI are Blu-Ray DVD players like the Oppo's. The only problem is that I don't want to play BluRays, I want to play MKV or ISO files.

-Darin
post #9 of 17
Why do you want multichannel lpcm? Do you have a surround sound or are you using the TV's speakers?
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darinf View Post

In any case, my surround processor only accepts multi-channel LPCM audio via HDMI. The processor cannot decode DTS, Dolby, etc. I know that's weird, for a surround processor, but it's really a Smyth Realiser headphone processor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GusGus748s View Post

Why do you want multichannel lpcm? Do you have a surround sound or are you using the TV's speakers?

I have a Smyth Realiser processor, which will only accept multi channel PCM via HDMI. That's the ONLY digital input it has. I could use its analog inputs, but then I would have to have an AVR do a D-to-A conversion then the Realiser would do an A-to-D conversion for processing and then do another D-to-A conversion for output.

I know it's crazy they don't have any other input on the Realiser, but that's what I have.

I realize this is a very specific issue that most people don't have to worry about.
post #11 of 17
Now, I understand!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Apparently even the cheapest Blu-Ray players all decode DD and DTS and output 6 or 8 channel LPCM via their HDMI output. Why don't any of the media players or AVR's do that? I tried a sub-$100 Blu-Ray player I had lying around and it works great with my Realiser. But I have three different media players and my laptop to play back MKV files and none of them will output 6 or 8 channel LPCM. Bummer.

The only Blu-Ray player I know that can also play MKV files off an external USB hard drive is the Oppo blu-ray players. Are there any others?

Thanks,
-Darin
post #13 of 17
Hi Darin,

It's a legal thing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by darinf View Post

Apparently even the cheapest Blu-Ray players all decode DD and DTS and output 6 or 8 channel LPCM via their HDMI output.
They have to. In order to get the codes to decrypt a Blu-Ray disc, the player has to have a Blu-Ray license. In order to get a Blu-Ray license, you need to meet a whole list of requirements, and decoding Dolby and DTS are among those requirements.

Quote:
Why don't any of the media players or AVR's do that?
Well, actually, most AVRs do decode DTS and Dolby. Just look for the logos on the equipment on your next trip to the electronics store. The logos are pretty strictly enforced. The AVR manufacturers had to pay for the license to decode, which costs a royalty on each unit, and therefore raises the price. AVRs are higher priced items than media players, so the price of the licenses are more easily rolled in.

Many media players don't have the license to decode, due to the cost of the license. One of my media players, the Netgear NTV-550, decodes all of the audio formats, but I think that is because they were originally intending to get a Blu-Ray license, and had to meet the minimum requirements. Some of the higher-priced media players, like Dune, are higher priced because they decode the different audio formats, along with other price-raising features. It's simply the economics of a niche market.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Darin,
Well, actually, most AVRs do decode DTS and Dolby. Just look for the logos on the equipment on your next trip to the electronics store. The logos are pretty strictly enforced. The AVR manufacturers had to pay for the license to decode, which costs a royalty on each unit, and therefore raises the price. AVRs are higher priced items than media players, so the price of the licenses are more easily rolled in.

I realize that the AVR's can decode all the multi-channel formats, BUT as far as I can tell they only decode the surround audio and output to the analog outputs or the built in amplifiers.

They will not output the decoded audio as multi channel LPCM on the HDMI output.

Maybe I am wrong, but all the AVR specs that mention LPCM only talk about supporting LPCM input, NOT LPCM output. Do you know if that's the case? I can see why it makes no sense for an AVR to output LPCM over HDMI since that's the function of the AVR, not another processor down the line.

Again, the Blu-Ray players output LPCM audio, but the AVR's do not, even though they both have to pay for the licensing.

Do you know if the Dune will output 6 or 8 channel LPCM? I know it does 2 channel LPCM and every media player I can find down mixes the audio to 2 channels before outputting LPCM. That's the crux of the issue for me.
post #15 of 17
Hi Darin,
Quote:
Originally Posted by darinf View Post

I realize that the AVR's can decode all the multi-channel formats, BUT as far as I can tell they only decode the surround audio and output to the analog outputs or the built in amplifiers.

They will not output the decoded audio as multi channel LPCM on the HDMI output.
Hmmm . . . I had not considered that. You're right, for the most part, outputting MLPCM on HDMI would be redundant. The only use I could see (besides yours) would be for a sound-bar. And the logos would only tell you what they decode, not what they would output.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, I guess it's been a LONG time since I have researched Blu-Ray players, but I was at the local Best Buy today and to my surprise almost all the Blu-Ray players had USB ports on them for connecting an external USB hard drive.

So I bought a cheap Panasonic DMP-BDT87 player for $109 to try.

Well, it's definitely closer in that it will decode a DTS encoded MKV file and output it as 6 channel LPCM from the HDMI output. However, it will not do the same thing with Dolby Digital files for some reason. There are also some files and resolutions it will not play back. I have not figured out exactly why some files won't play back.

Of course, with Blu-Ray disks, I get 6 channels of LPCM via HDMI.

I might just try a few other brands of Blu-Ray players to see if any of them have better file support.

Getting closer...
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well, for anyone who cares, I finally found something that will work thanks to member, MichaelScott.

I bought a Panasonic DMP-BDT320 Blu-Ray player today.

So far it has been able to decode DTS 7.1 and output is as LPCM over HDMI. It also decodes Dolby Digital/AC3 5.1 too.

On my USB hard drive, it played most of my MKV and mp4 files and decoded the DTS and DD audio to LPCM.

So far I am very happy with the player and the fact that it costs 70% less an Oppo 93 player.

Thanks for everyone's help.

-Darin
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