Originally Posted by MrTV3
Their plant was built in a way that did not support it. However, it is my understanding that upgrades which are underway will support the routing and transmission of 5.1 audio. I don't have a timeframe.
Actually it was mainly that our encoders (we are a multi-station hub, not a single station) did not support 5.1 audio... but the legally required CALM loudness processors we installed last year do include the necessary components to handle 5.1 encoding, as well as upmixing to integrate stereo content seamlessly with 5.1 programming. Right now we are working out the kinks to get all of the different program sources to present audio in a consistent way so that we can in fact do 5.1 reliably (for instance, without getting Spanish, descriptive audio, or cue tones wrapped into the mix). Annoyingly, there is no fixed standard for how networks or other program providers deliver audio, so it's up to the station to resolve the differences. The whole thing was hard enough back when we were processing most content in standard definition... now that everything is processed as HD, the interchange problems are greater. Nevertheless, we're working on it... but given the size of the facility, the number of program sources, and the number of stations being fed, it isn't a trivial process.
By the way, it has nothing to do with Time Warner. TW just passes the audio stream through as they receive it from the TV station.
That's right. It isn't like changing the video format, which affects how the cable company 'grooms' the signal; audio is encoded as Dolby AC-3, which has the same overall structure whether it's handling stereo or 5.1.