Originally Posted by dsmith901
Agreed, I was just pointing out that just having analog multichannel inputs will not guarantee you get the full hi-rez audio from the player, unless it does speaker/bass management before outputting the analog. How many DVD players do that now? Very few, and as newer, cheaper, lower price HD/BD players come out they will not include that either, but HDMI 1.3 will cost no more than 1.2, so they will have that. Therefore we need AVRs and AVPs that will do the decoding and speaker management for DD TruHD and DTS HD the same as current units for DD/DTS. I don't know the value in advanced content or even what it is, but for the vast majority of users I doubt if its loss will matter a whole lot. If it matters to some then they will want to buy players that do it for them. I just don't think it will be a problem, and if it is there will probably be some workaround if the studios think it necessary to make another few bucks.
The industry is anything if not fickle, so who knows what will actually happen? (grin!) But this one's going to be tough for them to undo. In any event, we'll know real soon now. The die will likely be cast before the year is out.
"Advanced content" for audio means the disc was authored in the expectation the player would implement the mixing of audio in various ways before sending it to the outputs. This includes sound effects for overlayed menus, sound mixing for comment tracks, alternate languages based on just switching out the center channel, etc.
Encoded audio formats have to be decoded before mixing can happen. Mixing can't happen in the AVR because the AVR doesn't see the multiple tracks of mixable audio coming off the disc and also doesn't see the user interface commands that turn features on and off during playback or the control commands built-in to the disc that do the same.
The rules, then, are that if the disc is identified as authored for "advanced content" the player has to do any decoding of the new format audio tracks -- even if the viewer doesn't actually happen to be using any of those user-selectable "advanced" features at the moment. If a player can't decode a particular audio track from an "advanced content" disc, then it can't play that track. It might very well play the lower quality "core" track if one is present, or it will have to use a different track that it CAN decode.
If players don't follow the rules then it is not quite clear what will happen as the authoring tools the studios are using are designed and tested assuming players do what they are supposed to do.
Furthermore, this audio mixing is part of the user experience the studios design into each disc. The studios have been assured players will present their discs to viewers the way the studios intend them to look and sound. The studios are not likely to be happy if the industry says their "advanced" discs will play "correctly" only some of the time on some of the players.
So far, every industry pundit who has opined on this seems to agree that "advanced content" discs will drive "basic" discs from the market -- at least as regards traditional movies. This has already happened with HD-DVD, and is expected to happen as soon as this summer with Blue Ray -- even to the extent of existing, "basic" Blue Ray discs being rapidly re-released as "advanced" discs.
And from its standard DVD experience, the industry knows full well that most customers assume the "best" DVD version of any given movie must be the one that ships with the most extras and doodads. The Blue Ray guys, for example, are already assuming customers will buy the same movie AGAIN when it is available as an "advanced" disc.
Analog audio output has, in my opinion, a more important problem, which is that the new players will be under sufficient price pressure that the quality of their analog output stages won't be all that great. Witness the new Toshiba A2 player which doesn't even HAVE multi-channel analog audio output.
But I think it is reasonable to assume that higher end players which DO have high quality analog audio outputs will also include speaker configuration management for precisely the reason you mention -- i.e., avoiding having to digitize it again in the AVR.