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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to have to replace my Sony STR-DE915 receiver because its coaxial AC-3 input is toast. While doing some research over in the Audio and HiFi forum (as well as online research elsewhere), I noticed that the price of THX 7.1-equipped receivers has fallen quite a bit since when I bought the STR-DE915, down to where it's at least worth a closer look.


Of course, being an true beliver in the wonders of home theater computing, I am wondering what the current state of the art is vis-a-vis getting the most out of THX-encoded discs with an HTPC. Is it correct that the current crop of DVD software players (WinDVD, PowerDVD, et al) do not decode the extra two channels in 7.1 discs? And if there are software players that can correctly decode such discs, are there sound cards available that can send the 7.1 signal to a THX receiver?


My suspicion is that the answers to my two questions are "no" and "no". If so, if there is no way via HTPC to get 7.1 sound, is it even worthwhile at this point in time to invest in a THX sound system? Should I just get a good DD/DTS system for now? (This kind of reminds me of the HDTV-vs-SDTV buying decision a lot of enthusiasts were trying to make circa 1999, when HDTV first started taking its baby steps).


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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Total speculation here... but aren't those extra channels modulated into the existing 5.1, just like Dolby Pro Logic is modulated into 2 channels? If that is the case, at least there should be hope for HTPC playback. The decoding will take place in the receiver anyway.


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STOP DFAST!!!
 

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Software support is indeed the biggest problem, but in a few months time a new multichannel m-audio card will come out (called delta theater if i'm not mistaken) wich might be able to do this. It is supposed to have 8channel 24/96 dacs with hardware digital volume control per channel, and hey if it supports eight channels it might as well do thx 7.1 or something similar. So at the moment it's not possible in analog, however if you let the receiver do the decoding theres no problem at all, just let the software-dvd player pass through the DD-EX or DTS-ES bitstream and you are in bussiness.


Frank Terpstra
 

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I believe bertil is correct.


DTS-ES and DD-EX streams are backwards compatible, so any system that passes the stream without doing anything to it should preserve the extra rear center channel.


Gabe
 

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There are two versions of DTS-ES. One format is passive and is matrixed

inside the rear surround channels , the other is active and is encoded

inside the original bitstream.

Since the beginning when DTS was introduced it supported up to 8 (7.1)

channels so virtually every sound card out there should pass the correct

digital information to be decoded in the appropriate external

receiver / decoder.


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odedn
 

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I have an HTPC with a AP 24/96 card, which is SPDIF connected to a Lexicon DC-2, which is in turn connected to a sub and 7 speakers (including two rears). I have one Surround EX movie (Chicken Run). When I select the Surround EX track, I believe that I am hearing 7 full channels of sound plus the sub. Therefore, I believe that an existing HTPC can pass the correct stream to the surround processor. The key (I believe), is to make sure that the surround processor has support for Surround EX.


Cheers,


Bernd
 

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I am using the SB-Live and it passes the ES/EX to my Receiver, no problem.


Gladiator and Chicken Run swith to DTS-ES on my Receiver.


It appears that if you can pass DD/DTS to your Receiver, their is no prblem with the ES/EX encoded Discs playing properly.


If your talking about in PC decoding of ES/EX material, I don't think it's supported at this time.


Jack
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I had forgotten that I was just passing the AC-3 signal from WinDVD 2.6.4 through my SoundBlaster Live! Platinum 5.1 card to the Sony receiver unmolested. Does this mean that I already have an HTPC that is capable of providing a THX receiver with the signal it needs to decode all seven channels of sound plus the LFE?


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 

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Actually, it's only six channels plus the LFE (6.1). The receiver may use two channels to amplify it, but the ES/EX channel is really just one channel.


-John
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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I went to your website. We have similar taste in movies. Get those pics up, sure would like to see your setup. I have a DIY screen but it doesn't sound near as nice as yours. I could use some inspiration to tweak it up a bit.


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Been neglecting the website while trying to get this darn accessDTV card working. I'll try to take some pics this weekend.


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Scott Gammans
The Scooterplex Cinema 1
 
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