What's the Deal with the HD Audio Tracks?

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills

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Nicholas Chavez
I am looking to buy into one of the new formats if a winner is ever declared, but I am very curious as to how these new HD audio tracks are going to be/are decoded with our current equipment....in other words, if I purchase an HD DVD or Blu ray deck now, can my current receiver decode the Dolby Digital Plus, HD DTS, Dolby TrueHD etc. soundtracks on the discs? From what I understand, the ANALOG outs of the HD DVD or Blu ray deck can be connected to the receiver's analog inputs, and the soundtracks can be transferred that way -- but can our current receivers actually DECODE the new formats on the discs? Dont we have to wait until receivers with decoding for Dolby Digital Plus and such are released? And what about digital audio connections as we use now from DVD players to receivers -- are these utilized in a connection from an HD DVD player to a receiver?
 

Tony Kwong

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If you want to decode the newer HD audio formats _now_ you need a player that supports decoding of the formats. No receiver supports decoding the new formats yet. The newer formats do have some forms of backward compatibility so they would still work with legacy receivers, but with no benefits of the newer formats. Specifically "HD DVD" than the digital audio connections could be used if desired for none of the newer HD formats. But currently on Blu-ray not all players have audio decoders for every format. So the old optical and coaxial connectors still need to be used in that case. As a majority of BD releases are just Dolby Digital and DTS and cannot be passed over multichannel rca connectors because there is no decoder. Currently most BD users use mch. RCAs for uncompressed LPCM.
 

Neil Joseph

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Regarding Blu-ray, the PS3 currently has (and the Panasonic DMP-BD10 soon) the abilit to send out the newer lossless audio tracks that when sent to today's receivers (even with hdmi ver 1.1) can play them in their fully glory. I am referring to dts HD Master Lossless and Dolby True HD audio. You need to hook up via hdmi or via the analog multi-channel audio out to get it. If you use coaxial or optical digital out then you get the downmixed dts for example at 1.5Mbps. You can play the pcm5.1 though as well as DD+ and the older dts and DD tracks with no limitations.
 

FeisalK

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Neil, I've only seen documentation that says you need HDMI1.3 to pass Dolby TrueHD audio. It does sound logical that if the player would decode Dolby TrueHD then it should push that thru the HDMI connection but I've not seen documentation that says this.


Nick,
The current crop of players will decode whatever format it can (DD+ etc) into multichannel linear PCM and push that out through HDMI (even 1.1 supports this)

What you need to be careful with the current crop of receivers with HDMI is to get one that will accept the multichannel LPCM audio through the HDMI connection and amplify it (apparently some receivers do not they just use HDMI for video and require a optical/coax digital connection for multichannel audio. I know this is silly but... )
 

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills

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"The current crop of players will decode whatever format it can (DD+ etc) into multichannel linear PCM and push that out through HDMI (even 1.1 supports this)"

Thanks very much for your help; so, "standard" RCA/analog connections are not what is needed to run from the HD DVD deck to the current receivers we have, it would be HDMI?

"What you need to be careful with the current crop of receivers with HDMI is to get one that will accept the multichannel LPCM audio through the HDMI connection and amplify it (apparently some receivers do not they just use HDMI for video and require a optical/coax digital connection for multichannel audio. I know this is silly but... "

So, what EXACTLY is the connection procedure for HD DVD/Blu ray decks to our receivers now? CAN the soundtracks on the HD discs be fed to the current receivers to be decoded in DD+, DTS HD, etc.? How exactly is this done?
 

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills

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"Regarding Blu-ray, the PS3 currently has (and the Panasonic DMP-BD10 soon) the abilit to send out the newer lossless audio tracks that when sent to today's receivers (even with hdmi ver 1.1) can play them in their fully glory. I am referring to dts HD Master Lossless and Dolby True HD audio. You need to hook up via hdmi or via the analog multi-channel audio out to get it."

Thanks Neil; so with some Blu ray decks, the lossless audio tracks CAN be sent directly through to our receivers via EITHER analog out OR HDMI? In that case, how is it "read" on the screen displays of the receivers, being that the receivers do not decode the actual Dolby Digital Plus/Lossless, etc.?

"If you use coaxial or optical digital out then you get the downmixed dts for example at 1.5Mbps. You can play the pcm5.1 though as well as DD+ and the older dts and DD tracks with no limitations."

You mean when using the analog multichannel connections?
 

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills

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Tony,

So being that the PLAYERS decode the new formats, how does it work exactly -- the player gets connected to the receiver via analog out, and then what happens? The formats STILL cannot be decoded?

The biggest question is this: if our receivers cannot decode these new formats, how exactly are the new soundtracks being fed to our receivers we have now and can be heard?
 

FeisalK

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there are two stages: decoding the format (to linear PCM), and digital to analog conversion

current receivers cannot decode any of the new formats, and the players do. so, you can have the players either

1. do the decoding AND d/a conversion for which you would use the multichannel analog connexions OR

2. do the decoding and let the receiver do the d/a conversion, for which you need to use the HDMI connection.

(2) is if the receiver as I mention will accept the multichannel LPCM via HDMI. If the receiver does not, you have to use the multichannel analog connections as in (1)
 

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills

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Thank you Feis,

So what are we HEARING through our receivers now which do NOT decode the new formats when we let the HD DVD players decode the tracks -- are we actually GETTING the true Dolby HD, DD+ etc. soundtracks??
 

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills

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But what I dont understand is that the receivers cannot decode the tracks, so HOW are we hearing the actual Dolby Digital Plus and/or DTS HD, etc? Because the PLAYER is decoding it, how is it feeding the actual new soundtrack to our receivers?

Thanks for all your continued assistance.
 

Tony Kwong

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It's "feeding" it via PCM.

If the player has a decoder but not the receiver.
TrueHD track on disc->player decodes TrueHD bitstream to PCM->receiver gets PCM->speakers

most people are used to this concept for DVD with the decoding taking place in the receiver.
DolbyDigital track on disc->player passes Dolby Digital bitstream->receiver decodes bitstream to PCM->speakers
 

Nick Chavez Beverly Hills

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Thank you Tony -- so what would essentially the receiver's DISPLAY screen read -- it would STILL read "Dolby D" or "DTS" when these tracks are being played back?
 

Tony Kwong

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If you're doing 5.1 analog in...I dont know about your receiver, but mine dont mention Dolby or DTS at all. I've seen them say EXT.IN, 5.1 in, Main In, etc. Check you manual. Indicators if any for DolbyDigital and DTS should not be lit. If you look at the first chain above, it sends the receiver analog audio from PCM. The receiver does not know that the source is Dolby, just that it getting analog sound.

If the are lit, I would assume the reciever is in some sort of auto mode and apply some sort of effect to the analog in. Or just on the wrong input.
 

Tony Kwong

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Also seen some as "MULTI CH IN" "6CH IN". There are so many different things it could display. All depending on model.
 

Joe Cole

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Neil or others,

Have you read if Sony is going to update the software for their new BD player in the same manner? So far their site only says they will issue an update so the player can read BD-Rs or RWs some time in the spring.
 

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