3 April 2005, 18:25 by mark hoekstra

DD-Live on a card, finally...

It looks like there’s finally a manufacturer who’s smart enough to bring a card to market with a Dolby Digital encoder:

But what I don’t get is, that it’s a PCI-card and not a PCI-Expresscard. I mean, if this thing is possible on a PCI-card, what has kept the ‘main’ manufacturers of PCI-soundcards for so long? I thought DD-encoding wasn’t possible on a PCI-card and therefore only possible on motherboards (hence the Soundstorm-motherboards and now Intel HD-audio) until now, since we have PCI-Express around. So I was searching for a PCI-Express-DD-encoding soundcard but to my surprise I found this one… Hmmmmmz….

To emphasize why we all need DD-encoders in our HTPC’s I can only copy this text (which actually describes Soundstorm…) :
“this audio processor has the unique ability to encode any Windows sounds (including the positional/EAX audio in games) into a positional Dolby Digital 5.1 stream so that a PC can be connected to a surround sound receiver digitally via S/PDIF and not have non-DVD audio sources fall back to PCM (stereo) mode, this has the added benefit of only one cable is needed rather than 6 RCA cables.”

found here (the whole guide is excellent BTW.)

In other words, without a DD-encoder, you need a home-cinemareceiver with multi-channel input (which is rare) and then you still have to connect it analogue, not digital… Otherwise only your DVD’s will be surround, everything else will be 2-channel PCM… So, if you want surroundsound in your games or other non-DVD-sources and not 6 RCA-cables running to your home-cinemareceiver (if it has 6 channel input) then you need DD-encoding. Personally I still love to see nVIDIA bring out some sort of SoundStorm2/chipset-combo for on a (Asus) socket 939 board…


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