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06-27-2010 07:26 PM
My laptop is connected to my audio reciever with an HDMI cable. The problem I'm having is that I can only get stereo sound out, and I'd like to get surround.
When I go into the control panel -> sound -> Digital Audio (HDMI) -> Configure ... It only shows stereo, and I can't find any way for it to recognize my set-up.
I think I should be able to just send the Dolby encoded signal to the reciever and let it decode it, but I can't figure out how.
07-01-2010 05:25 PM
Ok, after poking around the intertubes for a while I found this guide, which more or less walked me through how to get dolby sound out of Media Player Classic which works great for DVDs.
However, I already have a DVD player hooked up to my home theater, so this really doesn't get me too far. I bought this computer, and not a cheeper one because I foolishly thought that a computer with a blu ray player and a HDMI output would be able to output more than two channels of sound. It also proves the HP tech support, which told me my laptop's hardware isn't capable of putting out dolby sound, doens't know what they're talking about. This is a software problem, and all I need to do is to convince the media player to keep it's grubbly little hands off the audio signal.
The software capable of playing Blu rays with this "entertainment PC" seems incapable of this.
I'd rather not buy software to be able to play movies that this "entertainment PC" ought to be able to play out of the box, so if anyone has managed to make HP's media "smart" DVD output a dolby digital signal over HDMI I'd be very interested to hear how.
Dear HP, does anyone even bother to look at whether the software you ship works with the hardware, or do you just slap crap together, without testing anything?
07-01-2010 06:57 PM
AndersOSU wrote: ... I bought this computer, and not a cheeper one because I foolishly thought that a computer with a blu ray player and a HDMI output would be able to output more than two channels of sound.
I don't think that's an unreasonable assumption Anders, but what led you to believe this? I've searched for, and can't find any specific mention of surround sound capability for your laptop. "Entertainment PC" is just a name.
I believe you are correct in assuming Windows Media Center (or Player Classic) isn't capable of handling the CODECs necessary for Dolby HD audio. I would speculate MS decided there's nothing in it for them.
For what it's worth, fully capable Blu-Ray players are pushing the $100 range. For that price it hardly seems worth the trouble to try and shoehorn real surround sound into a Windows PC:
I have an even older LG Blu-Ray player, automatic firmware updates from LG, no Microsoft inside, and am very happy with it.
07-02-2010 07:45 AM
Honestly it wasn't something I thought about too hard. I was looking for laptops, and I saw one that had a Blu Ray drive and an HDMI out. I thought - great, now I won't have to buy a stand alone player, I can just hook my new laptop up to my AVR. Now I know I should have bought a cheeper laptop and a stand alone blu ray player (or rather foregone blu ray alltogether).
I'm just really irritated that first, HP or cyberlink, or whoever, didn't bother to think about how this software would be used. Second, that HP tech support doesn't know the difference between what the hardware is capable of and crappy software. (oh and by the way, the ATI spec sheet for my video card says:
HDMI output support
- Supports all display resolutions up to 1920x10801
- Integrated HD audio controller with multi-channel (5.1) AC3 support, enabling a plug-and-play cable-less audio solutio.
And finally, that I'm sure that the the hare brained Blu Ray DRM scheme has something to do with why this is so difficult. No one's torrenting blu ray quality movies, yet it makes it hard or impossible for ligitimate customers to properly enjoy their purchases.
07-02-2010 07:53 PM
You're absolutely right. Part of the problem is that the format wars continue while the Windows box makers try to play catch-up, and simultaneously keeping prices low enough to entice consumers - contributing to their poor quality, by the way.
There's nothing wrong with HDMI, but its first iteration wasn't (in my opinion) complete. The first implementation that realized sufficient potential for me was HDMI 1.3, and now 1.4 is out. I don't know which standard your computer complies with. Even Blu-Ray will prove to be a transitional format, with a useful life even less than that of DVD. Its Byzantine licensing and royalty structure make it fully deserving of Steve Jobs' characterization as "a bag of hurt" which is why I think its popularity in PCs won't ever be as great as DVDs or CDs became.
Once you see a Blu-Ray movie disk on a decent display it's easy to understand why people want it, but in reality what we really desire is a phenomenal presentation - meaning at least 1080p resolution and multichannel digital audio. Right now there aren't a lot of ways to do that, Blu-Ray being the most obvious, but it's not the only one. I believe that very soon we will have the equivalent available in a variety of other formats, the most likely may eventually be streaming media. Some kind of inexpensive, disposable, recyclable, or perhaps self-destructive memory is also possible.
I gave this a great deal of thought and research, and eventually realized what I want in a laptop computer and what I want for entertainment are two separate goals. That's why I don't think it's worth spending a lot of money to get this capability in a laptop, especially with Blu-Ray players having become as cheap as they are, and most likely to become obsolete in a couple of years. The next iteration of phenomenal home entertainment will probably evolve in some other consumer product... I'm not sure exactly what this will be, but I don't think it will be a PC as we think of them today.
07-14-2010 08:59 AM
Download an HDMI driver from Realtek's web site. On the properties for the HDMI audio, it will have a new tab page with a check box for enabling digital surround. The "Configure" button still doesn't list 5.1, but when I set up the Realtek driver, my receiver recognized multi-channel audio over HDMI.
07-18-2010 02:47 PM
I've got the latest versions of Realtek's drivers, and with AC3 filter I've managed to get MPC to output a raw AC3 stream for my reciever to decode. However, because MPC won't play blu-ray and since I can't get MediaSmart DVD to pass the AC3 stream through, I still can't get 5.1 sound from blu-rays.
07-18-2010 04:06 PM - edited 07-18-2010 04:20 PM
Hi Anders, I'm trying to get this to work also. I'm using this software to play a Blu-Ray movie: DivX MKV player
The website says it supports 5.1 audio if you install AC3 Filter. I think the installation package included it.
Try it! The player is free and appears to have many audio configuration options. It's probably better than MPC. Beware that it takes a long time to download and install.
My computer (also an "entertainment PC" but a DV5) chokes on the full 1080p Blu-Ray format - it plays, but the video is jerky and the audio gets messed up. So, I'm trying to downconvert it to 720p, while preserving its 5.1 DTS audio. If that plays on my hardware, I'll see how plays through my HDMI port to my home theater equipment.
07-21-2010 07:15 PM
Did the DiVX player work right away for you? It's not working for me, and as near as I can tell the MKV codec doesn't do anything for Blu-Ray. How did you manage to make it work?