forthcomming audio formats; Not looking good for me!!! :(

Unknownuser1

Active Member
First of all: sorry for my bad English!

I just bought a Denon A1-SRA processor which off course fully supports DD/DD-EX/DTS and DTS-ES. I use a HTPC with a coaxial digital output.
I m worring a lot about the upcomming sound formats TrueHD, DD+ and HD-DTS.
I just phoned with Denon in Germany and they told me that they will not make some kind of upgrade for my processor that will support HDMI 1.3
Also heard a rumor that it s certain that HD-DTS will not be supported via analog output on the upcomming HD and/or BluRay players and most likely TrueHD and DD+ will also be only supported via HDMI 1.3 out and not analog (if analog will be possible I could use the 7.1 input on my Denon A1-SR processor).
So, bottomline, I fear about this!!!

I know that regular DD and DTS will still be supported on the new discs that will come out but as a home cinema fanatic you want the best of the best. And most likely that will be the lossless audio formats that will come out probably this year.

How do you guys think about this 'problem'?
 

Thunder

Novice Member
How long did you plan to keep your current amp, and how long do you think it will be before HD formats become widespread?:)
 

MarkE19

Moderator
All the roumours that I have heard so far regarding the new audio formats have said that the decoding will be done in the player and sent to existing receivers/processors via the analogue connections. A search of this forum should bring up most of what I have read.
I don't think HDMI 1.3 is even out yet and certainly the new audio formats have not been released, so there are currently no receivers/processors available that can decode these audio formats. With the HD players due to be on sale in the UK at some point this year I would be very surprised if the decoding was not done in the player so the early adopters of the formats can just get a player and use the HD audio without the need to also pay for a new processor. If new processors are required then I think this will kill potentual sales of the players and discs in the first few years.

Mark.
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
I'd tend to agree with MarkE19....it would be the kiss of death for a new format to require all potential users to have to upgrade the core of their systems to be able to use it,and since you will need an HD capable player,the most commercially sensible route is to incorporate the neccessary processing there,at least initially.

Obviously,in time,everyone upgrades their systems,and that in turn offers the manufacturers an opportunity to market suitably equipped receivers and processors,without losing the support of likely buyers.

Being honest,right now,I certainly don't view the possible introduction of new formats as a problem,given the likely introduction times,market penetration and software availability.
 

clarky78

Active Member
I wouldn't worry at all to be honest. Just think, how long do you think the producers of films and music will take to support these formats anyway?

DTS ES (6.1) has been about years, but we still see virtually no DVD's produced in it. DVD-A and SACD too have been around a while and still have very little product support.

And seing as most 'home cinema fanatics' upgrade kit on a fairly regular basis, i doub't that by the time of your next upgrade there wil stil be hardly anything out there.

So i wouldn't worry till there is.. which will be some time IMO.
 

BadAss

Banned
clarky78 said:
I wouldn't worry at all to be honest. Just think, how long do you think the producers of films and music will take to support these formats anyway?

DTS ES (6.1) has been about years, but we still see virtually no DVD's produced in it. DVD-A and SACD too have been around a while and still have very little product support.

And seing as most 'home cinema fanatics' upgrade kit on a fairly regular basis, i doub't that by the time of your next upgrade there wil stil be hardly anything out there.

So i wouldn't worry till there is.. which will be some time IMO.

I don't think this is true, all fims released on Blue-Ray will have a True HD soundtrack.

True HD is just a lossless verion of normal DD and not a new remix.

I also believe to get True HD you need a processor with HDMI output or you'll have to use a downmixed analog signal.

I would be very very suprised if this is not the case.
 

Sniper

Novice Member
BadAss said:
True HD is just a lossless verion of normal DD and not a new remix.

I also believe to get True HD you need a processor with HDMI output or you'll have to use a downmixed analog signal.

Yep - you should be able get a 7.1 analog output from the 1st (& probably 2nd) generation of HD players which will work just like dvd-a/sacd does - but why downmixed?? all the channels will be present!

What's really the issue: will this make a difference on any home av equipment under £2/3k? Most of us have heard what current DTS is cablable of and i really cannot say that the compression is noticable! Then again, I havent' heard the master? But it will be interesting (& easy) to compare DTS to DTS-HD back to back. My feeling is that this is mostly propaganda so as not to miss the current 'anything-HD' train. I'm not saying that it's not better (uncompressed is always better than compressed) but by what margin will it be?
 

BadAss

Banned
Sniper said:
Yep - you should be able get a 7.1 analog output from the 1st (& probably 2nd) generation of HD players which will work just like dvd-a/sacd does - but why downmixed?? all the channels will be present!

What's really the issue: will this make a difference on any home av equipment under £2/3k? Most of us have heard what current DTS is cablable of and i really cannot say that the compression is noticable! Then again, I havent' heard the master? But it will be interesting (& easy) to compare DTS to DTS-HD back to back. My feeling is that this is mostly propaganda so as not to miss the current 'anything-HD' train. I'm not saying that it's not better (uncompressed is always better than compressed) but by what margin will it be?

The gap may be sliming all the time. If you look at the way mpeg compression has got better on picture quality it may be fair to say the sound has also seen the same level of gains.
 

Sniper

Novice Member
BadAss said:
The gap may be sliming all the time. If you look at the way mpeg compression has got better on picture quality it may be fair to say the sound has also seen the same level of gains.

yeah ... it's stuff like that: it makes you wonder it all this hassle it worthwhile!
 

BadAss

Banned
Just found this on the AVSforums.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=651463

It says:- On the audio side, all Sony and MGM titles will include both conventional Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. Dolby data rate is still unconfirmed. DTS data rate will be 1.5Mb/sec. Additionally all Sony/MGM releases will include a 5.1 uncompressed PCM audio track.
 

clarky78

Active Member
BadAss said:
I don't think this is true, all fims released on Blue-Ray will have a True HD soundtrack.

True HD is just a lossless verion of normal DD and not a new remix.

I also believe to get True HD you need a processor with HDMI output or you'll have to use a downmixed analog signal.

I would be very very suprised if this is not the case.

My comment was more regarding the availabilty of its possible 10 individual channels (or is it 8?) It will be years before we see 7.1 discrete letalone 9.1 etc..

And i doubt in the real world most people will even notice the difference with this lossless encoding unless running multi £K equipment.
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
I think that on most video material(i.e films etc) comparing one format Vs another,even with very good equipment,and trying to detect a degree of compression is very difficult,especially if you're actually trying to enjoy the film rather than looking for system shortcomings.

DTS,and DD currently do very well in this situation,although when listening to pure stereo sources,I'd have to say IMHO,DTS comes out best on those few DTS CD's I have.

Otherwise,for music,the recent debacle of SACD and DVD-A,plus DualDisc has left me utterly unimpressed not only with the formats themselves(which often have been culled from the back catalogues and badly remixed...with some notable exceptions)but also with the ability of major manufacturers and record companies to get together and actually put products on the shelves without endless internal bickering.

It is easy to notice the compression produced by MP3 encoding,even at 320kbps,on decent enough gear,so a high enough bitrate is essential,but as to 7.1 or above....how long,and how much...and also how many people actually want 7 or more channels.....personally I wouldnt,as my lounge is already getting a bit jammed with various bits of HiFi/AV equipment.
 

chambeaj

Well-known Member
The Pioneer BDP-HD1 Blu-Ray Disc Player £999.95 Sept.2006
http://www.avland.co.uk/pioneer/bdphd1/bdp-hd1.htm

First generation Blu-Ray players will have onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. Output choices will be the 7.1 analogue outputs and 8 channels of 96KHz/24-bit PCM over HDMI for those AV Amps/Processors which implement HDMI 1.1 or later (i.e. Denon AVC-A1XV, Denon AVC-A1XVA).

HDMI 1.3 will be required for transporting native Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD to an appropriately equipped AV Amp/Processor.

HDMI 1.3 is still in the works and not expected to be formalised until sometime mid 2006

It has been suggested that some studios may not allow use of the 7.1 analogue outputs. This will come down to the software on the individual titles i.e. you'll be forced to use HDMI (i.e. HDMI 1.1 8 channels of 96/24 PCM on first gen players and/or native HD data streams over HDMI 1.3 on 2nd gen players), else make do with down converted audio i.e. 5.1 DD/DTS
 

Knyght_byte

Novice Member
being someone that listens on a decent price setup to various formats (CD, DVD, DVD-A, SACD etc) i can say that the new sound formats wont hold anything extra really on my surround system (check sig).....good as it is, there isnt any real difference in quality when i play m/channel music discs, just the fact that they are m/channel......however on my stereo setup (and once i get a proper CD player this will improve even more) i do notice a difference between a CD recording and a SACD stereo recording.....the SACD does lend something extra.....but given we are talking about some £3,500 or so of two channel setup it's expected...........on a cheaper system it just isnt noticeable really.....(ie the 3910, 3803 and S6's)......

the trueHD or whatever formats will be used initially as a selling point, and most likely people will placebo themelves in to thinking there is a difference at first when they play it over their £450 Sony DAV-xxx setup........then when they watch a normal DVD straight after one night they'll think, wait a sec, i cant tell the difference soundwise...........heh

if however the HD version of the soundtrack is mixed differently to take advantage of certain extra processing abilities in regards to panning etc then it may well be a good bonus on a midrange system......

oh well, be fun to find out, i reckon i'll get a BR/HD-DVD player once a dualplayer is available around £800 but either 2nd or 3rd Gen......dont like buying 1st gen, knowing my luck i'd spend the money and get the crap model...lol
 

Knightshade

Novice Member
Lets hope they offer something more than DVD-A and SACD. It was a novelty to start with but one that soon grew tiring.
Of course they may all go the same way as SACD and DVD-A in which case we'll be stuck with CD's for a bit longer. How many channels do you need for stereo anyway?
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
I've done an awful lot of reading and research on this recently and there's an awful lot of mis-information in this thread... which I think goes to show just how badly the format war is affecting the consumers ability to find out what on earth is going on...

Firstly HDMI 1.3, it doesn't exist yet, and yes it will be the first version of the interface that will allow the transfer of the native Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD bitstreams. Existing toslink and co-ax connections can't handle the data volume. The like of Denon etc, may implement their own connection such as DenonLink to maybe get there first with a TrueHD/DTS-HD decoder, but that won't be an open standard.

However, what it seems no-one has explained very well yet and is extremely important to all of us potentially are the new interactive features of the new formats. For example, one touted feature is the ability to superimpose a picture of say the director on the screen and listen to his explanations of what they were doing for the scene you're watching. On a current DVD, you can switch soundtracks to a commentary track, but usually that is a stereo track, you lose the surround sound and you don't see the director/actor speaking.

With the new formats what they're saying is that the player will mix the commentary into the playing surround sound, and also potentially super impose an image of the person speaking on the screen too. This can only be done if the *player* does the decoding. Neither HDMI or any other link will support an additional interactive channel decoding button presses from the player along with the DD or DTS bitstream for a reciever to decode... So, for high def discs, with interactive features, you can only decode in the player. If you choose to decode externally, you lose the interactive capability.

To me this is crucial (not the interactive rubbish:) ) as what they seem to be saying is that to get the most feature rich experience from the new formats you will need to either use analogue outs from the players or send a multi-channel PCM stream (mixed by the player to include whatever features you're using at the time) over HDMI 1.1 to your receiver...

This explains why they're launching DVD-HD and Blu-ray without HDMI 1.3 being even defined yet, and HDMI 1.2 not even available in products.

Now the downsides... Toshiba's new players do not support decoding of more than two channels of Dolby TrueHD (it's on their own USA spec page). The expensive player has 5.1 analogue outs, so it seems that 6.1 and 7.1 channel films aren't on the menu for those of you with 7.1 speaker setups, and because the player does the decoding, if you want to hear the HD soundtracks you'll have some fun. It does seem that most discs will also have standard DD or DTS or both tracks that existing receivers can decode as normal for 7.1 setups... but that's not very HD is it?

So initally DVD-HD seems a step back for the 6.1/7.1 boys in the sound department.

Blu ray is so far less clear. For example so far, Pioneer have only said their $1800 player will support DTS-HD, not Dolby TrueHD. If you look at any of the pictures out there of the player as shown at CES, then you'll only see the DTS-HD logo on the machine front... The dolby logo is a standard DD one, completely different from the TrueHD logo visible on the Toshiba player. The Sony player has no logo's at all other than HDMI.

Confused?? :confused: You really should be... :(

The only good news I can see so far is that if you have a receiver that accepts PCM sound in up to 8 channels over HDMI 1.1 then you are probably covered, assuming (and it's a huge assumption) that the PCM decoding works properly. I don't think there are any HDMI 1.1 8 channel sources out there as as far as I know, all 7 or more channel decoding is done outside of the DVD players... This may well mean that HDMI 1.1 receivers may only work with 6 channels of PCM audio...

Buyer beware. If you want the video quality go ahead. Sound format wise, well they've achieved the impossible. IF it wan't already hard enough with all the flavours of DD, DTS, DVD Audio and SACD, they've just made it twice as bad if not more.

:suicide:
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
BadAss said:
True HD is just a lossless verion of normal DD and not a new remix.
I think it's important to put the record straight on that subject, because there would be little point in introducing True HD and DTS-HD if that were true.

True HD & DTS-HD are both high definition multi-channel audio formats - superior to CD and comparable to DVD-A. They are both compressed like DD & DTS, but with much higher data rates.

It is fair to say that True HD is equivalent to a lossless version of DVD-A, not DD.

True HD and DTS-HD also appear to be quite similar in what they achieve and how they do it, though detailed information is not very easy to come by yet. True-HD appears to be the adopted HD MC standard for HD-DVD, and Blu-Ray isn't decided yet.

Good post, Ian S; lets get the facts straight.

Nick
 

BadAss

Banned
welwynnick said:
It is fair to say that True HD is equivalent to a lossless version of DVD-A, not DD.

Nick

I'm talking about lossless DD as in what movie theatres get. Do they get the equivalent of DVD-A uncompressed, I don't think so.
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
Dolby True HD is a very different beast to standard Dolby Digital. The latter has a maximum data rate of 640Kbps and a maximum bit depth/sample rate of 24/48KHz. It's also based on a lossy compression ration of about 12:1 whereas standard DTS uses about 3:1, hence DTS's superiority for music.

TrueHD is lossless compression and can go up to 18Mbps for it's data rate and 96KHz for its sample rate. Big difference.

Now I'm sure that to generate the different formats in 5.1, the same source master (analogue, digital, whatever sample rate) is simply passed through the appropriate encoding rack, but the difference in what we get should be quite marked. I don't know if this will make much difference for movies or whether it will simply let Dolby catch up with DTS...
 

BadAss

Banned
If the Blue-Ray player can decode True-HD straight to analog outs then surely all we have to do is pass this on directly to our power amps no need for a secondary processor at all?
 

jayjay

Active Member
BadAss said:
If the Blue-Ray player can decode True-HD straight to analog outs then surely all we have to do is pass this on directly to our power amps no need for a secondary processor at all?

In theory that sounds good to me too! You wonder whether the studios and manu's will downgrade the analogue outputs because of the lack of copy protection.

Just a thought.

Jay
 

Ian_S

Distinguished Member
I think you'll find that the studios consider analogue 'downgraded' anyway when it comes to audio output :)

What they're worried about is making perfect digital copies, so it's always the digital outs that are protected. If they 'downgraded' the analogue outs then you'd never hear the benefit of these better formats as at some point that 'Master Quality' sound has to become a high quality analogue signal to go to an amplifier... There aren't too many studio quality 6-8 track home tape machines out there to make copies with :)

We've had the full quality analog outputs now for SACD and DVD Audio for some time, so you'll certainly get them with the new HD formats.

Where you need to be careful is a) with the player you buy, and b) if you make use of some of the room EQ features. As I said before, the new Toshiba players ONLY support 2 channel output and decoding of Dolby TrueHD... it won't be a software upgrade either as it's the chipset used that has the restriction. The Pioneer player may not support TrueHD at all. As for room EQ, it doesn't work on analogue outs usually (so bye bye TMREQ for Tag owners?) and I doubt if anyone knows if it works on an HDMI PCM data stream on a suitably equipped receiver.

So, if you're wanting to jump in early on the new HD formats for picture quality alone, then go ahead. If your main driver for HD is better sound, be very careful, you may be better advised to wait for the second generation products that will hopefully have fully featured TrueHD and DTS-HD processing.

Of course the fact that the audio side means things look less than perfect initially is obviously going to make record companies release lots of interesting material on them... not!!! :suicide:
 

jayjay

Active Member
Thanks Ian

When I mentioned "downgrading" I meant 7.1 down to 5.1, etc...I wasn't very clear. You make some very good points.

Jay
 

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