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Cyberlink, Realtek, Gigabyte fix HD audio problems

Cyberlink, Realtek, Gigabyte fix HD audio problems

PowerDVD 8 will not downsample HD audio soon on the Realtek ALC889a codec.

Cyberlink has worked with Realtek so that the ALC889a (and we assume by extension, the ALC885) premium HD sound codec now supports full bit-rate 192KHz/24-bit sound instead of automatically downgrading it to DVD quality (48KHz/16-bit) instead.

We hope the ALC885 is included, otherwise you'll need a Gigabyte motherboard to use this update because the ALC889a is part of an exclusive agreement.

According to Cyberlink, the update is due in Q3 or Q4 of this year - and that's just one of many HD audio codecs out there (although not all support content protection like the ALC889a/885 do).

"We see high-definition audio being the inevitable trend for matching up with HD video for delivering a true digital home entertainment," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink, in a statement.

The good news is that the update will be completely free for all PowerDVD Ultra users. There's no specific information with regards to whether it's via HDMI or LCPM, but the press release does state that it works with Nvidia PureVideo, ATI Avivo, and Intel Clear Video technologies to provide "uncompressed content-protect[ed] audio."

It has taken nine months to get to the bottom of this, as we first uncovered the problem where basically every piece of software that can decode HD movies, can't actually output the HD audio as well. It was simply because the HDCP compliance needs to be maintained between software, hardware and OS, and there was no set specification for the three to adhere to. This meant every sound codec that supported the feature needed a specific driver path for the software that was trying to access this.

It's good to see that this problem has finally been fixed, but we can't help but feel it's too little, too late, as I'm sure many of the HD fanatics have already bought a set top box or PlayStation 3 to playback Blu-ray movies. Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

21 Comments

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Timmy_the_tortoise 12th June 2008, 13:12 Quote
I bloody well hope the Realtek ALC885 is included, my HTPC is going to have an ASUS Mobo as opposed to Gigabyte, since I needed Digital Coax-out.
fathazza 12th June 2008, 13:29 Quote
took them long enough!!!

snazzy,i dont even have to upgrade my gigabyte 690g board...
very good news this as i was worried i was going to have to fork out the auzentech prelude and the hdmi expansion board to get this working in the long run!

Think its now coming time to upgrade my aging pioneer amp to a snazzy truehd capable jobby :)

edit: bindi i take it this only for powerdvd 8 ultra then? :@
and how will this work if youre using a seperate graphics card?
im using a 2600xt at the mo, will the sound be able to be passed through that or will it only be able to come out of the motherboards hdmi out?
[USRF]Obiwan 12th June 2008, 14:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza
took them long enough!!!

im using a 2600xt at the mo, will the sound be able to be passed through that or will it only be able to come out of the motherboards hdmi out?

I think it will output on the optical/coaxial digital output of the motherboard. But like you we dont know untl Q3/4...
fathazza 12th June 2008, 14:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
I think it will output on the optical/coaxial digital output of the motherboard. But like you we dont know untl Q3/4...

i thought that the reason other than DRM why the hd audio wasnt implemented before is that spdif didnt have the bandwidth to carry the bitrate required for five+ channels. And that the only way to do it would be via analogue or over hdmi
Timmy_the_tortoise 12th June 2008, 15:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF]Obiwan
I think it will output on the optical/coaxial digital output of the motherboard. But like you we dont know untl Q3/4...

i thought that the reason other than DRM why the hd audio wasnt implemented before is that spdif didnt have the bandwidth to carry the bitrate required for five+ channels. And that the only way to do it would be via analogue or over hdmi

You can't have a digital HD signal over an analogue connection, mate.

I'm pretty sure S/PDIF would be able to carry the signal, otherwise it's stupid because not everyone has HDMI... and a HD A/V Receiver with S/PDIF and no HDMI would then be useless.
fathazza 12th June 2008, 15:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
You can't have a digital HD signal over an analogue connection, mate.

I'm pretty sure S/PDIF would be able to carry the signal, otherwise it's stupid because not everyone has HDMI... and a HD A/V Receiver with S/PDIF and no HDMI would then be useless.


just because it isnt digital doesnt mean it isnt hi-def, analogue is obviously capable of transmitting uncompressed signals... and given that an amp without hdmi inputs can have hd sound transmitted to its pre-outs.

tis all pretty well explained here...
http://www.dolby.com/consumer/technology/trueHD/AVRs/trueHD_avrs_2.html
Timmy_the_tortoise 12th June 2008, 16:05 Quote
I think you've misunderstood something... somewhere.

Dolby TrueHD IS digital. It is not analogue, and therefore it cannot be sent over an analogue connection. The only way (other than HDMI) that this signal can therefore be sent is over S/PDIF...
fathazza 12th June 2008, 16:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
I think you've misunderstood something... somewhere.

Dolby TrueHD IS digital. It is not analogue, and therefore it cannot be sent over an analogue connection. The only way (other than HDMI) that this signal can therefore be sent is over S/PDIF...

as long as you have a good DAC then the difference between a digital and analogue connection is minimal. As i said previously you can transmit uncompressed audio for 5 channels over analogue whereas you cannot over spdif due to bandwidth contraints. If you read the link in the post above if you try to transmit TrueHD over spdif it has to be down mixed to dolby digital.
Renoir 12th June 2008, 16:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
You can't have a digital HD signal over an analogue connection, mate.

I'm pretty sure S/PDIF would be able to carry the signal, otherwise it's stupid because not everyone has HDMI... and a HD A/V Receiver with S/PDIF and no HDMI would then be useless.
First off at now point did he say you could have a "digital HD signal" over analogue, he only said "HD signal" and as fathazza points out analogue is perfectly capable of carrying HD audio.

S/PDIF does not have the bandwidth to carry multi channel high def audio. The options are 1) analogue connection to either pc speakers or to a receivers pre-outs 2) converted to LPCM and then transmitted over hdmi 3) send the raw bitstream over hdmi 1.3 e.g. dolby truehd.

It will be interesting to see when amd and nvidia release gpus that will fully support hd audio transfer over hdmi.
Quote:
im using a 2600xt at the mo, will the sound be able to be passed through that or will it only be able to come out of the motherboards hdmi out?
AFAIK that gpu does not support multi channel hd audio regardless of whether drm is present or not so I doubt you'll be able to use it for that purpose. For hdmi supplied by an igp e.g. 690G it will depend on whether the igp supports the necessary secure audio path between the player software and the drivers. As for hdmi supplied by any onboard audio codec (or discrete sound card) the issue they will have to deal with is that in order for hdmi to carry audio it must also have a video signal present so the audio codec/card will have to either have the video signal routed to it by the gpu or create a dummy video signal to allow the audio to passed through and then have the gpu send the real video signal. Hope that answers your question if not just ask.

Renoir
Timmy_the_tortoise 12th June 2008, 16:22 Quote
I stand firmly corrected, with my masculine pride hanging despairingly from the sharp, fierce hands of personal research.

I shall retreat.
fathazza 12th June 2008, 16:25 Quote
thanks for the info renoir,

my motherboard does have the Realtek ALC889a chipset mentioned in the original news post. but it doesnt have any onboard video processing for bluray/hdvd, which is what i bought the 2600xt for... So i guess right now i have a graphics card that does video and a mobo that might be able to do the audio if cyberlink release this patch. I understand the point about dummy signals but it seems a little complicated and surely there might be some syncing problems to go with it.

I think my best bet might be to sell on the 690g board and 2600xt and get myself a 780g board instead which has onboard Hd video acceleration, and the added benefit of requiring lower power than my current combo. Tho i guess its a bit of a moot point until this patch is released and proved to be working. Still i guess the time it takes for that to happen will give me time to save up for a nice onkyo 606 receiver :)
Bindibadgi 12th June 2008, 16:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza

edit: bindi i take it this only for powerdvd 8 ultra then? :@
and how will this work if youre using a seperate graphics card?
im using a 2600xt at the mo, will the sound be able to be passed through that or will it only be able to come out of the motherboards hdmi out?

No, 7 Ultra too. My contact at Cyberlink is taking some time off so I'll get more details when I can.
Quote:
m using a 2600xt at the mo, will the sound be able to be passed through that or will it only be able to come out of the motherboards hdmi out?

You'll need to set the soundcard to the Realtek not the UVD one because ATI only supports S/PDIF pass through still.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timmy_the_tortoise
I stand firmly corrected, with my masculine pride hanging despairingly from the sharp, fierce hands of personal research.

I shall retreat.

Never go up against Renoir, he'll chew you up and spit you out when we're talking about HTPCs :( /looks at past bite marks
Renoir 12th June 2008, 16:29 Quote
sorry timmy I had just posted a rebuttal to your earlier post but did so after I saw your retraction and so have edited this post.
Timmy_the_tortoise 12th June 2008, 16:42 Quote
I just realised how embarrassingly bad my choice of metaphor was.

My pride drops ever lower.

I at least have the comforting excuse of my relative newcomer status in the enthusiast arena.
fathazza 12th June 2008, 16:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
No, 7 Ultra too. My contact at Cyberlink is taking some time off so I'll get more details when I can.

ah cheers for that peice of welcome news bindi...

how very un-cyberlink-like of them, they usually quite like to force people to pay for features they should have included in previous versions and even for downgrades... (like powerdvd 8 removing full hd-dvd support!)

any further news on how this is all going to work would be most welcome :)
Bindibadgi 12th June 2008, 17:16 Quote
Actually they've been offering free upgrades for stuff for quite a while when you purchase the Deluxe and Ultra versions - stuff like BD Live and BD 1.1 updates were free. It's only the OEM stuff that requires upgrading copiously, usually.

PDVD 8 was introduced after HD DVD died, it's hardly surprising tbh. :/
fathazza 12th June 2008, 17:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi

PDVD 8 was introduced after HD DVD died, it's hardly surprising tbh. :/

yeah i get what you are saying about updates which they actually do quite a lot of.
I just meant that functionally powerdvd didnt really change that much from version 3 to 6... im sure there were changes but in practice i doubt youd really notice them...

while hd-dvd may have died why remove it as a feature? they could have just let it be...
Bindibadgi 12th June 2008, 17:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza
I just meant that functionally powerdvd didnt really change that much from version 3 to 6... im sure there were changes but in practice i doubt youd really notice them...

while hd-dvd may have died why remove it as a feature? they could have just let it be...

I completely agree - imo they have been tacking on features that no one really needs in an effort to add value and justify a repurchase, however, not everyone has GPU acceleration or advanced sound.

I agree with the removal of HD DVD, but if you include it you have to support it - I suppose it was just easier to concentrate on getting one standard right.
Timmy_the_tortoise 12th June 2008, 22:17 Quote
Wait.. PowerDVD Ultra 8.0 DOESN'T support HD DVD? Oh man... I was gonna buy a combo drive for my HTPC and get some cheap HD DVDs from gamestation.

I'm gonna have to see if I can get 7.0 instead.. Maybe the drive will come with 7.0 anyway.
fathazza 12th June 2008, 23:28 Quote
the retail Lg combo drive comes with an oem version of powerdvd 7.... or at least the one i bought a couple of months back did.
and if youre after hd-dvds then hmv is the way forwards, £4.99 each, 10% off at quidco, and 10% student discount makes em £4 a pop for me :)
Timmy_the_tortoise 13th June 2008, 13:29 Quote
HMV here I come!
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