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