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#71050 - 07/29/05 12:35 PM Upgradeability and HD-DVD/Blu-Ray audio formats
TimRoo Offline

Registered: 12/05/01
Posts: 17
Will it be possible that the new 1070, with it's upgradeability, will be able to handle the DTS-HD (also known as dts++) and Dolby++ formats that will be found in the new HD disc formats? I know that these formats will be backward-compatible, so I'm interested in whether the 1070 will someday be able to handle the formats themselves, without downrezzing.

#71051 - 07/29/05 12:53 PM Re: Upgradeability and HD-DVD/Blu-Ray audio formats
gonk Offline

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 14054
Loc: Memphis, TN USA
An excellent question, that we happen to have just recently picked through pretty well in regards to the Model 990. Outlaw is still in the process of pulling back the curtain on the 1070, so we are still getting details served up to us, but here's my best guess at the situation.

DTS-HD and Dolby Digital Plus will be available with the HD optical discs (HD-DVD and Blu-Ray) once they are available, but the path for delivering those formats to a receiver will most likely involve a future version of HDMI. Currently there are no digital audio interfaces that include provisions for delivering DTS-HD or DD+, including HDMI 1.1. The current HDMI (v1.1) supports DD, DTS, and DVD-Audio MLP, but not SACD or the HD audio formats. Because so much is still uncertain, it is unlikely that any receivers or processors will support DTS-HD or DD+ decoding without some sort of update - an update that will very possibly require hardware changes. Obviously, that sort of update is not impossible (products such as the Anthem family of processors are prime candidates for a DTS-HD/DD+ update at some point), but it is unlikely to be cost effective in a product in the price range of the 1070 or the 990.

So what will we do when we start buying or renting movies on Blu-Ray or HD-DVD and we are among the hundreds of thousands of DD/DTS receiver and processor owners who can't decode the formats? One option is to rely on the older DD or DTS tracks that will be provided over coax or optical digital audio with both formats. Another (preferable) is to rely on a decoder in the player that will provide a 7.1 analog audio output that the 1070's 7.1 analog input will support. This is a direct throw-back to the way that early DVD players worked - many higher-end Pro Logic receivers from the late 90's had 5.1 analog inputs and most early DVD players included built-in Dolby Digital decoders. In fact, the 1070 appears to offer a nice feature on the 7.1 input that may be a big help in this scenario: three options for bass management. In addition to the analog 80Hz crossovers that the 950 offered, there's an option of pure bypass (good if the source component has useful bass management) and digital bass management (which will presumably convert the analog input to digital and use the 1070's digital quad crossovers.

In short, it's still a bit early to know exactly how these HD optical disc formats will work on the audio side (and on the video side, particularly with regards to component video outputs, but that's a whole separate mess), but the 1070 should be able to cope with whatever happens with the two formats.
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