Dolby TrueHD comes to HTPC’s

Aimee and I use my home theater a lot and so when my DVD player started skipping on disks I got frustrated.  I tried cleaning it but good hygiene is not the cure for every electronic woe.  Normally I would just replace the DVD player.  After all, DVD players are around $20 these days.  This DVD player, however, is built into the projector so I searched for a different solution.

I decided to upgrade my Home Theater PC (HTPC).  It is already connected to the projector so I don’t have to worry about plugging and unplugging devices from my projector.  Of course, it needed a few upgrades.  Since I always watched DVDs on the projector DVD player I never needed one on the HTPC so I built it with a standard CD-Rom.  I plan to upgrade to Blu Ray and 1080p video sometime so I figured I should just install a Blu Ray drive in it.  With a little price shopping, I found one on sale and ordered it.  I started to get excited about Blu Ray audio.  Since my projector is only 720p I will not get to experience the great video quality from Blue Ray until I eventually upgrade but I already have a 7.1 system hooked up.  I figured I would hear a marked improvement when watching Blu Ray disks but then I learned some bad news.  Most of the 7.1 cards out there do not support Dolby TrueHD, the impressive audio standard I was looking forward to.

I plan to upgrade to Blu Ray and 1080p video sometime so I figured I should just install a Blu Ray drive in it.  With a little price shopping, I found one on sale and ordered it.  I started to get excited about Blu Ray audio.  Since my projector is only 720p I will not get to experience the great video quality from Blue Ray until I eventually upgrade, but I already have a 7.1 system hooked up.  I figured I would hear a marked improvement when watching Blu Ray disks but then I learned some bad news.  Most of the 7.1 cards out there do not support Dolby TrueHD, the impressive audio standard I was looking forward to.

I had to rectify this situation so I began looking for a card that could handle it.  Low and behold, I found the ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 with Dolby TrueHD support.  It is a PCI card with 2 HDMI ports (one input and one output) and an S/PDIF port on it.  This card can provide the true Blu Ray audio experience and it even comes with a low profile adapter for smaller cases.

Benchmark Reviews has a nice review of the card here: http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=341&Itemid=59&limit=1&limitstart=0



About The Author


Eric Vanderburg

Eric Vanderburg is an author, thought leader, and consultant. He serves as the Vice President of Cybersecurity at TCDI and Vice Chairman of the board at TechMin. He is best known for his insight on cybersecurity, privacy, data protection, and storage. Eric is a continual learner who has earned over 40 technology and security certifications. He has a strong desire to share technology insights with the community. Eric is the author of several books and he frequently writes articles for magazines, journals, and other publications.

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