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.  My DVD player however is built into the projector so I searched for a different solution. 

I decided to upgrade my Home Theater PC (HTPC).┬á It is already connected to the projector so I don’t have to worry about plugging and unplugging devices from my projector.┬á Of course it needed a few upgrades.┬á 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.┬á I plan to upgrade to Blu Ray and 1080p video sometime so I figured I should just install a Blu Ray drive in it.┬á With a little price shopping I found one on sale and ordered it.┬á I started to get excited about Blu Ray audio.┬á 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.┬á I figured I would hear a marked improvement when watching Blu Ray disks but then I learned some bad news.┬á Most of the 7.1 cards out there do not support Dolby TrueHD, the impressive audio standard I was looking forward to.┬á

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.  It is a PCI card with 2 HDMI ports (one input and one output) and a 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

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