5.1 audio over built-in RealTek optical output (1 Viewer)

HTPCSourcer

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    As I said above, optical cannot transport 5.1, but hdmi should do fine. This is subject to the graphics cxard and associated Windows driver. The Windows mixer setup should show you the available sound formats if you select the hdmindevice for output.
     

    Stéphane Lenclud

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    As I said above, optical cannot transport 5.1, but hdmi should do fine. This is subject to the graphics cxard and associated Windows driver. The Windows mixer setup should show you the available sound formats if you select the hdmindevice for output.
    Apparently Dolby Digital Live needs S/PDIF so it won't work over HDMI then?

    On there they say:
    "Dolby Digital delivers up to 5.1 discrete channels of high-quality surround sound for digital television, DVDs, and online streaming."

    So optical can do 5.1 through Dolby Digital.
    When I say 5.1 I mean any surround audio no matter which encoding/transport protocol you are using.
    I'm guessing consoles and BD players do support 5.1 (not upmix but actual surround) through HDMI.
    Surely PC games can also support some kind of surround through HDMI right?
     
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    HTPCSourcer

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    No, rather the opposite.

    However, in theory DD Live takes a 5.1 signal and encodes it as a standard Dolby Digital stream, hence both HDMI and SPDIF should play it. If you refer to gaming, then most likely the games will produce a 5.1 signal. Playing this via SPDIF requires it to be encoded into a DD signal, the latter being subject to drivers supporting this.

    In general the HDMI connection gives you much greater flexibility and there is no signal that SPDIF is capable of playing, which could not also be played via HDMI.
     
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    Stéphane Lenclud

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    I've edited my post above but I think you just answered my questions. Providing that your hardware supports it there should be no reason to use optical over HDMI then.
    Actually some sound cards out there do a very good job at mixing your audio through their optical S/PDIF output.
    See Dolby Digital Live, that makes optical output from those sound card the premium audio solution for your PC.
    Obviously if you already have an A/V Receiver that does a good job at mixing your HDMI audio then Sound Cards, Dolby Digital Live and S/PDIF are of no use to you. Personally I'm most impressed by Sonos PLAYBAR and its optical input solution as it spares me the trouble of using an A/V Receiver or other HDMI switch, the only box in my A/V rack is now my PC :)
     

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