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Generate true 5.1 channel surround sound output
Authored by: brw3sbc on Feb 18, '09 12:13:23PM

The opening statement is bold, but incomplete, and is contradicted in paragraph 4. There are several inaccurate statements in the posting.

The optical port is simply a serial digital data port, shovelling bits (ones and zeros - light on and light off) out in a sequence. It is up to the device at the other end to deal with the data that it receives.

The optical audio port of the Mac can indeed feed multi-channel data, if that is what is encoded in the bitstream. Several applications pass the data exactly as it is encoded in the source. I have some DTS-encoded CDs (Police, Moody Blues) that I keep in iTunes (AIFFormat). I can play them through the optical port or through AirTunes - my receiver (connected optically to an Airport Express) switches into DTS decoding automatically. The same when I play a DVD movie - the receiver (connected by optical cable or by coax with an optical-to-coax convertor at the Mac end) switches to decode as required. DTS-encoded material can be downloaded from Swedish National Radio, and played via iTunes - it is real surround - very real.

Other parts of the post are uncontested, by me. There may well be other sources where multi-channel data is encoded differently, and, yes, my receiver may not be able to decode them. What I interpret this post to offer is a conversion between one form of audio encoding to another form, the latter being one that the receiver can decode. All of that, however, has nothing to do with the capabilities of the optical port, which is already very capable.

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