byBen Drawbaugh||April 11th 2008 at 12:44pmApril 11th 2008 12:44 pm
For years we've sent digital audio in the form of a compressed bitstream from our disc player to our audio/video receiver for decoding. So whether we used a Toslink cable or coaxial digital cable, the Dolby Digital or DTS signal wasn't decoded by our player. But today -- thanks to HDMI -- we have the bandwidth to send uncompressed multi-channel audio from the player to the amp without having to resort to six or eight analog RCA cables -- ala the PS3. And with the latest version of HDMI 1.3, we also have the more traditional option of letting our AV/R do the heavy lifting. But of course this begs the question; which is best? On one hand if we decode in the player we lose the ability to use all the bells and whistles we paid for in the latest receiver we bought -- assuming we bought one. But on the other, if we don't decode in the player we lose any sounds from the interactive features or maybe even a secondary audio track that may play along side the main audio. Luckily, some players give you a choice, but the most popular Blu-ray player doesn't, as the PS3 doesn't support bitstreaming TrueHD or DTS-HD (it will bitstream Dolby Digital and DTS though). So assuming you even have a choice, which is better, decoding in the player or in your AV/R.