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Connecting DVD to SB Live [Drive] via Optical

Discussion in 'Soundblaster Live' started by The Void, Sep 1, 2004.

  1. The Void

    The Void Guest


    Should I be able to connect external DVD player to LiveDrive optical input
    for true 5.1 surround with compatible disks?

    Any quirks or common probs I should know about?
    Are there any URLS or tricks/tips/tutorials/help.

    It doesn't seem to be happening.

    ....and thanks.

    [SB Live Platinum/LiveDrive2 + Cambridge 5.1 Speakers]
    The Void, Sep 1, 2004
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  2. The Void

    Lenny Guest

    Other way around is how it usually works; you connect your PC's digital
    output to an external surround decoder. This was a rather novel way of doing
    things. :)
    Probably because the Live isn't really Dolby Digital-enabled; it has no
    built-in surround decoder (that accepts external input anyway). I don't know
    what kind of program you'd need to make this work. Like I said, it's a very
    novel solution you've come up with, so novel you seem to have outsmarted the
    designers of your soundcard! ;)

    I'm not going to outright say this doesn't work, but I'd be surprised if you
    can somehow make it work this way, because I've never heard of anyone doing
    this before. You'll have a much more comfortable experience by buying a
    software DVD player and run DVD playback through your PC instead, that way
    you will definitely get surround sound working, and a lot less hassle to

    If you watch your DVDs on a TV, you may need to make sure your graphics card
    has a TV out connector, but pretty much all of them do these days.
    Lenny, Sep 2, 2004
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  3. I think you can do this with an Audigy 1 upwards. The decoding would be
    still be done on the host CPU by the soundcard's drivers. However, some
    people who've actually tried this have complained that there is a
    significant amount of lag between the Dolby Digital bit-stream and the
    output audio, so yer video and audio might not be in sync.
    Sharanga Dayananda, Sep 2, 2004
  4. The Void

    The Void Guest

    Thanks for responding.
    What would the Optical In on the LiveDrive be used for then?

    Yes, that would seem a stress-free alternative.
    I'll probably head that way once I've totally exhausted ALL other options.
    The Void, Sep 2, 2004
  5. The Void

    Lenny Guest

    What would the Optical In on the LiveDrive be used for then?

    Recording SPDIF format audio from for example a CD or DAT player or such
    mainly. I've never heard of a program that accepts a SPDIF stream in dolby
    digital format, decodes it and then sends the output in real time to the
    speakers of the host PC. I'd think there are programs that can take a DD
    format stream and decode it, but they'd likely want to save the data to disk
    instead, not send them out the speakers. Like I said, yours is a very novel
    way of doing things! ;)
    Lenny, Sep 3, 2004
  6. The Void

    The Void Guest

    Not really. What I'm trying to do is not particularly 'novel'.

    Simply trying to connect a 'source' audio, in this case a DVD player with appropriate outputs to an amplifier/speaker(s) in this case a SB sound card with appropriate inputs using an appropriate cable. Pretty basic stuff that I'm still convinced *should* work.

    Here's a snippet from from the Creative Site (about Extigy)

    Onboard Dolby Digital hardware decoder transforms your PC and notebook to a home theater receiver with true 5.1 multi-channel playback.
    Discrete digital and analog connectivity to Creative Inspire speaker systems.
    As a stand-alone device, simply connect your external DVD player, Game Console or Music playback device to the Coaxial/Optical SPDIF IN for Dolby Digital decoding or analog inputs.
    Auto-detection of Dolby Digital signals for discrete multi-channel playback.
    Up-mix stereo music to 5.1 surround sound with CMSS(Creative Multi-Speaker Surround Sound) for a home-theater-like experience!
    EAX game effects such as Occlusion and Obstruction add the thrill of realism to gameplay.
    Works even without turning on the PC/notebook

    Standalone sound processor for external portable digital audio players and equipment.
    Standalone Dolby Digital decoder for external DVD set-tops or game consoles.
    The Void, Sep 6, 2004
  7. The Void

    The Void Guest

    I'd settle for a delay.
    At least long enough to establish I have a connection between PC and DVD.

    Thanks for replying.
    The Void, Sep 6, 2004
  8. The Void

    Karen Parker Guest


    Karen Parker, Sep 6, 2004
  9. The Void

    The Void Guest

    1. Yes, I can read. I could read before you were born.
    2. It isn't HTML. It's 'Rich Text'.
    3. Entire posts comprising capital letters are considered rude akin to
    'shouting'. Ergo; YOU are considered rude.
    4. It is normal to <snip> (that's 'trim') posts before responding.
    5. You forgot the question mark at the end of your second line.
    6. FOAD.

    Have a nice day.
    The Void, Sep 6, 2004
  10. The Void

    Lenny Guest

    Like I said, yours is a very novel way of doing things! ;)
    Yes, REALLY. It's not something I've ever heard anyone doing before, and
    it's not something I've seen advertised as a feature with any soundcard on
    the PC. Like I said, it might be possible, but its use is so unusual/obscure
    I've never heard of anyone actually doing it this way. Most people have
    enough trouble trying to get digital OUTPUT from a SBlive when they play DVD
    movies ON THE PC...... ;)
    appropriate outputs to an amplifier/speaker(s) in this case a SB sound card
    with appropriate inputs using an appropriate cable. Pretty basic stuff that
    I'm still convinced *should* work.

    Basic? Not really. Like I said, you have to understand you're doing things
    "backwards". It's one thing taking a stereo input and get that to play on
    the PC's speakers, but dolby digital is an encoded compressed audio format
    that needs a decoder to process the audio first, and there is no such
    decoder on the Live/Audigy series cards. Creative supplies a software codec,
    but the typical use for that is to take a file stored locally on the PC (or
    on a DVD) and decode it and send to the speaker outputs, not read the
    digital input, decode and send to the speakers. This might seem like a
    trivial or even silly distinction but really, it is NOT, not to a computer
    and/or the software that runs on the same.

    Like I said last time, easiest solution is to play the DVD on your PC
    instead and use the TV out feature of your video card because god knows
    where you will find a program that does what you propose! :p Some audio
    studio software might be able to if you put it in monitor mode and select
    the digital input, but that's not its intended use, and it could get
    expensive to buy such a program, especially if all you want to do is to
    decode multichannel audio.
    The extigy is an entirely different beast altogether. It's got little to
    nothing at all in common with internal soundblaster cards, and I've only had
    the briefest of experiences with those beasts.

    Chances are when they say the Extigy has a hardware decoder is they're not
    exactly being entirely truthful, Extigy might still use the same software
    codec that the Live/Audigy cards employ. Wouldn't be the first time Creative
    'bent' the truth if that is the case.
    Lenny, Sep 8, 2004
  11. The Void

    Lenny Guest

    Actually, rich text IS html. To verify this is indeed the case, just
    right-click your mail and view the source (outlook express you'll select
    "properties", and then there's a button to view source in the properties
    window, ymmv with other mail readers). The polite thing is to not use html
    in usenet groups as not all mail readers handle it and/or many users don't
    like it, mails also tend to get unneccessarily large and unwieldy in html
    Lenny, Sep 8, 2004
  12. The Void

    The Void Guest

    Yes, I know all that.
    Having been using Usenet for nearly 11 years, I'm fully conversant with
    *all* Usenet protocols and etiquette.

    I believe this to be only the second time I have used rich text (to
    emphasise a point) out of thousands of sent messages.
    It's like stepping into the road *once* during a lifetime of safe
    pedestrianism - hardly worth getting agitated over is it?
    The Void, Sep 8, 2004
  13. The Void

    The Void Guest

    How is that the 'easiest' solution if I don't have a DVD drive?
    Eh? So when the say:

    "As a stand-alone device, simply connect your external DVD player, Game
    Console or Music playback device to the Coaxial/Optical SPDIF IN for Dolby
    Digital decoding or analog inputs." .... They're wrong/lying/talking crap
    then? Sorry...'bending the truth'.

    We should leave it there.
    You clearly don't understand what I'm talking about - nor am I convinced you
    know what you're talking about.

    Thanks for trying to help anyway.
    The Void, Sep 8, 2004
  14. The Void

    Lenny Guest

    I'm not getting agitated at all, I don't particulary care one way or the
    other wether you use, plain text or html (though I tend to prefer plain
    text, as some people select weird-ass fonts and/or colors in their posts
    which can be a bit annoying), I just wanted to point out the erroneous
    statement you gave that 'rich text' was not html - which it in fact is as I
    previously mentioned.
    Lenny, Sep 9, 2004
  15. The Void

    Lenny Guest

    Afair, you never mentioned you did not have a DVD drive. Still, just going
    out and buying one - maybe even a dual-layer compatible burner, as they're
    dirt cheap these days - might be the easiest, and indeed the cheapest
    solution for you as getting an Extigy would cost you maybe as much as about
    twice the price of a DVD burner, and much more than a plain-jane DVDROM
    I didn't say that. Maybe you should just read my posts instead of trying to
    read all kinds of stuff I never wrote into my words. My suggestion would be
    to go back and read my post again, more carefully this time.
    I think it's more a case of bone-headedness on my opposite end that is at
    work here rather than me not understanding.

    You have an unusual situation where you want to pipe digital multichannel
    audio into a PC and get it to play back through your multi-speaker setup and
    you feel 'it should work', based on I don't know what knowledge and
    experience. Usually - and with no disrespect meant towards you - when
    people - often with little to no clue of how computers work - have an idea
    they think should work with regards to PCs it's something along the lines of
    they have a cable with a plug on it coming from some device, and there's a
    socket on the PC where the cable's plug will fit, and they expect that by
    some form of magic whatever they want to do will simply happen if the plug
    is inserted into the socket. Like plugging a lamp into a wall socket
    perhaps. Then, when their idea fails they get disappointed, and sometimes a
    bit snarky and unpleasant towards the person who told them maybe they were
    expecting a bit too much when they thought their idea would be a feasible
    one in the first place.

    Unfortunately it's not that easy with regards to inputs and outputs on PCs,
    particulary digital ones involving compression like I already mentioned. A
    PC is not like a hifi amp where you connect your tape deck and CD player and
    tuner etc to the inputs, and speakers to the outputs and that's it.

    On a PC you need some kind of program that will do the job of piping data
    from input to output in all cases or else nothing at all will happen. With
    analog stereo audio it's easy, you could probably just start the windows
    sound recorder and let it sit there while you watch your movie. Encoded
    digital audio is different though because your SBlive or Audigy does not
    accept encoded audio, it can't play back such a format. It has to be in raw
    digital form, and to reach that stage you need a codec for dolby digital
    sound (also called AC3) that is legally aquired when buying a DVD software
    player for example, and illegally when downloading a codec pack off the web,
    such as the K-Lite Codec Pack (google it if you're not that particular with
    honesty), and you need a program that will read the digital input port, pipe
    the SPDIF stream coming in through the port through the codec, and then use
    the windows directsound interface to send the resulting data out to the
    various speaker outputs on your soundcard.

    This really isn't everyday stuff, believe you me. Do note I never said it
    can't be done, just that this is so uncommon I never heard of an utility
    that is designed for this very purpose. It's possible getting an Extigy will
    do the trick, but they're fairly expensive, and CPU use is higher with these
    beasts as well compared to a PCI card so your computer will perform slower.
    It's marginal under most circumstances, but worth pointing out anyway just
    so you won't get surprised, because Creative certainly won't tell you that
    when you read their site about the thing. Also, you probably need a USB2
    connector to plug it into to use it to its full capabilies, and if your
    computer isn't equipped with one of those that's an extra expenditure that
    has to be made.

    I just think it's silly to buy new sound playback hardware to replace the
    fully working stuff you already have when you could simply play your DVDs
    through your PC instead. The easiest solutions often tend to be the best
    ones, but okay, you do what you want and take your chances with the Extigy
    if you want to. You're an adult - hopefully anyway - and can do whatever the
    hell you want with your money... ;-)

    Now, feel free to insult my intelligence again if you like, but it won't get
    you any closer to a solution to your problem... *rolls eyes*
    Lenny, Sep 9, 2004
  16. The Void

    The Void Guest

    <snip yadda yadda>

    Perhaps you could point me to someone more knowledgable and less
    Actually don't bother, I might get another thesis. :+)

    I'm obviously asking in the wrong place.
    The Void, Sep 9, 2004
  17. The Void

    Lenny Guest

    Pot, meet kettle.
    Kettle says: "charmed!"
    Just a hunch mind you, but I would not be surprised if you find as little
    success in your endeavour elsewhere as you did here, discounting the
    practical advice I already gave you of course, which you promptly ignored I
    might add...

    Good luck, but don't get snarky again if someone else suggests you'd be
    better off just getting a DVD drive for your PC and quit trying to faff
    around so much.
    Lenny, Sep 10, 2004
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