The BBC has just posted a useful blog addressing some of the issues regarding surround sound, and confirming that it won’t be until April of next year that transcoding is mandatory.
If you don’t have time to digest all the other information on this site to work out what that means, here’s the Executive Summary:
- Most Freeview HD kit you buy right now will not give you surround sound with your existing home cinema system, even where surround sound is broadcast
- To get surround sound, equipment needs to either provide a multi-channel output via HDMI, or transcode it to Dolby Digital/DTS for optical/co-axial connectors
- Some equipment on sale can do that. But most can’t
- It will be a mandatory requirement on equipment launched after April 2011
If there’s too much jargon in this post, read this one for a quick glossary.
Incidentally, also quite interesting to see in that blog confirmation of something I suspected, which is that it’s not really practical to switch audio formats on the fly, without causing various glitches. Many thanks to the BBC for answering the questions that I put to them.