30 July 2007

Surround me!

Now to a subject that interests me and warms my heart. Surround sound. I will limit myself to two narrow fields, OS X support for it, and Apple hardware support for it. Everything else around it just have to wait for another day. Maybe one glorious day I will own a new surround sound home cinema. But those dreams are for another day, and another blog entry.

First up software. The state in general is appalling. It is the same with other OSes, with really no properly integrated solution anywhere to be seen. So what the heck do I mean then? You get all sorts of magical software included with your sound card, and maybe even something with your surround capable motherboard. You can get certain applications to actually output surround sound. For instance quicktime plays trailers in surround on my PC just nice and fine.

So what the heck is all the fuzz about? Well, I do not like bundled applications, and I haven't even seen any for the mac, and quite frankly, I do not want them. I want Apple to integrate the idea of surround sound into the platform. I refuse to believe that it could be that big of a deal, and it would set one single standard for users to understand.

This would mean standards for surround sound in games (core audio probably can do quite a bit, but there are certainly more to do). Nice settings in preference for setting levels, how certain codecs should be handled, if any automatic stereo to surround conversation should be done (doing this in Windows XP with a Create sound card is just plain insane, just so you know!). I'll leave it up to you, my very few readers, to connect the dots.

Next up, probably easier to discuss, is hardware. I do no like analog cables, and I do not like S/PDIF either. Apple has now killed off the floppy, the PS/2 connectors, and so on. Why not kill this old beast once and for all and introduce HDMI (1.3+ implementing *everything*) to all your computers? The argument is the same for any standards following HDMI (display port etc).

So why do that? Apart from making it a breeze to connect Apples to modern TVs one could use that connection to connect the sound into a receiver or into an integrated surround sound system with its own D/A converter. Nice and clean and do not need to be slaves to DD/DTS has 8 channels of uncompressed sound will take us quite far.

There, that is my little rant about surround sound on the Mac. It has bugged me for a very long time now, and I wish that Apple could continue their push to eliminate old connectors that doesn't deserve to live, as well as old technology that no longer makes any sense. That's all for this time folks!

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