This is a follow-up to a thread I started a while ago about making my computer into a HTPC (hybrid gaming/HTPC, to be more precise). (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=84&TopicId=25391 ) I recently found a really great deal on a philips 47" Full HD LCD, and have set about hooking it up with my PC.
The sapphire 4870 I have is advertised as having a digital audio processor built into the card, and comes with a DVI->hdmi dongle attached. I was incredibly surprised to discover that this actually enables it to output sound through the same HDMI cable as the video. I know HDMI carries audio signals, but seeing as it's being passed through a DVI-out first, I thought it wouldn't have had carried any. Anyway, right now, I'm able to play sound through my TV, with only one input: the HDMI cable running from the back of my video card's DVI-out.
However, I DO have a few problems, that I was hoping some of you might have some insight into. Although I do get sound, and media player, MCE, games, and many other applications work perfectly, I have issues with other sounds. In particular, system sounds (such as warnings, the log in jingle, warnings, etc) and alerts from windows live messenger only play partially, sometimes not at all. Typically, I might hear the last half of the sound, or it might play in a very muted fashion.
I'm not sure what the problem is. I went to the playback devices screen, and made the HDMI device my default audio device, and disabled my on-mobo audio too. Then I had a play with the options on that screen. If I tick the box for DTS or Dolby digital and hit "test", it gives me an error message saying something along the lines that it cannot initiate device (I forget specifics, and am at work!). So, overall, the audio works fine for games etc, but isn't quite working perfectly.
Any suggestions about what I could try to fix this? I was thinking that it might actually matter that I've plugged straight into the philips TV, and perhaps I should wait until I've purchased a HDMI digital amplifier and run the signal through that before I decide there's a software problem. But I'm not sure about that. Right now I sort of feel that I'm lacking some functionality - I can't even tell what kind of audio I'm outputting - whether it's plain stereo, dolby digital 5.1, 7.1, DTS, or what have you. I can't see an option anywhere to select which I prefer to output.
My system specs as of right now:
AMD Phenom x4 9750
Gigabyte GA-M52S-S3P (rev 1.0, latest bios update)
2GB generic DDR800 RAM
Sapphire Radeon HD4870 512MB