I don’t work for WD or have any contacts with the WD staff. I am just a user who reads forums for educational value. I am a qualified electrician with extensive experience with building and modifying audio equipment. Therefore; I know just a little more than the average consumer about technical devices.
People with no technical qualifications persistently rant about the quality of consumer products, the reliability of software and product functionality. WD may be a large manufacturing company. That is insignificant compared to how many millions of consumers use the end product. It is impossible for any manufacturer to write software to compensate for every application. That is why companies use open source software and upgrade the software as required.
Leave the emotional debate in the closet and approach the issue rationally and scientifically.
The 5.1 / 7.1 audio decoding issue is not exclusive to WDTV boxes. If people blaming “buggy” WD software care to Google and read the posts on various audio sites and forums they will find that there are reports of anomalies when decoding 5.1 / 7.1 audio.
Part of the decoding issue is the DSP chip. Some DSP chips were designed before streaming boxes were invented. Those DSP chips were designed to be compliant to the then available hardware technology. The possibility is that those chips may not decode 5.1 / 7.1 audio correctly from streaming devices introduced later in the market.
There are also issues of badly mastered DVD titles especially NTSC converted to PAL. Those DVD’s play correctly when played through stand alone hardware DVD players. There is no way of knowing how those DVD’s will perform when ripped and played through computer software.
Computers don’t contain any video hardware devices. The CPU and GPU are software programmed to act as the hardware decoding. What will work on a computer does not translated to what will work on a hardware decoder.
There are also issues of badly compiled pirated movies and TV shows that do not conform to any recognised video standards. People compile those shows, upload those productions to a server, and then downloaded by other users who complain their steamer box malfunctions.
SBS Australia is one of the biggest sources of non-English speaking TV shows and movies subtitled to English. I possess a hard to obtain Italian detective miniseries that was subtitled by SBS Australia. The DVD works correctly when played through a hardware DVD player and computer software. When I try to stream the individual movies, I loose the subtitles. The reason is that the original miniseries was produced for an Italian audience. The TV series was purchased by an Australian TV network (SBS) and the English subtitling was done in-house to suit an Australia English audience. The English subtitling is contained on a special track on the DVD and superimposed onto the original Italian DVD master.
The point I am making is:
If people are not prepared to disclose the DVD title, the manufacturer and model number of their audio amplifier, and continuously rant about software issues, how are WD expected to investigate audio issues? OR maybe the real issue is that it may be found that the DVD title and the DSP chip in their amplifier are not compliant and compatible with later technology.
Therefore the only way to resolve audio issues is to compile a database of DVD’s and amplifiers and report exactly what is happening to the audio signal. ie centre channel missing; centre channel working, main channel missing, right channel working, left channel missing; etc, etc.
My amplifier is a Yamaha RX-V457 amplifier. I have no audio issues with the latest WDTV live software.