The comparison is somewhat unfair.
WD is a huge company, with a huge range of products. That doesn’t mean that the manpower assigned to the WD TV range is also huge (sometimes it seems quite the opposite).
Xtreamer is a company that essentially makes TWO products (media player and network storage). All their resources are applied to just those areas and the same firmware seems applicable to all their media players. I’m not sure how large Xtreamer is as a company but, even if they’re relatively small, they probably have more staff devoted to firmware development than WD.
Same applies to Syabas (they make different models of very similar PCH hardware, PopBox aside). All their resources are media player focused.
It shouldn’t be surprising that a company whose entire business model is about HD media players manages to get DTS-HD working before someone like WD, who has a finger in (arguably) too many pies. Smaller companies have less red tape, have shorter, more focused meetings and can get things done because there are fewer people “up the chain” interfering. I genuinely feel sorry for Bill, Guy, Jeff and the other WD staff who post here because they also own and use WD TV Lives and want the same features we want, yet get dictated priorities by people who seemingly don’t “get it”.
There’s also an issue of licensing. DTS-HD pass-thru seems to be a grey area (you’re actually not manipulating the stream, so why is a license needed!?). Smaller, focused companies like Xtreamer and Syabas have the greater motive (and manpower, apparently) to pursue such issues, plus the willingness to implement them even if they’re not 100% sure.
A huge company like WD does not take any risks, and seemingly won’t implement a feature unless it gets permission in writing (which DTS won’t do, since WD already asked and were told a license is not available). That’s also why B-Rad can add cool new features faster than WD, because he doesn’t have to jump through the same QC hoops that the WD devs do.
Still, since this issue has been raised again by people like yourself who rightly wonder why an HD media player doesn’t do HD audio, it looks like WD is again looking into the matter.
Hopefully they can do something about this silly situation, before they become one of the only major media player manufacturers not supporting the most common HD audio format. :|
This wasn’t really aimed at you Evanesco, just equally frustrated that other companies have implemented something that WD (in ignorance, apparently) told us was not possible.