Question for WD Live Owners about Netflix Streaming and Dolby Digital vs Dolby Digital Plus

Hi All,

I’m about to buy the latest model WD TV Live and have been scouring the web for hours to try and get an answer to one of my concerns. I have a Pioneer VSX-84TSXi receiver (top of the line in 2006 when I got it and not yet ready for replacement) that supports a ton of formats but unfortunately not Dolby Digital PLUS. One of my primary reasons for wanting the WD Live TV is to stream Netflix and my understanding is that 5.1 surround from supported Netflix titles is delivered via Dolby Digital PLUS, which, if passed directly to my receiver without any encoding/conversion to normal Dolby Digital, would not work.

I read somewhere that the WD Live Plus (unlike the Roku and some other players) COULD actually send the DD+ signal as normal Dolby Digital, but only if connected to my receiver via the Optical out rather than HDMI.

Can someone who has faced a similar situation please confirm for me if this is the case?

Many thanks.

Hi, if you check the manual, on page 175 you have the option to select from DD 5.1 or DD 5.1+. But I’m not sure that it will do what you need. Check the link below.

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Thanks for the response. I guess my question is whether or not the WD Live or Live Hub is capable of taking DD+ content and outputting it as normal DD via either HDMI or optical. The setting shown in the manual looks promising but I’m not sure if it addresses this specific question.

Does anyone out there have direct experience with this?

The optical output is (plain) Dolby Digital.  Wikipedia says:  “Dolby Digital Plus decoders include a mandatory component that directly converts…the Dolby Digital Plus bitstream to a Dolby Digital bitstream…for carriage via legacy S/PDIF connections (including S/PDIF over HDMI) to external decoders…”  I have my SMP connected via optical to an older AVR, and Netflix DD material causes the AVR to show as  “Dolby Digital.”

DD+ and other high-res audio formats generally require HDMI because the paranoid media companies want end-to-end encryption. It’s the audio equivalent of restricting analog video to SD.