Multiple simultaneous audio output - digital and analog (Optical output and analog output at the same time)


  • I've Google Searched for hours, trying to find someone with an answer to how to do this.  It appears that this capability was disabled in the move from Windows XP to Windows Vista, and the crippling of multiple, simultaneous digital/analog outputs was carried through to Windows 7.

    From various forum posts on, there are theories that this is a purposeful limitation related to DRM, and therefore there are no plans to fix the situation.  Since the desired capability was first reported in 2007 or so, it would appear that there's no serious effort to provide this Windows XP capability.

    Many standard audio receivers can play a digital output over a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system.  They also have a feature called "zone 2" or "zone 3" which allows analog sources to be played over a simple stereo speaker set (e.g. to play out over a patio.)  I have my Playstation 3, even my cable box, set up to play digital inside and analog outside on my patio, but I cannot get my $1,000+ computer to match this simple feature from my Playstation and cable box.

    I suppose if Onkyo and all of the audio receiver manufacturers could output digital sources over Zone 2 and Zone 3, that would also solve the problem.  However, it would seem that if Microsoft was going to move into an established market, they should have acquiesced to the standards already established in that market space.

    I'd really like for Windows Media Center to be the core of my entertainment system, but this basic incompatibility with the existing audio receiver manufacturers is very frustrating.



    As far as DRM's concerned, I don't understand how this capability would impact DRM?

    Monday, May 10, 2010 3:43 AM

All replies

  • Ken, I agree with you totally.  our situations differ slightly.  

    I want to be able to use my standard desktop pc speakers when i am sitting at my computer. and when I want to switch my 3rd monitor to view a divx on my big screen in the other room i want my computer to already be enabled to send my optical signal to my onkyo reciever. 

    Instead i have to go in to the control panel and switch it back and forth every time. very annoying.  your right, when i was running xp you could leave them both enabled. it was Fantastic.  I don't see the impact on DRM either. but It does suck.  It would be really nice if windows would let you setup 2 or 3 display/audio hardware profiles using hot keys. that way you could program in what connection is what and to a 3 or 4 finger salute to switch everything to your preferred setting.  I use a hot key to switch my video cards profiles from all monitors to a combo of monitors and hdmi using the ati catalyst control center.  But why would the engineers over at windows actually read the forums and glean the knowledge us end users have that could really use the tech changes? 


    sincerely frustrated


    Friday, May 28, 2010 8:22 AM