Raspberry Pi 3 and 1080p/DTS HD-MA - how well does it work?
#1
I am considering migrating my Kodi 16.1 on Win 10 to a Raspberry Pi 3 instead. I have a few movies that are 1080p resolution, and DTS HD-MA audio. I haven't been able to verify that the Pi 3 will do DTS HD-MA (or even DTS) passthru. (I have a Denon E-300 that supports this, and that's how my current Kodi is set up - WASAPI passthru). I've read over on the raspberrypi.org forums that they don't support passthru; then later are posts that say they do. :-)

So: Is anyone using Kodi on a Raspberry Pi 3 this way? (1080p, DTS HD-MA passthru) If so, how well does it work? Buffering, stuttering, etc? What of the other BluRay audios - TrueHD, etc.I have no 4K, and no plans to. But I do need 1080p, and the advanced audios.

I'm looking for user experiences with this type of configuration. Ideally, I'd like to use a Pi 3, but I am spoiled and would want all the supported (passthru) codecs I have now.

Thanks
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#2
I have no problems playing my 1080p/DTS HD-MA files (or any audio type). But I am using a Hifiberry for audio passthrough. Not sure if there would be a difference if just using passthrough with hdmi. Using a direct Ethernet connection, or USB be be ideal playing 1080p files (especially ones with high bitrate). Audio gets processed by your sound system, so it shouldn't be a strain on the Pi or network.
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#3
Ok. But did the media play as actual DTS HD-MA? Or does it only play as 5.1 audio? There is a noticeable difference. For example, a DTS-ES file plays as just 5.1 on Plex on my Roku (no DTS), and I can definitely hear the difference.

I'll look into the HifiBerry, thanks.
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#4
RPi cannot do HD audio. So no DTS-HD or TrueHD.
"PPC is too slow, your CPU has no balls to handle HD content." ~ Davilla
"Maybe it's a toaster. Who knows, but it has nothing to do with us." ~ Ned Scott
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#5
RPi can HD Audio but does decoding in PCM. RPi can also passthrough but only core (dd and dts) 5.1. No need external soundcard with AV receiver. All this doing via hdmi.
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#6
(2017-03-11, 06:10)lrusak Wrote: RPi cannot do HD audio. So no DTS-HD or TrueHD.

That's only partially true.

The HDMI audio subsystem of all of the Pi's doesn't have the bandwidth required to bitstream Dolby True HD or DTS HD MA/HRA - which requires the equivalent of 7.1 24bit 192kHz PCM to be available. The Pi HDMI audio output system can output 5.1 and 7.1 PCM 24bit at sampling rates up to 96kHz, but at 192kHz it can only handle 4.0 output. The only formats the Pi system can output over HDMI as a bitstream are DD and DTS (same as SPDIF optical and coax connections)

HOWEVER - Kodi includes lossless software decoding of Dolby True HD and DTS HD MA/HRA (HRA isn't a lossless source but the decoding is) - which allows the Pi to output True HD and DTS HD tracks as 5.1 or 7.1 PCM at 48 or 96kHz, with lossless decoding (effectively doing pretty much an identical job to the True HD or DTS HD decoder in your AVR (*)) This means that the Pi can playback True HD and DTS HD audio losslessly over HDMI in PCM (apart from the vanishingly few 192kHz 5.1 or 7.1 releases - the only widely known example of which is Akira I think - which will either be downsampled or have reduced number of channels)

Many early Blu-ray players (and the first gen PS3) offered a similar option as early HDMI AVRs often only included PCM functionality (so wouldn't accept a True HD or DTS HD bitstream). Our first 5.1 HDMI AVR - a Sony - was one of these, and we used it with a PS3 that losslessly decoded True HD and DTS HD stuff to 5.1/7.1 PCM.

So whilst it is true to say that the Pi can't bitstream True HD and DTS HD - it isn't correct to say that you don't get True HD or DTS HD audio - as the Pi will output the vast majority of True HD and DTS HD MA tracks as PCM in fully lossless quality - with potentially no difference in the resulting quality (most releases are 5.1 or 7.1 48k at 16 or 24 bit, with a much smaller number of 96k releases)

Of course your AVR won't light up any DTS HD MA/HRA or Dolby True HD lamps because it isn't being fed a DTS HD or True HD signal - but you will still be hearing lossless decoded True HD or DTS HD audio of an in theory identical quality.

One caveat - DTS:x and Dolby Atmos require bitstreaming. There is no PCM carriage path standard or open-source decoder for these AIUI.

To enable lossless decoding you must disable DD/DTS Passthrough. If you have these enabled then either the DTS core, or the 'hidden' secondary DD track will be used.


(*) If you use metadata related processing on your AVR to downmix 7.1 to 5.1 or reduce dynamic range for night-viewing then you may find the PCM a bit more limiting. If you just play movies as mastered - the PCM decode in Kodi should be identical to PCM decode in your AVR.
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#7
(2017-03-11, 12:01)noggin Wrote: So whilst it is true to say that the Pi can't bitstream True HD and DTS HD - it isn't correct to say that you don't get True HD or DTS HD audio - as the Pi will output the vast majority of True HD and DTS HD MA tracks as PCM in fully lossless quality - with potentially no difference in the resulting quality (most releases are 5.1 or 7.1 48k at 16 or 24 bit, with a much smaller number of 96k releases)

Of course your AVR won't light up any DTS HD MA/HRA or Dolby True HD lamps because it isn't being fed a DTS HD or True HD signal - but you will still be hearing lossless decoded True HD or DTS HD audio of an in theory identical quality.

OK! That is very helpful to know, thanks. So you're saying if I have a DTS HD-MA (or even DTS-ES?) encoded movie, it will sound the same, whether I play it in Kodi on a Pi or whether I play it in Kodi on Win 10 using an nVidia GT620? (both playing through the same Denon E-300). The only difference in audible user experience being that the AVR won't show DTS HD-MA on the display?

So the important thing to configure (for me) would be to *not* use passthrough audio?
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#8
Yes, although a light on your avr is not an "audible" difference Wink
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#9
(2017-03-11, 22:55)nickr Wrote: Yes, although a light on your avr is not an "audible" difference Wink

Great! That's a large part of my concerns about possibly migrating over to use the Pi answered. I have others, but since they are not audio related, I will start a new thread.

Thanks, everyone.
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#10
(2017-03-11, 22:55)nickr Wrote: Yes, although a light on your avr is not an "audible" difference Wink

Unless you have Synesthesia...
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#11
(2017-03-10, 21:49)MikeLeone Wrote: I've read over on the raspberrypi.org forums that they don't support passthru; then later are posts that say they do. :-)

This is more than likely because KODI didn't support LPCM until a later release. Add on top of that the points made by lrusak, and you can see why some would have been confused.

lrusak's write-up is an excellent summary BTW. One point of clarity - on my current LibreELEC install, the KODI setting for passthrough can be enabled. You just need to disable the options below it (e.g. "DTS-enabled receiver").
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#12
Hi guys tnx for this well explained issue. I'm also looking for answer for the same setup and my question for using raspberry 3 with Kodi have been answered.
The side question for me remains if this will also work when I start Netflix HD movies via raspberry? I haven't tried it yet but I've read in another article that I can implement Netflix into Kodi. This would solve my overall issue. I'm looking for a allinone device that supports the audio formats as mentioned above with the highend use of Kodi and the ease of streaming everyday series or movies via Netflix. I don't need 4K display, I'm very happy with my 1080p beamer(for nowTongue).
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