Auzentech HomeTheater HD Preview: Bitstreaming True HD/DTS-HD MA


First, the good news–it looks like after more than a full year since their press release announcing the product, the (newly named) Home Theater HD is finally being released. Unfortunately even after that long a delay it still seems there are some big issues with these types of cards. While the ASUS Xonar HDAV was initially buggy, they have used that time and have refined their drivers fairly well. Drivers aside, the Auzentech so far has some showstopping issues with Nvidia cards making that $250 a fairly risky proposition. Hopefully they can refine the bugs and have a solid competitor for ASUS in this field.



You need to use PowerDVD to get the real benefit from the X-Fi HTHD. Although the latest version of the player is far better than it used to be, it’s still not my preferred way to watch movies; the UI is clumsy and is easily outclassed by open source projects, which is just ridiculous given that this is an app you have to pay for. There’s also the whole 16-bit downsampling issue. Then we have the price. The Auzentech X-Fi HTHD will set you back around $250. For that price you’re $50 away from a PS3 Slim, which can bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA in full 48kHz/24-bit fashion without ever having to worry about drivers or incompatibilities. I get that the content owners were worried about enabling Blu-ray playback on PCs, but I feel that they’ve almost killed it.