Can't get surround working out of PC to receiver

Hi all - hopefully someone will have an idea of why I am having trouble here. I have the following hardware setup and am not getting 5.1 surround out of my PC:

- Onkyo HT-S5100 7.1 home theater
- LG combo Blu-Ray/HD-DVD player in my PC
- Cyberlink PowerDVD (came with the BR/HDDVD player but it does claim to support DTS etc.)

Here is the chain of events:

1 - with Creative Audigy 2 ZS: tried connecting to receiver via "mini-optical" but was never able to get any audio at all.

2 - with onboard SoundMax card (Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus):
- First with Optical connection (known good cable) out of the card, never could get any sound at all
- Second with Coax Digital Audio connection. I can get sound but no surround sound from any application

When setting the number of speakers under the SoundMax preferences, it seems to only apply to analog output. Is this true? Also, do I want to be selecting SPDIF output from within Applications?? When I do that, sound studders (almost like something has crashed) until I set it back to something else. Selecting 5.1 in (for instance) VLC in a file which is encoded for surround will only produce some of the channels (I'm thinking Front L/R). If I set it to stereo, then all of the speakers play, but it's only L/R stereo. Same issue when using PowerDVD.

I am willing to buy a new sound card, as long as I can know it will do the job. Am I right in thinking that the sound card can be the cheapest available, as long as it supports optical out? Also, is there any way to get 5.1 out of PC games via optical connection?

Any ideas you may have, please throw them my way! I'm desparate to finally watch the Dark Knight in BluRay + 5.1 surround on my brand new system.

3 answers Last reply
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  1. I forgot to mention that I currently am running XP SP3 32-bit, but plan on eventually upgrading to Vista 64-bit (or maybe straight to Win7-64) so 64-bit support would be a must on the new sound card.
  2. Hoping if I *bump* this it will get a response... :(

    Also if you are an expert on Experts-Exchange, I have an active thread about the same issue:
  3. I figured it out. The solution for VLC is here: In Cyberlink PowerDVD, it was a matter of also selecting SPDIF as the output, along with having my receiver in the correct mode (I had PowerDVD in "7 speakers" configuration but this only applies to analog connections, not digital).
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