Sound Card with Optical Input

Soon i am going to be getting a Samsung T260HD and am going to be hooking it up to my computer for an upgrade to my current monitor and hooking it up to my AT&T U-verse Set-Top-Box (STB) to replace my old tube TV. I have a reasonably new set of 5.1 analog surround Altec Lansing computer speakers and i would like to pass the audio through the Samsung TV from the STB to my computers Sound Card via Optical Cable then to the speakers. I know that it wont always be 5.1 but if i am watching an hd channel i want to be able to hear it in 5.1 instead of the crappy built in speakers that the TV has. I need to find a good sound card with atleast Optical Input and 5.1 Analog Output and be PCI (NOT PCI Express). It would be great if it didn't cost more than $100 but a little over is ok. Also if it could be from a well known company like asus, creative, ect.


PCI-E IS AN OPTION (but PCI is preferred if available)
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  1. Best answer
    I have a quick warning: I tried passing through Dolby Digital (5.1) signals from my T240HD, and got garbled garbage. 2.0 PCM worked fine, but Dolby Digital was not passed through correctly. Keep this in mind if you try to pass through audio on the T260. I recommend going directly from the STB if it has an optical out, instead of something like HDMI->Moniter->Optical Digital->Soundcard for this reason.

    Back to business, its actually getting hard to find cheap PCI soundcards. The D2 fits you're needs, but goes for around $169. The DX is in you're price range, but is PCI-E.

    I usually don't recommend Creative, especially for HT systems like you want to set up, but a budget card like the ExtremeGamer might be you're only option, unless you want to pay for a ASUS Xonar D2.
  2. Thanks for the warning. I took a look at some pictures of the ATT U-Verse STB (i do not have the service yet but as soon it is available i will get it) and it does have an optical output on it so i will pass it right from the STB to my computers sound soon as i get one. I was looking at some before i came here to post and saw the dx and d1 from asus but it didnt look like they had Optical inputs. Can someone confirm the spec of the Asus Xonar D1 AND DX. Also if you own either of them let me know what you think of them or what card did you like better.

  3. well, that's going to be a hard one, there r some sound cards that do that, but i think there all at least PCI-E x1
  4. I might just have to settle with a PCI-E. I was hoping not to have to use up one of my PCI-E slots on a sound card but maybe i'll have to cuz this is going to be the set-up for my HT system in my room and i want to get everything i can outta HD Programming and movies.

    PCI-E IS NOW AN OPTION (but PCI is still preferred if available)
  5. PCI: Razer Barracuda
    PCI: ASUS Xonar D1
    PCI-E: ASUS Xonar DX

    Out of curiosity, how will decoding of Dolby signals be handled? All 5.1 optical signals are encoded in either Dolby Digital or DTS formats. If you're speakers are not capable of decoding a dolby signal nativly, you will need ffdshow and/or ac3filter to decode the signal along the way.
  6. the Creative Sound Blaster Titanium Fatal1ty Pro or Champion series has optical in and out
  7. Someone correct me if i'm wrong but shouldn't the sound card decode the audio before it is pushed back out to the analog speakers?
  8. bilbao said:
    Someone correct me if i'm wrong but shouldn't the sound card decode the audio before it is pushed back out to the analog speakers?

    that's a very good question, but idk, though I would think it depends on th sound card, though I don't think it would need to because what's being inputed would already be decoded and enhanced, so if the sound card then dose that it might just distort it... but to tell u the truth I really don't no and am only saying what i would think
  9. The audio has to be encoded somehow because it isn't analog...i think? Anyone that has U-verse and does optical output can you let me know if it is encoded and what type of encoding is used?

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