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Guest 999

Dolby Home Theater Laptops

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Guest 999

Introduction

Since the AC'97 era, many desktop computers already offer onboard 5.1 audio solution to many end-users. Coming true the "HD 24-bit" sound era, there are even onboard 7.1 audio solutions found in almost all motherboards. Even some also offers optical and co-axial digital audio. Unfortunately, most laptops are designed to be mobile, and (maybe) they are not given these onboard 5.1 or 7.1 capable in their motherboards, because most laptop would not be connected to a stationary set of 5.1 speakers.

Well, not recently, Dolby partnered with Realtek to provide "home theater" in laptops. The greatest impact is that now users can get a mid-end laptop that support 5.1 analog sound. They're going to expand it to 7.1 analog sound soon. Digital Surround sound also exists, over the SPDIF jack or thru HDMI.

Features: Dolby ProLogic IIx works pretty good in upmixing your stereo mp3s to all 5.1 channel sound. Dolby headphone, even though they're lossy, may sound nice to you. demohere. Dolby Digital Live also available.

To check your laptop for 5.1 readiness in vista : Start > Control Panel > Sound > Select your Sound Device > Configure (left bottom).

if you have 5.1 capable sound device, it would list stereo and 5.1 surround.

Personal Review

I used to own Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi 5.1 Surround USB as well, because i've already planned to upgrade to 5.1 surround. I sold it even before warranty ends, there are too much trouble using external devices. physically it is taking up space, digitally it is also messy because you have many sound devices, and some programs doesnt pick the correct default device. i.e. some games pick external microphone even though internal one already selected as default. and when u're mobile, disconnecting the external device changes setting again. plugging it permanently is not a good idea, because it's bulky, and it is eating alot of battery life.

Now I am using Acer 5930 with Dolby HT v2. it supports analog 5.1 and digital 5.1 through SPDIF and HDMI. I've been waiting to feel the surround effects from my games and movies, even though i am on a laptop. so i decided to purchase an affordable 5.1 speakers for the laptop.

it did feel good, sonically it doesnt sound as good as the x-fi, but realtek is not very far behind. just plug 3 jacks and have myself immersed in surround sound in gaming. movies were better with the rear speakers. some games i.e. GTA IV, Rise of Argonauts, The Last Remnant sounded much better in surround than stereo. It was worth the money, because i only spend <90 for the speakers. without the dolby, i have to fork another 60 to get a usb device which is quite a hassle.

Bottomline

I find this feature most appropriate for budget user (like myself) who would like to upgrade to 5.1 sound. Getting external may work, they sound better, but not worth the trouble.

Those who are purchasing new laptop, may also look for dolby ht logo, so that you can easily connect them to your existing analog 5.1 speakers or in your future upgrade.

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