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Mastering HD PC Audio, Part 2

Following the PC Audio Chain for Blu-Ray Playback

Blu-ray Disc Playback

First and foremost, the PC must be equipped with an internal Blu-ray drive. We ignore the various methods for attaching a Sony PlayStation 3 with Blu-ray player, primarily because it can deliver high-definition audio more reliably and directly to a receiver or pre-amp/preprocessor without requiring a PC link-up. Please note also that USB 2.0 attached Blu-ray players are workable, because the 480 Mbps bandwidth they deliver can handle typical Blu-ray disc bandwidths available today (these top out at around 45 MBps, or 360 Mbps, while the FAQ, Item 1.7, indicates that maximum bitrates of 400 Mbps represent the upper end of what this technology can deliver).

Products are now available from an increasing number of vendors, including multiple models from Asus, LITE-ON, LG, NEC, Sony, and others, in a price range from $130 to $350. See Table 1 for some representative examples of these types of devices. This represents a major improvement since the last time we surveyed this field, when we had trouble finding any Blu-ray players that weren’t available primarily or only for OEM buyers, and where support for CD-ROM was mostly absent.