Nintendo Further Angers Technophiles: Dolby Digital Out

But how will Wii survive with only two speakers?

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Nintendo Further Angers Technophiles: Dolby Digital Out
The Wii's going be cheap. Joke cheap - perhaps as cheap as a GameCube. It has to be, with further evidence that Nintendo is doing everything it can to slash the production costs of its new home machine. Development documentation leaked overnight outlines that the Wii will not support Dolby Digital output.

The stereo-only direction is confirmed in the outline of the Wi's AV cable, which supports only basic stereo. It was hoped that, in lieu of the optical output on the hardware case that DD would require, the Wii's bespoke AV output would include additional cabling compatible with the audio standard. This will not be the case.

So, does it matter? Well, a few years ago it wouldn't have been such a problem. But considering you can now buy decent 800W 5.1 sets complete with receiver for $200 from the likes of Sony, Samsung and every other major electronics manufacturer, and under $300 a set for 1,000W complete with progressive scan DVD player, 5.1 has become the norm in middle-range technology homes. This being the case, it comes as something of a surprise that the Wii doesn't make use of this installed base.

What's more, the Wii does look to do some rather clever bits and pieces with sound, a fact underlined by the very natty speaker included in the WiiMote. The way that the machine inherently functions - with an innovative use of spatial control - would have been the perfect basis for some clever sonic-driven gameplay.

We'll argue all day long that the Wii represents a revised future for mainstream videogames. However, for Nintendo to have neglected to include 5.1, thus stripping developers from creating games based around the movement of sound, is an error that SPOnG hopes will be readdressed before the machine launches later this year.

We'll update you on every element of the Wii hardware as final specs emerge.
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Comments

Monkton 25 May 2006 12:57
1/20
I do hope you guys realise that Dolby Pro Logic II (which Wii supports) is also surround sound, just not as good quality.
I had a full 5.1 surround sound system for all 3 consoles; there wasn't much difference between Pro Logic II on Rogue Leader and Digital 5.1 on Halo 2, to be honest.
ozfunghi 25 May 2006 13:27
2/20
Spong, i'd suggest you do some research before posting bullshit statements like these. It's not helping the -not exactly positive- image most people have of you.

Years ago -when GCN launched- i asked a sound engineer what the exact difference was between pro logic II and 5.1 digital, because i was worried it didn't support surround. Basically, the main difference is that it's not digital and uses a matrix to output surround sound through stereo cables. The result: most people don't notice the difference. Especially not through the crappy surround systems most have hooked up.

So, it may not be as good as DD 5.1, but it certainly can output great surround. I guess you guys never played Rogue Squadron II.
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jordanlund 25 May 2006 15:55
3/20
I can see their confusion though, back in the day Pro Logic was a joke because it had no rear channel separation. The same audio was sent to right-rear and left-rear.

That changed with PL 2.0. Perhaps Spong never got the memo?

FWIW the Gamecube uses PL 2.0 and the vast majority of PS2 games do as well. It would be nice to have DD or DTS, but I don't see how it's a requirement.
swampdog28 25 May 2006 16:36
4/20
This is stupid, most people will hook the Wii up to their TV and play it. very few people care about DD in a videogame, ost people play in their room, i know i do. Why waste the big tv with the DD on a videogame. Its much better for movies.
crs117 25 May 2006 20:34
5/20
swampdog28 wrote:
This is stupid, most people will hook the Wii up to their TV and play it. very few people care about DD in a videogame, ost people play in their room, i know i do. Why waste the big tv with the DD on a videogame. Its much better for movies.


I too find that the lack of true surround DD is a complete shame for this system, especially with the cool things you could do with the wiimote speaker.

By the way, dpl2 does simulated surround sound but does not have discrete surround sound. This means that it cheats the system by using audio tricks to mulitplex the audio from 2 sources to 5.1 sources. The problem is that the resulting audio is not as surround specific as using 5.1 discrete audio channels to deliver the sound.

It really is a smoke and mirrors type of audio trick that produces audio out of the rear speakers, but there really are no real rear channels. If hearing something behind you was completely crucial to gameplay (like in an fps) it would be much harder to perceive the sound in dlp2 in comparison to 5.1 or higher DD.

I know they cannot make rear sound completely crucial because not everybody has surround setups, but with all the cool things you could do with the wiimote's speaker and true DD i feel as though they are cutting their potential short by lacking this very important feature. I mean it is 5 years after ps2 and xbox came out and thy both had it.
Rod Todd 25 May 2006 22:08
6/20
ozfunghi wrote:
Spong, i'd suggest you do some research before posting bullshit statements like these.


What parts of it were bullshit? I read it, and after reading your comment, I re-read it. And I can't see any bullshit. It merely says that Wii won't have 5.1 surround. Which is true. It also says that that is a shame. And it is!

Only bullshit I can see is your rampant Nintendo fanboyism.

The article doesn't even mention Pro Logic II. But if you can't hear the difference between Pro Logic II and true 5.1, you need to get your ears (or your head) examined.

And if Wii does support ProLogic, it only does so in the way any other stereo sound source (CD, audio tape, vinyl) can "support" it. The Pro Logic signal is matrix encoded in the stereo signal. It requires an external amplifier with a Pro Logic II decoder to use it.
warbaby 25 May 2006 22:27
7/20
...
warbaby 25 May 2006 22:32
8/20
Good thing spong does their homework.

And you can't really make DD 5.1 a requirement, many people don't really care if they have sound coming from the back. And if you start forcing people to buy surround systems because the games require it, you will lose customers.

The damn Wiimote has a speaker, I'm not really concerned if I'm getting "true" surround sound. I've got a hefty 7.1 system, and really, the side and back speakers provide ambience, all the "important" sound is coming from the front.

If you want immaculate sound and insane visuals, I suggest building a PC. I really doubt a "technofile" is going to be buying a Wii for its superior tech any way.

Sometimes people have too much to complain about, go preorder a PS3 already, can have all the hi def, and 23543.1 surround sound you want.

Rod Todd wrote:


And if Wii does support ProLogic, it only does so in the way any other stereo sound source (CD, audio tape, vinyl) can "support" it. The Pro Logic signal is matrix encoded in the stereo signal. It requires an external amplifier with a Pro Logic II decoder to use it.


I'm pretty sure that if you're going to have a 5.1 system, you're going to have an amp any way...

IwaJima 26 May 2006 08:34
9/20
Rod Todd wrote:
ozfunghi wrote:
Spong, i'd suggest you do some research before posting bullshit statements like these.


What parts of it were bullshit?


from the newsfeed that brought me here (note the descirption) :-
SUBJECT: Nintendo Further Angers Technophiles: Dolby Digital Out
DESCRIPTION: But how will Wii survive with only two speakers?


see teh
DoctorDee 26 May 2006 10:15
10/20
IwaJima wrote:
Rod Todd wrote:
What parts of it were bullshit?


from the newsfeed that brought me here (note the description)


That's our description. And in reality it's true. Wii only supports stereo. Though, of course, this enables developers to USE Dolby Pro Logic II. But that requires users to have a Pro Logic II decoder in their amplifier, not all 5.1 speaker systems, particulalry those favoured by gamers, have this...

wanderingsoul 26 May 2006 17:12
11/20
Regardless if many people have it or not, the description overshadows the truth of the matter. It does offer a form of surround sound, just it's not extremely accessible. It's not that the system itself doesnt offer it rather it is upon the consumer to have the right equipment, therefore I can't agree with the description.
DoctorDee 26 May 2006 17:45
12/20
wanderingsoul wrote:
Regardless if many people have it or not, the description overshadows the truth of the matter.


No, it doesn't. The Wii does not have surround sound.

It does offer a form of surround sound,


In the same way that the 8-Track cartridge in my brothers 1973 Ford Cotrina did, or that two perfect pitch singers inn close harmony might.

It's not that the system itself doesnt offer it rather it is upon the consumer to have the right equipment, therefore I can't agree with the description.


No, for a system to "offer" surround, it MUST have a surround decoder built in, and offer 4/5/7 channels of discreet output. ANY stereo device can carry a Dolby Pro Logic II signal, but that signal cannot be heard without decoding circuits, even if you have a 5.1 speaker system.

The Wii does not have those circuits.

Following your logic, it would be correct to say that any car is capable of going into earth orbit, as long as the user has a space shuttle in order to access the functionality. That is logically analogous to the assertion that the Wii "offers" surround capability.

ozfunghi 28 May 2006 15:05
13/20
Rod Todd wrote:
Only bullshit I can see is your rampant Nintendo fanboyism.




Right.
DaPistolPat 28 May 2006 21:44
14/20
DoctorDee wrote:
wanderingsoul wrote:
Regardless if many people have it or not, the description overshadows the truth of the matter.


No, it doesn't. The Wii does not have surround sound.

It does offer a form of surround sound,


In the same way that the 8-Track cartridge in my brothers 1973 Ford Cotrina did, or that two perfect pitch singers inn close harmony might.

It's not that the system itself doesnt offer it rather it is upon the consumer to have the right equipment, therefore I can't agree with the description.


No, for a system to "offer" surround, it MUST have a surround decoder built in, and offer 4/5/7 channels of discreet output. ANY stereo device can carry a Dolby Pro Logic II signal, but that signal cannot be heard without decoding circuits, even if you have a 5.1 speaker system.

The Wii does not have those circuits.

Following your logic, it would be correct to say that any car is capable of going into earth orbit, as long as the user has a space shuttle in order to access the functionality. That is logically analogous to the assertion that the Wii "offers" surround capability.



now for actual fact and truth on the subject; instead of the complete idiot who post this bs above me ^(doctordee)<for the idiots.

dolby prologic II and dolby prologic IIx are both recieved and transmitted along standard rca audio cables and can be found in every A/V reciever out that is a current line supported model, and in some cases there are even some HTIB(home theater in a box) units that dont support a PLII capable unit.Let me just say PLII decoding in a unit is affordable.

ok now to FACTOR 5 oh and I expect you people at spong to know this one, for it is your mistake you see factor five worked in close cohorts with nintendo while they developed their gamecube infact the gamecube does have some type of hardwaRE surround sound processing chip in which factor 5 developed the ability to encode true independent yet compressed 5.1 surround along two rca cables, the trick is factor had time to study how PLII decodes and so they figured a way compress 5.1 along 2 RCA and thats awesome and it works great in game such as Rouge leader, eternal darkness, mario sunshine, and ofcourse the metroid prime games as well.

point being gamecube does use hardware when outputting surround and that if i am not mistaken i read or got initially linked to spong back in the day too an article spong its self wrote but for the detailed info i did go to some outside link sry don't remember if spong has it it would be good to bust out yourselves for your not necessarily lying just leaving some facts out but thats controversial news ya and thats how ya get popular.
Rod Todd 29 May 2006 10:03
15/20
ozfunghi wrote:
Rod Todd wrote:
Only bullshit I can see is your rampant Nintendo fanboyism.




Right.


Erm, Dude. That's just a picture of some logos. Without any context, or a reference to its source, it's meaningless.

Fanboy!

DoctorDee 29 May 2006 11:20
16/20
DaPistolPat wrote:
now for actual fact and truth on the subject; instead of the complete idiot who post this bs above me ^(doctordee)<for the idiots.


Pat there are several serious problems with your post:

1. You called me an idiot, before going on to neither correct me, nor contradict me, but instead to demonstrate how little you understand the issue.

2. You promise us fact and truth before giving us misinderstanding and opinion.

3. You seem to confuse the Wii (and GameCube's) inability to "support" discrete 5.1 channel surround sound and their ability to carry a Pro Logic signal, which they share with any stereo audio device.

4. You seem to believe that the Wii and GameCube can deliver five discrete channels of audio to the speakers over a pair stereo audio cables. This is incorrect, impossible even.

What Factor 5 did, while admirable because they were the first, is quite unremarkable. By using Pro Logic II technology, any company, working in any stereo audio medium can deliver 5.1 audio over any stereo capable device. FM Radio for instance.

But in order to decode and play that 5.1 signal, you need two things. A device with decoder circuitry and a device with five discrete speaker connections, and an optional subwoofer.

The GameCube (and to our current knowledge, the Wii) have neither of those things. So they cannot, according to Dolby Labs licencing conditions, claim to offer Dolby Digital OR Dolby Pro Logic surround sound.

Software that used Dolby Labs technology to encode a Pro Logic II signal into its stereo sound CAN claim to ofer PLII and can carry the logo.

A device that offers a PLII signal requires another device to turn that dignal into five discrete audio channels. A device that offers a Dolby Digital signal does not - the audio is already in five discrete channels.

So a 5.1 signal can be played over any set of 5.1 speakers. A Dolby Pro Logic signal requires a more expensive set of speakers equipped with Dol Pro Logic II decoding circuitry, such as the Logitech Z-5000 Digital series.

However, we never said ANYTHING about PLII, because we assumed (clearly wrongly) that readers knew that any console with stereo sound can support PLII. The story here is that Wii has decided not to offer discreet 5.1 ouput. Meaning that users will need a PLII decoder equipped amplifier or speakers and that the surround sound will never be as good as if Dolby Digital were offered.

You can call me an idiot all you like, but I am demonstrably not. You yourself will have to demonstrate a more sound understanding of the issues at hand before your perjoratives have any credibility.
way 29 May 2006 13:24
17/20
I don't know if the 5.1 sound interfaces are tied to Dolby Digital, you can use these interfaces to get non Dolby 5.1, PCM, uncompressed surround sound, even with Dolby Digital, you can just pass the sound straight out to an sound systems decoder. There is no need to install a decoder with six analogue outputs in the Wii itself. But, if $30 DVD players can afford to decode Dolby 5.1 to six sound outputs then why can't Nintendo afford the same license?

I hope that it is not stereo, upto date digital surround equipment sounds much better. I hope they haven't misjudged it again, no CD for the Nintendo 64 (that would have changed a lot) no DVD for Gamecube, no HD or surround for Wii?

http://forums.spong.com/en/html/forum/viewThread.jsp?forum=9&thread=3391&startIdx=5
vault 13 30 May 2006 05:45
18/20
What's really funny but becoming less prevalent is the fact that cheap surround systems (i.e. read HTIB w/ DVD, that's Home Theatre in a Box with a Digital Video Disc player for you non techies) don't decode Pro-Logic I or II let alone IIx. So infact Nintendo trying to make the system's features (PLII and Progressive Scanning) more accessible should have actually had Dolby Digital or in a lesser supported fashion, Digital Theatre Sound.

Someone I think posted before about PLII doing sound out of all speakers, I don't think that's right. It only does left, right, and sub. PLIIx is supposed to simulate left, right, surround left, surround right, and sub. Unless there's something the receiver can do to parse the sound out, I think the spec is 2.1 for PLII and 4.1 for PLIIx.

It's fun to spell out acronyms.
DoctorDee 30 May 2006 17:15
19/20
way wrote:
I don't know if the 5.1 sound interfaces are tied to Dolby Digital, you can use these interfaces to get non Dolby 5.1


Absolutely. I did not mean to imply that you cannot.

But, if $30 DVD players can afford to decode Dolby 5.1 to six sound outputs then why can't Nintendo afford the same license?


It's a fair point. But - in my experience, and I could be wrong here - $30 DVD players don't offer six discrete audio outputs. I accept I could be wrong - I've never actually owned, or looked hard at a $30 player. My $300 Pioneer DVD player doesn't. It offers Co-ax and Digital out and lets my home cinema amplifier handle the splitting into discrete channels.

The thing is, using Dolby Pro Logic II, the Wii will be able to offer a fairly compelling surround experience. But even if it doesn't, I'll be buying one - after playing a few minutes of Wii Tennis at E3, I'm totally hooked.
way 31 May 2006 01:26
20/20
DR Dee,

I meant the 5.1 digital output might not require such an license, and has 5.1 PCM mode, which allows for the mostly unused standard mpeg related audio compression (not as good as Dolby) and uncompressed 5.1 PCM (too much data on disk compared to Dolby).

Actually, I'm using a $38US one that has six discrete outputs and DTS analogue as well, but regular price is closer to $76 fro this sort of thing. But digital from it sounds suspiciously not so good on my z5500's.

I think 5.1 option is a must. Speakers that decode from 5.1 digital are sufficiently cheap fro this to be an option, every body else can use speakers. But I still think that discrete 5.1 analogue outs are good to, if the license is on release by release it should not cost Nintendy very much. It was too much that Gamecube was not 5,1 enabled and no DVD, now they want to do another cheap, cutesy console without 5.1 and without what will rapidly become the new standard DVD standard, and the new resolution standard, HD, We have seen it all before, and we do not want to see it again.

Question: The first Nintendo HD game system?

Answer: The Nintendo 64 was pre marketed as such, with at least some 1024*768 mode, but as far as I know, this mode went unused, I don't even know if they sold the VGA adaptor. A long step back from that level of popularity are we now.

Bye.

Way.
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