Windows Media Center may not make it into Windows 8 installs, but the team of crack programmers behind the highly excellent XBMC media player is working hard to dull the pain. The newest addition to the open source software completely revamps XBMC's audio code and brings support for 7.1 HD audio formats, along with a lot of other goodies.
AudioEngine has been in development for over two years and took over 22,000 lines of code, the team explains on the XBMC blog. In addition to the new DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD and 24-bit audio support, the developers claim that "No matter the audio source, AE handles the decoding, resampling, transcoding, encoding and streaming of your media."
Here's a full list of the goodies AudioEngine brings to the table:
support for DTS-MA / Dolby TrueHD Bluray formats (OSX pending)
support for 24-bit and floating-point audio at up to 384,000hz
mixing of all streams including GUI sounds even when transcoding audio
start-up enumeration of hardware audio devices and their capablities with log output
bitstreaming support in PAPlayer (XBMC’s music player)
upmixing of stereo to full channel layout
tighter syncing of A/V streams
floating-point processing of audio
24-bit and floating-point decoding/handling of mp3
full support for ReplayGain
built-in sample-rate conversion and transcoding
The AudioEngine code was merged into the main branch last month and for now, it's only available in the nightly builds rather than the stable releases. "These builds are… are only for the brave users that do not fear bugs or crashes," the XMBC wiki warns, so be prepared to enjoy the improvements at your own risk.