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How to fix 5.1 analog surround sound in Media Center 2005 Update Rollup 2

How to fix 5.1 analog surround sound in Media Center 2005 Update Rollup 2

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There is a known issue in Update Rollup 2 for Media Center 2005 that causes 5.1 analog surround sound to revert to 2 channel mode.  The underlying issue is that a registry setting is being overwritten by Media Center.  You can use the following steps to add the registry value needed to fix this issue:

  1. Close Media Center
  2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
  3. Run the command reg add "HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Video" /v AudioOutputFormat /d {696E1D31-548F-4036-825F-7026C60011BD} /f

Note that if you re-run the Speaker Setup portion of Media Center Setup, this registry value will be reset again and you will need to re-run the above command to fix the underlying issue once more.

This issue was previously described on this NVidia support page, but I wanted to list it here as well in case anyone reading my blog runs into it as well.


  • Good grief. I just spent all weekend trying to figure out what was wrong with my sound card. I'll have to retract that email I sent to Creative. Maybe X-Fi isnt the turkey I said it was.
  • Tried everything that was stated and still have the same problem. I add the necessary info in the regestry and it stated "successful"; however, I still have the same issue. I have not messed with the MC settings as stated also.

    Anything else I can try?

  • Hi Gary - you may want to also try to update the drivers for your sound card and video card and see if that helps. This registry key will not solve all possible instances of surround sound issues in Media Center, but rather is provided as a potential solution in some cases. I'm sorry that it didn't work for you.
  • I've noticed that while this helps for the surround sound speaker setup in the general area (and affects tv most directly)... it doesn't help DVD audio and SPDIF pass through.

    Unless this manual registry fix does more than the file from NVidia.
  • Hi BG - the manual registry fix that I listed above does the exact same thing as the file from nVidia. I just listed out the contents so you wouldn't have to download and run a file to add this entry to your registry.
  • I just bought a Dell 9300, Nvidia 6800, with MCE and the digital output is not passing AC3 when I play DVDs with Dolby Digital. Seems to only pass 2 channel 48K PCM.

    Are there some settings I need to change in MCE to get this work? Or control panel?

    I am a victim the MCE rollup 2 issue described above? Is so, would the reg fix work for me?

    Thanks for the advice!

  • Hi Jeffreyf - I am not positive if this is the same issue as described above. Can you please try the registry fix and see if it helps in your scenario?

  • Well, I have the same problem. I have a Realtek soundcard and a Fujitsu Scaleo E. When I play a DVD with WinDVD the sound is great, but when I use MCE (without change any settings) the soound is poor.
    I have an analog 5.1 speaker system.

    Change the registry doesn't work in my case.

    What can I do?... change to MythTV???
  • Hi Nogevi - I am not sure you are running into the exact same issue if the registry fix did not work for you.  Do you have the latest audio drivers installed for your audio hardware?  Also, have you tried to re-run the speaker setup portion of Media Center setup and try to configure it for 5.1 sound again?  Also, can you define what you mean by poor sound - is it 2 channel only?  Or too quiet?  Do you hear sound from all of your speakers?
  • okay. so hardware :

    P4 - 2 GIGS MEM
    7800 GS ( AGP )
    X-FI Plat.

    I have the exact same issues you guys mention... Here are some more details that might help us figure this out...

    1. I bought WIN DVD 7 Plat. Playing a DVD within WINDVD sounds great ( 5.1 Analog Out )
    With digital out, I was never able to get more than two channels... If I run MCE, I get lower fidelity, it frequently only outputs 2 channels... And with DVDs and DVD images, if I use the stereo expand function (X-FI) control panel, there is a noticable lag in the audio.

    -Okay, so I tried the registery fix and I appeared to get proper surround, thought I would say, it still does not sound as good as WinDVD

    2. Uninstall WINDVD and use NVidia's Decoder and I don't have the same "stuck in stereo problem" but the audio still doesn't sounds as full as straight out of WinDVD

    I notice that on the intervideo website, they do not list WINDVD as compatible with either MCE or X-fi...

    So my theory is that there is a problem with using WinDVD in addition to this registery fix...

    I have not had time to call intervideo, but I intend to soon. When I do, I will post what they have to say...

    Thanks for posting your info... I'll see how well this registery fix holds up...

    thanks, William
  • I have my 5 surround sound speakers going to my htpc via a receiver. the pc and receiver are connected analog ((3.5mm jack to RCA Red/White), but in the nvidia settings when i choose these options and click test, i cannot hear anything from any of the speakers bar the 2 front ones.

    also all 5 speakers are fine when testing via the receiver, but when testing with nvidia only the front 2 work. I also tried soundmax and in the test only the front 2 and the centre worked. so my computer isnt using the full speakers is it? the thing is i can hear faint sound from the rear speakers, but they arnt recognised in any of the tests.

    i did the nvidia patch for 5 .1 too but nothing.

    if anybody can help please let me know, at my wits end here! took forever to set the speakers up perfectly and now im not gettin the surround effect.

  • Or one can try and install ffdshow and let this filter take care of the audio/spdif throughput. Worked for me.....
  • When using Media Centre I can hear all the surround sound speakers working when watching DVD and listening to music but when watching Live TV only the front left and right speakers appear to work, I have made sure that all the control panel settings are on 5.1 setting but still can't get surround sound on Live TV....
    Can anyone give me any ideas??

  • I have sound blaster pro live sound card and logitech x 530 5.1 speakers.  I can't seem to get all of my speakers working, only 2 front speakers are working . I have done the steps above but nothing seems to be helping. if anyone has any ideas plz help me here. Thank you.
  • Hi
    Got XP Media Center and has a slightly different problem that I maybee can get some tips on how to fix?
    I have a Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS soundcard, ATI Radeon 9600 videocard, AMD 3200+, 1GB RAM etc.
    Analog 5.1 surround.

    Problem is:
    I have perfect sound in mediaplayer, Winamp and such, playing music or AVI.
    Trying to play DVD with Mediacenter is whitout sound. Music, TV and video is not affected at all!?

    Need some hints.


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