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The DigiTheatre Decoder

The decoder box, which is also known as the Digitheatre decoder, is the most attractive part of the kit. The dimensions of the unit are 180(w) x 132(h) x 60(d) mm which is by far smaller than what we would imagine by looking at its picture. Not only is it the most attractive, part but yet most expensive part of the whole kit. VideoLogic sells stand alone DigiTheatre decoders at a street price of £127.65 or 190$ USD which by far more than what we could imagine by looking at it.

The price speaks for its self when a closer look is taken at its specifications. The Digitheatre uses the Zoran ZR38600 DSP chip; one of the best known AC-3/ProLogic/Surround decoders on the market as itís mostly used in the most expensive Home Theater Equipment.

The front panel of the unit features five buttons and a full sized LCD panel. On the left a power button is present which of course turns the Decoder on and off. Completely on the right side there are four buttons formed in a circled shape. First is the Test button; it runs a sound test routine, more on that later in the installation chapter. The Test button doubles as the down button when used in the LCD menu. The next button is the Mute; it cuts the sound off, the M button; the M stands for MODE, is used to select the appropriate menu on the LCD. To finish is the enter button, itís a simple button used to select. The LCD panel handles all the configurations and displays the audio modes being used. The next paragraph will explain some of its possibilities.

Front view of the Decoder

The DigiTheatre features three different little different mode tables displaying the type of audio being encoded: here they are, sorted by upper order. The input indicates whether the decoder is decoding analog or digital. If a digital connection is used the decoder will automatically detect it. If you use analog, simply press the input button on the remote to switch modes. The next window on the LCD is Digital Mode; it displays the type of the digital signal being used (AC-3 or stereo (PCM). Next is the surround mode; it displays the kind of surround effect being used. If the input is digital the Pro Logic Auto ON feature will detect it as AC-3.

LCD Display

Next are the different configurations and features that are controllable via LCD or simply visible on the LCD panel. First is the Mute, it appears at the very bottom and flashes when itís activated. Second is the test feature, it also appears at the very bottom of the LCD and flashes when the test is on. Next is the Speaker Mode, which lets you, configure different audio modes. It can send audio channels to different speakers. For example, if you use two speakers you can mix the surround and center channels to them and hear the full soundtrack without missing any effects that are being reproduced in the other channels. The decoder always displays the speaker mode via a graphical scheme. Following is the Volume: a graphical interface will appear and will let you control the volume across all the channels via remote or from the decoder panel. Next not last is the Balance setting: you can set a balance to each speaker. That one also features a graphical interface similar to the volume. Last is the Delay feature: itís used when setting a delay for center or surround speakers, here too a graphical interface will appear.


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