The update brings with it a very welcome new feature for those using it via a HDMI connection to a monitor that has speakers – or those with other audio equipment that they’d like to use – because the headline feature is support for audio over HDMI.
Better than that, the version of RISC OS being shipped as OS Update 6 has gained an understanding of multiple audio devices, and that in turn means it’s gained the ability for the user to choose which device the system sound should be output to. For end users, this means they are able to choose between traditional analogue audio, output via the 3.5mm jack on the rear of the computer, and digital audio, piped over the HDMI cable and output via whatever external equipment is connected.
And it’s possible to switch between these two outputs on the fly by issuing a simple star command.
Modern AV/hifi equipment often comes equipped for HDMI – so whatever might be used as part of an AV/hifi set up in the home can also be used as part of the ARMX6 set up, such as a sound bar – which can give a major improvement in speaker quality compared to a normal TV or monitor, depending on the quality of the audio hardware built into the TV or monitor itself.
HDMI audio arrives in conjunction with improved support for EDID (Extended Display Information Data), which allows the computer to read information from the monitor that is connected – a revamp of this was necessary so that the supported audio formats can be detected.
The video capabilities of ARMX6 have also been improved with tighter, more accurate timings and better interpretation of the information provided via EDID – and, according to R-Comp’s Andrew Rawnsley, “This has allowed compatibility with a number of more exotic (beyond-HD) displays which were previously troublesome.”
You can expect to see ARMX6 computers running OS Update 6 at the Southwest Show this Saturday – and, naturally, any machines now being shipped include this version of the operating system. For those wishing to explore and possibly improve the sound output of their existing set-ups, R-Comp will also have some HDMI sound bars for sale at the event.