In addition to the royalty issue and the confusion about the dvd-audio format itself mentioned above (what an awful name for the format, which almost guarantees confusion), IMO there is a significant technical one that I think still plagues the format and can cause major audible problems: bass management.I'm still not hearing an explanation from Rhino why they won't supply a HiRez audio stream. I would accept a reason if one were given. I can accept that Bluray numbers are not high enough now for them to release bluray versions (But I would think every home theater enthusiast is or will be adopting bluray).
But Rhino once released DVDAs with DTS streams on them. Just change the labels and call them DTS CDs, but include a DVD Audio stream. Whats the problem?
Back in the early to mid 2000s, I lost track of how many players either.....
* had unpredictable results when their b.m. systems were activated e.g. LFE channel being lost(!) when the no-subwoofer option was chosen; non-adjustable crossover points, some of which being completely inappropriate for ANY system, sometimes as high as 200Hz ; center channel still playing despite the no-center option being chosen, etc etc.
* some players, and not just entry-level players, had no b.m. at all for hi-res track playback!!
So what would happen when Joe Consumer excitedly inserted his new disc in the player? One of the ugly scenarios is that all of a sudden his sats with 4" woofers were making nasty noises as they tried to reproduce a full range signal containing bass drum and synth parts; or part of the LFE channel's information wasn't present because Joe's subwoofer crossover was set to say 50Hz but the disc's LFE channel contained info all the way up to 120Hz.
And as far as distance compensation, which you also want to work properly or else the optimum surround soundfield cannot be created in one's living room, AFAIK that may also be lumped in with the b.m. issue, since I saw a lack of obvious support for that in many early players (for example, most of the manuals I personally read never mentioned the player's D.C. settings also appying to the playback of hi-res tracks).
BTW the above isn't just something I read in an article, some of it happened to ME with my own dvd-audio player, a Pioneer DV-656A (whose retail cost was $330 back in 2003 when I bought it).
While one may be tempted to say that everyone buying a dvd-audio title should thoroughly know how his own equipment works, I've seen numerous posts here & elsewhere for years now that indicate that is not the case. And the last thing a barely-surviving niche format needs, even if the economy was healthy, is unpredictable behavior of the equipment needed to play it with.
DTS, while not hi-res, can still sound very good to many people and unlike dvd-audio, bass management & distance compensation standards for DTS actually exist, are enforced and as far as I know have been in place since the format debuted back in 1996. So anyone with a player and receiver with the DTS logo should be able to play a Quadio disc and expect it to work properly.