I hope this is the correct place to ask this question.  I have been researching for several months and I cannot seem to find a definitive answer, so I thought I would give this list a try.

I am planning to build a home theatre system with 5/7.1 surround sound.  It will have a high-definition plasma television, DVD-player, and CD player, all of which have S/PDIF outputs.  Rather than purchase a prefabricated "receiver," I would like to use a Linux-based personal computer to perform the decoding of the S/PDIF into 6 or 8 analog channels to send to the amplifiers.  I have been searching for quite some time and I am unable to make an educated decision regarding this possibility.

Are there any ALSA drivers that will decode AC-3 S/PDIF input (coaxial or optical) and pipe the analog sound to the proper outputs?  If so, which are recommended?  I hope you can provide some insight to this possibility.  I would much rather use an open-source computer to perform my functions than a hardware decoder.

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Dustin C. Hatch