I am a debian user running lenny. I have xine version "This is xine (X11 gui) - a free video player v0.99.5" and am connecting to VDR as a PVR. I have a Chaintech AV-710 card and am configured to use ALSA with all sound routed to the IEC958 optical out. My stereo sound out works fine until I select a channel that uses AC-3. It appears that xine attempts to "switch" to Passthrough for the sound stream and fails with "device not available". Maybe xine is attempting to use Passthrough without letting go of the existing connection to ALSA (I have never looked at the code so I can not even guess what it happening!).
Here is the asound.conf:
# hw:0,1 designates the Digital Coaxial Output
# S32_LE is the only format supported by the driver
# period_time, period_size, and buffer_size are needed to make aRts not stutter.
Increase buffer_size if stuttering persists.
# default ALSA route for software support of multiple sound streams
# mplayer -ac hwac3
I saw an old xine-user archive (dated 2008-03-17) with the same problem playing DVDs but no answer back http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/message.php?msg_id=16092642.post%40talk.nabble.com