I've seen online list of blu-ray with 7.1 audio but it's rather small. All the new releases I've seen so far are 5.1 audio. So what's up with 7.1? Wasn't that going to be the standard already? What happened?
I for one am thankful for the relative lack of 7.1 material. It has save me from bothering to invest in two more matching speakers and having to place them. Seriously though... I'm assuming that one reason may be that most consumers don't have 7 speaker setups. Then again even fewer will bother implementing Dolby's new "height" channel.
Using the same tech which gave us a solid center "dialog" channel for over a decade with few complaints and impressive results is being used to do the same for the rear surround channels when a discrete 5.1 soundtrack is fed into a modern HT processor. Add a little steering logic to generate a convincing left and right rear channel output and you've got a totally immersive full 7.1 experience. It is easier to market 5.1 to lay consumers who have yet to install 7.1 systems while letting the expert users take advantage of the logic in their HT processors.
I love 7.1 from my system when watching 5.1 encoded content. It is completely immersive and convincing to me. True, i'd rather have diwcrete 7.1, but decoded 5.1 to get 7.1 is still friggin' awesome