Updated: March 26, 2013

High Definition Dolby Sound Formats

Guide to High Definition Multi-channel Audio Formats include video


In the first part of this guide to Dolby surround sound formats, we discussed Dolby's mainstream multi-channel audio formats - from Dolby Surround ProLogic matrixed-based formats to Dolby Digital EX extended discrete versions supporting up to 7.1 playback channels.

But despite their ability to deliver an incredible immersive sound experience that is more than adequate for DVD movie watching and broadcast content, these are not capable of delivering high resolution sound - sound that at least matches the quality supported by DVD-Audio and SACD.

For the purpose, Dolby Sound Systems have come up with two high definition audio formats - Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus. These high definition surround sound formats have been designed specifically to match the picture quality in high definition video content, but not only...


 
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Dolby Digital High Definition Audio

Superior sound that matches the quality of HD video on Blu-ray discs

Our discussion continues by looking at two of the latest Dolby Digital multi-channel audio formats:

- Dolby TrueHD

- Dolby Digital Plus

Both Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus fall under the category of high definition sound, or 'high resolution audio' as it is referred to under the DTS lineup. These Dolby sound formats offer greatly improved sound quality by increasing both the bit rate from a maximum of 640 Kilobits per second to several Megabits per second, and also by increasing the number of full-range audio channels supported by these formats.

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Dolby TrueHD High Definition Audio

Dolby TrueHD

Dolby®TrueHD delivers true high-definition sound, while providing up to 7.1 channels of lossless audio that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master. This may be considered as Dolby's version of DTS-HD Master Audio, its DTS counterpart.

This Dolby sound format has been developed for high-definition disc-based media such as HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players, to deliver audio that matches the stunning high definition pictures created by these devices.

Dolby® TrueHD was selected as a mandatory Dolby sound format for the now extinct HD DVD; it is also an optional format for Blu-ray Disc.

This Dolby sound format is also fully backward compatible with A/V receivers and HTIB (home-theaters-in-a-box) solutions supporting multi-channel Dolby Digital surround sound.

Dolby TrueHD sound format features:

100 percent lossless coding technology

Up to 18 Mbps bit rate

Supports more than eight full-range channels of 24-bit/96 kHz audio, though current HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc standards limit maximum number of audio channels to eight

Fully supported by HDMI™

Supports extensive metadata including dialogue normalization and dynamic range control

Dolby Digital Plus

Dolby Digtial Plus

Dolby Digital Plus is considered as the next-generation audio format that delivers 'better-than-DVD' sound in high-definition packaged media because it requires less compression and provides up to 7.1 channels of audio.

This high definition Dolby sound format provides a somewhat similar sound quality to that achievable by DTS-HD High Resolution Audio format.

Dolby Digital Plus provide more than just a higher bit rate and increased number of full range audio channels; it also provides new coding efficiencies for future broadcasting and streaming of multi-channel audio. It is designed to complement all high-definition programming and media. Built on Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus is fully compatible with all current A/V receivers.

Dolby Digital Plus features:

Supports more than eight full-range channels of 24-bit/96 kHz audio, though current HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc standards limit maximum number of audio channels to eight

It also supports multiple programs in a single encoded bitstream

Outputs a standard Dolby Digital bitstream for playback on existing Dolby Digital systems

Supports data rates as high as 6 Mbps

Bit rate performance of at least 3 Mbps on HD DVD and up to 1.7 Mbps on Blu-ray Disc

Fully supported by HDMI

Also selected as a mandatory audio format for HD DVD and as an optional audio format for the Blu-ray Disc




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Sound Formats Section Index

Surround Sound Formats discussed under the HT sound section:

Dolby Sound Formats

Covering also:
 - Dolby Pro Logic systems,
 - HD Audio and
 - Dolby Virtual Surround

DTS Sound formats
Including DTS HD Audio

High Definition Audio formats covering DVD-Audio and SACD - incl. DualDisc and Hybrid-SACD


Additional Articles

Tips for Better Sound

Dolby vs. DTS: Which is better?

THX Home Cinema Guide

Home Theater Speakers

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