Dolby Digital Plus and MLP Chosen for Blu-ray and HD-DVD Discs

September 25, in DVD-Audio News

Dolby Digital has been chosen as a mandatory format for the Blue-ray and HD-DVD disc, while MLP (two-channel) has also been chosen for HD-DVD, which brings both high-resolution audio and video to the consumer marketplace.

Please note that the text of the Dolby press release has been changed three times by Dolby themselves, to correct errors and misconceptions. The first version, published here at High Fidelity Review, was done so in good faith.

Readers should also be made aware that DTS (Digital Theater Systems, Inc.) have also announced that its DTS Coherent Acoustics coding system has been selected as a mandatory audio technology for both the Blu-ray Disc and High Definition Digital Versatile Disc (HD-DVD), the two next generation high-definition disc formats for home video. In addition to the company’s core technology, DTS’ extension technologies have also been selected as options; according to DTS, DTS++ is the only lossless audio technology selected for both disc formats.

The most recent version of the Dolby press release is as follows:

As evidence of its pioneering efforts in multichannel audio entertainment, Dolby Laboratories announces that Dolby® audio technologies have been selected as mandatory formats for both High-Definition Digital Versatile Disc (HD DVD) and Blu-ray Disc. The DVD Forum has selected Dolby Digital Plus and MLP Lossless™ as mandatory audio formats for HD DVD. The Blu-ray Disc Association announced that Dolby Digital will be a mandatory technology on its new format, the Blu-ray Disc. Both discs are next-generation packaged media formats designed to deliver high-definition picture quality.

Dolby is a recognized leader in multichannel audio technologies. With that leadership comes a clear vision of the future, which includes enabling superior audio performance for next-generation HD video formats and home theater applications, while maintaining our commitment to the millions of households worldwide that have adopted Dolby Digital 5.1 as their entertainment standard,” said Craig Eggers, Marketing Director, Consumer Electronics, Dolby Laboratories. “We are pleased that Dolby’s technologies have been selected to be part of both exciting next-generation HD packaged media formats.

As the industry shifts from standard- to high-definition video entertainment, consumers will demand a packaged media format that offers superior HD images and surround sound audio playback. The DVD Forum’s decision to include Dolby Digital Plus and MLP Lossless as mandatory audio standards for HD DVD ensures that the audio quality of HD DVD will be just as compelling as its video quality.

Dolby Digital Plus offers bit-rate and channel extendibility and is an extension of the popular Dolby Digital format, which is the audio standard for DVD-Video worldwide and North American high-definition television (HDTV). The DVD Forum’s selection of Dolby Digital Plus as a mandatory audio standard assures future compatibility of HD DVD software media and playback devices with the more than 39 million A/V receivers equipped with Dolby Digital in homes today.

For instances where higher bit rates can be allocated for audio playback, such as HD DVD, Dolby Digital Plus delivers the highest quality audio performance possible from a highly sophisticated perceptual coding process. Dolby Digital Plus is designed to offer discrete channel coverage beyond the current 5.1 standard.

Dolby Digital Plus offers coding efficiencies for systems where bandwidth is at a premium or limited, such as next-generation cable, broadcast, and satellite systems. Earlier this year, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) nominated Dolby Digital Plus as a Candidate Standard for future robust channel transmission. In anticipation of future packaged media business models and format flexibility, Dolby Digital Plus’ efficiency will also enable simultaneous streaming of audio content and software playback. This capability would enable consumers to watch a movie while listening to artists’ or directors’ commentary streamed directly from the studio website, for example.

Dolby will demonstrate Dolby Digital Plus for high-definition applications at the 117th AES Convention, held this year in San Francisco, October 28–31.

MLP Lossless technology, licensed by Dolby Laboratories, has also been selected as mandatory audio standard of the HD DVD by the DVD Forum. MLP Lossless reproduces every nuance of an original performance, including elements that may have been previously lost or masked in CD playback. Because it delivers the highest audio fidelity possible without compromising picture quality or video bit rates, MLP Lossless is the perfect complement to Dolby Digital Plus. With MLP Lossless as a mandatory audio format, consumers can experience, for example, their favorite pre-recorded concert performance at the highest level of audio fidelity and quality possible on an HD DVD.

The core audio technology behind multichannel DVD-Audio, MLP Lossless, enables content providers to encode multiple channels of 24-bit/96 kHz surround sound or 24-bit/192 kHz stereo content onto a DVD. Playback of content encoded in MLP Lossless is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master; nothing is lost during the encoding/decoding process. The result is the most realistic and involving high-fidelity audio available for packaged media.

The Blu-ray Association selected Dolby Digital as a mandatory audio standard for the Blu-ray Disc format, enabling Blu-ray Disc software and hardware to be compatible with the 39 million A/V receiver products worldwide that feature integrated Dolby Digital technologies.

Dolby Digital technology is the worldwide standard for DVD-Video and the audio standard for North American high-definition television (HDTV) and ATSC digital cable systems worldwide. It is a de facto standard for satellite (DBS) and DVD-Audio discs, and an optional format for DVB broadcast standards all over the world.

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