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Dolby Digital Plus to be announced at NAB

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Andrew Pratt, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. DavidG

    DavidG Member

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    Roger - a pleasure to have your contributions here.

    Dave Moritz raises some valid points, and of course opinions that may differ from others - but that is what this forum is all about!

    I have to chew on the DD+ proposal some more, but IMO it appears Dolby is doing what it needs to do - keeping pace with technology advances. Contrary to what Dave suggests, data compression techniques are constantly undergoing refinements whereby they become more efficient at data compression. This doesn't mean poorer quality automatically and it usually results in better quality at a given data rate than the previous generation. Within a given technology version, more bandwidth usually results in better quality.

    That said, I'm a DTS fan and prefer most DTS soundtracks over the DD version. DD absolutely degrades the sound quality as compared to full resolution (PCM) of 2 channel or 5.1 soundtracks. So does DTS, but because of usually higher bitrates and IMO better perceptual encoding algorithms they sound better. However when DTS is compressed to the same bitrate as DD it becomes difficult to tell them apart.

    DD+ is needed by Dolby Labs to remain current with latest movements in audio/video playback systems. They need more than 5.1 channels. As well, as Roger points out, the digital media providers (cable and satellite) are still working with limited bandwidth pipes and market pressures to provide more content (I know everyone here wants more shopping channels [​IMG] ). Since DTS can support more than 5.1 channels, so must DD to remain competitive. Since cable and satellite must compress to get all the channels they want to provide over their mediums then that also puts pressure on bandwidth consumed by audio. If Dolby can come up with an encoding technique that enables equal or even better audio quality while reducing or maintaining bandwith required then the carriers will likely go for it.

    Will quality get hurt? We don't know yet. We will need experts to review the solution provided by Dolby and give us objective and subjective results. The other major variable here will be the content carriers - will they use this with too much compression causing poorer audio quality? I certainly hope not.

    Now, what I want IS better audio quality than DD currently provides even in max bitrate with the redbook DVD. DTS and Meridian (MLP!!!) are my heroes, and I am thankful for the competitive pressure they are putting on Dolby. When we go to HD-DVD, I want 24/96 (or better!) audio quality on all channels (6.1->7.1). I'm concerned that if DD+ is adopted then that will require new hard video formats (like DVD) to carry another audio stream taking up more medium data space. What's high-def video without high-def audio? That's where I'll also vote with my money.

    Cheers,
    DavidG
     
  2. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Premium
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    Nice job DavidG

    Yes we need to wait and see what Dolby does and to see if there solution is better or worse than there current DD. I would hope that it is better beause no all movies are in DTS on dvd. The industry will most likely adopt it if it meets there requirements. Weather or not it sounds good is another matter which they most likely not care about. I only say that because as long as it sounds good enough or is passible they will adoubt it. DD tracks are ok at best as I agree that PCM tracks are superior to DD. And that DTS at lower bit rates does become more compairable to DD. The nice thing is that D-VHS should be releasing titles in DTS at the full 1.5mb/sec bandwith. Giving us the same identical sound as the master that the movie was taken from. I also agree with the following:



    I hope that DTS on HD-DVD uses the same bit rate that will be on D-VHS. I also hope that for the majority of releases on HD-DVD that will not have DTS. That Dolby does something to make a vast improvement of there product to improve the sound of DD. Given the way DD sounds today and with the phlosophy of Dolby Labs. It is doubtfull that DD will improve, time will tell if Dolby pulls a rabit out or there hat or a big smoking terd? I hope the quality does not get worse because it will be bad for sales and bad for people who love movies. I feel that most of us want the best audio we can get and hopefully Dolby's new upgrade to DD will improve what they are marketing now.
     
  3. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Premium
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    This is what was supposed to be in my quote, for some reason even though it was copied and pasted, oh well :b
     
  4. Roger J

    Roger J Well-Known Member

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    Based on past performance from the company, I am certainly willing to withhold judgement until I have a chance to sample to product for myself.
     
  5. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Well-Known Member

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    Roger- Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  6. Roger Dressler

    Roger Dressler Well-Known Member

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    Shane wrote:
    >> 5.1 Ex is technically a backwards compatible thing but if you don't have the extra channel then you get plain vanilla 5.1. Is this the case for this new DD+?>I think that Dolby is kidding themselves if they think they can provide a superior format with more compression. Or if they think they can shrink the audio down that much and provide even better sounding audio. . . . How many really think that Dolby can effectively reproduce multi channel soundtracks with even less data?>If Dolby was to raise the bit rate they would be indirectly admitting that DTS's approach was correct and that there competitor has a better codex. I think that this is more of Dolby trying to convince people that they can reproduce audiophile quality with very little data. . .. While yes bandwidth is always an issue especially with internet. I don’t believe it is a real issue with dvd or hd-dvd.>Dolby needs to improve there product not make it worse, and tell us they are working hard to give us the best.
     
  7. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Well-Known Member

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    Wow Roger! Nice to have you as a contributor on the HTF![​IMG]
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    Roger,
    So what you are saying is that for me to take full effect of DD+, I would need a decoder available to decode DD+ right?
     
  9. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Premium
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    While we will be waiting to see what DD+ sounds like. And I believe that DD+ is ment to improve on where DD failed. Sure it was addopted as the standard surround format but that does not necessarily mean its better or supperior in any way. And I dont believe that Dolby should take any credit for MLP. Making it seem that Dolby gave us that great technology. MLP was developed by Meridian and this technology was bough by Dolby if I am not mistaken. I like many here will wait and see what the true outcome of DD+ is before making a final judgement.

    I have a out of date reciever that only has 5.1 DD and DTS decoding. I will be upgrading it only for 100MHz video switching, DTS-ES 6.1, auto room set up, dvd-a capability and better features. DD-EX is not really even part of the reason to upgrade and if DD+ ends up sounding worse than regular DD+ there will be no chance of a DD+ capable decoder ending up in my system. If it does I will never be used. I am not looking for DD+ to fail but it if it does not do the job then I will be one of the consumers boycoting DD+ formated movies at the stores. If enogh people did not feel that DD was inferior to the original master and choose DTS instead. Then most reviews would not prefere DTS and a number of people would not prefere DTS. And this debate would not exist and Dolby would be the only game in town. It will most likely boil down to Dolby vs DTS since SDDS seems to be dieing out and disapearing little by little. Especially since SDDS does not seem to be upgrading there product or gaining any support anywhere.

    The best thing that ever came out of the SDDS format was dual center channels to create a fuller front soundfield. I would love to know if DD+ is going to borrow that from SDDS and have the ability to have dual center channels for people that have projection set ups and have the room for dual center channel speakers? I think we can agree that it takes a certain amout of data to represent a wave form. While it is possible to creat an efficent codex. You can only take it so far before the quality of the audio suffers from not enough data being available to reproduce the audio.

    When DD+ has been released and people can hear it for themselves then and only then will we know for sure if it succeded or tanked.
     
  10. Marty M

    Marty M Well-Known Member

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    I hope not. I recently purchased the Yamaha RXV-2400 and almost had to sign an oath in blood that I would keep this for at least 5 years. [​IMG]
     
  11. Roger J

    Roger J Well-Known Member

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    That is a subject for another time and another place. This thread is about Dolby's new compression codec.
     
  12. Roger Dressler

    Roger Dressler Well-Known Member

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    Shane wrote:
    >> So what you are saying is that for me to take full effect of DD+, I would need a decoder available to decode DD+ right?
     
  13. Roger Dressler

    Roger Dressler Well-Known Member

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    Dave Moritz wrote:
    >>When dvd came into being Dolby was chosen IMHO because of there low data rate. Not necicerily because they had the best sound.
     
  14. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Well-Known Member

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    Roger- Maybe an unanswerable question at this point, but:

    I remember when DPL II came out, that most software upgradeable components also required a chip swap.

    Any idea about DD+? Just a software upgrade, or hardware too? Or too soon to tell? [​IMG]
     
  15. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Well-Known Member

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    It is indeed an assumption on your part and you know what they say about assumptions.........?
    Thankfully I don't have to rely on any reviewer's opinion,as I can form mine just as easily, and eventualy is what matters to me the most.
    Also reviewers are hardly "experts" but rather "enthusiasts"[like us] who shares their opinions with us,at least that's how I look at it.
     
  16. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Well-Known Member

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    It's funny, but I had thought that the DD vs DTS debate had long ago been decided in favor of the respective mix and not the encoding algorythm itself. [​IMG] (I do listen to both, depending on which soundtrack it is.) And even though DTS promotes the higher bit rate capability, the truth is, that a lot of DTS soundtracks are mastered at 1/2 rate anyway.
     
  17. Roger Dressler

    Roger Dressler Well-Known Member

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    Kevin wrote:
    >>Any idea about DD+? Just a software upgrade, or hardware too? Or too soon to tell?
     
  18. Richard Paul

    Richard Paul Well-Known Member

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    Dolby has posted a press release about Dolby Digital Plus being unveiled at the NAB. They mention neither the support for more audio channels nor higher quality audio in the press release. Instead the four advantages of Dolby Digital Plus are backward compatibility, spectral efficiency, cost savings, and future compatibility. Though there are several advantages to backward compatibility it may have limited them to the same 640 Kbps compression as Dolby Digital. Dolby Digital Plus will probably allow more than 640 Kbps only through the adding of additional channels of audio beyond 5.1 channels.

    It's great that Dolby will finally allow more than 5.1 channels of discrete audio. Personally I believe that 7.1 channels will be the multichannel audio format of the 21st century. This is because it provides a full 360-degree sound field that 5.1 channel audio is simply not capable of making. Though 6.1 channels creates a good sound field it makes sense to have 7.1 discrete channels since you need two rear speakers to avoid a primitive auditory defect in human hearing. This defect is a quirk in our hearing that will cause certain sounds made directly behind you to be heard as though they came from in front of you. This is the main reason that 7.1 speaker systems were made.
     
  19. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Well-Known Member

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    Dolby ALWAYS protect it's 'hand'.
    New's for future formats can hurt sales of todays formats.
    Hence, the total lack of acknowledgement that DPLII, would 'grow' into IIx. Even though I knew it would.
    Glad Dolby see's the need for 'improvements'.
     
  20. Grant H

    Grant H Well-Known Member

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    Yet, but it's half bitrate DTS. I think it was stated earlier full-bitrate DTS is something like 1.5 Mb/sec. Aren't half bitrate DTS tracks 774 kb/s or something? The highest DD is what 440 kb/s or something close to that? The fact that they're different codecs tests the validity of the numbers game here, but as far as the above quote goes the bitrate of the average DTS track is still much higher than the average DD track. There'd be more space for those full-rate DTS tracks if only the DD track (or often multiple DD tracks could be dumped.

    I too wish there were separate releases available. There's too much compromise now trying to squeeze multiple audio formats onto one disc while maintaining picture quality.

    I wish we could get Star Wars DTS releases on DVD. The fact that the OT is being released with a space-hogging DD 2.0 track (which was abandoned for Episode II supposedly to preserve bitspace for picture quality) upset me. All I can figure is the 5.1 track wasn't mixing down satisfactorily on 2.0 systems so they brought it back a la Ep. I. It can't be there for nostalgic value since it's not like they're using the 77, 80, or 83 sound mixes. I guess substituting a DTS track for a DD 2.0 would result in further compromise in picture quality though. In this case, give me a separate DTS release minus any DD or commentary track or just ONE DD track on there to maintain the standard. A DD 2.0 and DTS track would surely be do-able and leave lots of space for picture.

    It would be nice to have more options for the sake of quality instead of convenience like the LD era, but the fact that DVD is now aimed at J6P instead of the videophiles and audiophiles has taken that hope away. Separate DTS releases would only confuse a market already confused by countless and sometimes pointless re-issues.

    With a little luck HD-DVD will target those videophiles who helped make DVD's launch a success. I think it will have to target this crowd since J6P isn't likely to upgrade for a while yet having just gotten into DVD.

    Back on topic, DD+ should be interesting to check out especially since I've already seen the terms DTS++ and DTS lossless thrown around the latter only loosely hinted at being a possiblity for HD. I don't think wer'e likely to be stuck with just DD in the early days of HD, so that should help to level the playing field the next time around. It should be an exciting time.
     

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