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Dolby Digital Plus to be announced at NAB


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#21 of 58 OFFLINE   DavidG

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Posted April 15 2004 - 07:18 AM

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 Posted Image ). 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

#22 of 58 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted April 15 2004 - 07:39 AM

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.

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#23 of 58 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted April 15 2004 - 07:41 AM

This is what was supposed to be in my quote, for some reason even though it was copied and pasted, oh well :b

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#24 of 58 OFFLINE   Roger J

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Posted April 15 2004 - 08:19 AM

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.

#25 of 58 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted April 15 2004 - 12:54 PM

Roger- Thanks! Posted Image
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#26 of 58 OFFLINE   Roger Dressler

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Posted April 15 2004 - 01:38 PM

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+?<< Yes. Dave Moritz wrote: >>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?<< Are you saying no one can make an audio codec more efficient that Dolby Digital, or that Dolby is specifically incapable of doing so? How do you weigh MPEG2-AAC in the equation of compression vs quality? If you agree, as many familiar with AAC do, that it offers improved efficiency (i.e., same quality at lower data rates or better quality at the same data rates) as other codecs such as Dolby Digital, MP3, DTS, PAC, etc, then you might agree that Dolby, as one of the co-developers of AAC has the skill to do this with other codecs. >>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.<< Yes, the HD disc formats are using new disc technology like blue lasers to increase data capacity and throughput. Much of this will go to the HD video, but some will be made available to the audio. The content maker will decide how to get the best bang for the buck for audio vs video assets. DD+ will offer the option for more channels (assuming someone will mix movies or concerts that way), and that means more data rate will be needed. Again, the content maker will be able to trade off data rate used for more channels, increased audio quality, or both. DD+ is very flexible. >>Dolby needs to improve there product not make it worse, and tell us they are working hard to give us the best.<< I think that is what DD+ and MLP (also licensed by Dolby)are all about.
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#27 of 58 OFFLINE   Kevin Alexander

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Posted April 15 2004 - 02:30 PM

Wow Roger! Nice to have you as a contributor on the HTF!Posted Image
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"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#28 of 58 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted April 16 2004 - 12:32 AM

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?

#29 of 58 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted April 16 2004 - 04:54 AM

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.

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#30 of 58 OFFLINE   Marty M

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Posted April 16 2004 - 05:04 AM


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. Posted Image

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#31 of 58 OFFLINE   Roger J

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Posted April 16 2004 - 09:11 AM

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

#32 of 58 OFFLINE   Roger Dressler

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Posted April 16 2004 - 03:25 PM

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?<< The answer is "almost no, but yes." When DD+ is used for broadcasts as in the original announcement at the top of this thread, you will get the full benefit from existing decoders. If we look at future disc formats, where higher bitrates can be used with 5.1-channel programs, sonic benefits from the increased data rates will also be available to all existing DD AV decoders. But yes, the compatible DD bitstream will remain limited to 5.1 channels since that is the max for DD today. If you have an AV decoder with a 7.1-ch analog bypass like some Denon units (5800, 5803 come to mind), you will have the option to obtain 7.1-ch discrete from a suitible disc player, but we imagine adding more analog outputs to players will quickly be superceded by HDMI or 1394 type interfaces. And these allow for even more than 7.1 channels if need be.
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#33 of 58 OFFLINE   Roger Dressler

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Posted April 16 2004 - 03:54 PM

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.<< Dolby Digital was chosen as a mandatory codec because it met all the requirements at the time the DVD Forum made the decision. DTS and SDDS were listed as optional because they did not meet the Forum's requirements for mandatory codecs. It had nothing to do with data rates. >>I dont beleive you can continue to cut the amount of data that is used to recreate an analog wave form, and still get a acurate representation of the original master. At some point you loose way to much and the presentation suffers from it.<< I asked before what you thought of AAC. Does it do this or does it not? Of course we already know the answer, but you do not seem to acknowledge it. >>And from what is being reported that DD+ may have more data. DD+ will actually be using less data per channel to reproduce the movie soundtrack. As a hole it might offer more data, but it will offer lest data for every channel it offers.<< I know that we have not made sufficient explanation of all aspects of DD+, so it is understandable that you do not have complete understanding. I can only apologize about that for now, as we are really trying to limit the discussion of DD+ to the broadcast applications for the moment. In the near future, we will explain more about the other aspects of DD+ regarding extensions in bitrates and channels. All I can do for now is to caution against making assumptions about how that data will translate to audible benefits. I think you said it right: >>I like many here will wait and see what the true outcome of DD+ is before making a final judgement.<< We ask for nothing more. >>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 believe Dolby can take some rightful credit in recognizing that MLP lossless solved a critical problem for DVD-A and helped to get it adopted by the DVD Forum. This is not an easy task, by the way. MLP is still owned by Meridian. Dolby handles licensing, testing, etc. >>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?<< This was not an SDDS invention, but originally developed for the huge Cinemascope screens in the days when loudspeakers, crossovers, and power amplifiers were nothing like as advanced as today. The speakers of the day had poor lateral directivity, so when seated at extreme angles, the intelligibility dropped off. Remember also that in these earlier days the mixers tried to track the locations of the on-screen actors by panning their respective dialog laterally. Not only has that practice subsided, today's loudspeakers have much better coverage, and can play louder and cleaner than ever before. Long story short, there's no real need for these intermediate channels in movie theaters, and certainly not in home theaters where none of these issues exist.
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#34 of 58 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted April 16 2004 - 08:56 PM

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? Posted Image
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#35 of 58 OFFLINE   Lewis Besze

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Posted April 17 2004 - 07:33 AM

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.

#36 of 58 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted April 17 2004 - 09:23 AM

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. Posted Image (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.
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#37 of 58 OFFLINE   Roger Dressler

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Posted April 17 2004 - 09:58 AM

Kevin wrote: >>Any idea about DD+? Just a software upgrade, or hardware too? Or too soon to tell?<< Too soon.
Roger Dressler

#38 of 58 OFFLINE   Richard Paul

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Posted April 21 2004 - 11:05 AM

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.

#39 of 58 OFFLINE   Ed St. Clair

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Posted April 21 2004 - 11:57 AM

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'.
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#40 of 58 OFFLINE   Grant H

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Posted April 22 2004 - 07:36 AM

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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