DD+ - Advanced DD, lossy but not as lossy and a higher bitrate than DD DTS-HD - Advanced DTS, lossy but not as lossy as DTS Dolby TrueHD - Lossless from PCM master recording DTS-HD Master Audio - Lossless from PCM master recording
Note, DD+/TrueHD decoding is mandatory on HD DVD, optional on Blu-ray. No current players will decode DTS-HD MA, they pass the DTS core instead, although the players that pass HD audio as bitstream will pass the full DTS-HD MA stream for decoding on the receiver.
All the HD formats will give you a better sound than standard DD/DTS. They have a greater capacity and bandwidth, so you can cram more of the original tracks into the encode without losing fidelity to compression. This results in a more expansive, more dynamic and more detailed sound. It's hard to explain until you hear it, but if DD/DTS is sparkling wine, the new HD formats are French champagne. You can actually have better sound than available in theaters, in your home, with these new formats.
With that Integra, you are all set to connect any of the HD DVD players via HDMI and take advantage of HD audio decoded in the player and sent as LPCM. If you were to purchase the XA2 or the A35, you can optionally send the codecs as bitstream and have the Integra do the decoding. Not much difference between the two, except it is cool to see "TrueHD" light up on the receiver.
Now I think I understand. So with the HD DVD, and using my Integra DTR 7.8 and my Toshiba A2 HD DVD player, I'm getting the best quality HD sound [with the Toshiba audio settings set to bitstream].
So, the only difference with a more expensive player like the XA2 or A35 is that my receiver will read out DD True or Plus or whatever instead of Multichannel, which it says now. The sound quality would be the same [still less compressed or lossless?].
Thanks for all of your help! You are extremely knowledgeable.
Quick follow up. If I am using a optical connection would I get DD+/ and DTS-HD? Also, does my receiver have to have anything special to do the DD+/DTS-HD. In other words, if it does DD and DTS can it do DD+/DTS-HD. ( I know it cannot do TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio.)
No, DD+ is an HD format. Over optical, it would be downmixed to DD or DTS (depending on the machine). To get anything other than DD/DTS, you must have an HDMI receiver capable of processing LPCM over HDMI, or you need to have a player with analog outs (A1, XA1, A35, XA2) and a receiver with analog ins.