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Universal chooses DTS-HDMA (1 Viewer)

Jeff Adkins

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I hope this hasn't already been covered here but I didn't see a post about it.

From The Man Room:

In the waning months of Universal Studios Home Entertainment's HD DVD era, the studio had standardized the use of Dolby TrueHD audio on almost all newly announced titles. This was in stark contrast to the early Universal HD DVD days when the appearance of Dolby TrueHD was overshadowed by the heavy use of Dolby Digital Plus lossy audio.

Times has certainly changed, and now Universal is gearing up to enter the Blu-ray Disc arena for the first time on July 22. With this move from HD DVD to Blu-ray support comes many questions, including how Universal will approach audio with the expanded room a BD-50 disc offers over a 30GB dual-layered HD DVD disc.

Although Universal is remaining tight-lipped on a lot of details surrounding their Blu-ray presence that wasn't included in the press release, they were kind enough to entertain our questions about their audio approach on Blu-ray. The simple answer may surprise you. At the least, it should delight you.

The first wave of Universal Blu-ray Disc titles on July 22 are all from the Mummy franchise and were all previously released on HD DVD: The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Scorpion King. All of these titles were published with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio tracks, but not Dolby TrueHD tracks.

Per Universal, all three Mummy films will include DTS-HD Master Lossless Audio. That's right, folks. Instead of lazily porting over what was already completed for HD DVD, Universal has heard your cries for lossless audio and is taking action.

Universal went on to tell us that the game plan moving forward is for DTS-HD Master Lossless to become the Blu-ray standard at the studio. Obviously there will be exceptions, but it looks like the majority of titles, and probably all new theatrical titles, will include DTS-HD.

We'll have more from Universal, including their position on U-Control appearing on Blu-ray, in the near future. Stay tuned!

Update: We've received some questions asking for clarification on Universal's resoundingly well-received decision to adopt DTS-HD on Blu-ray. Is it really Master Audio? Or compressed 1.5 core DTS? To answer this, we'll let Universal tell you in their own words.

"Universal (editor's note: Blu-ray) titles contain DTS-HD Master Audio (Lossless) on all English tracks."


LINK
 

ManW_TheUncool

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That's great to hear. :emoji_thumbsup: Now, hopefully, they will actually produce high quality product on a consistent/regular basis and leave whatever spotty past behind them.

Thanks for the info.

_Man_
 

John H Ross

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I'm so glad I didn't get suckered into the format war. I wonder how many people are gonna be tempted to buy the BD having already bought the DVD and the HD-DVD...?
 

zackscott5

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That's great for people that have DTS-MA decodable players or recievers, but what about the masses? Why not inlude a PCM track as well which is just as Lossless. It's kay cause I'll probably only be buying Brazil and Fear and Loathing when they come out.
 

Douglas Monce

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Why would I buy the blu-ray when I already have it on HD DVD? At this point I buy everything on SD as well as HD for purposes of backwards compatibility. But I see no point in buying it on blu-ray as well as HD DVD.

Doug
 

ChristopherDAC

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There seem to be more than a few people to whom lossless audio is very important, some for whom it's more important than high-definition video. Not you, clearly, but others on this forum.
 

David Wilkins

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There are a few who seem to have a serious "jones" for it, but personally, for the limited number of titles I have, compared to the huge library that's bound to lie ahead...I can live without it on a few discs.

It's not like listening to the lesser sound tracks is equal to listening through 3" speakers. I'll manage to live with it. :rolleyes
 

Jim_K

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I'll be upgrading my Uni HD DVD titles to BD, especially since they're providing lossless audio.

Though even if the specs were the same I'd do the same. Once my HD DVD player dies there goes whatever collection I have.
 

Alfonso_M

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I will never buy a Blu ray of anything I own on HD-DVD or SD-DVD reguardless of what "bait" the Studios throw my way.

If everone here did the same maybe we wouldn't see the current price gouching we see today on Blu ray Hardware and Software.
 

Jeff Adkins

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I won't be replacing titles that are equivalent (like Batman Begins from WB), but I will certainly upgrade titles like U-571, King Kong, and John Carpenter's The Thing for the lossless audio when Universal puts them out. It's really not any different than replacing something on DVD with a new version with an improved transfer.
 

brap

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It's not inspiring for enthusiasts who are waiting to jump on blu-ray sooner. Since most players output TrueHD through 6 RCA analog for existing receivers and HDMI PCM or bitstream for people with affordable receivers. The holdouts would love the fact they only need player.
DTS-HD Master output as analog or PCM is a rarity on any player. Meaning you would have to find a player that outputs bitstream (not that hard) and then buy a new receiver. The higher cost will slow down adoption.
Then again I could be talking nonsense because most enthusiasts would not take price as a factor and the rest will be just as happy with DD 384Kbps and not notice the difference between 1080p 16/9 and 480i 4/3.
 

Jeff Adkins

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It's not nonsense. Both TrueHD and DTS-HDMA have their pros and cons. With something like 90% of Blu-Ray players being a PS3, DTS-HDMA is the best option. For those with HDMI it decodes it to PCM, and for those using the optical out you still get the 1.5mbps DTS core. I know that doesn't help the early adopters who bought standalones so it's sort of a catch 22. Those using a PS3 without HDMI are stuck with a legacy DD track.

My own guess (pure speculation) is that DTS lobbied Universal for this heavily since Universal hasn't entered the BD market just yet. They probably worked out something similar to their deal with Fox. It also doesn't hurt that Universal (at least at one time) has/had a financial interest in DTS.

I personally don't care if its PCM, TrueHD or DTS-HDMA. They all sound great to me. The most exciting thing about this announcement is the fact that Universal is going to be releasing lossless on titles that were lossy on HD-DVD. Many of us assumed they'd go the Warner route and just port over the existing HD-DVDs.
 

Douglas Monce

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I would prefer lossless audio but at the moment and for the foreseeable future I have no way of playing back DTS Master Audio. And because I've been forced to goto a Playstation 3, lossless audio is not a possibility for me with blu-ray until I can afford to buy an HDMI receiver. Which again is not in the foreseeable future.

Doug
 

Dale MA

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I'm looking forward to DTS-HDMA on a lot of Universals back catalogue titles, I'll probably upgrade some of my HD DVDs.

I really hope Universal takes a page out of Warner Bros. book and releases all there titles multi-regional.
 

Paul Arnette

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While I am happy Universal has committed to lossless audio, I don't really find Universal's support of DTS-HDMA surprising. I do think it smacks of politics however. Aside from the fact that Steven Spielberg has a large stake in DTS (can we release some of your films in HD now, pretty please?), it seems to me that DTS as a company would have to have been very consciously aware that were rapidly losing market share amongst the Blu-ray-supporting studios. So DTS 'convinces' Universal and Fox to support DTS-HDMA, which in turn guarantees another round of hardware upgrades, and everybody wins (except the consumers that is).
 

ManW_TheUncool

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But don't we need another round of upgrades anyway, if we want Dolby TrueHD (or even higher bitrate DD Plus, if that's still possible on Blu-ray)? Did I miss something? At least w/ DTS-HD/MA, you do get the 1.5Mbps DTS core that old hardware can handle. Not sure how higher bitrate DD Plus would be handled, if at all, on old hardware.

Anyway, my budget for this stuff seems to have tightened some, so I may just get something like the affordable Yammy RX-V663 and use it as a prepro for my B&K amp (w/ its own amp section as potential backup). I'm due some sort of upgrade anyway after so many years...

_Man_
 

Goko

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This is true. Don't forget the wise old saying; an enthusiast and his money are soon parted. :laugh:
 

Jeff Adkins

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The only people affected will be people with the standalone models that will only internally decode Dolby TrueHD and have analog outs or HDMI. Those people would be better served by TrueHD or PCM. It's a win-win for everyone else since those without HDMI will still get the 1.5mbps DTS core track rather than the legacy DD track. DD+ isn't used on BD anyway and really would serve no purpose with the abundance of bandwidth.
 

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