What is DTS?

June 13, 2013 / Posted by David Brooks on Related Technology

DTS is a series of multichannel audio technologies (formerly known as Digital Theater Systems, Inc.), a company dedicatedly specializing in digital surround sound formats used for both commercial/theatrical and consumer grade applications. It provides high-definition entertainment experiences—anytime, anywhere, on any device. DTS’ audio solutions enable delivery and playback of clear, compelling high-definition audio which is incorporated by hundreds of licensee customers around the world, into an array of consumer electronic devices.

DTS audio codec

On the consumer level, DTS is the oft-used shorthand for the DTS Coherent Acoustics codec, transportable through S/PDIF and used on DVDs and Laserdiscs. This system is the consumer version of the DTS standard, using a similar codec without needing separate DTS CD-ROM media. Both music and movie DVDs allow delivery of DTS audio tracks, but DTS was not part of the original DVD specification (1997), so early DVD players did not recognize DTS audio tracks at all.

DTS variants

In addition to the standard 5.1-channel DTS Surround codec, the company has several other technologies in its product range designed to compete with similar systems from Dolby Labs.

  1. DTS 70 mm – This is a process designed specifically for playback in motion picture theaters equipped with 70mm projection and 6-track surround sound.
  2. DTS-ES – DTS-ES (DTS Extended Surround) includes two variants, DTS-ES Matrix and DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, depending on how the sound was originally mastered and stored. Both variants are implemented in ways which are compatible with DTS decoders which do not include support for DTS-ES.
  3. DTS Neo:6 – DTS Neo:6, like Dolby’s Pro Logic IIx system, can take stereo content and convert the sound into 5.1 or 6.1 channel format, but in a 7.1 configuration, the two rear-center speakers play in mono. Unlike Dolby Pro Logic II’s broadband logic steering, Neo:6 is a multi-band decoder, meaning that the decoder can enhance more than one predominant signal at a time — provided each predominant signal lies in a different frequency band than the others. The number of bands steered varies in each Neo:6 implementation, with the first decoders steering in 12 separate bands and later units steering up to 19.
  4. DTS Neo:X – DTS Neo:X can take stereo, 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 source material and output up to 11.1 channels including front height and width channels. Unlike Dolby’s Pro Logic IIz’s system, which only adds front height channels to the 7.1 configuration, Neo:X supports both front height and front wide channels. DTS Neo:X also supports 11.1 encoding through matrixing of front height and front wide channel information into the front and surround channels, respectively, of a 5.1 or 7.1 audio mix.
  5. DTS 96/24 – DTS 96/24 allows the delivery of 5.1 channels of 24-bit, 96 kHz audio and high quality video on the DVD-Video format. Prior to the development of DTS 96/24, it was only possible to deliver two channels of 24-bit, 96 kHz audio on DVD Video. DTS 96/24 can also be placed in the video zone on DVD-Audio discs, making these discs playable on all DTS-compatible DVD players.
  6. DTS-HD High Resolution Audio – DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, along with DTS-HD Master Audio, compose the DTS-HD extension to the original DTS audio format. It delivers up to 7.1 channels of sound at a 96 kHz sampling frequency and 24-bit depth resolution. DTS-HD High Resolution Audio is selected as an optional surround sound format for Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, with constant bit rates up to 6.0 Mbit/s and 3.0 Mbit/s, respectively.
  7. DTS-HD Master Audio – DTS-HD Master Audio, previously known as DTS++, is the second of two DTS-HD audio formats. It supports a virtually unlimited number of surround sound channels, can downmix to 5.1 and two-channel, and can deliver audio quality at bit rates extending from DTS Digital Surround up to lossless (24-bit, 192 kHz).
  8. DTS Connect – DTS Connect is a blanket name for a two-part system used on the computer platform only, in order to convert PC audio into the DTS format, transported via a single S/PDIF cable. The two components of the system are DTS Interactive and DTS Neo:PC.

Like AC-3, DTS surrounding has also stereo surrounds channel:

  • Mono (Center only)
  • 2-channel stereo (Left + Right), optionally carrying matrixed Dolby Surround
  • 3-channel stereo (Left, Center, Right)
  • 2-channel stereo with mono surround (Left, Right, Surround)
  • 3-channel stereo with mono surround (Left, Center, Right, Surround)
  • 4-channel quadraphonic (Left, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround)
  • 5-channel surrounding (Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround)

Generally speaking, DVD’s audio is AC-3 or DTS format, which is featured 5.1 surround sound. When you play and watch DVD movie through the home theater system, this multi-dimensional audio effect will make you immersive feel the fantastic of DVD movie. Meanwhile, AC-3 and DTS audio format can also be converted and stored into video files like MPEG and AVI. When playback them on your media player, it can also achieve the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.

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