You’ve probably already encountered the debate over whether Dolby Digital or DTS is the superior surround sound system when it comes to setting up your home entertainment centre. It’s crucial to know the answer because it will determine pretty much all of the home theatre equipment you maintain, and because having fantastic sound obviously makes for better enjoyment in general. Although services like Netflix and Prime Video provide Dolby Digital and DTS for a theater-like experience at home, the question of which is superior and what the differences are still stands. If the same worries are bothering you, then this essay is for you. Let’s examine the differences between Dolby Digital and DTS and contrast the two surround sound systems.
Dolby Digital vs DTS: A Detailed Comparison (202`1)
Although Dolby Digital and DTS are both surround sound formats, there are some distinctions in the audio encoding techniques used by each. We have explored the distinctions between DTS and Dolby Digital codecs in this article as well as described Dolby Digital and DTS so that you have a solid understanding of both technologies.
What is Dolby Digital?
The audio compression technology known as Dolby Digital was created by Dolby Labs back in 1986. Dolby Digital, the first to offer a surround sound codec, is typically regarded as the industry standard. Dolby Digital attempts to provide a full, surround sound experience that retains as much of the original audio quality as possible. The business got its start by offering digital sound for movies playing in US theatres. Speaking of which, Batman was the first movie to use Dolby Digital’s audio compression technique (1992). Later, it switched to CDs and DVDs.
Dolby Digital is now accessible for more devices than only movie theatres, including Blu-ray players, streaming boxes, and internet streaming services.
It has experienced numerous improved codecs since its introduction for a better audio experience. A few examples include Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital TrueHD, and the well-known Dolby Atmos. Dolby TrueHD guarantees lossless output for a result that is nearly identical to the original audio, in contrast to Dolby Digital Plus’s lossy output (which causes some audio degradation). The object-based surround sound technology known as Dolby Atmos aims to produce an even greater output.
What is DTS?
DTS is emerging as a direct rival to Dolby Digital. The technology, initially known as Digital Theater Systems, was established in 1993 with the same goal of giving people a rich audio experience. The DTS technology originally appeared in Jurassic Park from 1993. Similar to Dolby Digital, DTS may be found in a variety of devices, including set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, and home theatre systems.
DTS continued to grow, and as a result, a number of upgraded audio codecs are now available. The list also contains DTS:X, a competitor to Dolby Atmos technology, and DTS-HD High Resolution (DTS lossless version).
Dolby Digital vs DTS: What are the differences?
Dolby Digital and DTS both employ audio compression technology to lessen extraneous audio data while still producing high-fidelity audio. Dolby Digital employs the Modified Discrete Cosine Transform (MDCT) technique to compress audio and minimise the audio footprint while encoding audio in the AC-3 format. DTS, on the other hand, reduces the size of the audio file by using the Adaptive Differential Pulse-Code Modulation (ADPCM) technique.
Both use a 5.1 surround sound system, which consists of five speakers and a subwoofer. Nevertheless, 7.1 speaker setups and a 6.1 speaker setup are supported by DTS and Dolby Digital, respectively. These speakers’ placement is essential for achieving the surround sound experience. In the 5.1 setup, two speakers are positioned at an angle of 60 degrees on both the left and right, two speakers are positioned at an angle of 120 degrees on the left and right, and one speaker is positioned in the centre directly in front of the viewer. There is no requirement for the subwoofer’s precise placement. Two more speakers are added to the back of the room in the 7.1 speaker scenario. There is only one more back speaker needed for the 6.1 arrangement.
However, some individuals believe DTS to be superior to Dolby Atmos since it provides a higher bit-rate (640 kilobits as compared to 1.5 megabits in DTS). To put things in perspective, one of the elements taken into account when establishing the audio quality is a high bitrate. It is generally accepted that audio with a greater bitrate provides better sound quality and audio transparency. Another factor taken into account is compression level. Here are some examples of the well-known audio standards that both technologies support:
|Dolby Digital Audio Standards||DTS Audio Standards|
|Dolby Digital: Maximum bitrate of 640Kbps (Blu-ray Discs) and 448Kbps (DVD) in a 5.1 surround sound system. The most common one is found on online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and more. One thing to note is that Netflix can move up to 768kbps with Dolby Atmos mix.||DTS Digital Surround: Maximum bitrate of 1.5Mbps in a 5.1 surround sound system. It s the most common one and is found on CDs and DVDs (up to 778Kbps).|
|Dolby Digital Plus: Maximum bit-rate of 1.7Mbps in a 7.1 surround sound system. Mostly found on DVDs.||DTS-HD High Resolution: Maximum bit rate of up to 6Mbps in a 7.1 surround sound system.|
|Dolby TrueHD: Maximum bit rate of 18Mbps in a 7.1 surround sound system. This is the cutting-edge, lossless audio standard and is available on Blu-ray players where you have ample free space.||DTS-HD Master Audio: Maximum bit-rate of 24.5Mbps in a 7.1 surround sound system. This is the top-notch, lossless audio offering by DTS.|
According to appearances, DTS appears to be triumphant in the struggle between DTS Digital Surround and Dolby Digital. So, is there a winner at last? Actually, no. More is involved.
When referring to audio quality, bit-rate is merely one measure that may be used to assess the audio’s level of quality. Additionally taken into account are factors like dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio. Additionally, Dolby contends that its audio compression technology is more effective than that of DTS, undermining the on-paper supremacy of DTS. As a result, it can provide higher audio quality even at low bit rates.
Perhaps since reducing data capacity costs money for online businesses, streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon are choosing Dolby’s services.
Dolby Atmos vs DTS:X
Two codecs from the respective businesses, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, stand out in this comparison of Dolby Digital and DTS. Exceptional sound clarity, isolated singers and instruments, and 3D sound effects are the main goals of both surround sound technologies. Let’s start with Dolby Atmos, which primarily use ceiling-mounted speakers to provide object-based surround sound. Dolby Atmos incorporates above speakers, as I indicated above, and you need all the Atmos-compatible equipment and a sound system if you want to properly experience three-dimensional sounds in your house. Dolby Atmos is currently quite popular in movie theatres since it offers numerous audio channels for an immersive listening experience.
There are numerous Dolby Atmos soundbars and speakers that aim to replicate an equivalent object-based audio experience for home entertainment. Affordable Atmos sound systems include upward-firing speakers that reflect audio off the ceiling in place of ceiling-mounted speakers to produce that effect. Dolby Atmos’ ability to offer sound that is nearly identical to the original at a lower bitrate is another outstanding feature. One well-known example is Netflix, which regularly releases programmes and motion pictures with Dolby Atmos support at the highest bitrate of 768kbps. Netflix believes the audio quality is indistinguishable from the lossless master track and provides a lossless-like sound experience even though it isn’t even close to 24-bit/48 kHz.
Moving on to DTS:X, it is a surround sound technology that also produces an environment with object-based sound. However, DTS does not mandate that customers have height channels or above speakers. Its object processor handles the labor-intensive task of producing multidirectional sound. You must purchase the unique audio system with DTS:X support. The newest DTS Virtual:X technology, which seeks to recreate multi-dimensional sound without requiring above speakers or a multi-channel system, is used by cheap soundbars and speakers that now support DTS:X. Netflix and Prime Video do not yet support DTS:X, however this could change in the future. Overall, I’d argue that Dolby Atmos is winning this battle versus DTS:X since it’s so extensively accessible to the general public via movie theatres and internet streaming platforms.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What audio format is used by Netflix?
The 5.1 surround sound system we previously detailed is supported by Netflix. Both Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Atmos are supported by it. Another moniker that utilises Dolby technology is Amazon Prime Video.
What is required to access popular OTT services’ excellent audio quality content?
You must confirm that the platform you are using to access the content supports DTS or Dolby Digital. The gadget can also be connected to an audio system that recognises the formats.
How do you tell if the video you’re watching is compatible with the format?
You can distinguish between the movies and TV shows that are available on the OTT platform by looking for the DD+ or Dolby Atmos badge.
What are the well-known gadgets that support Dolby Digital?
Dolby Digital mostly functions with Blu-ray discs, DVDs, PCs, and other devices. In addition to this, there are numerous Samsung Smart TVs, an Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, the most recent iPhone 13 series and further iPhones, as well as various Android phones.
Which popular DTS-supported devices are there?
The most recent Xbox Series S and Series X consoles, numerous TVs, soundbars, and other devices all support DTS.
How may DTS be transformed into Dolby Digital?
You can do this by using a variety of programmes, including Wondershare, MKV tools, and more. There is an option to do this on the new Xbox series and even on some Samsung and Oppo players.
Describe DTS Neo 2.5.
This is yet another DTS audio format for the output of high-quality 3D audio. Due to a relationship between Samsung and DTS, it is mostly compatible with Samsung smartphones.
Which is Better? DTS or Dolby Digital
Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any impartial analysis of the two audio standards that could guide us in deciding which is the best. Furthermore, no one can just examine the source code of Dolby or DTS because they are both proprietary codecs that are not open-source.
For the most part, both DTS and Dolby Digital are capable technologies that you can use to enjoy a high-standard audio experience if you have the necessary audio equipment, high-bitrate audio files, and software support. Which audio format do you therefore like to use? Are DTS or Dolby Digital the preferred surround sound technologies for you? Tell us in the comments section below.