DTS-HD Surround Gets Retail Education Push

By Joseph Palenchar On Dec 4 2006 - 8:00am

DTS has launched an in-store consumer-education campaign for the DTS-HD Surround-sound formats authorized for use on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.

In Tweeter, Best Buy and Circuit City stores, DTS is rolling out the first of three planned in-store promotional videos that communicate the key benefits of DTS-HD surround sound. The strategy is to "communicate audio benefits in a video medium," the company said.

The first video vignette, "Better Sound Today," outlines DTS-HD's "unique value proposition of improved audio performance on existing DTS A/V receivers," the company said of the two technologies falling under the DTS-HD umbrella. Those technologies are DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. The vignette is running every day and once an hour in all 170 Tweeter stores during November and December.

In January, DTS will expand distribution of the first vignette into all Best Buy and Circuit City stores.

Two more videos will be completed by mid-November and timed to air with the introduction of hardware products featuring DTS-HD later in 2007.

All of the video vignettes feature high-quality motion animation in the 1,080p HD format, which is the video format used in Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. They feature narration and multi-channel background music but are designed to communicate DTS's key messages without sound, the company said.

STORS Digital Retail Network is delivering the videos to Tweeter stores via satellite, and the Premier Retail Network is delivering them via satellite to Circuit City and Best Buy.

"We plan to adapt the vignettes to both DTS- and licensee-online use and include them on all DTS demonstration discs," the company added.

The new DTS technologies approved to appear on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs are:

DTS-HD Master Audio, signifying sound that uses lossless compression to deliver sound that's bit-for-bit identical to the master soundtrack.

DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, which uses lossless compression techniques to deliver audio "that is almost identical to the master soundtrack."

A third technology that can appear on the discs is DTS Encore, which delivers 5.1 channels of audio at twice the resolution found on most standard DVDs. It can also be played through existing DTS-equipped A/V receivers and processors.

The DTS technology appearing on traditional DVD discs is called DTS Digital Surround, as before.

Here's what each technology delivers:

DTS-HD Master Audio: HD Master Audio delivers sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master at very high variable bit rates that are significantly higher than standard DVD bitrates. It can deliver up to 7.1 audio channels at a 96k sampling frequency with 24-bit depths. The DTS-HD Master Audio bit stream also contains the DTS 1.5 Mbps core for compatibility with existing DTS-enabled home theater systems but with delivery of 5.1 channels of sound at twice the resolution found on most standard DVDs, the company said.

DTS-HD High Resolution Audio: This also delivers up to 7.1 channels of sound but uses lossless compression techniques to deliver audio that's "virtually indistinguishable" from the original soundtrack, the company said. It provides audio at high constant bit rates at up to 7.1 channels of 96k/24-bit quality "to provide rich, high-definition audio on content where disc space may not allow for DTS-HD Master Audio," DTS said. The DTS-HD High Resolution Audio bit stream also contains the DTS 1.5 Mbps core for compatibility with existing DTS-enabled home theater systems.

DTS Encore: The original DTS surround technology designed initially for DVD players, this technology delivers 5.1 channels of audio at 1.5 Mbps, or "twice the resolution found on most standard DVDs, thereby providing the best sound performance possible from currently existing DTS-capable equipment," the company said.

Because of space limitations on standard DVDs, most DVD content featuring DTS surround sound is encoded at 768 kbps, but with the introduction of the new higher capacity high-definition optical disc formats, consumers will be able to experience DTS at a full 1.5 Mbps through their existing surround-sound systems.

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