Originally Posted by ase8776
The title says it all..
What exactly is the difference between Bitstream vs. Linear PCM?
Your question is not phrased correctly and has a certain degree of ambiguity.
In order to substantively answer the question, it needs to be broken into two parts:
1. "What exactly is the difference between Lossless Bitstream and Linear PCM" ?
2. "What exactly is the difference between Lossless Bitstream and Lossy Bitstream?"
Answer to #1: Lossless Bitstream is a compressed version of the original audio file. This is very similar in concept to FLAC or AAC
as related to the original WAV file. Naturally, it takes up less space than the original but retains the original data.
Linear PCM is the the uncompressed (lossless). It MAY OR MAY NOT be the original signal. Say, the original signal is 48KHz / 24-bit in resolution. Studios will use this original signal to create the lossless bitstream (like TrueHD or DTS-HD). But, then, often the studios will take a lower version of the signal (say, 48KHz / 16-bit) for the Linear PCM stream. Which according to me is a cop out ! Why ? Because, in such cases, the bitstream is superior to the LPCM (assuming, you have a way to transcode / decode it). The reason studios resort to this is because of disk space (48/16 LPCM needs less space than 48/24 LPCM)
Answer to #2: Thats pretty obvious ... its like between a JPG (lossy) and a compressed TIFF (lossless) image file. They both have to be decoded (uncompressed) but the TIFF is superior (but takes up more space than JPG).
But, on a slightly unrelated note, a TrueHD or a DTS-MA or a uncompressed PCM track is no guarantee of superior quality. For all you know, the original soundtrack was so mediocre that it probably did not deserve that kind of a treatment. Most folks tend to jump on the TrueHD or DTS-MA bandwagon without realizing this shrewd marketing scheme.