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Any particular reason for DTS-MA over Dolby TrueHD?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've been a long-time member of the forum, and would like to think I have a good understanding of the various audio codecs. As blu ray has matured, I've noticed that the majority of lossless audio tracks have utilized DTS-MA over Dolby TrueHD. Is there a technical reason for this? If all technical issues are equal, I wonder if DTS offers a better licensing deal.

I've always been a big fan of DTS, and have a collection of laserdiscs that gave be my first taste of home, multichannel discreet sound. When DVD came along, I understand a Dolby track was a requirement under most conditions, so I can understand Dolby gaining traction. I found myself rooting for the, often superior sounding, DTS underdog.

I'd be interested in knowing more about why the perennial "also-ran" is suddenly leading the race? I know their both lossless, and I've seen DTS-MA tracks with 7.1 channels and 20 bit audio. Is Dolby capable of similar resolution? Being based on MLP codecs, I would imagine so. Thanks in advance for the help.
post #2 of 19
TrueHD is an optional codec in Blu-Ray, unlike HD-DVD where it was a mandatory codec (like DD was mandatory on DVD, where dts was optional).
post #3 of 19
My guess is that since the open source community have not yet developed a DTS-HD decoder (unlike TrueHD), the studios are preferring to go with the codec that is the hardest for the consumer to play back for free without paying a license to someone: it's just part of their plan to facilitate "no pay, no play".
post #4 of 19
I believe it was because the original DTS-HD MA encoders worked on both Windows and Mac while TrueHD only worked on one (I forget which). It was easier to use DTS-HD MA since they could do both audio and video on the same machine.
post #5 of 19
I asked both Dolby and DTS this question, and received a consistent answer from both (from each company's perspective). DTS encoders worked faster, and they had better authoring software. Studios switched to them because DTS was easier to use and saved them money (given that time is money in Hollywood). Dolby later improved both their encoding times and software to be comparable to DTS, but by then a lot of the studio relationships had already moved.

It was never a question of quality. Both TrueHD and DTS-HD MA are lossless.

Dolby recognizes that they kind of blew it here, and have recently been trying to add new features (such as 96k upsampling) to bring some of the studios back.
post #6 of 19
My understanding is that the reason is technical. The BD spec requires that (I think at least) that if an lossless audio track is provided, that a lossy DD or DTS track is also provided as a fallback for universal compatibility. Since the DTS-HD MA codec is built around a "core plus extensions" design, it has a loss 1.5Mbs lossy "core" track as the basis and the extensions around that make the audio lossless and therefore satisfies the fallback requirement with one audio stream. TrueHD on the other hand does not contain a lossy "core" DD stream within it and as such if a disc is to have TrueHD audio on it, the disc must also have a separate DD stream making producing a disc with TrueHD less appealing to whoever is mastering the disc.
post #7 of 19
because dts is louder!
/sarcasm
post #8 of 19
Any particular reason for True-HD over Drops The Sound?
post #9 of 19
post #10 of 19
There was also an infamous poll conducted over at Blu-ray.com where DTS-HD MA soundly beat out Dolby TrueHD as the people's choice when Sony asked the question. It did no favors to TrueHD that it was the music format most associated with HD DVD in the public's mind. Once HD DVD went down, it basically took Dolby TrueHD with it.
post #11 of 19
For those unaware, since you mention that poll, it was started by someone who claimed or led others to believe for a long time that he is a Hollywood/Sony insider. Long story short, earlier this year after a Sony high level personnel came forward, his identity was questioned (it was never verified) and that forum decided to remove his insider status and lock his fanclub thread. He is the second 'insider' to be stripped of that status. I don't want to comment on other forums normally but this is to say the legitimacy of the poll is doubtful. I challenged their polling methodology about sample being representative and my post was deleted.
post #12 of 19
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Sargent View Post

TrueHD is an optional codec in Blu-Ray, unlike HD-DVD where it was a mandatory codec (like DD was mandatory on DVD, where dts was optional).

TrueHD is only mandatory on HD-DVD player, not discs. The only thing mandatory on HD-DVD discs are DD+ IIRC.
post #14 of 19
Many use it do to the fact that the DTS-HD includes the DTS CORE and does not need a separate track.

With True-HD you need another track of AC3
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by space2001 View Post

Many use it do to the fact that the DTS-HD includes the DTS CORE and does not need a separate track.
With True-HD you need another track of AC3

You presume that anyone at the studio cares whether the lossy track is a "core" or a separate file. They don't. The Dolby authoring software automatically renders a lossy downmix during encoding. It's no extra work for the studio, and the amount of disc space used by TrueHD plus DD isn't significantly different than a DTS-HD Master Audio track.

As I explained earlier, the reason studios moved to DTS is that the encoding times were faster and the software was more user-friendly. I asked both sides of the issue, and they both gave me a consistent answer. Had DTS wanted to brag about something they felt they were doing better than Dolby, they had every opportunity to do so.
Edited by Josh Z - 10/3/12 at 11:57am
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilian.ca View Post

For those unaware, since you mention that poll, it was started by someone who claimed or led others to believe for a long time that he is a Hollywood/Sony insider. Long story short, earlier this year after a Sony high level personnel came forward, his identity was questioned (it was never verified) and that forum decided to remove his insider status and lock his fanclub thread. He is the second 'insider' to be stripped of that status. I don't want to comment on other forums normally but this is to say the legitimacy of the poll is doubtful. I challenged their polling methodology about sample being representative and my post was deleted.
I think I know whom you speak of, that is news to me but I hadn't paid attention to the so-called insiders over at Blu-ray.com in a long time.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

You presume that anyone at the studio cares whether the lossy track is a "core" or a separate file. They don't. The Dolby authoring software automatically renders a lossy downmix during encoding. It's no extra work for the studio, and the amount of disc space used by TrueHD plus DD isn't significant different than a DTS-HD Master Audio track.
As I explained earlier, the reason studios moved to DTS is that the encoding times were faster and the software was more user-friendly. I asked both sides of the issue, and they both gave me a consistent answer. Had DTS wanted to brag about something they felt they were doing better than Dolby, they had every opportunity to do so.

100% agree. If DTS-MA was superior in sound quality to TrueHD, DTS would market the hell out of it and every audiophile website and magazine would be denouncing Dolby and pushing DTS.

I personally could care less if the track is PCM, TrueHD, or DTS-HD-MA. Makes no difference to me.
post #18 of 19
Well, Onkyo & Integra receivers deliver 7.1 DTS HD-MA as 7.1H if you use height speakers (and I do), but they downmix DD TruHD 7.1 to 5.1. Therefore, I prefer DTS by far.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Geller View Post

Well, Onkyo & Integra receivers deliver 7.1 DTS HD-MA as 7.1H if you use height speakers (and I do), but they downmix DD TruHD 7.1 to 5.1. Therefore, I prefer DTS by far.

Do you use both height speakers and back surrounds - meaning 9.1 channels? I can't imagine why the receiver would downmix TrueHD to 5.1. It's not supposed to.
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