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DTS-HD Comes to Streaming

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 

This week, DTS announced that a version of its DTS-HD surround-sound codec will be used with streaming content from providers that use the Rovi platform, starting with Best Buy's CinemaNow service. Samsung's newly produced 2013 connected TVs and Blu-ray players will be the first products to ship with a DTS-HD-enabled CinemaNow app, while earlier 2013 units will be able to add it with a firmware update.

 

 

Lest you think that streaming lossless surround sound with video has finally arrived, the new system uses the DTS-Express streaming profile of the DTS-HD codec, which can accommodate as many as 7.1 channels at up to 48 kHz/24 bits each and stream it at up to 512 kbps. That certainly isn't lossless, but DTS claims that the maximum bitrate is "nearly indistinguishable" from lossless. CinemaNow will be streaming DTS-HD with 5.1 channels at a constant bitrate, pairing it with adaptive-bitrate video.

 

This could be a leap forward in the quality of streamed audio for video. What do you think?

post #2 of 48
I suspect it is not actually "nearly indistinguishable", but it sounds like such a great leap forward that I applaud its creation.
post #3 of 48
Scott, after viewing your podcast on 4K, now we are talking about highly compressed video and audio. I have modest home theater with a 9 foot wide cinemascope screen and anamorphic lens. I agree that I probably don't need 4K, but I want good 2K. Enjoy your podcasts, Keep them up.

Charles
post #4 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post

This week, DTS announced that a version of its DTS-HD surround-sound codec will be used with streaming content from providers that use the Rovi platform, starting with Best Buy's CinemaNow service. Samsung's newly produced 2013 connected TVs and Blu-ray players will be the first products to ship with a DTS-HD-enabled CinemaNow app, while earlier 2013 units will be able to add it with a firmware update.




Lest you think that streaming lossless surround sound with video has finally arrived, the new system uses the DTS-Express streaming profile of the DTS-HD codec, which can accommodate as many as 7.1 channels at up to 48 kHz/24 bits each and stream it at up to 512 kbps. That certainly isn't lossless, but DTS claims that the maximum bitrate is "nearly indistinguishable" from lossless. CinemaNow will be streaming DTS-HD with 5.1 channels at a constant bitrate, pairing it with adaptive-bitrate video.

This could be a leap forward in the quality of streamed audio for video. What do you think?

Finally. Finally!!! I don't mind compromising a bit on the video for HD streamed content. But having terrible audio ruins the whole experience. Still having to settle for Stereo for movies that you know are mixed in 5.1 is very disappointing. So when Netflix had started offering 5.1 it was exciting but also disappointing because of the sub-par quality of the audio when compared to lossless. I'm glad that the audio is finally getting some high res treatment.
post #5 of 48
I'd be willing to bet a months pay that no one could reliably discern it from its lossless counterpart, level matched. But, sigh, we've been down this road before.The 7 channel surround is great though, of course. You can actually hear that benefit.

James
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

I'd be willing to bet a months pay that no one could reliably discern it from its lossless counterpart, level matched. But, sigh, we've been down this road before.The 7 channel surround is great though, of course. You can actually hear that benefit.

James

I listen to quite a bit of music and will admit I can't tell the difference between 320kbps and FLAC, and often can't tell the difference between 192kbps and FLAC unless it's an album I'm very familiar with. Most of the time 128kbps sounds noticeably bad to me, but not always.

I still prefer the highest quality they can provide. Even if I can't hear the increased resolution, I'd like to think it makes a difference. tongue.gif
post #7 of 48
I am just happy that they are doing something to improve the audio of streaming content. Getting stuck with 2 channel audio on streaming is one of the main reasons that I end up buying Blu-rays rather than streaming for movies that I don't necessarily need to own.
post #8 of 48

This move puts CinemaNow's HD offerings on the same level as Vudu HDX, with an available 7.1 surround-sound format. Vudu HDX uses Dolby Digital Plus streaming at 640Kbps, CinemaNow uses DTS-HD at 512Kbps. Most people will probably have a very hard time telling the two formats, in an A/B comparison.

post #9 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

This move puts CinemaNow's HD offerings on the same level as Vudu HDX, with an available 7.1 surround-sound format. Vudu HDX uses Dolby Digital Plus streaming at 640Kbps, CinemaNow uses DTS-HD at 512Kbps. Most people will probably have a very hard time telling the two formats, in an A/B comparison.


All true, but keep in mind that CinemaNow's implementation of DTS-HD will be limited to 5.1, at least for now, giving Vudu HDX the edge in that regard. DTS-Express is capable of 7.1, but CinemaNow is using it in 5.1 mode.

post #10 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


All true, but keep in mind that CinemaNow's implementation of DTS-HD will be limited to 5.1, at least for now, giving Vudu HDX the edge in that regard. DTS-Express is capable of 7.1, but CinemaNow is using it in 5.1 mode.

In the past 7.1 surround on Vudu HDX—when available—was a differentiating factor vs. iTunes 5.1 (Dolby Digital AC3). When comparing compressed 5.1 mixes between the two formats, I could not hear substantial differences. I am curious what bitrate CinamaNow's implementation uses for 5.1, if 512kbps is the maximum bitrate for 7.1 surround when using DTS-Express.


Edited by imagic - 5/9/13 at 12:51pm
post #11 of 48
Sounds like a leap forward. If it compares to Vudu HDX it's still inferior to DTS master audio on blu ray, and it's pretty easy to tell them apart. I'm sure within the next few years it will be as good just not yet.
post #12 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

In the past 7.1 surround on Vudu HDX—when available—was a differentiating factor vs. iTunes 5.1 (Dolby Digital AC3). When comparing compressed 5.1 mixes between the two formats, I could not hear substantial differences. I am curious what bitrate CinamaNow's implementation uses for 5.1, if 512kbps is the maximum bitrate for 7.1 surround when using DTS-Express.


I just asked DTS about the bitrate CinemaNow will use, and was informed that DTS does not know.

post #13 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cybrsage View Post

I suspect it is not actually "nearly indistinguishable", but it sounds like such a great leap forward that I applaud its creation.
I suspect no one would be able to say one way or another without double blind testing. wink.gif
post #14 of 48
Sweet - hopefully this expands to other services.. I love DTS-HD cool.gif (on Blu-ray obviously tongue.gif)
Edited by Blu_One - 5/9/13 at 10:54pm
post #15 of 48
This audio codec implementation was the missing link for many to dive into streaming. Although they say DTS-Express is indistinguishable from DTS-HD (lossless), I have my doubts. It's one thing streaming up to 512kb/s and then have movies that peak anywhere from 5-8mb/s. This should be interesting.
post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnyS View Post

This audio codec implementation was the missing link for many to dive into streaming. Although they say DTS-Express is indistinguishable from DTS-HD (lossless), I have my doubts. It's one thing streaming up to 512kb/s and then have movies that peak anywhere from 5-8mb/s. This should be interesting.

Good point - will be interesting to do A v. B comparison when it comes out (A being BD and B being streaming).
post #17 of 48
Meh, I'd prefer DD 5.1 at 640 kb/s; it's more widely compatible over a wide range of devices and will be for some time to come. (And my sound system is only 5.1 anyway). But I confess that I don't know very much about the subject of streaming. Having seen some examples of crummy-looking low-bitrate streaming, I don't avail myself of it and haven't bothered looked into it lately.

I've never quite understood the widely-held belief that DTS is superior to DD (AC3). Certainly, they're doing something to the dynamic range to make it more pleasing somehow. I've done a few comparisons and it sounds louder overall. I should think the majority of the general populace would prefer it on that basis alone. But members here?

But maybe I'm all wet. I can't tell the difference between DD at 640 kb/s and lossless anyway.tongue.gif
post #18 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzi93 View Post

I can't tell the difference between DD at 640 kb/s and lossless anyway.tongue.gif

I definitely prefer DTS to DD, I have 5.1 also (actually 5.2 but same thing..), not sure why it just sounds better imo. But if you we're to do a blind test, DTS v. DD, I'd be surprised if the majority of AVS members could properly distinguish between the two.

As for 640kb/s v. Lossless, I can definitely tell a difference, it's almost like night and day ! cool.gif
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe View Post

I'd be willing to bet a months pay that no one could reliably discern it from its lossless counterpart, level matched. But, sigh, we've been down this road before.The 7 channel surround is great though, of course. You can actually hear that benefit.

James

I'll take you up on that. I've been comparing my DTS-HD rips with AC3 and can immediately tell the difference. I'd pick DTS-HD in a DBT 8 of 10 times.
post #20 of 48
When I've been able to do a direct comparison, DTS has always sounded a bit "punchier" to me. If that's the right word.

The subject of DTS vs DD comes up from time to time at videohelp. Many members besides myself think that DTS is doing something to the dynamic range. But DTS isn't divulging their trade secrets, understandably.

Then there's the much-debated subject of DD 5.1 at 640 kb/s vs lossless and how many people can *reliably* tell the difference? I don't have a link, sorry, but I recall a study that concluded the former is essentially "transparent". I have serious doubts about that, despite the fact that my own ears aren't good enough. (Too many Deep Purple and Who concerts back in the day...tongue.gif:).
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by fritzi93 View Post

When I've been able to do a direct comparison, DTS has always sounded a bit "punchier" to me. If that's the right word.

The subject of DTS vs DD comes up from time to time at videohelp. Many members besides myself think that DTS is doing something to the dynamic range. But DTS isn't divulging their trade secrets, understandably.

Then there's the much-debated subject of DD 5.1 at 640 kb/s vs lossless and how many people can *reliably* tell the difference? I don't have a link, sorry, but I recall a study that concluded the former is essentially "transparent". I have serious doubts about that, despite the fact that my own ears aren't good enough. (Too many Deep Purple and Who concerts back in the day...tongue.gif:).

Hahah yeah true. It's all very subjective in the end I guess..
post #22 of 48
That's what double blind tests in laboratory settings are for (to reach some level of objectivity). biggrin.gif I remember one several years ago for Dolby Digital Plus at, I believe, 1.5 Mbps (commonly used on HD DVD) that showed transparency in comparison to the master.
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinnyS View Post

This audio codec implementation was the missing link for many to dive into streaming. Although they say DTS-Express is indistinguishable from DTS-HD (lossless), I have my doubts. It's one thing streaming up to 512kb/s and then have movies that peak anywhere from 5-8mb/s. This should be interesting.

+1

Also, I didn't do streaming until I finally found a bluray player that could stream both Amazon prime and Netlix in 5.1, which is my min requirement.
post #24 of 48
I puposely avoid watching movies this way due to the audio. 48 is not too shabby! I would like to preveiw it 1st though. After my awful experience with netflix and freezing up, I'm very leary of the media.I don't understand a lot of the format, but I know it's going to take bandwidth. Perhaps in the future when real fiber optics are actually in the home, instead of old cable. It's F/O right up to the pole, when it becomes what's in the house already. big issue
post #25 of 48
I can tell the difference. My ears are tuned to lossless audio. That's all I listen to. LOve to take that challenge.
post #26 of 48
What is the audio quality used by Vudu HDX? What is the highest audio quality available from Netflix?
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lovingdvd View Post

What is the audio quality used by Vudu HDX? What is the highest audio quality available from Netflix?

Vudu HDX uses Dolby Digital Plus, in their implementation it maxes out at 640kbps with 7.1 channels. Netflix uses Dolby Digital Plus with 5.1 channels for some titles, I don't know the bitrate.

post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by quad4.0 View Post

I can tell the difference. My ears are tuned to lossless audio. That's all I listen to. LOve to take that challenge.

Lets make it happen wink.gif
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post

I'll take you up on that. I've been comparing my DTS-HD rips with AC3 and can immediately tell the difference. I'd pick DTS-HD in a DBT 8 of 10 times.
What content are you ripping that has DTS-HD and Dolby Digital of the same soundtrack?
post #30 of 48
IMAGIC,

Are you ready for the future? Do you think you will be moving away from Bluray?
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