DTS Digital Sound
By Roger Ward

DTS Digital Sound is yet another one of the discrete surround sound formats that are available, both for the home and for the cinema. Some even consider DTS of better quality than Dolby Digital, personally I do not believe that it does sound a lot richer in the surround channels. DTS comprises of six discrete full range channels Left, Centre, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround & Subwoofer. DTS uses a smaller compression ratio about 3:1 compared to 12:1 of Dolby Digital. This is considered one of the reasons that it is said DTS sounds better.

DTS began life about 1992 when Steven Spielberg was filming Jurassic Park, he needed a sound format so pure it would create a new type of sound for his movie. By the time of it's release Jurassic Park was one of the first movies released in DTS but there were not many cinemas in the world that could decode the DTS soundtrack. My first showing of something in DTS was the release of the Jurassic Park DTS Laserdisc, I played both my standard Dolby Version and then the DTS version and I could notice quite a few aural differences in the soundtrack, some subtle and some right in your face although most of the time it does sound like your standard Dolby print. Since then a lot of directors have gone on to make movies in the DTS sound format, Spielberg being the most vocal about it. You can read some DTS Testimonials by clicking on the link to the left.

DTS itself requires a special decoder/amplifier to listen to this great sound format and it also requires a digital out from your DVD or Laserdisc player. Because of the compression that DTS uses you will generally not find a DTS & Dolby Digital soundtrack on the one disc, this is why there are usually 2 versions of an LD or DVD. DTS discs generally come with there DTS 5.1 soundtrack and a standard PCM stereo track as a backup if you don't have the proper hardware. At the moment you can get several types of materiel in DTS 5.1 sound.

1. DTS Encoded Laserdisc.

2. DTS Encoded DVD's (Region 1 Only)

3. DTS Encoded 5.1ch Music CD's

DTS at the moment is still considered to be a small market considering the cost of the equipment involved, but with DTS decoders and accessories coming down in price it won be long before they will be in a lot of people's living rooms alongside there Dolby Digital Amplifier.

DTS also has good movie studio support, so far some movies have been released by nearly all major studios in DTS and the following studios will release movies in DTS and well as Dolby Digital in the next year. DREAMWORKS, WARNER BROS., UNIVERSAL, MGM/UA, and NEW LINE will all be releasing movies in DTS this next year.

It's quite hard to describe how DTS works in a practical format because how it works is a lot more complicated than Dolby Digital, so I have put a link to the DTS Tech White Paper on this site if you would like to view it, just a word of warning, IT'S BIG! But interesting.

Hopefully one day DTS will be as common and used in the home as much a Dolby Sound today.

The above links came from the DTS website.