HD Home Audio Formats Explained.

High Def Digest audlogos.jpghas an amazing rundown of each audio format available on each high-def home video standard- i.e. Blu-ray and HD DVD. Moreover, Joshua Zyber gets into the nitty gritty about the various audio interconnects between the players and other equipment, and how the myriad of audio formats are handled by each interconnect, on each optical standard. Yes, that’s a matrix of 56 different possibilities that Mr. Zyber has organized into a nice, neat article.


When there’s so much more disc space available on an HD DVD or a Blu-ray, why should we be limited to the heavily-compressed sound formats we got on DVD? High Definition video deserves High Definition audio to go with it.

Jumping into the fray once more are Dolby and DTS. Each company has developed a line-up of brand new sound formats to go with the new disc types, using advanced forms of audio compression to deliver high quality to the home listener, quality sometimes matching that of the studio master itself. On some discs we even have the option of raw PCM with no compression at all.

    hddaud.gifBut we haven’t just been given one new codec choice per company. No, that would be too simple. Now we have a whole host of confusing new options. To help straighten out this tangled mess, let’s break things out by High-Def disc format and take a look at what each supports.

I have to admit, I knew well of a few of the formats, but not all of them. But more importantly, knowing that only the latest HDMI 1.3 capable gear can transmit most of the highest formats rules out the earliest HDMI gear. Or that SPDIF cannot carry a Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio or even a full PCM 5.1 signal. Hmmm. Lots of food for thought when it comes time to connect the new home theatre gear.

If you have a fiew pieces and have been looking for answers as to what works with what, what plays what, and what’s the best way to connect this to that, then this article is “print it out” reference material for you.

Alas, with the ever changing standards, I’m sure that in due time, something new will pop up that isn’t included. Maybe they can just augment the article and keep it updated as new standards, wires, connections, and audio formats appear. That’s the magic of the web, right? None of these articles are fixed in time and space like a print publication.

Oh wait… maybe I’m thinking of Wikipedia. But I checked, and they don’t have anything as nic, neat, and application-specific as this. 

Good work High-Def Digest


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