Dolby Digital Vs DTS: What's The Difference





Audio technology has come a long way over the years, especially when it comes to surround sound. For example, did you know that Dolby Digital and DTS are two of the most commonly used audio formats in theaters and even at home? If you're worried about which one is better or want to understand which one you should use for your next project, read on!


What is Dolby Digital?

Dolby Digital is a lossy compression codec that was originally developed to use in movie theaters. It's commonly used as a format for movies, music and games. The name "Dolby" comes from the inventor of the technology, Ray Dolby.

In general terms:

  • Dolby Digital is a surround sound technology used in movie theaters and home video formats like Blu-ray Discs. It's also known as AC-3 or DTS ES Matrix 6.1 upmixer encoded audio tracks on DVDs or other digital media like CDs. This means that you can listen to Dolby Digital even if your equipment doesn't support it natively (like if all you have is two speakers).
  • The most common version of Dolby Digital has 5 total channels including 2 subwoofers placed at either end of your room for effect; one center channel; two side channels; plus high frequency effects (HFE) channels which are usually reserved for subtle background noises such as distant birds chirping or water dripping from pipes above your head onto concrete floors below them.


What is DTS?

DTS is a competitor to Dolby Digital and was developed by Digital Theater Systems, a company founded by Jim Fiedler and Tomloy Holman. It’s used as both a high-quality audio format and an audio compression method. The format has been adopted by many other companies including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Paramount Pictures Corporation and Universal Studios, which all use it for their DVDs.


DTS is an acronym for Digital Theater Systems, which refers to its original purpose: improving the quality of sound on movie theater systems using digital encoding technology. It was first released in 1995 with the intent on replacing analog Dolby Stereo systems in theaters across America (and world). Before this time all theatrical presentations were delivered via analog connections over loudspeakers mounted directly onto walls or above audiences' heads within theaters themselves; however this method was cumbersome because it required separate audio channels dedicated just so that each speaker could receive its own signal without interference from others nearby (if those speakers weren't physically separated then they'd end up sounding muddy)—which meant expensive hardware setups that cost millions upon millions dollars each year just to maintain! By contrast digital encoding allows us access more efficiently control over our speakers' signals because we're able to encode them individually instead."


What's the difference between Dolby Digital and DTS?

Dolby Digital and DTS are both surround sound formats that allow you to enjoy movies with surround sound. The difference is that Dolby Digital can be encoded at 256kbps, 384kbps, or 640kbps while DTS can be encoded at 754kbps or 1.5mbps. This means that Dolby Digital has a more compressed audio quality than DTS does, but it's also much faster to encode because of its lower bitrate. 


Another difference between the two is that Dolby Digital is a lossy format while DTS is lossless. This means that when you play back audio encoded in Dolby Digital, some of the original data has been lost and can't be recovered—but it's still a better option than other formats like MP3. 

The last difference between Dolby Digital and DTS is that the former is a surround sound format while the latter isn't. This means that you can use it to encode 5.1 surround sound in your movies, but if you want to make an audio track with more than five channels (like 7.1 or 11) then you'll need to use DTS—or another format like Auro-3D or Atmos.



The Dolby Digital vs DTS debate has been going on for decades now, with audiophiles arguing over which format is better. While this article doesn't resolve the issue once and for all, we hope that by comparing the two formats' pros and cons we have provided you with some useful information when making a decision about which format is right for your needs.

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