Dolby Digital

Dolby® Digital, also referred to as AC-3, is an audio encoding/decoding technology that delivers up to 5.1 discrete channels of surround sound.

Provides compatibility with millions of existing playback units

Delivers mono to 5.1 audio

Employs Dolby metadata that can be easily transcoded into Dolby Digital Plus

How It Works

Applied to the final broadcast transmission signal just prior to multiplexing with the digital video, Dolby Digital is used extensively in digital satellite (DBS and DVB), cable, and terrestrial high-definition TV (ATSC).

Dolby Digital’s adaptability is the result of metadata that is created during programming production and carried in the Dolby Digital bitstream.

Metadata parameters ensure that the program producer’s original vision for the audio is faithfully delivered within a single audio bitstream. This provides audiences with a high-quality audio experience, whether they are listening to a mono, stereo, or 5.1-channel system.

Since its inception, Dolby Digital has been refined and enhanced in the form of the Dolby Digital Plus codec. Dolby Digital Plus provides all of the core functionality of Dolby Digital while adding new features that are critical to today’s content delivery mediums such as HDTV and online streaming, as well as devices such as tablets and smartphones.

All Dolby Digital Plus decoders can decode the Dolby Digital format.

Channels: 1.0 to 5.1, discrete

Data rate: 32–640 kbps, scalable

Typical broadcast data rate, 5.1-channel audio: 384 or 448 kbps

Supports Dolby metadata: Yes

Connections: S/PDIF, HDMI, IEEE 1394

Mixing/streaming capabilities: Yes

Dolby Digital

Dolby Digital is surround sound technology that delivers high-quality digital audio for up to 5.1 discrete channels (Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround, and Low-Frequency Effects). The five speaker channels produce a directional and more realistic effect and the Low-Frequency Effects (LFE) channel (usually reproduced through a subwoofer) can often be felt as well as heard.

Choose from the drop-down menus below to get Dolby professional reference material.