Dolby Digital Header

Dolby® Digital, also referred to as AC-3, is an advanced audio encoding/decoding technology that efficiently delivers up to 5.1 discrete channels of vibrant surround sound for broadcasting, home theater, cinema, PC, online streaming, and video game programming.

Enables the efficient storage and transmission of high-quality 5.1 digital surround sound

Immerses audiences in the on-screen action

Provides compatibility with millions of existing playback units

Dolby Digital technology ensures that your audience enjoys a rich, enveloping surround sound experience by delivering up to 5.1 discrete audio channels.

Three front channels (Left, Center, and Right) provide crisp, clean dialogue and accurate placement of on-screen sounds, while two surround channels (Left Surround and Right Surround) immerse the audience in the action.

The Low-Frequency Effects (LFE) channel delivers deep, powerful bass effects that can be felt as well as heard. As it needs only about one-tenth the bandwidth of the other channels, the LFE channel is referred to as a “.1” channel.

Already found in thousands of cinemas and millions of homes worldwide, Dolby Digital is the reigning standard in surround sound today.

Why Dolby

Dolby Digital audio technology puts a six-channel digital optical soundtrack on 35 mm prints. The digital information is on the space between the film sprocket holes, next to the analog soundtrack. The Dolby Digital soundtrack is encoded onto the filmstrip in addition to the analog track, so all films will play back satisfactorily in nearly every cinema.

Dolby Digital provides extraordinary dynamic capability, wide frequency range, low distortion, and relative immunity to wear. Its combination of high quality, reliability, and practicality has been proven in cinemas around the world, and today it is the most popular digital format, with the most cinemas equipped worldwide and the most releases.

Each and every movie carrying the Dolby logo benefits from Dolby's unique mastering support services, ensuring that sound will be reproduced in the cinema just as the director intended.

Dolby Digital Products for Exhibitors

Dolby Laboratories manufactures a complete line of products to facilitate optimum playback of Dolby soundtracks in any cinema, from the largest multiplex to small specialty theatres. We offer processors, adapters, and accessories, all designed for top performance and utmost reliability.

Dolby Digital Mastering for Studios

Dolby’s film sound formats are used on all major 35 mm releases. Dolby has established standardized sound replay conditions for cinemas and mixing studios to ensure that these films are consistently replayed as envisioned by the director. Through our Motion Picture Service Agreements, we provide direct mastering support services to every film using our technologies. A team of more than 100 consultants and engineers in the Dolby Production Services group works in hundreds of approved dubbing studios worldwide.

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