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DVD Talk Interview

DVD Talk Interview with with David DelGrosso, Director of Marketing for DTS
We're very excited to publish the first DVD Talk Interview with David DelGrosso, Directory of Marketing for DTS. This interview was based yon questions submitted by DVD Talk members!
Why do I need DTS... and how is DTS 5.1 different than Dolby Digital 5.1?

You can always experience your favorite movies and music recordings in stereo (or even mono), if you so choose. However, 5.1-channel surround is dramatically more entertaining on all titles that offer a 5.1 audio mix. And there are currently only 2 choices for 5.1 surround... DTS and Dolby Digital.

Dolby Digital 5.1 sounds really good to many people, but is limited to a data rate that loses some of the audible information that is on the original master. DTS operates at a higher data rate to deliver a 5.1 soundtrack that is identical to the master, but takes up more space on the disc. That's why some discs include DTS and some do not... it's a matter of sonic perfection -vs- space consumption.

The bottom line is that you "need" 5.1 surround, if you really want to enjoy the ultimate sonic experience. And virtually every 5.1 receiver or pre-amp controller on the market, now has DTS decoding circuitry installed along with DD.

Therefore, you will automatically have DTS decoding capability when you purchase a 5.1 surround processor and speakers. Then, the only choice will be which discs to buy or rent... at which point you can read the back panel of each jacket to see which soundtrack options are available for that particular title, and your surround processor will decode the information accordingly.

How do you view the customers understanding/confusion of DTS?

There has been very little education about 5.1 surround, period. In fact, many people have been mislead into thinking that Dolby Digital is always encoded in 5.1 surround, when most DD titles are actually stereo or mono soundtracks. This just makes explaining a higher-resolution format like DTS, a much harder task.

But, step by step, day by day, we will continue to help retailers and consumers understand how incredible a 5.1 surround system can really sound. And by the time 5.1 Digital Surround expands from the Home Theater market, into Car Audio systems and Multi-Media PCs (later this year), we are confident that millions of people will understand and appreciate the sound quality of DTS, and will upgrade their playback systems to enjoy this amazing sonic experience on a regular basis.

Why was DD 5.1 selected over DTS for the DVD standard?

Timing and politics. Dolby was pitching their technology long before DTS arrived on the scene, and they had many more industry connections from 30+ years of experience, than this 2 year old (at that time) company named DTS.

The cold hard fact, is that DTS is the only "scalable" technology that can be adjusted to operate at a variety of data rates, from the lowest to the highest. Therefore, the DVD Forum could have "standardized" DTS, and in the process would have offered the world a single audio format that could either fit into the smallest space, or take up more space and deliver perfect sound... by simply a flip of the switch during the encoding process.

But DTS was "new" at the time... did not have enough "friends" on the decision-making committee... and couldn't move fast enough to meet the deadlines that this committee set to bring DVD-Video into the market. Nonetheless, when the DVD decision makers eventually realized the advantages of DTS Digital Surround, they voted to amend the standards and adopt DTS technology as an authorized option.

Will we see more DTS versions of new movies released at the same time as the DD version as per Saving Private Ryan?

Absolutely. Not only will you see many titles released day-and-date with the DD versions, but you will also see many new titles offered with both DTS 5.1 and DD 5.1 on the same disc!

With the release of Bowfinger with both DD and DTS on the same disc, does that mean we'll be seeing more "dual" encoded movies?

The decision as to whether or not the title should have both soundtracks on the same disc, is made based on the total bit consumption of the video information. If there is enough available data space, you will see a single disc with both DTS and DD.. if not, the choice will be to offer 2 different versions.

How many DTS titles do you expect to be released in 2000?

Several more studios have confirmed to us in confidence that they will begin releasing DTS-encoded DVD titles during this year. But it's really hard to predict a total number of titles, this early in the year.

The bottom line is that there will be enough great-sounding DVD-Video, Music CD, and DVD-Audio titles released over the next few years, to encourage millions of people to upgrade their playback systems to include DTS 5.1 Digital Surround.

Understandably Universal and Dreamworks have been big supporters of DTS, when will we see other studios increase their support for DTS?

Buena Vista just announced their first title, Image Entertainment is releasing some great 5.1 music DVDs, and over the next few months we are confident that more major studios and independent content providers will begin to announce upcoming releases that include DTS-encoded soundtracks.

What criteria do studios have for selecting titles for DTS release?

The same criteria they use for selecting all of the other audio and/or video "features" for the disc.... what does the market want?... how much data space is available on the disc?... what is the cost to implement this feature?... how many more discs will we sell by offering this feature?

The good news for DTS is that many consumers are now asking for this feature... many engineers now realize that there is enough space to fit DTS on most titles... the incremental cost is minimal... and the sales totals of some of the current DTS-encoded discs has been extremely high! That is why we are confident that more content providers will soon begin to add DTS soundtracks to there upcoming releases.

Why do studios leave off the extras on their DTS DVD releases?

Some of the previous releases were created without the video "extras" because the authoring engineers chose to conserve on space consumption (although in some cases there actually was enough room available to include the extras).

Now that the studio engineers have had more experience in authoring the audio and video portions of these DVDS, many future titles will contain all of the extras of the previous DD release... and many future titles will offer both DTS and DD on the same disc... with the same extras.

Is the DTS audio quality the same on the "dual" encoded movies as the ones which are DTS only? You recently introduced a new lower bitrate version of DTS. How does this differ from DD's lower bitrate?

Many of the "dual" encoded titles are a direct result of the "lower bitrate" technology that you are referring to. DTS encoding has always been a "scalable" technology that operates at a wide range of data rates. To fit DTS high-resolution soundtracks onto titles where 1.5 Mbps cannot fit comfortably, a lower data rate can be selected without compromising the "master quality" sound.

The proof is in the performance, and the best example is Saving Private Ryan from Dreamworks SKG. The DTS version of this release was encoded at of the original 1.5 Mbps data rate, and the sound quality has been described by many industry experts, as one of the best sounding DVDs ever created!

I've heard the term DTS Stereo. What is this? Is it similar to Dolby Stereo (2 ch. w/ matrixed surround, center), or is it an early term for DTS Digital Surround?

DTS Stereo is a term that applies to the Cinema technology. While many motion picture soundtracks are delivered in DTS 6-channel (5.1) surround, there are still films that are mixed only in stereo... plus there are thousands of theaters around the world that still use stereo playback equipment. Therefore, the DTS Cinema Division also provides excellent stereo soundtracks to service these situations.

With Dolby and Lucas playing with EX 6.1 is DTS looking at any new channel systems?

Yes. The DTS Cinema version is referred to as ES, and later this year you will see hardware processors with DTS-ES decoding capability, followed by software releasing encoded in ES.

What is your plan for competing with the upcoming challenge of DVD Audio? Also since there are already DTS 5.1 audio CDs on the market does that give you a jump on the DVD audio field?

DTS is a 5.1 option for the new DVD-Audio format, and we fully intend to support this new technology.

At the same time, DTS 5.1 Music CDs play on CD, DVD-Video, CD-ROM and DVD-ROM players, while DVD-Audio discs will not. Therefore, we have approx. 100 million disc players in the market that can utilize DTS CDs, compared to zero DVD-Audio players at this moment in time. And it may take a more than a few years for DVD-Audio to reach this kind of market penetration.

The bottom line is that DTS is the only company in the world currently marketing 5.1 music-only mixes... we have an incredible amount of experience in how to mix great-sounding 5.1 music recordings... and we will be at the forefront of all future 5.1 music formats, whether they are CD, DVD or any other new technology.

And while we're all waiting for DVD-Audio to arrive on the scene... if you have a 5.1 Home Theater system, or upgrade your Car Audio or PC sound system to include DTS decoding and a 5.1 speaker system, you can add some of these incredible 5.1 Music CDs to your disc collection right now, and enjoy a wide variety of amazing musical experiences.

Does DTS have any plans for on-line encoding as high bandwidth download speeds increase?

Absolutely... but the details are not quite ready for public disclosure. Needless to say, we will announce this new technology as soon as it is finalized.

Where can we get that DTS demo disc?

The DTS Demo DVDs are created for retail demonstrations, and are not available for commercial resale due to copyright restrictions. Please visit your local "surround sound" store and ask for a free demonstration.

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