The extension, called Dolby Digital Plus, has also been proposed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) as an optional backup to the current Dolby Digital codec for over-air DTV transmissions. In future DTV sets, the lower bit-rate Dolby Digital Plus format would kick in to deliver uninterrupted audio even if the picture freezes or blocks up during temporary dips in signal strength, which can be caused by multipath, rain or other atmospheric conditions.
For their part, cable and DBS operators are looking at high-compression audio and video codecs “to provide more channels, services and functions on demand,” said Craig Eggers, Dolby’s consumer technology marketing director. Cable and DBS operators, he noted, are considering MPEG-4 and H.264 compression technologies to deliver four to five times more content with the same picture quality as the MPEG-2 standard that they currently use, he explained.
To deliver 5.1-channel audio with new video codecs, operators will look for a more efficient 5.1-channel audio codec, and Dolby Digital Plus fits the bill, Eggers continued.
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