DTS-HD Master Audio Sets the Standard

Universal Studios has leaked news that's music to the ears of anyone with, well, ears. Following their commitment to Blu-ray, they're also making a commitment to use one of the best audio formats available for home consumers. Their first Blu-ray DVDs, The Mummy and its sequels are due to be released on July 22nd, complete with DTS-HD Master Audio sound - a lossless format. From the DTS website, "DTS-HD Master Audio™ delivers sound that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master. DTS-HD Master Audio can provide up to 7.1 audio channels at a 96 kHz sampling frequency / 24-bit depth, or 5.1 audio channels at 192 kHz. The DTS-HD Master Audio bit stream also contains the DTS 1.5 Mbps core for backwards compatibility with existing DTS-enabled home theater systems, and delivery of 5.1 channels of sound at more than twice the resolution found on most standard DVDs." The expanded storage capacities of Blu-ray discs allows room for this lossless format. Dolby Digital and standard DTS are both lossy compressed formats, and when Universal was using HD DVD, it used Dolby's TrueHD which took up less space on the smaller 30GB HD DVD real estate. What does this mean for you?

If you have a Blu-ray player that supports the format, you'll hear audio that's as good as it sounded in the mixing studio -- no compression added. This is even better than DTS-HD, which is claimed to be "virtually" the same, although it does have some compression-although not nearly as much as Dolby Digital or standard DTS. Universal is planning on making DTS-HS Master Audio standard on all of their Blu-ray releases. Let's hope other studios follow in these great-sounding footsteps.-Leslie Shapiro