First Dolby E Encoder and Decoder Models Introduced at NAB '99

At last week's National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas, Dolby Laboratories unveiled the first Dolby E encoder and decoder products, which are intended to help television broadcasters make the transition from two-channel to multichannel audio. According to the company, the DP571 Dolby E Encoder and DP572 Dolby E Decoder allow broadcasters to distribute up to eight channels of audio, as well as additional data, with a pair of channels on a single AES/EBU cable, two audio tracks of a digital video tape, digital audio tape, or video server.

The system is designed to accommodate standard broadcast operations, and the company claims that Dolby E can survive, without degradation, the 10 encode/decode cycles typically required during the assembly, post-production, and distribution stages of a DTV program. As a result, broadcasters can move multichannel audio through their existing digital audio infrastructure prior to encoding into Dolby Digital for delivery to consumers.

Tom Daily of Dolby Labs says that "with the adoption of new digital formats such as HDTV, broadcasters are asking for end-to-end solutions for digital-broadcast audio delivery. Dolby meets this demand with its Dolby E encoder and decoder models, which allow digital-TV broadcasters to smoothly transition their infrastructure to handle multichannel audio without purchasing expensive audio equipment."