Dolby has moved to improve the quality of Blu-ray soundtracks played back through home theater systems, by including technology used by the movie industry.
The technology, called Advanced 96k Upsampling, delivers more natural sound through home theater audio systems, Dolby said. The soundtracks are backward-compatible with any home theater system and Blu-ray player, Dolby added.
The way that Dolby has achieved this is by incorporating Meridian-developed 96kHz upsampling technology into Dolby Media Producer, a post-production product that encodes Dolby TrueHD bitstreams for use on Blu-ray discs.
The technology creates 96kHz Dolby TrueHD soundtracks from the 48kHz-PCM mixes that the movie industry creates for movie theaters, which use 48kHz playback equipment.
Currently the Blu-ray format supports uncompressed 7.1-channel PCM soundtracks with sampling rates up to 96kHz with resolutions up to 24 bits per channel. The format also supports 5.1 channels of PCM up to 192kHz with 24-bit resolution. For Dolby TrueHD and dts-HD Master Audio soundtracks, which are losslessly compressed, Blu-ray supports the same sampling rates and resolutions.
The technology, which is available as a software upgrade to Dolby’s post-production equipment, uses an advanced upsampling algorithm developed by high-end audio supplier Meridian, whose technology is also the foundation for Dolby TrueHD, Dolby said.
Although many home theater audio components upsample audio to 96kHz, most lack the processing power to deliver the performance that the Meridian technology does when applied during the content-creation process, Dolby said. Delivering native 96kHz bitstreams to the AV receiver also ensures a clearer pathway for DSP processing and D-to-A conversion in the receiver, Dolby said.
Advanced 96k Upsampling technology also uses what Dolby calls an apodising filter to identify and mask digital artifacts — referred to as “pre-ringing” — introduced upstream in the analog-to-digital conversion process during content creation. The result is a smoother, more detailed listing experience with rich reverb and more spaciousness, Dolby explained.
The improvements provided by Advanced 96k Upsampling can be subtle or immediately evident, depending upon content, the company said.