What is Dolby Digital Plus

Dolby Digital Plus - the standard for the World Wide Web

With Dolby Digital Plus, the American sound tinkerers raised digital surround sound to a new level in 2005. Thanks to less data, it became possible to provide surround sound over the Internet - which should prove ideal for streaming. Many films and other streaming offers are now also offered in the Dolby Atmos 3D sound standard, but DD + is still widespread.

Surround sound from the internet

Dolby Digital Plus (DD +) is a Sound encoding format for surround sound and a further development of the Dolby Digital format. It was originally developed for HDTV, Blu-ray Disc, and HD-DVD. However, the audio codec only gained significantly in importance with the triumphant advance of streaming services, because many providers used the much smaller amount of data compared to Dolby Digital to also transmit surround sound via stream.

Many important streaming providers - including Netflix, Spotify, HBO and maxdome - still provide surround sound in Dolby Digital Plus. The Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari Internet browsers also support DD +. Consequently websites have been able to provide surround sound for a number of years. The reason for the success of DD + lies in its advanced compression process and the associated data reduction.

Technical basics: why DD + is suitable for streaming

Like its predecessor, Dolby Digital Plus is based on the AC-3 bit-stream format. However, DD + supports multi-channel systems up to 13.1, i.e. with up to 14 sound tracks - Dolby Digital encoded audio data is still only for 5.1 systems. In addition, Dolby has that Compression method significantly improved. Compared to its predecessor, DD + achieves better sound quality with less data volume. This makes the standard particularly attractive for online offers, as these have to make do with limited bandwidth. However, the process is lossy, similar to the compression used in the very widespread MP3 format.

Streaming solutions from Teufel

Dolby Digital Plus in practice

DD + is transmitted via HDMI (from standard 1.3). So you should make sure that the AV receiver is equipped with an HDMI socket, which is usually the case with current devices. These can usually decode DD + audio codecs from Blu-ray players, but also from Internet receivers, and convert them to surround sound. Blu-ray discs use DD +, however, is an exception; the film and recording studios tend to use lossless formats such as Dolby True HD back. In the streaming sector, DD + is still standard, but is being partially replaced by Dolby Atmos.

Sound systems with Dolby Digital are compatible with Dolby Digital Plus

DD + is downward compatible, so the coding format can also be played by receivers that are equipped with Dolby Digital. So you can use existing technology with Dolby Digital for Dolby Digital Plus without any problems. A change is only worth considering for systems that can process more than six audio tracks (7.1 upwards), because Dolby Digital Plus, in contrast to its predecessor, can transmit more than six audio tracks.

Big sound plus with systems from Teufel

  • ▶ System 8 THX Ultra 2 "5.1> 7.1 Dipole": You need eight audio channels for real DD + sound. With this expansion set you can expand your 5.1 system with two dipole speakers in the rear area. This noticeably improves the home theater experience - you will hear it.
  • ▶ Columa 300 Mk2 "5.1> 7.1 Extension set column": These two slim columns made of robust and inconspicuous aluminum fit in every living room. You can use it as a front or rear speaker in addition to a Columa 5.1 system - so that you can really hear what you want to hear.

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Conclusion: Finally, surround sound from the web

  • In order to deliver surround sound to their customers, streaming services still rely on the Dolby Digital Plus compression standard.
  • It is therefore worthwhile in any case, when buying an AV receiver, to make sure that it supports DD + and is equipped with a 1.3 HDMI socket.
  • Dolby Digital systems are compatible with DD +, so do not need to be replaced - unless you want to use a system with more than six audio channels.
Cover picture: © By Dolby Laboratories (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons