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dts 96/24: the myth of hi-res digital audio

Let's start with the beginning, a brief history of what is dts. dts is a sound system created by a company called dts. It is one of four different sound systems that can be found on a DVD-Video. Its main competitor being Dolby Digital, also known as AC3. dts is supposed to be of greater quality than Dolby Digital.

In 2001, dts released an extension to their dts sound system, called "dts 96/24". This system increase the audio resolution to 96KHz, when it was only 48KHz. This means more trebbles, but more importantly, a better sound resolution.

You can think of it as the larger cinema screen as compared to your TV (disregarding size considerations). When watching a movie fullscreen on your TV, you see the main character allright. When watching it on a cinema screen (wider), not only do you see the main character allright, but you see a bit more informations on the left and right. While your eyes focus on the same thing in both cases, your side vision will help you feel more "in the movie" when looking at a wide screen. Comparison is moderately crappy. Let's settle on "Quality is higher".

It is to note that thanks to their smart design, dts 96/24 is fully compatible with any existing dts sound system. The extra information (above 48KHz) will simply be ignored. It is also to note that with any entry-level sound system, even labelled "dts 96/24", it is doubtfull that anyone will hear any difference. We are talking very high fidelity here !

So it has been more than three years now that dts 96/24 has been released, should you buy a new amp labelled dts 96/24? The short answer is: If you don't like Queen, no need. Because as you can see here, there are only three DVDs in the entire world that have a dts 96/24 soundtrack.

Is it going to be a waste? Maybe, maybe not. At least, now you know there is a third competitor in the SACD, DVD-Audio race for the next audio multichannel storage medium, and this one is guaranteed to work (albeit at normal quality) with your current setup, if you have a dts capable DVD player or Amp. But the lack of material as of today makes it a big question mark. SACDs and DVD-As don't have much material either, but still much more than dts 96/24.

I'd personnally settle for a regular dts system even to save $10. If it ever takes off, I'll still have a more than adequate sound quality, and I can still buy a new amp or decoder!

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