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The Insider with Robert Harley – HD DVD/Blu-ray Audio?

HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc as High-Res Music Formats?

Dec 30 – All the talk about HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc has centered on their video capabilities and the unfortunate war between the two competing formats. But written into the specs for each disc is a tantalizing possibility: uncompressed high-resolution multichannel digital audio. The HD DVD spec has a provision for an audio-only disc with up to eight channels of 92kHz/24-bit linear PCM audio. The Blu-ray spec trumps even that, with up to eight channels of 192kHz/24-bit data. Blu-ray’s higher data capacity and faster maximum transfer rate compared with HD DVD allow it to offer a higher maximum sampling rate and word length.

The upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (watch for our live coverage beginning January8 on AVguide.com) might provide some insight into the possibility of these new discs becoming high-res music carriers.

Digital audio by the numbers

Stereo MP3: 64kbps – 128kbps (typical)

Stereo Apple Lossless Coding:700kbps (typical)

Stereo CD (44.1kHz/16-bit):1.41Mbps

Dolby Digital:384 – 448kbps (5.1 channels; limited to 448kbps on DVD; up to 640kbps supported by format)

DTS:754kbps – 1.53Mbps (5.1 channels)

Dolby Digital Plus on HD DVD:640kbps – 3Mbps (7.1 channels)

Dolby Digital Plus on Blu-ray Disc:640kbps – 6Mbps (7.1 channels)

Stereo 96kHz/24-bit:4.6Mbps

Stereo Direct Stream Digital (SACD)5.65Mbps

Stereo 192kHz/24-bit:9.2Mbps

Dolby TrueHD on HD DVD:Up to 18Mbps (peak, 7.1 channels)

8-Channel 96kHz/24-bit:18.432Mbps (proposed music-only format for HD DVD)

Dolby TrueHD on Blu-ray Disc:Up to 24Mbps (peak, 7.1 channels)

8-Channel 192kHz/24-bit:36.86Mbps (proposed music-only format for Blu-ray Disc)

Notable Audio Quotation

“The surge in popularity of tubed amplifiers has nothing to do with nostalgia and everything to do with sound quality.”  David Manley, founder of VTL

By Robert Harley

My older brother Stephen introduced me to music when I was about 12 years old. Stephen was a prodigious musical talent (he went on to get a degree in Composition) who generously shared his records and passion for music with his little brother.

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