01.23.2004 12:00 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Four new HD channels launch with Dolby Digital 5.1

As the availability of high-definition digital video channels continues to increase, so too has the amount of programs broadcast with multichannel Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Not every HD channel is delivering Dolby Digital audio, but things are beginning to sound a lot better on the surround sound audio front.

As of December, three new channels, Cinemax HD, The Movie Channel HD, and Spice HD, began delivering high-quality Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, part of the ATSC DTV standard, to complement their HD programs. All use Dolby Digital broadcasting equipment to make it happen.

Cinemax HD began broadcasting in Dolby Digital 5.1 November 12 and The Movie Channel HD and Spice HD launched December 1, both featuring programming in Dolby Digital 5.1.

Spice HD will offer more than 1,200 hours of native HD programming, including the live daily shows Spice Clips, The Nooner, and the reality series Unzipped. “We outfitted our new production studio with state-of-the-art equipment across the board,” said Jeff Jenest, General Manager, Spice Digital Networks. “This included selecting Dolby Digital 5.1. We have always brought the highest quality product to our audiences, and this audio complement is an important element in our delivery of HD.”

Dolby Laboratories said that approximately 28 million households worldwide have Dolby Digital 5.1 home receivers, while roughly 22 million digital cable, satellite, and terrestrial DTV set-top boxes have been sold to date that deliver a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio stream. Worldwide, more than 75 TV networks regularly distribute TV programs with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

For a listing of programs broadcast in Dolby Digital, visit www.dolby.com/tvaudio.

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