Paramount chooses DTS sound for UltraViolet file format

In a major technical decision for the company’s future, Paramount Pictures has chosen the DTS-HD codec as the compressed multichannel audio scheme for its UltraViolet Common File Format (CFF) catalogue of films.

UltraViolet is a digital locker system for interoperable electronic content that’s been called the DVD for the Internet. With UltraViolet players, users can buy movies from one vendor and play it anywhere on a compatible system.

Currently, for example, a movie purchased from Apple’s iTunes won’t play on an Xbox, and a TV show purchased from Best Buy’s CinemaNow won’t play on a Walmart VUDU player. UltraViolet would allow interoperability between these incompatible systems.

Paramount plans to deliver its catalogue of UltraViolet movies paired with DTS soundtracks in the second half of 2013 upon launch of UltraViolet CFF. By taking advantage of the benefits of cloud-based access, UltraViolet presents media purchasers with a universal way to download and stream their entertainment collections anytime, anywhere for viewing on TV screens, PCs, tablets, mobile phones and other connected devices.

The UltraViolet CFF facilitates the transfer or copying of a downloaded IP-friendly file featuring a DTS-encoded soundtrack directly to an UltraViolet CFF-compatible app or hardware device, facilitating playback of those downloaded movie files on portable devices.

Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) is the international cross-industry group that runs UltraViolet. It is a consortium of major Hollywood studios, consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers, network hardware vendors, systems integrators, and Digital Rights Management (DRM) vendors.

Announced in September 2008 by consortium President and Sony Pictures Entertainment CTO Mitch Singer, DECE was chartered to develop a set of standards for the digital distribution of premium Hollywood content. DTS, based in Calabasas, CA, is a member of the DECE group.

On October 21, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced the development of a competing service called Keychest, a video-on-demand system. No announcements have been made involving its progress since the original announcement and its not known if its still a viable alternative.

“A good movie experience leaves a lasting impression on people,” said Amy Reinhard, executive vice president and general manager of Paramount Domestic Home Media Distribution. “By marrying our robust content library with DTS’ advanced surround sound technology, we can deliver a memorable cinematic surround sound experience for our customers at home, or on any UltraViolet-compatible connected device.”

DTS-HD is an industry standard audio codec, capable of delivering an immersive audio experience to connected devices utilizing a wide array of media container and streaming formats. DTS is supported in standardized media formats, including MPEG-2 (transport stream and program stream), MPEG-4, PIFF (Microsoft Smooth Streaming), CFF (UltraViolet .uvu) and MKV.

DTS-HD offers a number of profiles that are optimized for both streaming and download. For streaming, DTS-HD supports adaptive bit-rate support as well as seamless switching without the typical audio anomalies that plague other audio codecs. With a single encode, DTS audio can adapt to changing network bandwidth and device capability without degradation.