Dolby TrueHD is a lossless multi-channel audio codec developed by Dolby Laboratories which is used in home-entertainment equipment such as Blu-ray Disc. It is the successor to the AC-3 Dolby Digital surround sound codec which was used as the audio standard for DVDs. In this application, Dolby TrueHD competes with DTS-HD Master Audio, a lossless codec from DTS.
Dolby TrueHD uses Meridian Lossless Packing (MLP) as its mathematical basis for compressing audio samples. MLP is also used in the DVD-Audio format, but details of Dolby TrueHD and DVD-Audio differ substantially. A Dolby TrueHD bitstream can carry up to 14 discrete sound channels. Sample depths up to 24 bits/sample and audio sample rates up to 192 kHz are supported. Like the more common legacy codec Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD bitstreams carry program metadata. Metadata is separate from the coding format and compressed audio samples, but stores relevant information about the audio waveform. For example, dialog normalization and dynamic range compression are controlled by metadata embedded in the TrueHD bitstream. TrueHD is a variable bit-rate codec.
In the Blu-ray specification, Dolby TrueHD is an optional codec. Dolby TrueHD audiotracks may carry up to 24 bit audio in up to 8 discrete audio channels at 96 kHz or up to 6 channels (5.1 surround) at 192 kHz. The maximum encoded bitrate is 18 Mbit/s (the same as the uncompressed rate). Since TrueHD is an optional codec, a separate (primary) AC-3 audio track must be present on Blu-ray discs that contain a TrueHD track.
All Dolby TrueHD players are capable of downmixing the decoded Dolby TrueHD audiotrack to an arbitrary number of channels more suitable for player output. For example, all Dolby TrueHD-capable players can create a 2-channel (stereo-compatible) downmix from a 6-channel source audiotrack.
Dolby TrueHD sees its most popular usage as a high definition audio codec for Blu-ray Disc. While early Blu-ray Disc players did not support Dolby TrueHD, most current models support Dolby TrueHD, and an increasing percentage of early releases featured a Dolby TrueHD audiotrack. However, by late 2009 and early 2010, Dolby TrueHD had been steadily losing the lossless audio market share to rival DTS-HD Master Audio.
- Over 6 or 8 RCA connectors as analog audio, using the player's internal decoder and digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
- Over HDMI 1.1 (or higher) connections as 6 or 8-channel Linear PCM, using the player's decoder and the AV receiver's DAC.
- Over HDMI 1.3 (or higher) connections as the original TrueHD bitstream, with decoding and DAC both done by the AV receiver.
- "Dolby TrueHD". Dolby Laboratories. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- "DTS-HD Master Audio Becoming the Blu-ray Standard". Blu-raystats.com. January 15, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010.
- Maestra, Rodolfo La (August 8, 2006). "HDMI Part 5 - Audio in HDMI Versions". HDTV Magazine. Retrieved November 15, 2010.