France TNT HD Channels Make Move to Dolby Digital Plus

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
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LONDON — Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) announced that Dolby® Digital Plus has become the sole audio stream for three leading high-definition terrestrial channels broadcast on France’s national Télévision Numérique Terrestre HD (TNT HD) platform.

The TNT HD multiplex R5, which carries channels TF1 HD, France 2 HD, and M6 HD, will broadcast audio exclusively in Dolby Digital Plus from 1 June 2009, allowing broadcasters to release valuable bandwidth to further improve the quality of the high-definition video transmissions.

“For the launch of HD Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), the channels using the R5 HD multiplex selected Dolby Digital Plus for broadcasting the audio streams,” said Frédéric Tapissier, President, Technical Committee of the France HD Forum, and TF1 coordinator for the launch of HD DTT. “However, because some of the existing HD receivers were not fully compatible, we initially opted for a combination of Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus. As the remaining receivers have now been updated, we are happy to use the same Dolby Digital Plus format for all the audio streams. This is the opportunity to free up bandwidth and improve video quality, which is critical as we very rapidly ramp up our native HD programs.”

Launched in November 2008, TNT HD became the first major high-definition terrestrial platform to go on the air in Europe, and the first to use Dolby Digital Plus. Initially combined with Dolby Digital streams, Dolby Digital Plus allowed terrestrial viewers in France to benefit from programs broadcast in 5.1 surround sound as well as stereo.

“TNT HD was the first major broadcast platform to use Dolby Digital Plus and we are delighted that the French HD Forum is confident that it provides them with the best solution for its terrestrial HD services,” said Tony Spath, Vice President, International Broadcast, Dolby Laboratories. “We feel sure this news will give even greater confidence to other countries across Europe that have also mandated Dolby technologies as part of their DTT HD specification as they prepare to launch their own terrestrial HD services in the future.”

Designed specifically to adapt to the changing needs of future entertainment delivery, Dolby Digital Plus can provide both full surround sound and stereo sound in a single audio stream, making it ideal for bandwidth-constrained environments such as high-definition terrestrial broadcasting. Its industry-standard metadata also provides incredible control for the broadcaster or operator, and ensures consistent, reliable, and scalable high-definition audio, while retaining backward compatibility with the existing Dolby Digital 5.1-channel home theater systems in use today.