Something that has fascinated me a little lately is the trend towards DTS-HD Master Audio, to the point now where it has become the de facto standard for Blu-ray Disc releases.
A couple of studios have used it from the start – Fox, who also distributes MGM, took quite a bit of flack for using DTS-HD Master Audio on their releases back when there were no players capable of decoding it or even passing it on to a receiver.
Universal Studios has also religiously used DTS-HD Master Audio on their releases, though capable players were abound well before they finally started releasing Blu-ray discs after having been exclusive to the HD DVD format.
Disney and Lionsgate moved to DTS-HD Master Audio from Linear PCM and smaller distributors like Image Entertainment, the Criterion Collection and Magnolia Home Entertainment have started using DTS-HD Master Audio as a matter of course.
More interesting to me though is the defection of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment from Dolby TrueHD to DTS-HD Master Audio in recent times, as well as an apparent similar defection under way over at Warner Home Entertainment.
Sony has certainly already made the move and newly announced Warner titles inreasingly have DTS-HD Master Audio where in 2009 only a handful of titles used the codec.
While Paramount has also been predominantly using the Dolby TrueHD codec, there have been cases of DTS-HD Master Audio releases, especially associated with the Star Trek franchise.
I talked to both Sony and Dolby at CES this year and got differing answers regarding the SPHE move to DTS-HD Master Audio.
Dolby stated that the work flow for titles with TrueHD and seamless branching had difficulties, which pushed some studios to use DTS-HD Master Audio for certain titles at least.
This may be a credible reason that we see DTS-HD Master Audio on the Warner release for Watchmen, which used seamless branching for the Maximum Movie Mode on the title.
Talking to Sony I got a very different answer – they said that the move to DTS-HD Master Audio was one of consumer preference measured by an internet poll.
Regardless of the reasons behind the moves, it is interesting to see the DTS codec now dominating the Blu-ray landscape with over 45% percent of the lossless audio Blu-ray releases, when at launch it looked like it simply wasn’t ready for prime time at all.
If you have any thoughts on this, feel free to add your comments.