France becomes first country to use Dolby Digital Plus in HD TV

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Four of France’s terrestrial broadcasters have announced that they will be using Dolby’s new Digital Plus and Dolby Digital on their new high-def channels. In fact, France will be the first country that will be using the new audio technology. The channels will include TF1 HD, France 2 HD, ARTE HD, Canal + HD and M6 HD. All these channels also form the new HD service from Television Numerique Terrestre.

What is also surprising is that the new French HD forum specifications require that “by December 2008 HD-ready TVs for sale in France must include Dolby Digital Plus and High Efficiency AAC (HE AAC) audio”. The full press release can be found after the jump.

First Implementation of Dolby Digital Plus for HD Terrestrial TV

Television Numerique Terrestre HD chooses Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Digital

PARIS, Oct 31, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) announced that Dolby(R) Digital Plus and Dolby Digital have been chosen by France’s new national high-definition terrestrial broadcasters for the Television Numerique Terrestre HD (TNT HD) platform, which was launched this week.

Initial services available on TNT HD include popular channels TF1 HD, France 2 HD, ARTE HD, Canal+ HD, and M6 HD. Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Digital audio will allow viewers to enjoy broadcasts in 5.1 surround sound as well as stereo.

Dolby Digital Plus is a sophisticated audio system based on Dolby Digital technology. It is designed specifically to adapt to the changing demands of future entertainment delivery while retaining backward compatibility with the existing Dolby Digital 5.1-channel home theater systems in use today.

“HD is synonymous with improved, high-definition audio,” said Jean-Pierre Lacotte, President of the HD Forum, France. “Everyone has a right to good sound–especially those who have invested in home theater systems–and this new TNT HD service will provide superb HD images with 5.1 audio to match.”

The performance and flexibility of Dolby Digital Plus is ideal for limited-bandwidth environments such as terrestrial broadcasts. Broadcasters can deliver excellent quality while retaining the ability to decode Dolby Digital broadcast bitstreams for compatibility with existing broadcast services.

“TF1 is proud to launch HD over digital terrestrial TV and, being three channels in one multiplex of 24 Mbps, the Dolby codecs are critical to save the scarce resource of bandwidth in this constrained environment,” said Gilles Maugars, CTO of TF1’s Technology and IT Division. “This is why TF1 HD will use Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus for the coding of its audio streams, because the efficiencies they provide will enable TF1 HD to broadcast 5.1 audio.”

“We have been working very closely with the broadcasters in France as they have prepared to launch their new HD services,” said Tony Spath, Vice President, International Broadcast, Dolby Laboratories. “The switch-on of TNT HD is a significant step forward because it is one of the first major terrestrial HD platforms on the air in Europe, and is also the first major broadcast application to utilize Dolby Digital Plus.”

Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Digital are designed to provide consistent and predictable results throughout the broadcast chain to the consumer’s television, ensuring an excellent experience for the consumer and a high-efficiency solution for broadcasters.

The French HD forum specification requires that by December 2008 HD-ready TVs for sale in France must include Dolby Digital Plus and High Efficiency AAC (HE AAC) audio, emphasizing the importance of surround sound. Dolby recently announced its new Dolby Pulse technology, which is based on the HE AAC audio code standard. The Forum also expressed the preference of broadcasters for Dolby technology to deliver this experience, due to its compatibility with their production processes.

HDTVs from a wide range of manufacturers are already available in France with these technologies built in, as are a new selection of set-top boxes, which will allow French consumers to access the new TNT HD services.

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