DTS-HD High Resolution

I’ve been after a disc — any disc — carrying DTS-HD High Resolution audio. This is, of course, the improved version of DTS. It remains lossy, but can carry more bits of data, so it is less lossy than regular DTS. While regular DTS maxes out at 1.5Mbps (1,536 or 1,509kbps, depending on the tool you use to report it), on HD DVD, DTS-HD HR could use up to 3Mbps and on Blu-ray up to 6Mbps (see here).

Universal has now sent me three of them: First Blood, Total Recall and House of Flying Daggers. In each case, DTS-HD HR is used for some of the non-English audio tracks.

I also have the first two in their HD DVD incarnations, and in both cases these claimed also to carry their non-English sound as DTS-HD HR. And maybe they did, but if so I couldn’t see or hear it. According to the info display on the Toshiba XE-1 HD DVD player (with the latest 4.0 firmware), this audio was regular DTS. Setting the player to bitstream the audio signal in original format, my Yamaha RX-V3900 informs me that the signal is indeed regular DTS. Except that the Yamaha doesn’t report its bitrate. Yet the Yamaha happily reports the 1,536kbps of DTS from a DVD played on the Toshiba. On the other hand, it won’t report the bitrate from the regular DTS track on the HD DVD of The Italian Job.

So as far as I can work out, the claimed DTS-HD HR on those HD DVDs isn’t there.

But it is definitely there on First Blood and House of Flying Daggers, and I have no doubt will be on Total Recall as well when I get around to examining it. Thanks to BDInfo, I can say that the DTS-HD HR on First Blood has a bitrate of 2,046kbps.

Meanwhile, I compared the video of First Blood between the Blu-ray and HD DVD versions. I am pretty confident that they are identical VC1 encodes. To confirm, I extracted the first 257 ‘I’ frames from each and compared the resulting graphics files. They were bit perfect matches, every single one of them.

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