The reign of Dolby Digital as the king of multi-channel audio hasn't gone uncontested. In 1993, DTS first appeared in theaters with the release of Jurassic Park. By 1996, DTS was being used as an alternative to Dolby Digital on many DVD soundtracks.
DTS is a 5.1 surround process with identical capabilities to Dolby Digital consisting of the same six discreet channels: Front left and right, rear left and right, center and low-frequency effects or LFE (subwoofer).
- Alternative to Dolby Digital but features identical 5.1 channels.
- Compresses larger than Dolby Digital, takes up more space on DVDs.
- Hi-res audio capabilities make DTS theoretically superior to Dolby Digital.
- Fully digital audio format carries the information of 5 RCA jacks on 1 digital cable.
DTS can use its size to present higher-resolution sound than Dolby Digital, with a maximum audio resolution of up to 96/24. This means 96 KHz sampling rate and 24-bit samples of the original analogue audio source. CD sound is 48/16. DTS soundtracks probably won't take full advantage of this resolution unless stated on the DVD case. But many listeners agree that it still sounds more natural than Dolby Digital.
Some DTS soundtracks are instantly recognized as superior. DTS versions of Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator are renowned as amazing soundtracks that sought to one-up their Dolby Digital counterparts.
Ultimately the choice is yours, but the consumer wins with healthy competition in the marketplace.