Monday, April 21, 2008

TV Tech Center: Don't forget the audio

By Frank Macek

One of the best parts of the new digital television revolution is often overlooked - the audio.

Most people buy their new digital or high definition television sets, take them home, plug in whatever audio cables they can find and they are instantly gratified with their new purchase.

If you one of those folks, you are missing out on the wide world of multi-channel audio.

Today's new media, including DVDs, often come with a multichannel audio track - in the form of the Digital Theater System (DTS), Sony Dynamic Digital Sounds (SDDS) or Dolby Digital - which gives the viewer the benefit of true 3-D like surround sound. This is multi channel system with different sounds separated into different parts of the audio spectrum.

Although 5.1 channel surround is now the norm, some systems are now supporting 6.1 and 7.1 channel surround. Japan's NHK has even developed a 22.2 channel system, so the possibilities are ridiculously endless.

While most home theater and media center PC's support a full range of audio modes, most audiophiles suggest you have an A/V received as the "hub" of your entire HDTV setup. A good receiver also serves the role of being able to switch and scale, taking video in from different source outputs and sending it via an HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) right to your HDTV.

If you aren't familiar with the "surround sound" concept of arranging your speakers for maximum listening satisfaction, the following gives you a brief overview of how to set up your home system.

WKYC is currently broadcasting in 5.1 surround sound for our network programming. Coming VERY soon, we'll also be including our Channel 3 newscasts in the mix. As time goes along, you'll be noticing even more channel separation and a wider range of sound for most of our programming - whether it comes from the network or locally.

Surround Sound Illustrated

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